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You can't win, you know

23 Sep 2020 | OP ED Watch

The problem with hydrogen energy, as opposed say to blimp-filling which of course is now about helium, is that you need massive amounts of energy to electrocute the water in order to get the energy back out. But this problem might have a solution, namely nuclear energy. Hydrogen is very mobile and nuclear is not, but nuclear creates huge amounts of energy and very little carbon so you could zap the water at the big old power plant then ship the H to the small new cars or wherever. Ah but nay. It seems hydrogen might also destroy the climate like, well, you know. Everything.

The Precautionary Principle, as has been observed, sounds good. But if taken seriously would have prevented the invention of fire, writing, beer, animal husbandry (those things can kick) and just about anything else. And so in The Conversation Richard Derwent, an “independent scientist”, warns that “Using hydrogen as a fuel might make global warming worse by affecting chemical reactions in the atmosphere.” Well sure. It might. And monkeys might fly out of my armpit. The question is whether it’s likely.

In the spirit of hide-under-the-bed timidity, we should point out that many people including environmentalists like the idea of hydrogen as a fuel because when you burn it you just get water. But water is dangerous. It can wash away your house. It can drown you. There can be sharks in it. Better not.

Oh, and while we’re at it, in the spirit of science, let’s just consider the danger that shutting down much of our economy could prove harmful to the people it used to keep fed, warm and safe. You just never know. Just as hydrogen might change chemical reactions in the atmosphere and, like everything else, cause a runaway greenhouse effect.

3 comments on “You can't win, you know”

  1. Hydrogen is highly flammable when mixed even in small amounts with ordinary air. It is difficult to store because it causes metals to become brittle. I don't think we will be using hydrogen to fuel or cars any time soon.

  2. I thought water vapour is what is more commonly called, clouds.
    No clouds, no rain, no rain no plant life, no plant life no take up of CO2, whoops!

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