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Re: (ET) New Book Includes Pictures of My Elec-Trak

tbamc wrote:

OK, I'll bite. If we don't have gasoline or natural gas, and we don't use hydrogen, what will be powering the world, and by extension, my E-T? ;-)

Well, my answer should be, read the book.

Powering the world is a rather complex subject.  Takes a few chapters.

However, taking your E-T for starters, that's about electricity. If we don't have natural gas, then hydrogen would likely come from electricity (via electrolysis). But you will be much better off charging directly from the grid than having electricity converted to hydrogen (60-70% efficient on commercial scale), then transported, then converted back to electricity (less than 50% efficient, best case). Instead of getting 100% of the original kWhs, you would get about 30%, after two conversions and transport losses (ignoring storage losses). That's just one issue.

When it comes to liquid fuels, we'll embrace a range of options. Efficiency, conservation, advanced technology (e.g. plug-in hybrids), substitution, including mass transit, biofuels, EVs, bicycles, walking, etc. Of course, we'll also burn every drop of economically recoverable oil as well.

There won't be a silver bullet.

I'd also like to hear your views on Amory Lovins' Winning the Oil Endgame...., which as I'm sure you know strongly argues for hydrogen as the primary fuel, with solar/wind/etc in secondary roles. It's dense with financial and technical calculations and seems to make a strong case that hydrogen IS feasible.

Hydrogen IS technically feasible. The hydrogen industry has been around for a century. The hydrogen economy is just a really bad idea.

As others have already noted, hydrogen as a fuel is an energy carrier, not a primary energy source (or fuel). However, it's not a very good one. It's not energy dense - even liquid hydrogen only stores about 25% of the energy of gasoline by volume. Liquid hydrogen and pressurized hydrogen bring new issues to handling relative to fuels that are liquid at ambient temperatures (e.g., gasoline, ethanol, methanol, diesel fuel, vegetable oil).

Wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass, etc will be the primary energy sources - diverse, distributed, sustainable.

I have given up on chasing Amory Lovins regarding hydrogen since the Hypercar was corrupted to the hydrogen hype, and the debate over the Twenty Hydrogen Myths paper. I suspect, as with so many other things regarding hydrogen lately, with the right assumptions, you can reach the desired conclusion.


You're welcome.


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Elec-trak cosmos phy tufts edu

Darryl McMahon                  http://www.econogics.com
It's your planet.  If you won't look after it, who will?