February 26, 2004

Hydrogen's getting cheaper

Hydrogen just got at least 59% cheaper. A new process has been discovered that has dropped the 'best price' for hydrogen creation down from $3.60/kg to $1.50/kg. What's more, the process does not require pure ethanol but works just fine with much easier to produce and transport diluted ethanol. In fact it works better in the presence of water.

One place where the linked article gets horribly wrong is in the stress this will create on our food supplies.

Overall, he says the University of Minnesota research sounds promising, even if some hurdles remain.

One such hurdle:It would require at least 40 percent of the cropland in the US to produce enough ethanol to power the nation, according to the new NRC report.

This is a feature, not a bug. One of the worst challenges we face in maintaining and expanding globalization is agricultural subsidies. If 40% of US farmland were taken out of food production and put into energy production, it would be a huge boon for international relations, as would a similar devotion of crop acreage in the EU states. 3rd world nations would be able to earn a decent living in agriculture and be able to hold their head high and pay their own way instead of being shut out of what would normally be their markets and have to take handouts in the form of foreign aid.

Posted by TMLutas at February 26, 2004 12:40 PM