portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements portland metro

energy & nuclear

George W.'s Hidden Secret

The Future of Hydrogen Energy
Captain Ozone
Captain Ozone
Why didn't 9/11 serve as a wake up call to all Americans that it is our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and the need to secure it militaristically that is largely the impetus for past and present terrorist aggressions against us. In light of such a realization, if you agree, I would think we would be demanding that our government immediately launch a Manhattan project for the development of a pollution-free, renewable hydrogen economy. Yet we're not. At least not from a majority standpoint. Apparently, the average citizen: A.) Has not come to such a realization. B.) Disagrees with the terrorist link, or C.) Agrees, but is content to maintain the status quo and suppress terrorism by force.

The United States is in a unique position to take the initiative to build a hydrogen economy now. I foresee a hydrogen economy that can be realistically built over a period of a decade, costing $1 trillion dollars. This might seem like a gargantuan expense over a 10-year period, but People's Weekly World News online reports that the Bush administration's 10-year defense plans are projected to total $5.8 trillion dollars over the course of fiscal years 2005-2014!! This is no doubt to finance present and future military operations aimed at securing access to oil in the Middle East. In monetary terms, the Bush administration is willing to spend nearly six times the cost of building the kind of hydrogen economy I foresee, on the continued development of a fossil-fuel economy over the next decade.

Factor in the cost in human lives of maintaining a fossil-fuel economy through wars, not to mention global warming, and it would seem that a calculated decision to stay on the present course in the face of a clear and much more viable alternative energy source would be downright immoral.

The U.S. is an economy of scale currently worth over $11 trillion dollars. On a cost benefit analysis, $1 trillion dollars over a period of a decade would be a small investment considering the huge benefits a hydrogen economy would bring--not just to the US, but to the entire world. That is why I can't understand the following:

Bush has allocated a meager $1.2 billion to hydrogen fuel cell research and development over a period of 4 years. However, according to Fox News, the current war efforts to secure oil in Iraq alone are exceeding $1 billion /per week. Based on actions, continuing dependency on oil is more important to Bush than pursuing alternative energies.

John Kerry was willing to vamp up the Federal research budget on hydrogen fuel cells to $5.5 billion over a period of 4 years (more, but still not enough) and in addition set a goal that by 2020, the U.S. would get 20% of its energy needs from pollution-free, renewable sources. He earned my support with this one issue. And yet he was voted out, which tells me that the issue of hydrogen energy is not all that important to the average American citizen.

Many Americans are ignorant about or content with oil dependency and the military/corporate powers that be (i.e. Bush, Cheney...) are all too eager to foster and cultivate their confusion and cash it in for profit.

To pull the plug on all their confusion, the hydrogen industry needs to build public support and a wide constituency, including elected officials, corporate leaders and investors. We can start by teaching the general public that: A.) Hydrogen fuel is Pollution-Free. B.) Hydrogen fuel is Renewable. C.) Hydrogen fuel will not cause acid rain, ozone depletion, or global warming. D.) Hydrogen fuel can be made from endless supplies of water using solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and tide power.

These simple, reassuring facts are the first message to bring to the general public to generate excitement and support for the hydrogen fuel industry.

In 1999, I starred in America's first television commercial which touted the benefits of hydrogen fuel, reaching millions of viewers. Environmental Media Northwest, the U.S. Department of Energy, and McClure Middle School together produced this commercial. (To view it, go to www.4Hydrogen.com/psa.html and click 'Streaming Video' under 'Hydrogen Girls')

I plan to help produce more pro-hydrogen fuel commercials for television broadcast. My point is that more hydrogen-advocate organizations need to make more hydrogen fuel commercials reaching hundreds of millions of American and Canadian citizens, not only on television, but through radio and on the World Wide Web. If we hydrogen advocates pool our resources together and create pro-hydrogen multi-media commercials, the majority of American and Canadian citizens might no longer be ignorant and content with oil dependency and the war on terrorism. Watch my video documentary at: www.captainozone.com.

homepage: homepage: http://www.captainozone.com

add a comment on this article

it takes energy to create pure hydrogen for the fuel cells 11.Feb.2005 09:40

CaptainPlanet

It takes a lot of energy to create pure hydrogen, the fuel for fuel cells. Hydrogen combines immediately with other atoms in the environment, and is most commonly found in water as the H in H20. There are situations in which a hydrogen-fueled economy can work. Iceland is committed to becoming totally free of petroleum, and has begun creating the infrastructure to power busses, cars, trains, planes, and ships using hydrogen fuel cells. Iceland, however, has the unique advantage of having abundant geothermal power sources and plenty of coast where the power of ocean waves can be harvested:
 http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/15/7/10/1

I think the main solution would be for people to just use LESS energy. Biking for transportation, heating less in winter and not using air conditioning in summer (when appropriate, food stores must keep food to a minimum temperature for example), all these things will reduce the need to create more power. There is not yet any such thing as environmentally benign power generation. Hydroelectric systems harm fish, solar panels are very toxic and energy-consuming to manufacture, windmills take up land and often harm birds as well as taking up a lot of energy to manufacture...

I'm not saying we should go back to a stone tools and living in caves lifestyle. But, c'mon people... use of resources has gotten a bit excessive. We use energy, literally, like there's no tomorrow.

Hydrogen good storage fuel but not a staple of energy 11.Feb.2005 10:03

Sephiroth

Hydrogen would be great for automobiles and anything that currently uses gasoline or some other quick-burn fuel, but since it takes more total energy to make hydrogen than we can get out of it, the bulk of a renewable economy should probably be built on solar, wind and maybe some more geothermal. I admired Kerry's energy plan even if it was too little too slowly, it shows that he understood the basic problem and at least was willing to make a move.

Average citizen and atomic energy 11.Feb.2005 10:52

politics as impossible

The average citizen believes (or knows?) that he or she is powerless. That's the average American these days. So the average citizen will go for the okeydoke, which will be atomic energy for the production of hydrogen. And that may be, at this point, a big secret -- but wait for peak oil and watch nuke plants sprout like mushrooms across North America.

(I am not prejudging the actual issue of whether atomic energy is feasible, considering the long-range pollution problems. Note that the founder of the gaia movement has more or less endorsed nuke plants in order to make a soft landing after peak oil, Also, that almost all electrical power in France is produced by nuke plants and has been such for decades --- without a single serious accident or incident. I repeat that I am not prejudging this matter, or proposing a nuke solution, it's just my cynicism telling me that what I think (and the ultimate facts as to the possibility of a non-polluting nuclear era) does not matter or affect whether civilization will attempt a nuclear era (within which fuel cells powered by hydrogen, or something like it, will play a major role).