Archive for September, 2006

The Hydrogen Mirage

Monday, September 11th, 2006

In case you missed it, this 2004 article by Reuel Shinnar is well worth reading.  One quote: “Since H2 is not a resource but an inefficient energy carrier, it would appear that the H2 economy is just a mirage. If alternative energy sources are ever developed, an economy based on electricity would be cheaper (by a factor of three) and much easier to adopt than H2.”

A few other articles for further reading:Hydrogen or electricity? A nuclear fork in the road

Comparing Hydrogen and Electricity for Transmission, Storage and Transportation

What Consumer Reports missed

Monday, September 11th, 2006

We’ve gotten several questions about this Consumer Reports article about ethanol which focuses on the lower fuel economy vehicles get when powered by E85 as opposed to pure gasoline.  The point the article misses is that when you look at it from an energy security point of view the problem is not miles per gallon, it is miles per gallon of oil based fuel.  People have to refuel somewhat more often if they use an alcohol blend, but in terms of reducing oil dependence it’s a clear win, since while you are getting fewer miles per gallon of liquid in your tank, you are getting many more miles per gallon of gas. Of course, if your car is a plug-in hybrid, and your first 20 miles or so of driving are done on grid-electricity, than you’ll hardly ever have to go to the fuel station anyway since you’ll be recharging at home every night and fairly rarely dipping into your liquid fuel tank for power (50% of cars on the road in the U.S. are driven 20 miles a day or less.)  And let’s keep in mind that unlike in the 1970s, today only about 2% of U.S. electricity is generated from oil.

While we’re on the subject: the two key issues regarding alcohol fuels are up the market to imports by removing the onerous tariff on imported ethanol 2.ensure that flexible fuel vehicles can run on a variety of alcohols in a addition to gasoline (not just ethanol) so that the liquid fuel market can really open up to competition. Gasoline-ethanol-methanol flexible vehicles would do the trick. 

UPDATE:  here’s a relevant quote from Set America Free Coalition member Robert Zubrin’s book review of Nobel Laureate George Olah’s Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy: “The commercial competitiveness of ethanol is somewhat confused by the complex influences of a variety of subsidies and tariffs. By contrast, methanol is currently selling—without any subsidy—for about $0.80/gallon. Given that methanol’s energy content is about half that of gasoline, that price is the equivalent, in energy terms, of gasoline for $1.60/gallon. In other words, we can produce a useful and economically viable vehicle fuel, using a huge domestic and Western hemispheric resource base, at prices lower than gasoline.”


Monday, September 11th, 2006

One New Yorker’s 9/11 tribute.

Fueling war on the West

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Set America Free Coalition members Gal Luft and Milton Copulos write in the Washington Times:

“On September 11, across the nation Americans will gather in remembrance of the nearly 3,000 victims of the worst terror attack in U.S. history. Yet, even as we gather in mournful homage, representatives of the nations largely responsible for the tragedy will meet in Vienna, Austria, at the 141st gathering of the Organization of Petroleum Countries (OPEC) with a different purpose: keeping oil prices high to ensure the continued flow of petrodollars into their coffers. “  Keep reading