Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why a Hydrogen Economy Doesn't Make Sense

In a recent study, fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel explains that a hydrogen economy is a wasteful economy. The large amount of energy required to isolate hydrogen from natural compounds (water, natural gas, biomass), package the light gas by compression or liquefaction, transfer the energy carrier to the user, plus the energy lost when it is converted to useful electricity with fuel cells, leaves around 25% for practical use — an unacceptable value to run an economy in a sustainable future. Only niche applications like submarines and spacecraft might use hydrogen.

Also, Bossel found that the output-input efficiency cannot be much above 30%, while advanced batteries have a cycle efficiency of above 80%. In every situation, Bossel found, the energy input outweighs the energy delivered by a factor of three to four.
In general I agree with what he is saying here and that chart gives a good run down on the amount of energy lost from the power plant to the car. If the energy you are using is from solar cells or wind, using a battery powered car is much more efficient than converting the electricity into hydrogen to run a fuel cell car. As he states in the article we should be focusing on an electron economy rather than a hydrogen economy.

via physorg.comv

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