We HAVE to stop the drumbeat about fuel cell cars, take a step back, and remember where hydrogen comes from: OIL. That’s the only efficient industrial process we have right now to obtain the hydrogen gas that powers fuel cells, and the prospects for creating anything else good anytime soon are very, very slim. Before we granola liberals all go hopping on the fuel cell bandwagon, we need to remember that this doesn’t do jack to decrease foreign dependence on oil–nor fossil fuel emissions, since the process that creats the hydrogen burns a ton of coal. Fuel cell cars are not the answer to the problem.
Great point, anonymous, and as granola-liberal global warming expert Daniel Becker from the Sierra Club says in the article, the fuel cell hype should not distract us from the need to reduce harmful emissions using conservation and the technological tools at our disposal right now. I wasn’t really trying to comment positively or negatively on the prospects of fuel cells as a viable ‘alternative’ to IC engines, but on the advertising strategy of taking what has (rightly or wrongly) been considered an environmentalist issue and making it appeal to conservatives who deplore the U.S.’s foreign oil dependency.
But it’s really interesting that the crucial technical detail you bring to our attention is missing from the article itself, which simply describes fuel cell production as the product of a chemical reaction without describing the detrimental impacts of the prodection method. (for those of us looking to educate ourselves a smidge on the topic, wikipedia is our friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell) The sense I got from the article is that the challenge is seeing whether fuel cells, once produced, will work in cars–there’s no mention anywhere in the article of a need to address problems in fuel cell manufacturing. You’re absolutely right: people do need to realize the facts behind the buzzwords; fortunately for us, you’ve done a better job than the writer of the article at providing us with the pertinent facts.
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