Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Friday, 11 November 2005

THE 'ENERGY-CARRIER' MYTH

How often do you read nowadays that hydrogen is not a fuel or a source of energy, just an energy carrier? The ultimate version of that nonsense has been reported in the Korean Herald (4/11/2005), where Kim Yeon-ji is quoted as saying, 'Actually, hydrogen is not an energy source, but an energy carrier largely dependent on fossil fuels such as natural gas.'

The woman is barmy, misinformed or ignorant, or all three. First, if hydrogen is not a fuel, how is it that it burns (at 2000 degrees Celsius)? And how is it that we can put it through a device called a fuel-cell and get electricity and heat? And how is it that in both cases it oxidises, to form hydrogen oxide (commonly known as water)? How is it that the Space Shuttle blasts off on a tank of hydrogen, a tank that NASA calls a fuel-tank? That's no carrier. That's a fuel. A carrier is a carrier. It carries, but is itself unchanged--like a truck carrying a parcel or a wire carrying a current. But the hydrogen becomes a compound: water. That's no carrier. That's a fuel.

The 'carrier' myth is just misinformation on steroids. After all, we knows that it's only da Boys from de Black Stuff what can supply us with fuel. Right?? ;-) So anything else has to be called something else. ;-) Right? Not a fuel. Never a fuel. No, no, no. So, enter Giant FUD, stage-left. Surprise, surprise...

But what makes her version even worse nonsense of the ultimate kind is that Kim Yeon-ji says the main source of hydrogen is natural gas (which will earn her a big kiss, or ki$$, or both, from the Black Stuff Boys), which means she is ignoring the recent discovery of the electrolyis of water (actually it was 1800, but perhaps she is bit behind with her reading). She also overlooks/ignores the small-but-important fact that if hydrogen is extracted from natural gas, petrol, coal--any hydrocarbon, even methanol--you get carbon-dioxide as a byproduct, and we need more of that on this planet like we need bullets in the head. Even worse, the hydrogen made that way combines with the oxygen in the air thus further reducing its present percentage of just under 21%. If we keep reducing it, as we are, we will get down to 18% or below, at which point we all die of asphyxiation.

Which makes it very dangerous misinformation on very nasty steroids.

Remember that old joke/urban myth about the man who invented a car that would run on water, but the oil companies bought him out so that it would never get to market? But it is no joke and no myth for us all to be living the middle of a situation in which the Bad Boys from the Black Stuff ARE trying to buy a monopoly on the hydrogen future that will be far more damaging to the planet and all who live on it than their present insane monopoly on global energy (they're insane to want to destroy the planet and we're insane to support them while they do it).