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Sunday, October 9, 2011

SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS: The Free Hydrogen and Electricity Age (Part 4)

For reasons that befuddled me at the time, that is, in July of 2008, the Huffington Post did not publish Part 4.  Never figured out why, except it just must have slipped through the cracks.  Several individuals asked about this and the best I could do was send them to my Daily Blog of 17July2008.


To recap parts 1 to 3, the FREE Hydrogen Age was advocated as a solution to be considered if the world got suddenly clobbered by the combined hammer of Peak Oil and Global Warming, triggering a global depression. Certainly, under business as usual conditions, the notion of FREE hydrogen, or FREE anything, would only draw ridicule. These posts were also carried in The Huffington Post (

Last week, at the G8 meeting in Japan, our global leaders made what to some might seem like a promising declaration: cut carbon dioxide by half by 2050. The problem is that this is kind of what they also said last year in Germany, except, this time with weakened language. Is this progress? In a sense, one shoe (the environmental one) has, thus, fallen.

Regarding the other, Peak Oil and prices, former Shell chairman, Lord Ronald Oxburgh, warned in September of 2007, that oil could reach $150/barrel, and in November, Usameh Jamali of OPEC said the same. Morgan Stanley was more specific, and earlier this spring predicted $150/barrel oil by July 4. Well, that did not happen, but, at $146/barrel, got awfully close the day prior. In May, Goldman Sachs forecast $200/barrel oil by the end of the year. A really hot summer, where millions succumb, plus oil at this lofty range, could well trigger a devastating economic plunge to set the stage for that FREE Energy Age.

I recall an AMERICAN SCIENTIST cartoon by Sydney Harris way back when where a professor at a blackboard solved a difficult problem by inserting "a miracle occurs." Avoiding the hard question of who will actually make the command decision (I think the G8 group should be it, but that is another post) and how, let's say a miracle, in fact, occurs. A legal proclamation is made to make hydrogen free by January 1, 2020. How might the transition look?

First, it will be extremely difficult to provide unlimited free hydrogen by that date, but not impossible. The infrastructure is currently lacking. You can't instantly convert the ground and air transport system to use hydrogen. But that's not the point, for industry will do all it can and begin maximizing the availability of anything that uses hydrogen. With wind power and all the other solar options, made competitive by a severe carbon tax, facilities can be mass-produced to make free hydrogen. The supply should at least match the means to utilize it. Would electricity, too, be made free? Something to consider if generated from a renewable source. So, maybe we should be saying, FREE Renewable Hydrogen and Electricity Age. In any case, if everything works to perfection, only a relatively small fraction of actual energy utilized in 2020 will in fact be FREE hydrogen, or electricity from anything related to hydrogen, but this is of secondary importance, for an exponential trend will have been initiated.

The Free Hydrogen Age will need a bridging renewable liquid fuel, and the world, as I intimated in an earlier post ("What is the Best Biofuel?"), seems headed down a dead end bioethanol / biodiesel pathway. Either go to Part 2 of that article ("Ethanol versus Methanol") or Chapter 2 of my book on SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth found in the box on the right, and learn why biomethanol is the wise choice.

There is a clear trend from Part 1 to 4.  You can almost guess what will be the final solution in Part 5,

Wow, a meek Hurricane Jova is, apparently, now expected to quickly strengthen into a Category 3 storm and smash into Manzanillo on Tuesday, then head up to Guadalajara:

Good luck on your cruise down the Mexican coast.


Well, dinner was at Burger King's tonight, but not at $5, but $10.  I ordered a Steakhouse, a huge hamburger, with french fries and onion rings.  With the free beer from the Executive Club, the meal was almost as spectacular as last night, and $400 cheaper.


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