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September 25, 2012

Mtg: Fuel Cells, Hydrogen and the California Carbon Mandate

by @ 2:35 pm. Filed under ALL, Electrical/Power, Electronics Design, Engineering Mgmt

WEDNESDAY November 14, 2012
OEB Life Members
Speaker: Prof. Donald Anthrop, San Jose State University (retired)
Time: Networking and buffet dinner at 6:00 PM; Presentation following
Cost: $15
Place: Willow Tree Restaurant, 6513 Regional St, Dublin
RSVP: from website

For the environmentalists convinced that global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions will destroy the planet, motor vehicles powered by fuel cells operating on hydrogen seemed like a sure way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.? Prodded by the big environmental organizations, and lacking any knowledge of thermodynamics, in 2004 former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his so-called California Hydrogen Highways plan that set a goal of 100 statewide fueling stations by 2010 and a longer tern goal of 250 stations.? According to the US Department of Energy, there are currently 23 stations in the state.
The environmental lobby would like us to believe that the only impediment to their brave new world of hydrogen-powered vehicles is a lack of refueling stations.? To the contrary, the real problem lies in the production of hydrogen.
The actual energy required to produce a kg of hydrogen by electrolysis of water is 56.3 kw-hrs.? After subtracting the energy required to compress the gas for use in a motor vehicle, the energy obtained from the reaction of a kg of hydrogen in a fuel cell is only 17.4 kw-hrs.? There are about 19.8 million automobiles and 14 million light trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles registered in California.? If all of the automobiles were small cars like the Chevy Volt, about 260 billion kw-hrs of electrical energy would be required to produce and compress the hydrogen needed to power this fleet of fuel cell vehicles.? This electrical energy is equivalent to about one-third of the total annual nuclear generation in the U.S.? To produce this hydrogen would require construction of about 35,000 Mw of new nuclear generation, which is equivalent to 17 new Diablo Canyon plants.
Replacing the entire fleet of 19.8 million cars with fuel cell vehicles would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 73 million tons â?? just 0.2 percent of the world total â?? provided no fossil fuels were used to produce the hydrogen.

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