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BEST-L  January 2007

BEST-L January 2007

Subject:

Re: Why a hydrogen economy doesn't make sense

From:

bruderly <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

bruderly <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 01:44:20 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (112 lines)

Ulf Bossel's paper is based on biased assumptions, inappropriate
comparisons, half-truths and significant errors and omissions. The headlines
in the article are misleading and his arguments are neither accurate nor
credible.

Nobody disputes the fact that a battery electric vehicle using electricity
generated by photovoltaics or wind would be the ideal transportation energy
system. No prime mover is more cost-efficient, easier to operate nor safer
than an electric motor controlled with modern power electronics.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for electric storage batteries.
Existing battery technology simply cannot provide both the power density
(i.e. acceleration) and energy density (i.e. range) required for most
vehicle applications. Bossel also conveniently ignores the fact that storing
electrons produced by intermittent renewable energy sources in batteries is
not cost-effective nor practical at the utility scale. Perhaps with major
breakthroughs in electro-chemistry sometime in the future, safe batteries
and other ways of storing electrons may be developed that will do the job.
But these batteries are not available today nor will they be available in
the near future.

Until then, clean, carbon neutral chemical energy carriers are needed to
store and / or distribute renewable energy and to store the energy required
by vehicles. Hydrogen is the ideal chemical energy carrier because it is
cleaner, safer and more efficient than comparable fossil fuels, including
diesel. Through electro-chemistry hydrogen also complements electricity.
Furthermore hydrogen production, storage and distribution technology is
readily available. If zero-emission energy systems were required by policy,
widespread use of hydrogen fuels and energy systems would become
commercially viable.

It is intellectually dishonest for Bossel to discount the benefits of
eliminating pollution from the combustion of carbon based energy sources and
energy carriers. Until geologic or mineral carbon sequestration is deployed
when coal, oil and natural gas is refined into finished fuels, there will be
no "clean" fossil fuels in commercial use. Bossel also ignores the energy
cost of carbon sequestration associated with continued use of carbon based
fuels.

It is an inconvenient truth that the life-cycle efficiency of fossil-fuels
will go down significantly when carbon capture and sequestration is
required. It is also highly likely the cost of photovoltaic cells will
someday be so low that system efficiency will not be the major consideration
in cost analysis. The cost of energy from fossil fuels will only go up while
the cost of energy from the sun and wind will continue to go down.

Given the horrible consequences of pending climate chaos, why not start
building the perfect energy system now? While quibble?

Finally, Bossel's comparison of the efficiency of hydrogen fuels to battery
electric vehicles is inappropriate. To be credible he should have compared
fuels and technologies that provide similar performance, i.e. apples to
apples; For example, the life cycle efficiency and emissions of hydrogen
fuels and engines should be compared to ultra-low sulfur diesel burned in
advanced technology diesel engines. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory
has done this analysis and hydrogen engine powered hybrids and hydrogen fuel
cell electric powered vehicles are very competitive with advanced gasoline
and diesel technologies.

But only hydrogen fueled engines and electric drive motors have the
potential to achieve zero life-cycle emissions from renewable fuels.

So why do people like Bossel attack hydrogen with half-truths and inaccurate
analysis? Politics.


David E. Bruderly, PE
Bruderly Engineering Associates, Inc.
920 SW 57th Drive
Gainesville, Florida 32607-3838
352-377-0932
www.cleanpowerengineering.com
www.bruderly.com
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology Society
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dr. Ann C. Wilkie
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 3:05 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Why a hydrogen economy doesn't make sense

Why a hydrogen economy doesn't make sense.
Physorg.com, December 11, 2006.

"In a recent study, fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel explains that a hydrogen
economy is a wasteful economy. The large amount of energy required to
isolate hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass),
package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the
energy carrier to the user, plus the energy lost when it is converted to
useful electricity with fuel cells, leaves around 25% for practical use
- an unacceptable value to run an economy in a sustainable future. Only
niche applications like submarines and spacecraft might use hydrogen."

http://www.physorg.com/news85074285.html

-- 
**********************************************************************
Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
______________________________________________________________________
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
http://campusmap.ufl.edu/
______________________________________________________________________
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society
http://grove.ufl.edu/~bests/

**********************************************************************

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