Archive | Fuel Cells

Redefining Environmentalism

We’ve been challenged recently to defend our somewhat unconventional view of environmentalism. After all, if you believe that most of the conventional wisdom held by typical environmentalists is wrong, are you still an environmentalist?

The answer is yes, yes, yes, absolutely and resolutely, yes. We don’t believe in half the things that we’re supposed to believe in as “environmentalists,” yet we are environmentalists. People in the name of environmentalism waste billions of taxpayer’s money pursuing half-baked schemes, and tie our economy up in knots, and it is our job as non-conformist yet utterly committed environmentalists to carry the torch of true environmentalism. It is our job to expose environmentalist myths at the same time as we relentlessly pursue the truth, and redefine environmentalism to legitimately appeal to a wider, mainstream constituency.

We’re not sure yet whether or not anthropogenic CO2 is the reason for global warming, nor that the most dire predictions of global warming are very likely. We’re think measured use of DDT might be a wise choice in many parts of this world where malaria still runs rampant. We question why people claim there is a shortage of landfills, when we could have ten times as many landfills as we’ve got now and hardly anyone would notice. And we’re not sure recycling is as unambiguously good as environmentalists claim.

We don’t think the world is about to run out of oil, and we don’t think nuclear power is beyond debate, and we think the whole fixation on hydrogen is nonsense. We’re not even sure that genetically modified organisms is always a bad idea. We think humans should build more freeways, dig more quarries, and permit more housing developments. So how on earth can we call ourselves environmentalists?

The reason is simple: Because we want to see pollution cleaned up, we want to see energy abundance, and we want economic growth for all of humanity. Wasting time on hydrogen fuel cells was a distraction that cost billions of dollars and wasted decades – we could have had fuel efficient cars and developed electric cars instead of pursuing this pipe dream. And is nuclear power so bad? Why, if it’s managed responsibly? Are you saying coal power is better? These matters should not be beyond debate.

What’s wrong with freeways if the car is getting fuel efficient and ultra-clean? What’s wrong with more housing developments if the population of the world is going to stablize at 8.0 billion people – which it will? What’s wrong with landfills if recycling uses more energy than just smelting more glass, for example? Why are we regulating CO2 emissions, when we haven’t even eliminated harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide, lead, ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide?

Having a commitment to clean technology does not mean we have to wear blinders and agree with everything environmentalist “experts” have to tell us. To be an environmentalist means having a commitment to cleaning up the air, the water, the earth, and to making sure there is room for wildlife and wilderness. It doesn’t have to mean you are against development of any kind, nor does it mean you have to fear every demon you are told to fear. Environmentalism should be a rational set of goals that isn’t influenced by emotional arguments or peer pressure.

Environmentalism should mean clean technology, near-zero pollution, and within that context, realistic balancing of ecological and economic objectives. We look for exciting examples of truly environmentally friendly technologies; battery powered cars, photovoltaic cells, green buildings; the list is endless and fascinating. We are as on guard for excesses of misguided socialist “remedies” as we are on the lookout for the excesses of unfettered capitalism. We have no allegience to either. Environmentalism, truly expressed, should have no ideology outside itself, not left nor right, not religious nor secular.

Posted in Buildings, Cars, Coal, Energy, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Landfills, Ozone, Policy, Law, & Government, Recycling, Science, Space, & Technology1 Comment

Vanadium Batteries

We’re going to turn into a battery blog if this keeps up. But the next generation of electrical storage devices is what will enable two very clean, transformative technologies to change the world – photovoltaic cells and electric cars. In the race between batteries, ultra-capacitors, and hydrogen fuel cell systems, my money is on the batteries.

On our recent post covering the Tango T600 Battery Powered Car, the 18th commenter pointed us towards vanadium batteries. The first thing you think about when you learn of these batteries, only patented in 1986 and based on concepts only about 30 years old, is “of course!”

These are batteries that can be recharged the way you might fill your gasoline tank – that is, the electrolytic material which carries the electrical charge is a liquid that, once discharged, can be quickly removed from the battery and replaced with liquid that has been recharged. This means that stationary systems can charge replacement liquid and a mobile battery can be recharged the same way you’d pump gasoline – within minutes.

Before we get too excited about the potential for these batteries to power electric cars, however, consider their energy density. The best lithium ion batteries we’ve got have an energy density of maybe 300 watts per kilogram. The vanadium batteries have an energy density of maybe 80 watts per kilogram (see discussion on Geocities), which is good enough for stationary sources, but not for vehicles.

On the other hand, these batteries may be relatively inexpensive and long-lived, good for stationary electrical storage systems, such as in a home or commercial building with photovoltaics. Apparently the costs for vanadium batteries could drop as low as $300-$600 per kilowatt-hour of storage. This is pretty inexpensive, considering the average home would generally not require more than 5-10 kilowatt-hours of energy per night, if that, and could recharge during the day. There is an excellent website called “The Energy Blog” with a post entitled “Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries” that cites these figures.

Don’t go out and throw away your stock in lithium ion and nickel metal hydride battery developers just yet, though. While vanadium batteries appear to be far less problematic than fuel cells, they are complex devices, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. But the scalability of these storage devices suggests they could be used in very large scale electric utility applications, where other battery alternatives are unlikely. They may find a niche, and bear watching.

Companies involved in vanadium batteries include VFuel Pty Ltd (Australia), Pinnacle VRB Limited (Australia), Cellennium Company Limited (Thailand), and RE Fuel (UK).

Posted in Cars, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Other1 Comment

Lithium Ion Batteries

A car running on electricity drawn from the power grid and stored on-board can be fueled at about one-third the cost per mile compared to a gasoline-powered car. We prove this in our recent post Electric Car Cost Per Mile.

There are at least three technologies to store electricity on-board an electric vehicle; hydrogen which is turned into electricity using onbard fuel cells, ultra-capacitors, and batteries. We reject fuel cells for reasons clearly stated in our posts The Hydrogen Hoax, and Fuel Cell Cars Aren’t Ready.

Ultra-capacitors are a wild card – while there probably aren’t nearly insurmountable problems in eventually lowering their manufacturing costs, as there are with fuel cell / hydrogen systems, they have a relatively low energy density. This makes them impractical for vehicle applications. There is some evidence that “nanotube enhanced ultracapacitor” prototypes can now achieve an energy density of 75 watt-hours per kilogram, which lags well behind lithium ion batteries. But the theoretical energy density of ultracapacitors is much higher. Their time may come.

In the race to be the electrical storage mode for the imminent wave of next-generation electric cars, however, the battery continues to show the most promise. The latest lithium ion batteries, used in laptops, display the ability to recharge in minutes instead of hours, and retain 99% of their capacity after 1,000 charge cycles. With a gravimetric energy density approaching 200 watt-hours per kilogram, and a gravimetric output density of over 5 kilowatts per kilogram, these advanced batteries now have solved two of the three inherent problems to-date with batteries; longevity, and ability to produce adequate surges of power.

One of the pioneers in lithium ion batteries is Toshiba, who has already commercialized this advanced battery for use in laptops. Applications for hybrid cars and battery powered cars won’t be far behind, as the laptop battery powered Tesla Roadster will attest.

If battery powered cars have battery packs that can be warrantied for ten+ years, and can be recharged in less than one hour, their third problem of still marginal energy density becomes less significant – particularly since battery energy density has been increasing by 6% per year for decades, with no end in sight.

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen3 Comments

The Next Generation Car

It finally happened. The future is here. The future is now. Tesla Motors in San Carlos, California, a company we scooped about a month ago in Silicon Valley- The New Detroit?, has released specifications on its revolutionary battery powered car.

Tesla Roadster

Several years ago we published The Car of the Future, which described the ambitious plans of a start-up company to build a fuel cell powered car they would deliver to a grateful world. Then last year we published The Battery Powered Car, which, among other things, demonstrated that batteries are twice as efficient an energy storage mechanism as fuel cells, and considerably cheaper to obtain – and that grid electricity can power a car for a fraction of what gasoline cars cost to operate.

And now the next generation, 100% electric car is here, and it runs on laptop batteries! Mass produced Lithium Ion batteries with an energy density of well over 200 watts per kilogram. And this isn’t just any car – this car will perform like a bat out of hell.

Back in the 1990′s, for a while, battery-powered cars were in vogue. But it was too soon, in spite of the legendary General Motors EV-1 coming out of that era. The EV-1 was a very hot sports car, although few recognized it at the time. It had a top speed of 185 miles per hour, and the manufacturer had installed a governor to prevent drivers from going that fast.

But if the EV-1 was a brilliant piece of engineering, ahead of its time, kind of like the first combat jet ever produced, the German ME-262, then the Tesla Roadster is kind of like America’s 2006 top-of-the-line F-18 Hornet.

Compare these stats: The EV-1 had 137 horsepower and went 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds. The Tesla Roadster puts out 185 kilowatts (248 horsepower) and goes 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. If the EV-1 had a top speed of 185 MPH with a 1,600 pound battery pack, what do you think the actual top speed of the Tesla Roadster is, with only 1,000 pounds of batteries? The Tesla Roadster’s spec sheet only discreetly says “over 130 miles per hour.” Gentlemen, get these cars on the autobahn.

Most important, the Tesla Roadster has a range on one charge of 250 miles, and can be recharged on the road in a few hours. The EV-1 only went about 100 miles on a charge, and took all night to charge on a normal wall socket.

Keep your eyes on Tesla Motors. They make me very proud to be a Californian.

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Engineering, Fuel Cells, Other7 Comments

The Hydrogen Hoax

Environmentalists have touted hydrogen as the panacea for world energy challenges for decades, and as is common with populist environmentalist causes, their focus on hydrogen has caused more harm than good. This isn’t the first time thoughtful critics inside and outside the environmentalist movement have called the hydrogen future a hoax, but unfortunately the hydrogen zealots still aren’t listening.

First of all, hydrogen isn’t a primary fuel. It has to be produced from something else, either from electricity via electrolysis, or refined from fossil fuel, or distilled from biomass. In all these cases, using the source fuel directly would be far more efficient than converting this energy into hydrogen.

Obviously refining hydrogen from fossil fuel isn’t going to solve any energy shortages. Distilling hydrogen from biomass is equally problematic; it has the same problems all biofuels have; there isn’t enough land or water on earth to yield anywhere near the quantities of energy necessary to replace petroleum. Read Will Biodiesel Replace Crude Oil, for a chart showing the relationship between land consumption and biofuel production. Moreover, if you are going to refine hydrogen from biofuel crops that truly make economic sense to grow, such as sugar cane, why not just burn the ethanol directly and save the energy losses from the conversion process?

Theoretically, electrolyzing hydrogen from renewable electricity and water is a way for hydrogen to make economic and ecological good sense. But this analysis neglects to consider where the electricity will come from, and more importantly, the significant conversion losses incurred when electricity is electrolysed into hydrogen. The hydrogen resulting from a process of electrolysis will have at best about 65% of the energy that was in the electricity used to make it.

If electrolysed hydrogen is then used to power a fuel cell automobile, the absurdity of its practicality becomes very clear. A fuel cell is necessary to turn the hydrogen back into electricity, and the electrical output of the fuel cell is at best only about 65% of the energy that was in the hydrogen used to make it. The compounding problem here – electricity from the grid made hydrogen via electrolysis at a 65% efficiency (best case), then hydrogen processed through a fuel cell made electricity at a 65% efficiency (best case) – means the electric motor providing traction for your fuel cell car will only be able to use about 40% of the electrical energy drawn from the grid for that purpose. Read The 100% Electric Car, for an in-depth explanation of conversion losses using fuel cell cars.

By contrast, a simple onboard battery can be charged and discharged at greater than 90% efficiency – a plug-in hybrid, available today, will use grid electricity twice as efficiently as a fuel cell car. Furthermore, fuel cells cost $4,000 per kilowatt (a kilowatt is about 1.3 horsepower), they use expensive materials, they degrade quickly, they take several minutes to start, they can’t tolerate cold, and vibration makes their membranes rupture. Meanwhile, batteries are cheap and getting cheaper. If you’ve got cheap renewable electricity, there are better ways to exploit that electricity than by producing hydrogen.

Let’s not forget that nobody’s figured out how to store hydrogen. It is the lightest substance in the universe, so storing a meaningful amount of hydrogen requires pressurization up to 10,000 PSI. Even under these densities, the hydrogen equivalent of only a few gallons of gasoline could be carried on an automobile since otherwise the pressure vessel would weigh far too much. A natural gas vehicle, by contrast, requires the gas to be stored at only 300 PSI, a vast difference. The tanks, fittings and hoses to safely store usable amounts of pressurized hydrogen haven’t been invented yet. Maybe someday hydrogen can be stored via cryogenics, or in metal substrates using nanotechnology. Don’t hold your breath.

Will scientists figure out someday how to store hydrogen in practical, economical ways? Will they ever figure out how to build cheap, safe and durable fuel cells? The answer to these questions is yes, but probably not before they figure out how to develop ultra-capacitors or cheap batteries with extremely high energy densities.

The biggest problem with hydrogen is the opportunity cost of spending billions of dollars in research on this technology and lobbying for this technology when so many alternatives exist. Use more efficiently exploited feedstocks for hydrogen to power ultra-efficient clean diesel cars, serial hybrid cars, and battery powered cars. These technologies are here now, and they are being neglected. Hoax is not too strong a word to describe the environmentalist fixation on hydrogen, a technology that will be eclipsed by better solutions long before it ever becomes practical.

Posted in Cars, Causes, Consumption, Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Natural Gas, Science, Space, & Technology2 Comments

Ultracapacitors Could Change Everything

We’ve been skeptical about ultracapacitors. They are devices that could, theoretically, store electricity (expressed as kilowatts per kilogram) at ten or even twenty times the density that even the best batteries currently achieve.

Today, however, a blogger by the name of Michael Urlocker, of Northern Technology & Telecom Research, published on the superblog website AlwaysOn a post where he notes evidence that a startup funded by Kleiner Perkins could be on the verge of a breakthrough.

Here is his evidence, based on an obscure regulatory filing dated Jan 19 by Feel Good Cars Corp., which has an exclusive on the technology for small cars:

Regulatory filings (search for Feel Good Cars Filing statement of jan 19, 2006):

Or an easier place is to go here, where Urlocker has compiled summary charts and downloads of the regulatory filings and other resources:

Urlocker’s findings indicate a car using these ultracapacitors could do the following:

  • 250-300 mile range
  • Half the price of conventional lead-acid batteries
  • One-tenth the volume, roughly one-tenth the weight
  • Less than one-hour charge time on household current
  • 3-6 min charge time from charging infrastructure

Up till now, the challenge to store electric power has been addressed, at least according to conventional “enlightened” wisdom, by throwing billions of dollars at fuel cells. The reality is even a lead-acid battery – taking economics into account alongside engineering – can store electricity more efficiently than hydrogen fuel cells.

A good lithium ion battery can now get up to 300 watt-hours per kilogram, much improved over the 100 watt-hours per kg that was used in Ford’s legendary EV-1 that could go over 100 miles on a charge and had a top speed of 180 MPH (no typo there). That car, with a 1,600 lb. battery pack, had limited applications, but it was an excellent vehicle for commuters, and they were cheap to produce.

A hydrogen fuel cell system (including hydrogen storage) can get perhaps 1,000 watt-hours per kilogram, enough theoretically to provide a viable range without the recharging headaches – but fuel cell membranes break, their catalysts degrade, and nobody’s figured out how to store the hydrogen. Moreover, they currently cost about $4,000 per kilowatt. By comparison, a standard internal combustion engine and gas tank can generate around 10,000 watt-hours per kilogram – something a functional ultracapacitor system might just approach.

The inevitability of 100% electricity powered cars is confirmed by the emergence not only of hybrids, but “strong” hybrids where the battery packs are augmented with extra batteries, and drivers use grid electricity to drive around instead of gasoline. And at $.10 per kilowatt-hour, that translates to around $.03 per mile! Is that disruptive?

If a breakthrough in ultra-capacitors is really going to happen, throw out the window any thoughts of a “hydrogen highway,” and prepare to see all electric cars dominate the roads using power directly from the grid. To learn more read The 100% Electric Car.

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Energy & Fuels, Engineering, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Other, Science, Space, & Technology4 Comments

Bush & Fuel Cells

Today is Earth Day, and right here in Sacramento U.S. President Bush is going to make an appearance at the California Fuel Cell Partnership – a depot of experimental fuel cell cars sponsored by a consortium of automakers, located just west of Sacramento’s downtown. It will be interesting to see what quotes come out of this visit from the President.

The astonishing thing about fuel cells and hydrogen is even environmental activists, for the most part, don’t have the slightest idea what a fuel cell is, or that hydrogen is not a primary fuel. The truth about fuel cells is this – they aren’t ready for vehicles and they may never be. We’ve written extensively about this in our blog “Fuel Cell Cars Aren’t Ready” as well as in articles on our main website “The 100% Electric Car.” To make a long story short, fuel cells cost way too much, use extremely expensive materials, break easily, and degrade quickly. Breakthroughs in fuel cell technology have been just around the corner for the last twenty years.

Moreover, hydrogen has to be refined from something else. Doing this is expensive and inefficient. Why electrolyse hydrogen using electricity and water, when you can just store the electricity in batteries and retain twice as much of the energy that was in the original electricity? Ditto for extracting hydrogen from, say, bioethanol – why not just burn the bioethanol and use all those BTUs that would have been lost in conversion?

Even worse, hydrogen has to be stored either under extreme pressure, or liquified under extreme cold. Some new storage techniques claim to store hydrogen by bonding it to metals using nanotechnology, but don’t hold your breath. Hydrogen is interesting as a fuel in the future precisely because you can make it many different ways, but until it can be made more efficiently, and stored in a safe, practical and cost-effective manner, forget about it ever becoming a replacement for conventional fuels.

Back in 2000 we reported on the California Fuel Cell Partnership in the story “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars.” They were about as close to getting cars on the road back then as they are now – a few more years. There are a lot of ways to get cars to get better mileage and run on alternatives to petroleum – new diesel engine technologies, biodiesel and bioethanol, hybrid and even all-electric cars. And meaningful quantities of these cars are making it onto the road today, far sooner than hydrogen fuel cell cars.

U.S. President Bush’s Earth Day 2006 visit to the California Fuel Cell Partnership apparently is his way of telling us he cares about the environment. California Governor Schwarzeneggar has also been a great proponent of fuel cells with his support for California’s “Hydrogen Highway.” But they are off the mark if they think fuel cell cars are going to ever going to replace gasoline powered cars.

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Policy, Law, & Government, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

Plug-In "Strong" Hybrids

The California Air Resources Board is holding a symposium in September 2006 to discuss ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) technology. If you want to submit a presentation visit their Call For Abstracts and follow the instructions.

It’s not surprising the call for abstracts includes topics such as “hydrogen storage technologies” and fuel cells “balance of plant” components. They had better hope some rather dramatic breakthroughs have occurred, or fuel cells will remain a mantra turned into a mandate, but not much in the way of real progress on clean vehicles.

What was surprising and encouraging was the call for presentations on topics such as “battery-electric vehicle products” and “plug-in hybrids.” Now those are interesting ideas! Read The 100% Electric Car to learn why batteries are currently a superior electricity storage medium compared to hydrogen, and probably always will be.

Isn’t a “plug-in hybrid” just a battery-powered car with a gasoline engine for extra oomph? In a serial hybrid, the gas engine isn’t even connected to the drive train, it just turns a generator to charge the batteries. Such a car could have the internal combustion engine run on various fuels; ethanol and gasoline, or diesel, and the car could have a large battery-pack for long range (a “strong” hybrid).

These cars are available now – just buy a hybrid and find a good tinker. This is where the market is going, and it’s unstoppable.

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Policy, Law, & Government, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

Fuel Cell Cars Aren't Ready

Fuel cell vehicles are not ready for prime time, and this isn’t because of a conspiracy on the part of the auto-makers. If any car threatens the status-quo, it’s a battery powered commuter vehicle, or a serial-hybrid using an onboard high-efficiency constant RPM clean diesel to power a generator to charge a battery that powers an electric motor. That sort of car is cheap to build and extremely fuel efficient; far more fuel efficient than hybrid cars, for example. Read “The 100% Electric Car”

Fuel cell cars require fuel cells, which still cost $4,000 per kilowatt output. Given a kilowatt is only 1.3 horsepower, a fuel cell powered engine costs a bit. And fuel cells use very expensive materials, such as platinum catalysts, which mean their cost can never drop as low as it needs to get. An electric motor costs maybe $100 per kilowatt! Good nickel metal hydride battery packs packing 200 watt-hours per kilogram can outfit a car to go 200 miles without recharging for under $10,000. And what about durability and longevity? Fuel cells, especially the proton exchange membrane fuel cells viable for automobiles, are finicky fillies. The plates crack, the membranes rupture, the catalyst degrades. The reason fuel cell cars aren’t on the road is because fuel cells are still problematic prototypes and overcoming the technical challenges to build cheap reliable fuel cells is a long way off. Making auto manufacturers divert R&D expenses to fuel cells makes the cynics gloat – it’s exactly the recipe for us to be driving gas guzzlers for another generation.

Don’t forget hydrogen isn’t a fuel per se. It requires electricity, or fossil fuel, or biomass, for its production. Hydrogen won’t solve our energy shortages one bit, it will only, depending on how it is made, possibly result in cleaner energy usage. And storing hydrogen is very, very difficult. It’s the lightest element known, existing as a gas when in its natural state. A kilogram of hydrogen in gaseous form takes up several cubic meters of area. For example, in order to compress four kilograms of hydrogen into a practical volume, containing as much energy as about four gallons of gasoline, you would need an 800 pound tank, 24″ in diameter and 28″ long, storing the hydrogen at a pressure of 5,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). This is compared to 300 PSI to store natural gas. The energy required to compress hydrogen, and the precision fittings and expensive containment tanks, make hydrogen storage a challenge as daunting as achieving cheap, durable fuel cells.

So don’t hold your breath for hydrogen fuel cell powered cars. Instead demand clean burning ultra fuel efficient diesel cars, and battery powered cars, and serial-hybrid cars, and “strong” hybrids, and plug-in hybrids, and strong/plug-in hybrids. and flex-fuel vehicles. Where are the American automakers?

Posted in Cars, Electricity, Energy & Fuels, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Natural Gas1 Comment

Hydrogen – Hope or Hype?

From time to time we get articles from people around the world. Many of them we publish, as you can see in our articles listing. But we can’t publish everything we’re sent, because our credibility is important to us. There are a lot of environmentalists who tout hydrogen as the future of energy. But have they really analysed the practicality of hydrogen? Here then, is my response to the author of yet another story that touted hydrogen as the solution to all our worldwide energy challenges:

“Thank you for your email. I’m considering publishing this but have some concerns. Having also studied hydrogen, I don’t see in your analysis a treatment of some of the problems with hydrogen. For example, how will hydrogen be stored in a safe and cost-effective manner? Don’t bother with liquified hydrogen, or hydrogen pressurized to 5,000-10,000 PSI, because those methods are NOT practical today, and may never be. And they are very expensive. As for fuel cells, I’ve been in that industry and I don’t think they’re anywhere near ready for mass production. They are still incredibly expensive and they are fragile. The catalysts (which use expensive materials) degrade quickly. Electrolysis units have similar problems.

Why not explore other ways to store electricity? I fully agree with your comments regarding wind and photovoltaic power, I think they are viable now and will only get more viable in the future. But can wind power and PV power be harnessed through load balancing and storage means other than hydrogen? Because if you don’t believe it is easy to store and distribute hydrogen (I don’t) and if you don’t think electrolysers and fuel cells are going to be viable any time soon (I don’t), then what are your alternatives? For example, batteries on-board commuter cars seems like a far more cost-effective way to store electricity. Why doesn’t the electric car get more interest and support? What other methods are available to store electricity?

Your article also mentions things that are not necessarily truisms; I’m not convinced carbon dioxide is the cause of global warming and I haven’t heard a convincing scientific explanation for why it is. I have a phd chemist doing a story currently on global warming and I’ve asked him to debunk author Michael Crichton’s claim that going from 300 to 600 ppm of Co2 will not cause global warming, and he can’t. There isn’t a shred of evidence we’ve found – not one scientific explanation for why going from 300 to 600 ppm of atmospheric Co2 will cause global warming. Find that, and I’ll publish it. In your analysis you also make claims regarding nuclear power which I don’t totally agree with; I don’t have a strong position for or against nuclear power – I think it is much safer today than it was 30 years ago and I’m not sure we should ignore it. I’m not at all convinced nuclear power is not economically viable. Also you mention the sterling motor as a source of energy. We’ve covered this for several years, and have never seen a sterling engine prototype that could deliver meaningful amounts of energy.

What would be really interesting would be a story about ways to store electricity that don’t rely on hydrogen nor are far fetched (such as “ultra-capacitors”); where is the future of the common battery, for example? And where is a good scientific explanation for why Co2 causes global warming? I would think methane, or even water vapor, are far bigger culprits. Sometimes I think the whole hydrogen cause is encouraged by vested interests in the oil industry because they know giving hydrogen lip service distracts activists from trying to get better fuel-efficiency standards enacted or trying to get battery-powered commuter cars back on the road.

Please rest assured I have no axe to grind. My website is so left of right and so right of left that nobody sponsors me. But the readers love it.”

Posted in Cars, Causes, Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Nuclear, Other, People, Wind0 Comments

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