Saturday, July 19, 2008

Are hydrogen vehicles really the way to go?

ScienceDaily reports on a new report from the National Research Council on how hydrogen vehicles can reduce the US dependency on oil, and help reduce greenhouse gases etc.

Hydrogen Vehicles Coming Soon? Two Million Could Be On Roads By 2020

A transition to hydrogen vehicles could greatly reduce U.S. oil dependence and carbon dioxide emissions, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council, but making hydrogen vehicles competitive in the automotive market will not be easy. While the development of fuel cell and hydrogen production technology over the past several years has been impressive, challenges remain.

The report can be found over at The National Academies, which both sells it, and allows people to read it online for free. With appendixes, the report is over 230 pages long, and even without, it's more than 200 pages, so I haven't read it yet.

Still, I got a few comments. As the abstract makes clear, the switch to hydrogen vehicles (when they are available) will take a lot of work, since the infrastructure is not in place yet. Until that's done, it won't be possible.

Given this, and given the relatively small numbers of hydrogen vehicles (it's estimated that there is at least 250 million passenger vehicles in the US), I would tend to think that an investment in a public transportation system would be of greater benefit.

Trains can run on electricity, which can be made carbon neutral, which means that a switch from a car to a train seat will reduce the dependency on oil and reduce the outlet of carbon.

I am not saying that it's a bad idea to look into other venues, such as the hydrogen vehicles, however given the fact that we already have some available technology that can help, why not start there?

Still, I am happy to see that the US is starting to take AGW serious. Some would say it's too little, too late, but the alternative is nothing, ever.

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Blogger fpteditors said...

Better cars mean more sprawl. Sprawl wastes coal. We need free public transit. If you look at the economics, the auto and sprawl are subsidized to ridiculous extremes.

July 19, 2008 2:37 PM  

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