October 15, 2004

Hydrogen economy

I think that I have written about the likelihood that we will burn a whole bunch of coal in the future, but if I have I can't find the post. Maybe it was in my forthcoming Energy & Environment piece (a link to that when it is available).

Anyway - one of the things that is often not mentioned, but that is increasinly recognized, is that you have to make the hydrogen and that takes energy and that energy has to come from somewhere. And then we are back to coal. Unless we can do it with renewables...

Nature reports a recent article that argues that wind power will be insufficient to provide all of the hydrogen that a fully developed hydrogen economy will require. Rather than an argument against moving toward hydrogen, I take this an argument for the development of "clean coal" technologies.

I also suspect that nuclear is in our future, but my long-standing concerns about waste continue. Again I take this as a positive argument for continued effort to solve that problem.