Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘hydrogen economy

Whatever Happened to the Hydrogen Economy?

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Whatever happened to the hydrogen economy?

Other industry observers are far more equivocal. “The jury is out on battery versus fuel cell,” says Richard Wenham of car industry consultancy Ricardo. “That’s why everybody is researching everything.”

But for all the research into hydrogen, fuel cells remain dependent on platinum, and hydrogen generation is still punitively inefficient. Meanwhile battery technologies are developing rapidly and continue to attract huge investment. The jury may not be out for very much longer. According to Kendall: “Hydrogen has always been the fuel of the future, and it looks like it always will be.”

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November 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm

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Thank God it’s Tuesday.

* Were you watching the time-travel show Journeyman on NBC this year? You’ll never get another episode, but at least you can find out how it all would have ended.

* Bush ‘antagonizing environmentalists’ on his way out of office.

Just months before President Bush leaves office, his administration is antagonizing environmentalists by proposing changes that would allow federal agencies to decide for themselves whether subdivisions, dams, highways and other projects have the potential to harm endangered animals and plants.

The proposal, first reported by The Associated Press, would cut out the advice of government scientists who have been weighing in on such decisions for 35 years. Agencies also could not consider a project’s contribution to global warming in their analysis.

This is nothing we haven’t seen before.

* Honda to debut hydrogen-fuel cell car in 2008. We’re saved! Unless, you know, the debunkers turn out to be right about hydrogen…

* Fraggmented’s John Seavey makes one his storytelling engine posts about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, explaining why the show was never the same (and could never have been the same) after the characters graduated high school.

* A Mac utility that automatically shuts down your Internet connectivity for any length of time you specify. I wouldn’t be attracted to something like this if I had any willpower at all.

* Fred Pearce argues the Neo-Malthusian “population bomb” has been defused. We’re saved!

Why then is the world’s population still rising? Currently at around 6.7 billion, it is 70 million higher every year. The problem is that the delivery wards are being visited by the huge numbers of young women born during the earlier baby boom. They may only have one or two children each. But that is still a lot of babies. Probably nothing will stop humanity reaching 8 billion by about 2040 and many demographers predict that world population will peak at around 9 billion by the end of the 21st century. But once those baby boomers have had their babies, the falling fertility rate will be translated into a real decline in the world’s population — the first since the Black Death of the 14th century.

The question remains, I think, whether 9 billion will be a Malthusian crisis all by itself.

* And it may be time to rethink climate change in the face of the polar bear menace.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

‘Last Chance’

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Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world’s only hope is drastic action.

Burning fossil fuels like coal is the chief cause of man-made greenhouse gases. Hansen said the Earth’s atmosphere has got to get back to a level of 350 parts of carbon dioxide per million. Last month, it was 10% higher: 386.7 parts per million.

Hansen said he’ll testify on behalf of British protesters against new coal-fired power plants. Protesters have chained themselves to gates and equipment at sites of several proposed coal plants in England.

“The thing that I think is most important is to block coal-fired power plants,” Hansen told the luncheon. “I’m not yet at the point of chaining myself but we somehow have to draw attention to this.”

Frank Maisano, a spokesman for many U.S. utilities, including those trying to build new coal plants, said while Hansen has shown foresight as a scientist, his “stop them all approach is very simplistic” and shows that he is beyond his level of expertise.

The year of Hansen’s original testimony was the world’s hottest year on record. Since then, 14 years have been hotter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Two decades later, Hansen spent his time on the question of whether it’s too late to do anything about it. His answer: There’s still time to stop the worst, but not much time.

“We see a tipping point occurring right before our eyes,” Hansen told the AP before the luncheon. “The Arctic is the first tipping point and it’s occurring exactly the way we said it would.”

Hansen, echoing work by other scientists, said that in five to 10 years, the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer.

In more positive news, Honda is releasing a hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicle, while wind power is outpacing nuclear power 10-to-1, with China leading the pack.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 24, 2008 at 11:30 am