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Richard230
14 January 2011, 1603
My newspaper reports that Toyota apparently doesn't have enough projects on its plate and is said to be on schedule to sell Hydrogen-powered cars by 2015, or sooner in California, Japan and Germany as an alternative to EVs. Toyota has cut the cost to manufacturer hydrogen models to less than $100,000. :O It plans to cut that price in half by the time the cars go on sale. Personally, I don't plan to be an "early adopter". If you really want a gas-powered car, what is wrong with the currently available CNG models, anyway? There is plenty of natural gas available and the infrastructure to acquire and transport it exists already. I just don't get the H2 thing.

Meanwhile, on a KGO radio interview with San Francisco's new mayor, Ed Lee, he mentioned that the mayor's official vehicle was a Chevy Tahoe SUV and it is so big that he fell getting out of it this morning (the former mayor and now Lieutenant Governor was quite tall and Ed Lee is very short). The new mayor said that he doesn't need a gas SUV and is personally very supportive of electric vehicles. He plans to ask the City purchasing division to buy an electric car for the mayor's official vehicle to replace the Tahoe. This sounds like a good promotional opportunity for Ford or Nissan to donate a car to the city to generate some good will and to get their name in the news. :)

mpipes
15 January 2011, 1815
the problem with hydrogen is the same problem with petrol - it has to be man-made, therefore you're always a slave to whatever the people who control the pumps want to charge you for it... at least with electricity, people do have the option to generate a portion of their own with solar... people think pollution is an issue right now, what happens when all these hydrogen vehicles on the road are pumping out pure water vapor? It's NOT going to be any better for the planet!

chef
15 January 2011, 2050
Not sure what you mean by both being man made. Petroleum is mined, an energy resource that has been stored for millions of years underground. "Pockets of sunlight" is an interesting metaphor for oil. It's a very dirty energy source and we're using it far, far faster than it is created.

Hydrogen on the other hand can't be mined as there are no stores of it trapped underground*. It can be extracted from natural gas or split from water or urine by electrolysis. In each case the conversion loses energy and is particularly inefficient with electrolysis. It's quite befuddling how junk science has been able to perpetuate the myth that hydrogen is an energy solution when it's merely a (very inefficient) temporary store of energy, not unlike a battery.


* If there are any pockets of hydrogen, they're minuscule and have no chance at supplying global energy needs .

mpipes
16 January 2011, 0816
By "man made", I mean that as they exist in current natural form (petroleum being locked undergound undersea or within soil, and free hydrogen not existing at all) they are not useable until somebody with the resources to extract, refine and deliver it, decides to do so... so in terms of mass supply/production, a hydrogen economy is no better than an oil economy because only a few will have control over the market.

I guess the same could be said about the raw resources required for solar energy and battery storage chemistries.... so I just typed myself into a corner.. :) but right now the consumer has plenty of affordable options to invest into systems to provide for their own needs. Not sure if there are any backyard oil drilling kits but chances are if someone had oil in their backyard, someone else would see that they dont have access to it.

chef
16 January 2011, 1109
The fundamental difference between hydrogen and petroleum as energy sources is that petroleum has a net gain of energy after it's extracted. Even after all the mining, processing, transporting, etc, the resulting product (gasoline/diesel) has more energy than what was put into extracting it. By contrast, hydrogen results in a net loss of energy. Think of it this way: imagine that the only electrical generation plants are hydrogen powered. That electricity must be used in one way or another to create more hydrogen, but because the process is lossy (less than 100% efficient), the amount of hydrogen created is less than what is consumed. It isn't really comparable to say oil economy vs hydrogen economy. Oil is an energy source, hydrogen is a glorified battery. The partial exception would be splitting hydrogen from natural gas, but in that case it's just an inefficient way of using natural gas.


Not sure if there are any backyard oil drilling kits but chances are if someone had oil in their backyard, someone else would see that they dont have access to it.That's called slant drilling. A Simpsons episode covered that ;)