The technology is
becoming available to convert from a carbon-based to a hydrogen-based Energy
Economy. Over the centuries our energy needs have evolved from wood and
animal fat, to coal, to petroleum, to propane, to natural gas. Carbon based
fuels are used to keep us warm, manufacture our goods, light our lamps, and
move us about our planet. Hydrogen burns with oxygen to produce water that can
be recycled over and over again like aluminum cans.
Today, natural gas (methane) and petroleum products
are the primary sources for producing hydrogen. 50 million tons of hydrogen are
produced for industrial purposes worldwide each year, which is enough hydrogen to
power 200 million vehicles. Major parts of the infrastructure are already in place. With
800 million vehicles in the World, an additional 200 million tons of would be needed,
a distribution system and new vehicles.
Service Stations According to
General Motors if 12,000 stations were placed in the country's 100 largest
cities, 70% of the population within two miles of service stations. The cost of
$1 million per station or $12 billion would be half the cost of building the
Alaska oil pipeline in today's dollars. California has 16 stations plans to have
over 100 planned within the next five years. Royal Dutch/Shell has teamed up with GM
to build hydrogen service stations in Washington, DC, New York and California.
Transportation In the April 25, 2005 issue of Fortune magazine,
General Motors has spend over $1 billion on hydrogen powered vehicles. Daimler
Chrysler has also spent over $1 billion on the technology. Ford and Toyota also
have development programs. The cars must be able to go 300 miles between
fill-ups. Development of the hydrogen storage tanks is the major obstacle.
General Motors has produced a prototype car that can go
from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 10 seconds and travel 300 miles using
Converting to the
Hydrogen Economy will depend upon
the availability and cost of oil. At $100 dollar per barrel, the transition
will take fifteen to twenty years. The transition can be done in a short period of
time if countries want to make the change faster. Within this time frame, off-peak Mirror
Plants could produce hydrogen and oxygen directly from matter and
Replacing old cars with new cars will take at least 30 years.