From: email@example.com (Terrell D. Drinkard) Organization: The Boeing Company Date: 29 Nov 95 01:36:16 References: 1 2 3
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In article <airliners.1995.1845@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Christian F. Goetze <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >In article <airliners.1995.1818@ohare.Chicago.COM> email@example.com (Richard Shevell) writes: > >> 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. > >Who was talking about using fossil fuel to generate hydrogen? How >about solar energy? Fossil fuels are used to manufacture solar cells. Last time I checked on that technology, 1988 or so, it still took more fossil fuel energy to manufacture a solar cell, than a solar cell would generate over its expected economic life. I rather hope things have improved some in the last eight years, but I wouldn't bet the mortgage on it. >> [argument relying on the use of fossil fuel and nuclear energy deleted] > >> 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) > >Nice analogy, but irrelevant. The point is that you produce the >hydrogen where solar energy is abundant (e.g. north africa) and then >transport it to wherever you need it - just the same way as oil is >being shipped around the world. There are major safety concerns with that plan. There is not a single port in the entire world that would let a tanker filled with hydrogen dock anywhere near them. Gasoline tankers give ports the willies, and you are proposing putting a *far* more flammible gas in their facilities. Good luck. >I don't deny that there are technical difficulties involved, but >simply dismissing hydrogen in a knee-jerk response is definitly not >going to solve the very real problem of global warming and fossil fuel >depletion. No one is dismissing hydrogen as a knee-jerk response. There are a lot of very talented, and very well informed engineers who have studied this possibility, and it just doesn't stack up against fossil fuels. So, unless something major changes in the near future, don't expect to see any hydrogen powered aircraft. >I maintain that the reasons why this isn't happening yet are mostly >political. There are two major reasons why nothing major is being done. Economics and airplane performance. If it were merely political, your whining would have some hope of eventually succeeding. As it is, there is no pressing economic argument to change fuels. The cost of developing a totally separate fuel infrastructure, one for hydrogen, is staggering. The cost, quite literally, would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. At that, we'd be getting off cheap just doing the jet transports, which by the way, contribute less than 5% of all your global warming gases, IIRC. The lower energy density of gaseous hydrogen fuel has a severe effect on airplane range. The weight penalty for insulation to handle the liquid hydrogen fuel would have much the same effect. Or did you have in mind something like metallic hydrogen? Not that anyone knows how to store, ship, or handle metallic hydrogen fuel. And we haven't even brought up design standards or the test data to back them up. Jet fuel in the United States runs less than $0.60 per US gallon. What would your hydrogen fuel cost? Who will pay for it? Who will pay for and maintain hydrogen fuel tanks at airports all around the world? What about turboprops? Do they have to use hydrogen fuel, too? In closing, I'd like to say that moving to a hydrogen fuel *someday* sounds like a promising idea. However, the technology is not here yet. Moreover, there needs to be some pressing need to develop the technology, and there isn't one. Terry -- Terry firstname.lastname@example.org "Anyone who thinks they can hold the company responsible for what I say has more lawyers than sense."