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Watermobiles (Part II)
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In The New Republic, Gregg Easterbrook has an excellent overview of hydrogen cell technology and the numerous obstacles that need to be overcome for it to be a viable source of affordable energy.

For example, he points out the common misperception that hydrogen is a source of energy:

Pure hydrogen is not an energy source, except to stars. As it will be used in cars or to power homes and offices, hydrogen--like a battery--is an energy medium, a way to store power that has been obtained in some other way.

Like by burning fossil fuel, either natural gas (currently the most affordable), or coal or petroleum. But then you're defeating the whole purpose of using a clean-burning fuel medium. Other alternative energy sources for creating hydrogen cells, such as harnessing solar power, are still untenable.

Easterbrook doesn't discount it completely...he just notes that at this point it is putting all the chips on one roulette number, while commonsense measures for fuel economy could be implemented right now.

All these drawbacks do not rule out hydrogen as a fuel, they merely represent problems to be overcome. Hydrogen is sure to enter common use someday, perhaps during the lifetimes of children now being born. After all, a century ago, smart engineers and economists would have sworn it physically impossible--to say nothing of impossibly expensive--for the world to consume 75 million barrels of oil per day, as we do today, at affordable prices. But there is almost no chance hydrogen will make a dent in energy-use patterns during a two-term Bush administration. Even the White House concedes that the earliest a significant number of service stations could offer pure hydrogen would be 2020.

Personally, I think the biosciences are where many of the powerful breathroughs in energy technology are going to take place. Biological fuel seems more promising to me. Genetically engineering crops that are able to harness solar power into an incredibly efficient fuel source seems like a worthier track to follow at this point in time.

Meanwhile, we keep churning out gas-guzzlers, reliant on an unrenewable energy source, much of which comes from the least stable parts of the world.

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