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Saturday, October 1, 2011

SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS: What About Free Hydrogen? (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a series from SIMPLE SOLUTION ESSAYS, building a case for making renewable energy free.


On 3July08 I described the follow-up to my Hydrogen Man of the Year statement.  To make a long story short, no one mentioned bothered to even respond to my entreaties.  I exchanged various e-mails with the Board of the Journal of Hydrogen Energy (all close friends) and the most supportive was from the editor who indicated that I should first do the research before submitting a paper for publication.  I told them I did the research, and the facts reinforce my bluster.


The following continues the discussion on a free and clean hydrogen age, as largely excerpted from Chapter 3 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth:


Referring back to that National Hydrogen Association (NHA--now called the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association) awards luncheon, the fact that I had the courage or idiocy to introduce this concept before giving any thought to it was, on hindsight, foolhardy. But, if I had cogitated over it, nothing would have happened. There is something unpredictable and serendipitous about such acts.

This extemporaneous message was suggested to the thousand or so in the audience. At lunch I sat next to Phillip Baxley of the Shell Hydrogen group, who was the incoming chairman of the board of NHA. The fact that I was one of the original organizers of this association and a past board member, I thought, would carry some credibility. I was particularly interested in how he would react because, on the surface, oil companies would seem to have the most to lose. In reality, Peak Oil is changing the topography of energy economics, and petroleum suppliers must start today to make monumental corporate decisions on what they will become tomorrow. A Free Hydrogen Age actually provides them a SIMPLE SOLUTION. I asked Phil to think about this for a year and later share with me his reasoned reaction. A year henceforth, still no feedback. (Still no response today, more than two years later.  Still no reaction today, more than three years later.)

However, the luncheon setting was not conducive to questions and answers, nor comments. So, two days later, at the breakfast gathering of a fairly recently formed International Partnership for Hydrogen Energy (IPHE, which, to my best knowledge was renamed the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, or, maybe the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy), I waited till the end of the briefing and discussion to again toss out the concept of what I then termed the Free Renewable Hydrogen Age. In a nutshell, I asked the stakeholders of IPHE to discuss this concept and, if they determined that the idea was patently ridiculous, please assign someone to e-mail me why. I received wide applause from those in attendance and the meeting ended. This reaction emboldened me to press forth. So I quickly drafted a Free Hydrogen paper and sent it to Graham Pugh of the U.S. Department of Energy and Thorsteinn Sigfusson from Iceland, who were co-chairs for the discussion, and asked for their impressions. More than a year later, no response. (Still none in mid 2008…and none in 2010...and none in 2011.)

The IPHE is ideal for this purpose because it is relatively new, has representatives from the U.S., European Community, Russia, China, India, Japan and other countries -- representing 85% of the world's Gross Domestic Product -- and meets several times each year. I noted, though, that their objectives and goals looked similar to sundry other international agreements of the United Nations and International Energy Agency, and they were already at risk of being bogged down by politics, protocol and assorted conflicts. I have personally been involved with a whole range of these types of activities, and they all just sort of turned into mush. Great for travel, mind you, but essentially ineffective and a huge waste of time.  For example, you are invited to:

IPHE Roundtable with Stakeholders
17 November 2011
Berlin, Germany
Click here for details

16th Steering Committee Meeting
18 November 2011
Berlin, Germany
Click here for details

The 2nd International Workshop on Degradation Issues on Fuel Cells
An IPHE-endorsed event
21-23 September 2011
Thessaloniki, Greece
Click here for details


What they needed to do, I suggested, was forget about evolutionary developments and trying to appease everyone, but, instead, take a revolutionary approach to make a real difference. Start with the possibility of free hydrogen, or something grandly similar, and plot out an optimal strategy to get there.

Such total disregard from experts in the field I guess must mean that they don't think much of the idea, and, worse, might signify that it is so beyond the pale that any reply is unworthy of their status. On the other hand, perhaps, they could not find fault and are paralyzed in their process of analysis. 
More probably, they are all too busy doing more important things. My sense is that the Free and Clean Hydrogen Age is but one of a million solutions with potential, and I remain in reasonable standing among my peers, for the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy has not yet kicked me off their editorial board.  (In fact, I was recently asked by the President of IJHE, Nejat Veziroglu, to review the latest hydrogen book, Carbon-Neutral Fuels and Energy Carriers, co-authored by him, to be published in that Journal.)


(If you want the scientific validity of the Hydrogen Economy, go to SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth, Chapter 3.  Parts 3 and 4 of this continuing series will provide some economic realities, and, perhaps, a better solution.)

Comments (0):  Well, to my surprise, again, there was no response.  So let’s go on to Part 3.

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In the Atlantic, Hurricane Ophelia at 120 MPH is continuing to move north to skirt Newfoundland, then east towards Iceland and Scotland, while Typhoon Nalgae at 90 MPH, after inundating the Philippines, will next head south of Hainan into Vietnam.

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