Bunker Mulligan has an excellent post today about the realities of switching to a Hydrogen Economy.
He makes a very good point on how switching to hydrogen as a fuel now would not really solve the problems of emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
The overarching problem for modern industry and humanity is to find a source of energy that is as cheap and easy to use, produce and store as fossil fuels. Hydrogen may be it, but we still would need to “produce” hydrogen… the most “renewable” way would be to get it from our waste water. Imagine a “treatment” plant that not only cleans up our waste water before it is released back into the environment, but also grabs a portion of that water and converts it to Hydrogen for use as a fuel.
The challenge may seem insurmountable, but in some cases it is our own perceptions and biases that keep us from adopting cleaner technologies.
Nuclear Power is the obvious example. Here is a technology that could conceivably power the globe, yet due to security and disposal concerns it has never taken off. The reality is that todays nuclear power stations have an incredibly good safety record and the disposal issue is slowly being worked out (i have links that I need to dig up, I’ll get them in a bit).
Aside from nuclear there is of course the possibility of using Solar and Wind energy to drive mechanisms to produce hydrogen.
We need to work on finding these processes and developing them as well as educating ourselves to the realities of todays technologies so that we have as many options as we can to ween ourselves from the Oil economy.