Re: hydrogen powered planes

From:         rma@winternet.com (Rich Ahrens)
Organization: StarNet Communications, Inc
Date:         29 Nov 95 01:36:14 
References:   1 2
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Steve Lacker (slacker@arlut.utexas.edu) wrote:
: I eagerly awaited just *one* bright schoolkid to say "But sir, where does the
: hydrogen come from? How many *hundreds* of pounds of coal does a powerplant
: have to burn to split enough water for H2 for this bus to operate for one day?
: How inefficient is it for us to burn coal to boil water to spin a turbine to
: turn a generator to send electricity through several transformers to split
: water (losing energy as waste heat along the whole chain)to make H2 and O2
: which then get consumed in a less-than-100% efficient fuel cell to make
: electricity to turn a motor, rather than just work a little more on the diesel
: or jet engine? Or I guess we could just use nuclear energy to generate the
: electricity... (but what a stir THAT comment might cause!)"

We're getting awfully far afield here, particularly with the political
commentary I didn't quote. But if this anti-green sentiment is going to
be allowed here, I think it only fair to point out that there are other
means of producing the necessary energy, such as direct solar (not even
mentioning photvoltaics here, as the technology may not be efficient
enough yet) and geothermal, which produce far less emissions than burning
fossil fuels even taking full life cycles into consideration.

(None of which should be taken as an endorsement of the original
proposal for liquid hydrogen aircraft.)

--
Rich Ahrens
rma@winternet.com
Homepage: http://www.winternet.com/~rma/
  "I used to be disgusted...now I try to be amused..."  E. Costello