H. T. Love  

  • The Current Stagnation of Natural Gas Vehicles in America 
    Michael Fitsimmons

    "HardLove: well, you certainly can produce hydrogen from oil or natural gas, but you can also generate hydrogen very cleany by using wind/solar generated electricity via electrolysis."

    Yeah, but I discounted that for several reasons. Least important, resistance from folks complaining about their pristine views being ruined by all those windmills. Regardless of that, there is one that I do consider significant. Water shortage. With all natural inland sources of water under duress, I suspect that using it to generate hydrogen may nopt be tenable. That woulkd leave only the ocean as viable source. Then we get into increased cost (which I have not investigated) for desalinization and purification before the molecules can be "cracked" without damaging the equipment. I have no idea how much this affects cost or production rates.

    "wrt infrastructure, a hydrogen economy will reuse much of the natural gas infrastructure (both are gases and need to be compressed)."

    Possibly, but I think not. The hydrogen molecule is much smaller than those that typically flow through existing infrastructure and is notorious for escaping all but the least porous containers. These *may* need substantial expensive upgrades to keep leakage and safety to acceptable levels. This is not including considerations of security from terrorists, etc. Also keep in mind that pipelines flow to major storage locations. Trucks to carry it to fueling stations would also need upgrading and drivers would need retraining in safely handling the material. Not insurmountable problems, but additional considerations.

    " wrt focusing on fleets, this simply doesn't reduce foreign oil imports nor CO2 emissions to the extent we must do."

    As I mentioned, it is not the final solution. Here I guess we disagree on the feasability of swallowing the whole pie in one gulp or eating it a slice at a time. I'm with Boone: it's a transition process and probably the only viable process.

    " long term, i think we'll be on hydrogen transportation, not electric, or at least a hybrid of both. wrt solar, sure i am all for it, but while we wait for the solar infrastructure to build out, we could be replacing coal plants with nat gas and save millions of tons of CO2, not to mention all the toxic particulates."

    And as utilities converting to NG satisify current and ever growing demands, we get Catch 22: NG prices rise substantially due to consumption by utilities and becomes less economical for the daily commuters you want to immediately convert. Or because you convert the private fleet, it becomes uneconomical for the utilities unless the home electric rates skyrocket.

    As to polution, it is not my *primary* concern ATM. So our solutions diverge just on that basis. My primary concern ATM is reduction of $700 billion/year leaving here. I think it is nice that it also helps the environment and certainly support that goal as well.

    " wrt signicant imports, are you telling me the 130,000,000 cars that go home every night where they could be refueled while their drivers sleep wouldn't have a bigger impact t han fleets? sorry, but i respectfully disagree."

    I didn't say that. In summary, I focused on immediacy of beneficial impact and economic feasibility. I stated that I did not think Boone was correct about electric being the solution for the private fleet. By implication, some other solution, such as NG or hydrogen or hybrids, would be the ultimate solution for the private fleet. You must have confused someone else's position with mine.

    "when you speak of sound economics of power generation, don't forget to add the *external cost* of gas and coal (environmental, military, health care costs, gov subsidies, etc) when you do that you'll see that nat gas is waaaaay cheaper to the nation"

    Agreed. I specifically did not include those as the individual companies that might need to convert will look at *their* economics to make the business case. As such, I do not presume to know the extent of effects of national social policy, which could affect those economics. If national policy became that draft horses would be used to spin the generators, the economics would change. I don't know to what degree.

    Mar 9, 2009. 08:23 AM | Likes Like
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