Re: hydrogen powered planes

From: (Richard Shevell)
Organization: Stanford University, Dept. of Aero/Astro
Date:         16 Nov 95 03:48:39 
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In article <airliners.1995.1810@ohare.Chicago.COM>, (Gaia  1)

> When is the aviation industry going to be serious about the looming
> shortage of fossil fuels and their disastrous effects on the atmosphere--
> CO2 contributes over 59% of the greenhouse gases to global warming?
> How long have particulalry those communities that suffer most from large
> airports with their concomitant noise, land, water and airpollution wait
> for a fuel cell powered airplane????
Hydrogen is a non-starter for aircraft.

It takes more fossil energy to produce the liquid hydrogen required for
aircraft than  it does to just burn the fossil fuel in the aircraft
turbines. So it does not save fossil fuel.

The pollution produced producing the liquid hydrogen is probably worse than
that produced by the fossil fuel burning aircraft.  It is just moved to a
different place.

If excess nuclear fuel sources were available, then they could be used to
make the hydrogen.  Even then it would be better to use the nuclear energy
for ground use to save fossil fuel.  Then when you still have excess
nuclear energy on hand, you might use it for hydrogen production for mobile

Since nuclear energy availability looks grim, hydrogen is not on the

If you want to use the hydrogen floating in the oceans, one can grasp the
difficulty of extracting it by thinking of water as rusted hydrogen. ( a
thought I learned from an unknown Princeton physics professor about 20
years ago)

Richard Shevell