Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Economist's take: 'The trouble with hydrogen'

The deck is stacked against hydrogen cars. The more Pound360 reads about using hydrogen to fuel our vehicles, the less sense it makes. At this point, it seems like our pursuit of hydrogen cars is an embarrassing fiasco on the level with corn-based ethanol. Here are some hydrogen car obstacles from an Economist article

  • Public funding: At the low end, public investment of $10 billion is needed to get just 2 million hydrogen cars on the road by 2025. Other studies show it will take $55 billion.
  • Filling stations: Classic chicken-and-egg problem here. Who will build these before there's a market to make them profitable? Shell currently has six hydrogen stations globally. BP shut theirs down in 2007 to focus on biofuels.
  • CO2 emissions: Yes, the only emission from a hydrogen-powered car is water. But when extracting hydrogen from natural sources, CO2 would be created.
  • Low energy density: One expert called hydrogen "just about the worst possible vehicle fuel." Alternatives like methanol are more energy rich and easier to store, transport.
(Pound360 originally came across the Economist article at
The Vine.)
(Image of the Cadillac Provoq, a GM hydrogen car, by
alan_D via Flickr)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.