Despite concerns about the net energy value (NEV)* and safety, hydrogen remains a promising fuel for the new energy economy. Because there are no naturally occuring reservoirs, hydrogen must be created from some other source of energy at a loss. However, an innovative approach from Honda employs a new technology that uses sunlight to make hydrogen.
Studies that analyze the risks of hydrogen compared to gasoline, have found that hydrogen is a higher flammability hazard. However, the flammability of gasoline did not impede the adoption of the combustion engine, and most of the time we have managed to fill our gas tanks without setting ourselves ablaze.
The value of hydrogen, particularly solar generated hydrogen power, is that it is one of the cleanest sources of energy on earth. You do not have to follow rising CO2 levels nor do you need to understand the concept of a tipping point to know that clean energy is good energy.
The daily news is full of global warming related reports from icebergs to fires and floods. Due to Greenland’s melting glaciers, Canada’s shipping lanes are being threatened by an iceberg bigger than Manhatten.
According to some meteorologists, the fires in Russia and the floods in Pakistan are attributable to global warming’s effect on the Asian monsoon. Although the monsoon weather patterns are normal, according to Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research National Geographic, “they’re also being enhanced by rising sea temperatures due in part to global warming.”
In Pakistan, 1200 people are officially counted as dead and 6000 villages have been leveled. Disease and starvation are sure to follow. In Russia, the official death toll is at 52 (although some are suggesting it is much higher), and the fires are threatening a nuclear power plant in a region already contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Thick smoke and choking pollution from the burning bogs has blanketed Moscow for days, making it dangerous to go outdoors. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, ”What’s happening with the planet’s climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us.”
According to the NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center, highs of over 100 degrees in 19 US cities have broken local records alongside 11 countries across 4 continents. January to June 2010 has been the hottest first half of the year since temperatures were first recorded in 1880. Global temperatures have averaged 1.2 degrees warmer than normal. On May 26, Pakistan logged a mercury reading of 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit (53.5 degrees Celsius) the highest ever recorded in Asia.
These are only a few examples of the effects of global warming. If we do not succeed in reducing our impact on the environment, the effects of climate change will get much worse. From oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and China, to fires and floods. Current events make it clear that we are in desperate need of cleaner alternatives to emissions causing fossil fuels.
Do the benefits of hydrogen outweigh the risks? In a contemporary context, the answer seems obvious.
*Net Energy Value or NEV is defined as the difference between the energy in the fuel product. (output energy) and the energy needed to produce it.
CO2 Myths and the Science of Climate Change
The Effects of Global Warming
Action on Climate Change
Primer on CO2 and other GHGs
How to get Through to Climate Change Deniers
Honda’s Hydrogen Powered FCX Clarity FCEV
Honda’s Solar-Hydrogen Powered Future
Honda’s Greener Vehicles
Honda’s CR-Z and Second Generation Hybrids
Competition in the Green Vehicle Market
GM Breakthrough Reduces Emissions
GM’s Greener Vehicles
Ford’s Greener Vehicles
Hyundai’s Fuel Efficiency Leadership and Growing Market Share
Korean (Hyundai & Kia) Greener Cars
Toyota’s Greener Vehicles
Toyota and Tesla Making Electric Sedan
Nissan’s Greener Vehicles