Monday, October 19, 2009

My Sister Writes....

that she wants a "Manhattan Project" to develop nonfossil fuel cars.

You're too late on the Manhattan Project for non-fossil fuel cars. There was a fleet of fuel cell cars that drove from San Diego to Vancouver last summer using hydrogen as fuel. Their tail pipe emissions were water vapor.

Participants were fuel cell cars from Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

As far as I can tell the problem with adopting them is not with manufacturing the cars, nor with distributing the compressed hydrogen (It's flammable but far less so than gasoline.) The problem is getting the energy to produce the hydrogen fuel.

Hydrogen fuel stock is water. One needs energy to power the plants that will be dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The energy that goes into the dissociation is the same energy that will come out when the fuel is oxidized back to water. Where will that energy come from? Getting it from oil, gas, or coal-powered generating plants doesn't solve anything - it just transfers the locus of the emissions. The only credible source (i.e. available on a big scale with current technology) of non-fossil fuel energy is nuclear power. But the green left is so dead set against it that no new nuclear power plants have been built in a generation because of the endless litigation and political resistance.

Many other countries run just fine on nuclear power. The power and light in France comes from nuclear power. The same is true for Japan and a number of other countries. Until we get over the principle that whoever yells the loudest on nuclear energy gets his way, wanting to be rid of fossil fuels is just something fun to say, not something one is serious about.

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