Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

February 8, 2007

The lie of the “Hydrogen Economy”

Filed under: Great Lakes Issues — nemo @ 1:21 pm

Recent hype may lead one to believe our future energy needs can be solved with the advent of a “Hydrogen Economy” and that, through the proper utilization of hydrogen, America will somehow no longer be dependent on foreign oil. This is simply not true — the use of hydrogen will not change our dependence on foreign oil in any way.

A few facts are in order:

  • Hydrogen is not a fuel source. Hydrogen is at best an inefficient battery.
  • Hydrogen is a highly reactive element and cannot be found in its pure form anywhere on the planet. Nobody mines for hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen must be produced from an existing media such as water. It takes 2.4 gallons of water to produce one kilogram of hydrogen plus 8 kilograms of oxygen. The energy in one kilogram of hydrogen (33.4 kilowatt-hours of electricity) is almost the same as in one gallon of gasoline (33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity).
  • Hydrogen must be extracted from water with the use of energy.
  • The amount of energy used to create hydrogen is always greater than the amount of energy that can be utilized from the hydrogen produced.
  • Because of this, hydrogen is actually what is called an “energy sink.”

Water is the world’s most precious natural resource. Misconceptions about where it comes from, increasing demand, and disregard about where water goes after its been used, pose a serious threat to the future of our Great Lakes.

Renewable energy as a solution to our country’s dependance on oil is all the rage. Hydrogen, however, is not a source of energy — hydrogen is merely a way of carrying energy.

It is important that we keep our priorities straight.

Hat tip to: Zaius Nation for the facts on hydrogen

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6 Comments »

  1. A few facts are in order:

    * Hydrogen is not a fuel source. Hydrogen is at best an inefficient battery.
    No. Hydrogen is itself. It can store energy for 1,000,000 years, something no battery can do. When oxidized it makes pure water, something no battery can do.

    * Hydrogen is a highly reactive element and cannot be found in its pure form anywhere on the planet. Nobody mines for hydrogen.
    Nobody mines for gasoline either. Gasoline does not exist anywhere in nature in it’s pure form. It requires $100,000,000 to get the first gallon of gasoline out of a new refinery, but hydrogen can be gotten from water with solar panels and a few relatively inexpensive things.

    * Hydrogen must be produced from an existing media such as water.
    So. You make that sound like a bad thing. Fortunately 70% of the planet is covered with water, an inexhaustable supply. When you burn the hydrogen you get the water all back again. Isn’t that wonderful?

    * Hydrogen must be extracted from water with the use of energy.
    Wireless fusion power is delivered free daily from the closest you ever want to be to a dirty nuclear reactor like the sun. One acre of PV is 13 times more efficient in converting sunlight to power than the best crop in the world. One acre of PV cell surfaces mines the energy equvalent to one ton of coal every 11.7 hours, or 26 tonnes of hydrogen by electrolysis every year. Compare that to cotton that makes $300 per acre out of 1,000,000 gallons of federally-subsidized vote-buying irrigation water.

    * The amount of energy used to create hydrogen is always greater than the amount of energy that can be utilized from the hydrogen produced.
    True of all energy. It takes one third of the barrel of oil to make the products extracted from the oil. You end up with less than you started with. Why did you think hydrogen would be different? Do you believe in energy fairies? Ever heard of the laws of thermodynamics?

    * Because of this, hydrogen is actually what is called an “energy sink.”
    It’s only called that by OILY INC shills. Nobody else in the world uses that term. Honest people call it clean renewable energy that outputs no greenhouse gases and serves just fine for transportation and other essential purposes.

    http://HydrogenTRUTH.info

    Comment by HydrogenTRUTH — February 10, 2007 @ 12:37 am | Reply

  2. Water is only an “inexhaustable supply” if you’re willing to generate hydrogen from salt water. If that’s the point you’re making then we can agree.

    Any notion that the water in the Great Lakes basin is a “renewable” resource is simply wrong. Spend some time looking through the other posts and you will discover that fresh water is in short supply to many people throughout the world today and the emerging cause of more than several water conflicts.

    Comment by nemo — February 12, 2007 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  3. I am the one that wrote the original article that you are all quoting. This “HydrogenTRUTH.info” guy is describing science fiction. There is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine. I wish you could, but you can’t. That said, the argument that one does exist is ill conceived and delusional.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * Hydrogen is not a fuel source. Hydrogen is at best an inefficient battery.
    No. Hydrogen is itself. It can store energy for 1,000,000 years, something no battery can do. When oxidized it makes pure water, something no battery can do.

    “Hydrogen is itself?” Hydrogen is an element. Your point is? As stated by the article, I define a fuel source as something where you get more energy out of a thing than you put into it production. Like wind power, solar power, etc.

    Gasoline can store energy for millions of years. Honey can store it for thousands of years. So? Your point is as unclear as your agenda is transparent.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * Hydrogen is a highly reactive element and cannot be found in its pure form anywhere on the planet. Nobody mines for hydrogen.
    Nobody mines for gasoline either. Gasoline does not exist anywhere in nature in it’s pure form. It requires $100,000,000 to get the first gallon of gasoline out of a new refinery, but hydrogen can be gotten from water with solar panels and a few relatively inexpensive things.

    In the example that you provide, after the initial investment of energy, more energy is created than was used in the first place. Look at the math:

    .3 barrels of oil = 1 barrel of oil – gain is .6
    1.25 ergs of work = 1 erg of Hydrogen – loss is .25

    The .3 barrels figure is your words. Look at the math. See?

    There was a huge loss of energy when the source for gasoline was created, the difference is that the loss of energy took place millions of years ago.

    You can’t make hydrogen for less energy than you put into it’s production. Look it up. You can’t make something for nothing. Even in Iceland where they produce Hydrogen from a Geothermal energy source, there is a loss of energy in the production process.

    As stated by the article, I define a fuel source as something where you get more energy out of a thing than you put into its production. Explain how the production of Hydrogen produces more energy than is used to make it. Your argument describes a perpetual motion machine.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * Hydrogen must be produced from an existing media such as water.
    So. You make that sound like a bad thing. Fortunately 70% of the planet is covered with water, an inexhaustable supply. When you burn the hydrogen you get the water all back again. Isn’t that wonderful?

    I made something “sound bad?” I like Hydrogen for what is, not what I imagine it is. That aside, you can’t make hydrogen for less energy than you put into it’s production. Look it up. You can’t make something for nothing. It is impossible. You completely disregard the laws of thermodynamics.

    You state, “When you burn the hydrogen you get the water all back again. Isn’t that wonderful?” What you describe is impossible. That is by definition a perpetual motion machine.

    As stated by the article, I define a fuel source as something where you get more energy out of a thing than you put into its production. Explain how the production of Hydrogen produces more energy than is used to make it. Your argument describes a perpetual motion machine.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * Hydrogen must be extracted from water with the use of energy.
    Wireless fusion power is delivered free daily from the closest you ever want to be to a dirty nuclear reactor like the sun. One acre of PV is 13 times more efficient in converting sunlight to power than the best crop in the world. One acre of PV cell surfaces mines the energy equvalent to one ton of coal every 11.7 hours, or 26 tonnes of hydrogen by electrolysis every year. Compare that to cotton that makes $300 per acre out of 1,000,000 gallons of federally-subsidized vote-buying irrigation water.

    If you take the energy created form one acre of PV cell and turn it into Hydrogen, there will a loss of energy in the process. Hydrogen is not a fuel source. You can’t make hydrogen for less energy than you put into it’s production. Look it up. You can’t make something for nothing. It is impossible. You completely disregard the laws of thermodynamics.

    As stated by the article, I define a fuel source as something where you get more energy out of a thing than you put into its production. Explain how the production of Hydrogen produces more energy than is used to make it. Your argument describes a perpetual motion machine.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * The amount of energy used to create hydrogen is always greater than the amount of energy that can be utilized from the hydrogen produced.
    True of all energy. It takes one third of the barrel of oil to make the products extracted from the oil. You end up with less than you started with. Why did you think hydrogen would be different? Do you believe in energy fairies? Ever heard of the laws of thermodynamics?

    “True of all energy?” Are you mental? Look at the math:

    .3 barrels of oil = 1 barrel of oil – gain is .6
    1.25 ergs of work = 1 erg of Hydrogen – loss is .25

    Being insulting does not make your assertion correct.

    As stated by the article, I define a fuel source as something where you get more energy out of a thing than you put into its production. Explain how the production of Hydrogen produces more energy than is used to make it. Your argument describes a perpetual motion machine.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * Because of this, hydrogen is actually what is called an “energy sink.”
    It’s only called that by OILY INC shills. Nobody else in the world uses that term. Honest people call it clean renewable energy that outputs no greenhouse gases and serves just fine for transportation and other essential purposes.

    Now you are arguing from an ideological standpoint. I hate oil companies, as my website will attest. My feeling towards big corporations does alter the facts. You have not thought through what you are saying, please attempt to get your fact straight before you spam my article any further. The facts are right in front of you. I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you. You are going to have to actually listen before you knee jerk your into a conclusion.

    As stated by the article, I define a fuel source as something where you get more energy out of a thing than you put into its production. Explain how the production of Hydrogen produces more energy than is used to make it. Your argument describes a perpetual motion machine. Do you get it now?

    Comment by Dr. Zaius — February 13, 2007 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  4. Dr Zaius – My original post was based on an email I received. I have added a hat tip and link to give you credit.

    Comment by nemo — February 13, 2007 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  5. The comments here are just as good as the orginal post. I like Dr Zaius comment about the Laws of Thermodynamics.

    Comment by robert — February 17, 2007 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  6. Nemo: Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m glad you posted it! And yes, I did see that you had added a hat tip and link to give me credit.

    I wrote, “I am the one that wrote the original article that you are all quoting.” I said you were quoting it. I apologize if I gave you the impression that I was faulting you in any way.

    If my tone was bit off, it was because of the tenor of the post by HydrogenTRUTH that he has posted on every site that quoted this article. He has no idea what he is talking about. His snotty remarks, such as, “Do you believe in energy fairies? Ever heard of the laws of thermodynamics?” are compounded by his complete lack of any rational analysis.

    Comment by Dr. Zaius — February 17, 2007 @ 9:57 am | Reply


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