Many believe that hydrogen is the energy source of the future and that
hydrogen is the solution to the coming energy crisis. There are numerous books, magazine articles,
and websites extolling hydrogen's virtues. The Bush Administration
supports the idea with the "Freedom Car and Fuel
Initiative." They envision an energy economy where hydrogen
replaces oil. The new "hydrogen economy" would produce no
green house gasses and there would be no need to import Middle East oil
and gas. This sounds like utopia.
However, the hydrogen economy idea breaks down
when examined in the light of engineering, physics, and chemistry.
Hydrogen economy proponents seem to overlook the fact that hydrogen
is only a carrier of energy--energy that has to come from somewhere.
In addition, hydrogen is not a convenient
carrier of energy. To be useful for trucks, automobiles, and
anything else that moves, hydrogen must be liquefied or compressed to increase the energy density.
In either case the tanks are very expensive. Hydrogen can be transported by
truck, ship, or pipeline but at a cost much greater compared to oil.