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From Bill Still:

My commentary:

Very nice and utterly immaterial.

Here's why -- hydrogen is in a very high energy state as a "raw" material.  Fuel cells operate on hydrogen and oxygen, and thus are considered "clean" in that their only "waste" product is water (H2O.)  However, the hydrogen has to come from somewhere, as it does not exist anywhere on its own in nature; it is always in a compound.

Since that energy state is lower than that of hydrogen as an element you must add energy to break that bond and extract the "neat" hydrogen, which is then used in the fuel cell.  If you start with water (H2O) and break the bond you must, by the laws of thermodynamics, put in more energy than you will get back at the wheels because the laws of thermodynamics do not permit a "free lunch", or even getting back everything you put in.

The most-common place people talk about getting the hydrogen from for these vehicles is natural gas, which is (mostly) methane, or CH4.  Well, that's fine; you can get the hydrogen out by using what is called a "reformer"; by putting in some energy you can break the chemical bonds.  You now have carbon (which usually is combined with oxygen and forms CO2, that evil gas that Obama and Gore hate) and hydrogen.  While the fuel cell itself produces no "greenhouse gas" the process produces lots of it; in fact, exactly the same amount as would be produced if you just burned the same amount of natural gas!

So no, folks, these are not "zero-emission" vehicles any more than an electric vehicle is when the source of the electricity is a coal or natural gas fired boiler!

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Well well look what the cat dragged in!

Disclosure: long boiled rope futures.

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