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wrapping my brain around it [May. 8th, 2003|02:38 pm]
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I'm trying to wrap my brain around Lieberman's energy platform. He's proposing that we will invest huge sums of money to utilize our coal resources to convert to a hydrogen economy. From what I can gather, coal is about 4-6% hydrogen by weight, and crude oil is about 12-16% hydrogen by weight. Naively, it would seem that coal is a poorer choice for sourcing hydrogen, but I have no idea if coal can be mined at a significantly lower cost and/or is available in greater supply. Is Alaskan oil or Midwestern coal a better source for hydrogen? Do we want a hydrogen economy? Note: I realize hydrogen would not be derived directly from fossil fuels such as coal or oil, but indirectly by combustion and hydrolysis. I just haven't sat down and thought about it yet.

I'm also intrigued that there is enough tidal energy available under the Golden Gate bridge to supply twice the electrical demand of San Francisco, and that the capital investment for this would work out to less than what SF currently pays for electricity over a six year depreciation period. Why hasn't this happened yet?

Opinions welcome.

[User Picture]From: bootpunk
2003-05-09 11:42 am (UTC)
Well, if its anything like the UK then the US probably sees 97% of its non-fossil fuel subsidies going to the nuclear lobby. They have a vested interest in keeping things that way. I would imagine that a tidal power scheme in the Severn could probably supply at least half of the UK's energy needs.

Side note - as an undergraduate, I studied under Stephen Salter, lead inventor of Salter's Duck. A project that could have put the UK in the forefront of a technological field, which was left to die. Well, why break the pattern of the last century - only this time no-one came along and picked it up afterwards. Prof Salter was one of the most amazingly brillant people I have ever met, a true engineering genius.
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