Sunday, October 01, 2006

Let’s Face the Facts on Fueling Transportation

Earlier this year, William I. "Griff" Griffith, Ph.D., a recently retired research scientist at the Michelin Americas Research and Development Corporation, analyzed fuel cell technology in an essay entitled, Let’s Face the Facts on Fueling Transportation. Griff anayzes modern automotive diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and hydrogen fuel cells as solutions to our growing energy challenges. He concludes:
The Bush administration made the decision several years ago to push the concept of the Hydrogen Economy, and many research dollars were moved to support that effort. While intriguing, the Hydrogen Economy will require multiple breakthroughs at every phase described above, and if breakthroughs are not available in any key area, the concept is unlikely to succeed. Nevertheless, the idea is sufficiently interesting to continue the research, in spite of some of its very vocal and knowledgeable critics, such as ex CIA director turned energy analyst James Woolsey who proposed the following three points regarding the Hydrogen Economy in January of 2006, “Forget Hydrogen, Forget Hydrogen, Forget Hydrogen!” Unfortunately, there is no way that the Hydrogen Economy will save us from our present energy crisis. For this we must pursue a variety of paths, and for transportation I believe I have outlined the two most obvious, modern diesel engines and the evolution of the HEV into the PHEV.


Rick Glessman said...

Well said by a pretty knowledgeable scientist. After reading "The Hype about Hydrogen" by Joseph Romm (HIGHLY recommended) , I came to the same conclusion. What seems so bizarre is why our "leadership" is espousing a technology that is optimistically 15-20 years away instead of encouraging technologies that are available, proven and do not require a complete infrastructure revolution. What the heck, while we wait for the Hydrogen miracle, lets drill for oil in the Alaska said...

Hi, We need a near term alternative. Every approach relies on an Electric motor to propel or assist the propulsion. Better motor technolgy will have an immediate and long lasting payoff. Advances in variable field P.M.motors were made at NASA/GSFC forty years ago when energy in space was precious. but have been overlooked ever since. They are needed now.