Can we be next?
if we is the u.s.,
That country rules. Civic pride might just push them all to accept hydrogen powered cars, for the security of not relying on oil. And they still speak Viking!
Hawaii should give it a shot.
Oh, and Ms. Iceland won the Ms World competition too.
If I recall my HS physics correctly, the energy (electricity) required to split the hydrogen (and oxygen) out of water, is greater than the hydrogen, alone, produces; creating a net loss.
If we (the US) had geo-thermal resources, proportionately as great as Iceland’s, we’d be stylin’. Regretfully, we do not. The only way we’re going to get electricity is by some form of polution (coal, NG, nuclear, oil).
Hydro-electric is ‘clean’ resource, and we have a lot of it in the US, but arguably, a lot is lost every time a damn is built; viz-a-viz, Three Gorges, in China.
Ain’t nothin’ comes for free…
BTW, Miss Iceland … HOT! (how ironic is that?)
Youu’ll always have a net loss of energy when you convert it from one form to another. Yes, it is high school thermodynamics.
In this situation the hydrogen is working more like a battery with extremely high energy density than as a fuel like gasoline; it’s gaining chemical potential energy when you split it out of the water, and releases it in a fuel cell in the form of electricity.
It would be nearly impossible to use exclusively renewable resources to produce the amount of hydrogen americans would need for their car lust. I’ve lost track of the number of Land Rovers and Escalades I’ve seen, carrying one frumpy middle-aged woman talking on a cell phone. You’d need solar cells covering almost the whole surface of the united states.
If scientists ever get fusion energy working, we’ll have a relatively safe (except for neutron radiation, which decays quickly) source of electricity that would allow companies to economically absorb the wasted energy in splitting water.
Also, there are other methods of obtaining hydrogen: you can use methanol and a catalytic cracker to extract it on the fly (still produces CO2, but no toxic burn products and it’s renewable), or you can use some of the exotic new aluminum-based catalysts to split the water with much lower energy requirements than normal.
The thing is that we could be running on a hydrogen-based economy today, were it not for the obscenely selfish use of vehicles in western society. If the hydrogen were only needed for public transport, say, or if two people got in every car instead of one, cutting in half the numbers of cars on the road…
Hell, maybe if the USA started paying realistic prices for gas. In canada we pay around USD $3.50 a gallon, and in europe it’s $4-$6 and greater.
Well, the “we” part I was referring to is the U.S.
However, the “next” part, I was alluding to a pipe dream of us kicking the fossil fuel habit.
If anything would help us to do so, it would be refining our process of harnessing solar energy. It’s easily the most abundant source of free energy. And, luckily, the costs have come down to do so. But not low enough…yet.
We are taking baby steps: