‘Hydrogen economy’ a Boondoggle
Here’s an interesting “Comments to the Editor” I came across.
TO THE EDITOR: ‘Hydrogen economy’ a Boondoggle
Mon 07 May 2007
While the “hydrogen economy” receives much media attention, there are serious problems with hydrogen as transportation fuel. The first is hydrogen gas is extremely explosive. Hydrogen must be pressurised to 250 atmospheres for use as fuel, requiring corrosion-resistant tanks that don’t rust, spring leaks and explode. Hydrogen’s low energy density requires fuel tanks 14 times as large to yield the same driving range. To get a 1400 km range, a tractor trailer needs 168 gallons of diesel. Hydrogen vehicles would require 2360 gallons of hydrogen, stored at 250 atmospheres. Dedicating that much space to fuel storage would drastically reduce how much trucks could carry, while the costs of high-pressure, corrosion-resistant storage tanks, would be astronomical. The two main options for producing hydrogen, generating from water and extracting from other fuels, both have energy efficiencies below 100 per cent, (takes more energy to produce than you get). Hydrogen vehicles (currently $1 million each to produce) would need a widescale hydrogen fuel distribution system. With a single hydrogen fuel pump costing $1 million, installing six at each of the 176 000 fuel stations across the US is more than $1 trillion, costs completely avoided with biofuels that use our current infrastructure.
Algae instead of corn for bio-fuel
Algae multiplies so quickly and produces so much oxygen per square foot that ponds with a total surface area five times the size of Colorado would be enough to start to reverse our growing CO2 problem. Algae triples in volume every day. Corn, with one crop a year, nets about 81 gallons bio-diesel an acre (soy nets 40). Algae yields as high as 15 000 gallons an acre. Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown in about 9.5 million acres, far less than the 450 million acres used for crop farming in the US, and the more than 500 million acres animal grazing land. Hydrogen is dangerous/explosive, extremely expensive and nets zero energy, that is, it uses more energy than it creates. Algae converts CO2 to O2, is 30 to 50 per cent oil and converts easily to bio-fuel. Conservation reduces present and future production of CO2. Algae reduces EXISTING CO2. The government needs to quit looking at corn and begin massive and wholesale funding and grants for algae. A new state agri-business of algae farms? Or grants for ocean farming? Algae, pond scum also a planet saver? Yes, if we take action!
Source: The Sofia Echo page
Oilgae has a focus on biodiesel production from algae while also discussing alternative energy in general.