Last updated on: 2/3/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

Should Hydrogen Be the Dominant Energy in the US?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Schatz Energy Research Center at California State University at Humboldt stated the following in its factsheet “Frequently Asked Questions About Fuel Cells,” available at its website (accessed Dec. 19, 2008):

“A fuel cell is an electrochemical engine that converts the chemical energy of a fuel directly to electricity. Almost always the fuel is hydrogen or a hydrogen rich gas mixture. The fuel cell reaction is: Hydrogen + Oxygen (from the air) = Electricity + Water + Heat.”

Dec. 19, 2008 - Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC)

Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, stated the following in his Jan. – Feb. 2003 article “The Hydrogen Economy: After Oil, Clean Energy from a Fuel-Cell-Driven Global Hydrogen Web,” published by E magazine:

“Chemically bound hydrogen is found everywhere on Earth: in water, fossil fuels and all living things. Yet, it rarely exists free floating in nature. Instead, it has to be extracted from water or from hydrocarbons. Today, nearly half the hydrogen produced in the world is derived from natural gas via a steam reforming process. The natural gas reacts with steam in a catalytic converter. The process strips away the hydrogen atoms, leaving carbon dioxide as the byproduct (and, unfortunately, releasing it to the atmosphere as a global warming gas). Coal can also be reformed through gasification to produce hydrogen, but this is more expensive than using natural gas and also releases CO2, which scientists hope to keep earthbound through a process called ‘carbon sequestration.’ Hydrogen can also be processed from gasoline or methanol…

There is, however, another way to produce hydrogen without using fossil fuels in the process. Renewable sources of energy–PV, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass–can be harnessed to produce electricity. The electricity, in turn, can be used, in a process called electrolysis, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.”

Jan. - Feb. 2003 - Jeremy Rifkin

The US Department of Energy stated the following in its Nov. 2002 document “The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap,” available at its website:

“Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of sources, including fossil fuels; renewable sources such as wind, solar, or biomass; nuclear or solar heat-powered thermo chemical reactions; and solar photolysis or biological methods…

Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it does not naturally exist in large quantities or high concentrations on Earth—it must be produced from other compounds such as water, biomass, or fossil fuels. Various methods of production have unique needs in terms of energy sources (e.g., heat, light, electricity) and generate unique by-products or emissions…

Steam methane reforming accounts for 95 percent of the hydrogen produced in the United States. This is a catalytic process that involves reacting natural gas or other light hydrocarbons with steam to produce a mixture of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The mixture is then separated to produce high-purity hydrogen…

Partial oxidation of fossil fuels in large gasifiers is another method of thermal hydrogen production. It involves the reaction of a fuel with a limited supply of oxygen to produce a hydrogen mixture, which is then purified. Partial oxidation can be applied to a wide range of hydrocarbon feedstocks, including natural gas, heavy oils, solid biomass, and coal…

Hydrogen can also be produced by using electricity in electrolyzers to extract hydrogen from water.”

Nov. 2002 - United States Department of Energy (DOE) "The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap"

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History stated the following in its article “Fuel Cell Basics,” available at its website (accessed Dec. 19, 2008):

“A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. Every fuel cell has two electrodes, one positive and one negative, called, respectively, the anode and cathode. The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes.

Every fuel cell also has an electrolyte, which carries electrically charged particles from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst, which speeds the reactions at the electrodes.

Hydrogen is the basic fuel, but fuel cells also require oxygen. One great appeal of fuel cells is that they generate electricity with very little pollution—much of the hydrogen and oxygen used in generating electricity ultimately combine to form a harmless byproduct, namely water.”

Dec. 19, 2008 - Smithsonian National Museum of American History

George Monbiot, Visiting Professor of Planning at Oxford Brookes University, wrote in his 2007 book Heat: How To Stop The Planet From Burning, that:

“Hydrogen is made from coal mostly by bashing the fuel into powder and passing steam and oxygen through it. It is made from natural gas by heating it and reacting it with steam. It is made through electrolysis – as anyone who didn’t manage to escape from their chemistry lessons at school will remember – by passing an electric current through water. The last method is the philosopher’s stone. The electricity could be produced from renewable power.”

2007 - George Monbiot

The National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California at Irvine stated in its article “What is a Fuel Cell and How Does It Work,” published at its website (accessed Dec. 19, 2008):

“Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert a fuel’s chemical energy directly to electrical energy with high efficiency. With no internal moving parts, fuel cells operate similar to batteries. An important difference is that batteries store energy, while fuel cells can produce electricity continuously as long as fuel and air are supplied.

Fuel Cell diagram from the Schatz Energy Research Center (accessed Dec. 19, 2008)

 

“Fuel cells electrochemically combine a fuel (typically hydrogen) and an oxidant without burning, thereby dispensing with the inefficiencies and pollution of traditional energy conversion systems.

Fuel cells forego the traditional fuel-to-electricity production route common in modern power production, which consists of heat extraction from fuel, conversion of heat to mechanical energy and, finally, transformation of mechanical energy into electrical energy…

Fuel cells function on the principal of electrolytic charge exchange between a positively charged anode plate and a negatively charged cathode plate. When hydrogen is used as the basic fuel, ‘reverse hydrolysis’ occurs, yielding only water and heat as byproducts while converting chemical energy into electricity.”

Dec, 19, 2008 - National Fuel Cell Research Center

The Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy policy research institute, stated in its factsheet “Where Does Hydrogen Come From,” available at www.rmi.org (accessed Dec. 19, 2008):

“[H]ydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe, and is very common on earth. Hydrogen is the simplest of atoms, composed of one proton and one electron. But pure, diatomic hydrogen (H2) —the fuel of choice for fuel cells — does not like to exist naturally. Because hydrogen easily combines with other elements, we are most likely to find it chemically bound in water, biomass, or fossil fuels.

To get hydrogen into a useful form, we must extract it from one of these substances. This process requires energy…

Water electrolysis involves passing an electric current through H2O to separate it into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). Hydrogen gas rises from the negative cathode and oxygen gas collects at the positive anode.

Electrolysis produces extremely pure hydrogen, which is necessary for some types of fuel cells. But a significant amount of electricity is required to produce a usable amount of hydrogen from electrolysis…

Hydrogen can also be extracted or ‘reformed’ from natural gas. A two-step process at temperatures reaching 1100°C in the presence of a catalyst makes four parts hydrogen from one part methane and two parts water (CH4 + 2 H2O >>> 4 H2 + CO2)…

Hydrogen can be extracted from hydrogen-rich biomass sources like wood chips and agricultural waste. When heated in a controlled atmosphere, biomass converts to synthesis gas, which primarily consists of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and hydrogen (H2)…

Photoelectrolysis uses sunlight to split water into its components via a semi-conducting material sandwich. It is roughly like immersing a photovoltaic cell in water, whereby the incoming light stimulates the semiconductor to split H2O directly into its constituent gases…

Certain species of green algae produce hydrogen in the presence of sunlight.”

Dec. 19, 2008 - Rocky Mountain Institute

The California Fuel Cell Partnership stated the following in its factsheet “What Is a Fuel Cell,” available at its website (accessed Dec. 19, 2008)

“A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that produces electricity…without combustion. Hydrogen fuel (which can be obtained from water or from hydrocarbon sources such as natural gas, methanol or petroleum products) is combined with oxygen (from the air) to produce electrical energy…

A Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell is comprised of a plastic membrane coated with a catalyst on both sides and sandwiched between two electrode plates. Hydrogen (from a fuel tank) and oxygen (from the air) are fed through channels in the plates on opposite sides of the membrane. The hydrogen and oxygen atoms are attracted to each other, but only the proton part of the hydrogen atom can pass through the membrane to reach the oxygen. The electron has to take the long way around the membrane to reach the oxygen atom—creating an electric current in the process. The electron is eventually reunited with the proton and an oxygen atom to create water (H2O)…

[T]here are several types of fuel cells. Vehicles commonly use a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell, sometimes referred to as a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cell…Other types of fuel cells can be used for stationary sources that generate heat and electricity for buildings. Fuel cells are also being designed for use in portable devices such as laptops and mobile phones.”

Dec. 19, 2008 - California Fuel Cell Partnership

The US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy stated the following on the webpage “Fuel Cells,” available on the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program section of its website (accessed Dec. 19, 2008):

“A fuel cell is a device that uses hydrogen (or hydrogen-rich fuel) and oxygen to create electricity by an electrochemical process. A single fuel cell consists of an electrolyte and two catalyst-coated electrodes (a porous anode and cathode). While there are different fuel cell types, all work on the same principle:

Hydrogen, or a hydrogen-rich fuel, is fed to the anode where a catalyst separates hydrogen’s negatively charged electrons from positively charged ions (protons).

At the cathode, oxygen combines with electrons and, in some cases, with species such as protons or water, resulting in water or hydroxide ions, respectively.

For polymer electrolyte membrane and phosphoric acid fuel cells, protons move through the electrolyte to the cathode to combine with oxygen and electrons, producing water and heat.

For alkaline, molten carbonate, and solid oxide fuel cells, negative ions travel through the electrolyte to the anode where they combine with hydrogen to generate water and electrons.

The electrons from the anode side of the cell cannot pass through the electrolyte to the positively charged cathode; they must travel around it via an electrical circuit to reach the other side of the cell. This movement of electrons is an electrical current.”

Dec. 19, 2008 - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

PRO (yes)

Pro

The National Hydrogen Association stated the following in its fact sheet “Renewable Hydrogen Production Using Electrolysis,” available at its website (accessed Jan. 7, 2009):

“Hydrogen provides a promising method to help the U.S. achieve energy independence, make strides in environmental stewardship, and develop a thriving economy. Hydrogen produced through renewable energy sources, most commonly with a device which uses electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen called an electrolyzer, is an emissions-free way to carry energy…

Hydrogen provides the connecting point between renewable electricity production and transportation, stationary and portable energy needs. When the electricity from solar photovoltaics, wind, geothermal, ocean and hydro technologies is used to produce and store hydrogen, the renewable source becomes more valuable and can meet a variety of needs. In transportation applications, hydrogen provides a way to convert renewable resources to fuel for vehicles. Renewably produced hydrogen for transportation fuel is one of the most popular hydrogen economy goals, as it can be domestically produced and emissions free. Renewables often produce power intermittently (e.g., only when the sun is out or the wind is blowing), so hydrogen can also increase stationary power reliability when used as an electricity storage medium. Hydrogen, renewably produced during off-peak periods and stored, can provide constant power using fuel cells or engines when the renewable source isn’t available…

There are few other options today for electricity storage at a large scale. Batteries are not practical and too costly, and pumped water systems and compressed air energy storage systems are only implementable in limited geographical areas…

[T]he future conjunction of hydrogen and renewable energy technology is a promising one.”

Jan. 7, 2009 - National Hydrogen Association (NHA)

Pro

Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, stated the following in his Jan. – Feb. 2003 article “The Hydrogen Economy: After Oil, Clean Energy from a Fuel-Cell-Driven Global Hydrogen Web,” published by E magazine:

“While the fossil-fuel era is entering its sunset years, a new energy regime is being born that has the potential to remake civilization along radical new lines. Hydrogen is the most basic and ubiquitous element in the universe. It is the stuff of stars and, when properly harnessed and made from renewable sources…it produces no harmful CO2 emissions when burned; the only byproducts are heat and pure water. We are at the dawn of a new economy, using hydrogen as the energy carrier, which will fundamentally change the nature of our financial markets, political and social institutions, just as coal and steam power did at the beginning of the Industrial Age…

People often ask: Why generate electricity twice, first to produce electricity for the process of electrolytic hydrogen and then again to produce electricity and heat in a fuel cell? The reason is that electricity can be stored only in batteries, which are cumbersome to transport and slow to recharge, while hydrogen can be stored at much lower cost. Internal-combustion engines capture only 15 to 20 percent of the energy in gasoline, and the conventional electric power grid is only 33 percent efficient…

The hydrogen economy makes possible a vast redistribution of electricity, with far-reaching consequences for society. Today’s centralized, top-down flow of energy, controlled by global oil companies and utilities, can become obsolete. In the new era, every human being with access to renewable energy sources could become a producer as well as a consumer—using so-called ‘distributed generation.’ When millions of end-users connect their fuel cells powered by renewables into local, regional and national publicly owned hydrogen energy webs (HEWs), they can begin to share energy—peer-to-peer—creating a new decentralized form of energy generation and use… The hydrogen economy is within sight. How fast we get there will depend on how committed we are to weaning ourselves off of oil and the other fossil fuels. What are we waiting for?”

Feb. 2003 - Jeremy Rifkin

Pro

The US Department of Energy stated the following in its Feb. 2002 document “A National Vision of America’s Transition To A Hydrogen Economy – To 2030 And Beyond,” available at its website:

“Hydrogen is America’s clean energy choice. It is flexible, affordable, safe, domestically produced, used in all sectors of the economy, and in all regions of the country…

In the hydrogen economy… America will enjoy a secure, clean, and prosperous energy sector that will continue for generations to come. American consumers will have access to hydrogen energy to the same extent that they have access to gasoline, natural gas, and electricity today. It will be produced cleanly, with near-zero net carbon emissions, and it will be transported and used safely. It will be the ‘fuel of choice’ for American businesses and consumers…

Hydrogen will be available for every end-use energy need in the economy, including transportation, power generation, and portable power systems. Hydrogen will be the dominant fuel for government and commercial vehicle fleets. It will be used in a large number of personal vehicles and light duty trucks. It will be combusted directly and mixed with natural gas in turbines and reciprocating engines for electricity and thermal energy in homes, offices, and factories. It will be used in fuel cells for both mobile and stationary applications. And it will be used in portable devices such as computers, mobile phones, Internet hook-ups, and other electronic equipment.”

Feb. 2002 - United States Department of Energy (DOE)

Pro

Warren D. Reynolds, PhD, environmental consultant, stated the following in his Mar. 29, 2006 article “Why We Need the Solar-Hydrogen Economy Now,” available at the EV World website:

“The key to a reliable, diversified solar energy system based on renewable resources will be the use of hydrogen as a major energy carrier and storage medium…

The technology that will transform and drive the solar-hydrogen energy system is the fuel cell. Fuel cells use an electrochemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen producing water and electricity. Avoiding the inefficiency of combustion, current fuel cells are theoretically twice as efficient as conventional heat engines (83% vs. 32-40%), have no moving parts, require little maintenance, and emit only water vapor… Fuel cells can be used in factories, offices and homes to generate electricity…

It is less expensive to move hydrogen up to 1,000 miles by pipeline than an equivalent amount of electricity…

Technologies and hydrogen infrastructure, such as discussed above as well as others are already in place, can pave the way for an energy transition during the next 10-15 years that is as profound as the last major energy transition which occurred over a century ago. Although the details of the Solar-Hydrogen economy are not mapped out, the broad outlines are clear. They suggest that the new energy economy will be highly efficient and decentralized. Over time, hydrogen will become the main fuel for the 21st century, derived first from natural gas but later produced from water using solar energy. The use of natural gas as a ‘bridge’ to hydrogen will allow a relatively seamless sequence to a renewable energy based system.”

Mar. 29, 2006 - Warren D. Reynolds, PhD

Pro

Amory B. Lovins, MA, Chairman and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) stated the following in his Feb. 25, 2005 article “Twenty Hydrogen Myths,” available at www.rmi.org:

“[T]he rapidly growing engagement of business, civil society, and government in devising and achieving a transition to a hydrogen economy is warranted and, if properly done, could yield important national and global benefits…

Hydrogen technologies are maturing. The world’s existing hydrogen industry is starting to be recognized as big — producing one-fourth as much volume of gas each year as the global natural-gas industry. Industry, government, and civil society are becoming seriously engaged in designing a transition from refined petroleum products, natural gas, and electricity to hydrogen as the dominant way to carry, store, and deliver useful energy…

Hydrogen makes up about 75% of the known universe, but is not an energy source like oil, coal, wind, or sun. Rather, it is an energy carrier like electricity or gasoline — a way of transporting useful energy to users. Hydrogen is an especially versatile carrier because like oil and gas, but unlike electricity, it can be stored in large amounts (albeit often at higher storage cost than hydrocarbons), and can be made from almost any energy source and used to provide almost any energy service…

RMI’s insights into the full economic value of distributed power suggest that hydrogen fuel cells today can economically displace less efficient central resources for delivering electricity, paving the way for hydrogen use to spread rapidly, financed by its own revenues…

The industrial infrastructure for centralized hydrogen production already exists. Throughout industry, most hydrogen is currently made at large plants and is used at the industrial site or nearby. There are ~1,500 km (~930 miles) of special hydrogen pipelines (720 km or 446 miles in North America) operating at up to 100 bar. Moving hydrogen gas through pipelines takes about half as much of its energy as is currently lost when transporting electricity.”

Feb. 25, 2005 - Amory Lovins, MA

CON (no)

Con

David Morris, PhD, Co-founder and Vice President of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, wrote in his Dec. 2003 article “The Hydrogen Economy and a Proposal for an Alternative Strategy,” published at www.ilsr.org:

“The idea of a hydrogen economy has burst like a supernova over the energy policy landscape, mesmerizing us with its possibilities while blinding us to its weaknesses. Such a fierce spotlight on hydrogen is pushing more promising strategies into the shadows…

The focus on building a national hydrogen distribution and fueling network to supply fuel cell powered cars ignores shorter term, less expensive and more rewarding strategies encouraged by recent technological developments. The most important of these is the successful commercialization of the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)…

[H]ydrogen’s high cost, poor energetics and scant environmental benefits for the near and medium term future must be taken into account when evaluating it against alternative fuels and strategies…

For a hydrogen economy to have any impact the nation must change virtually every aspect of its energy system, from production to distribution…

The electricity network is already in place. Why not focus on expanding the portion of this delivery system that relies on renewable energy rather than spend the next generation creating a new delivery infrastructure [for hydrogen]…

This is the time to make a major effort to move solar energy from the margins of energy production to its center rather than to shift our intellectual and scientific and capital resources toward constructing the infrastructure demanded for a hydrogen economy and end up 25 years from now where we are, in essence today: having 2 percent of the hydrogen market and hoping to increase that fraction.”

Dec. 2003 - David Morris, PhD

Con

Ulf Bossel, PhD, freelance fuel cell consultant, stated the following in his Oct. 2006 article “Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense?,” available at www.efcf.com:

“Hydrogen is not a new energy, but only an artificial synthetic energy carrier. It has to be made from high grade energy like electricity or natural gas…

Today’s energy system is dominated by chemical carriers like coal, oil and gas. Electrical and transportation energy are derived from chemical energy by thermal power plants, heat engines, or fuel cells…

Renewable electricity will gradually replace fossil fuels. Electricity will become the base of our energy system. It does not make sense to continue with chemical energy technologies by converting good electricity into hydrogen…

Hydrogen can never compete with its own energy source, with electricity…

Therefore, the answer to the question: ‘Does a Hydrogen Economy make Sense?’ is an unconditional ‘NEVER’. A global hydrogen economy has no past, present or future!”

Oct. 2006 - Ulf Bossel, PhD

Con

Dominic Crea, Co-founder of the Institute of Sustainable Energy Education, stated the following in his June – July 2004 article “Hydrogen: Solution or Distraction? A Debate on the ‘Hydrogen Economy,'” published by Home Power:

“Superficially, these [hydrogen economy] ideas seem palatable, and could in theory reduce or even eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels. But let’s examine these claims in greater detail, starting with the [hydrogen] pipeline. It doesn’t exist. Nor for that matter does the rest of the hydrogen infrastructure… Moreover, we already have a proven system that can, and does, deliver energy to us with great efficiency – the utility grid…

[T]he two pathways – the hydrogen pipeline vs. the electricity grid… assume the use of photovoltaic electricity. Remarkably the hydrogen route wastes twice as much energy as the utility grid pathway…

Okay, let’s say we skip the hydrogen pipeline entirely and consider… a totally off-grid home. True, we can generate electricity for our homes and fuel our cars with hydrogen, but we must remember that our photovoltaics ultimately provide the electricity – hydrogen acts simply as a storage medium for that energy. A battery will do the same…

At the very least, a renewably based hydrogen economy will require the installation of US$40 trillion worth of photovoltaic pannels, of which US$20 trillion is wasted in overcoming the inefficiency of the system – minimum!

In simple terms, the decision to go with a renewably fueled utility grid system, as opposed to the hydrogen system, would save enough money in photovoltaic panels alone to provide every American family with an electric car and the photovoltaic panels to run it.”

June - July, 2004 - Dominic Crea

Con

Gary Kendall, PhD, Director of the Energy Sector and Climate Change Program at Sustainability, stated the following in his Mar. 2008 report for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) titled “Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age,” published on the WWF website:

“The tantalising term ‘hydrogen economy’ becomes meaningful only when the energy system is based around hydrogen derived from sustainable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, or geothermal power. Producing hydrogen from fossil fuels, by definition, perpetuates the ‘fossil fuel economy’ in which we find ourselves today. In this respect, hydrogen is really no different from electricity: there are clean sources, and there are dirty sources…

[T]he short- to medium-term outlook for commercial hydrogen production revolves around natural gas reforming and coal gasification. Thus we find ourselves standing once again at the doorstep of Big Oil, where we begin to understand the broader strategic context in which BP and Shell recently announced their respective joint-ventures with giant coal companies Rio Tinto and Anglo-American…

[T]he production of hydrogen gas by electrolysis of water can be relatively efficient; literature surveys reveal a wide range of values from as low as forty percent to over eighty percent. Though most analysts use fifty percent as a working assumption, even if we are optimistic and project electrolyser efficiencies at the upper end of the range, unless we have at our disposal a surplus of sustainable renewable electricity, can we ever justify throwing some of it away in order to produce hydrogen? Perhaps we can, but only in very specific circumstances such as off-grid renewable electricity generation with no access to energy storage facilities.

From the outset, therefore, in the competition between potential carriers of sustainable renewable energy, hydrogen lags behind electrons in terms of existing generating capacity and energy efficiency…

Assuming future generations – in a more populous world, barring unprecedented natural disasters or armed conflicts – will be keen to use their energy resources wisely, we can only imagine how they would judge their forebears for blindly pursuing the inefficient hydrogen economy…

Electricity will always hold the potential to be a more efficient carrier of energy than hydrogen molecules, on a life-cycle basis.”

Mar. 2008 - Gary Kendall, PhD

Con

David B. Barber, MS, Nuclear Engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory, wrote the following in his Mar. 24, 2005 article “Nuclear Energy and the Future: The Hydrogen Economy or the Electricity Economy?,” available at www.iags.org:

“Nearly all hydrogen in use today is, itself, being ‘produced’ by stripping hydrogen from natural gas through steam reformation of methane. There is no technical advantage to reforming methane in preference to electrolysis of water, there is only a price advantage of about a factor of two…

Any serious attempt at a hydrogen economy would promptly overwhelm methane resources and necessarily have to be supplied with electricity-derived hydrogen. And, of course, hydrogen use ends with electricity coming out of a fuel cell. So, hydrogen use is really a loop that starts and ends with electricity. Unfortunately, the efficiency of that electricity to hydrogen to electricity loop is only twenty-five percent… The result is that for every four power plants making electricity, only one plant’s electrical output actually ends up being productively used. Three power plants’ output is lost simply because hydrogen was part of the process…

There are significant challenges to a hydrogen energy-carrying scheme including materials development, tremendous cost barriers, infrastructure inadequacies and the very low conversion efficiency. While many of hydrogen’s problems could presumably be reduced with enough time and effort, the fact remains that the twenty five percent efficiency problem of the electricity to hydrogen to electricity loop is unsolvable. That kind of waste is simply unworkable in a world that is facing the energy-related challenges our’s is facing. Societies around this planet will be struggling this century and beyond just to afford to replace their existing GHG-belching stationary sources with clean, non-GHG sources like nuclear, wind, low-head hydro and solar. There certainly will not be an overabundance of clean energy to squander on an inefficient hydrogen loop, particularly when the same tasks can be accomplished directly with the original electricity.”

Mar. 24, 2005 - David B. Barber, MS