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Hydrogen cars hold expensive surprises
The Globe and Mail ^ | Friday, Jul. 18, 2003 | STEPHEN STRAUSS

Posted on 07/18/2003 11:15:37 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou

Green-spirited individuals hoping to do their part to save the environment by buying hydrogen-fuelled cars next year are in for expensive and rude surprises, a study by a Canadian and a U.S. scientist says.

Establishing an infrastructure to fuel hydrogen cars, touted by their proponents as a wonder solution to global warming and smog, would cost $5,000 per vehicle, says the study by David Keith, a Canadian atmospheric physicist teaching at Carnegie Mellon University and Alex Farrell of the California Institute of Technology.

Although cars operating on hydrogen fuel cells emit only water vapor, switching to hydrogen would be about 100 times more expensive than simply making present cars less polluting, they say.

Although hydrogen cars would not emit the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, making power plants cleaner burning could achieve the same effect at 1/10 the cost, says the paper published today in the U.S. journal Science.

Many factors conspire to drive up the price of the hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, which the Ford Motor Co. will begin to sell in a limited way in Vancouver next year.

Transporting and storing the difficult-to-contain hydrogen gas is one.

But equally important is dealing with the byproducts formed by the creation of hydrogen, considered a "clean fuel." Hydrogen is currently made as an offshoot of oil and coal refining. But this process creates a huge amount of carbon dioxide.

No one is sure how to keep that carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere and heating up the planet.

"Hydrogen cars should be seen as one of several long-term options, but they make no sense anytime soon," the research paper says.

Prof. Keith was more scathing in an interview.

"My take-home message is that hydrogen cars are to some extent a technological solution in search of a problem. People are attracted to them because they appear to be a magic answer to a whole series of problems. But if you turn the question around and ask, 'What is my problem and what what are reasonably cost-effective solutions,' . . . A hydrogen fuel-cell car is not an early part of any cost-effective solution to any of your problems."

Given this uncertainty, he added that the Canadian support of hydrogen-fuel research, notably at the National Research Centre in Vancouver and through subsidies for hydrogen industries, such as Ballard Power Systems Inc., also in Vancouver, might prove to be the proverbial pig in a poke.

"One of the issues, right or wrong, is Canada betting on a hydrogen horse that is actually going to end up running anywhere? I think one should be very skeptical, despite all the hype."

Defenders of what is sometimes called the "hydrogen economy" said the paper's analysis misses several important points, one being the increase in the cost of gasoline.

"Today, fossil fuels are relatively cheap. When we use up half the supply of the world's oil, the price is going to shoot up. Will that be 2010 or 2020 or 2037? Nobody knows for sure," said Jeremy Rifkin, a Washington-D.C.-based economist and author of the recent book The Hydrogen Economy.

Ron Venter, a University of Toronto engineering professor and a vice-president of the Canadian Hydrogen Association, points out that North American car companies are experimenting with the clean and localized production of hydrogen by using electricity to break down water and thus circumvent the carbon dioxide-storage issue.

Ballard spokesman Mike Rosenberg said his company is aware that the present car and improvements to it are their chief competitors. "But we think we will overtake the internal-combustion engine eventually."



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: carbondioxide; co2; economics; emvironment; energy; energylist; fuelcells; hydrogen; infrastructure
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Seems to be some trouble in the Hydrogen Utopia.

Enjoy.

1 posted on 07/18/2003 11:15:38 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou
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To: All
Thank you very much!
Thank you very much!
That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me.
It isn't every day
good fortune comes me way!
I never thought the future would be fun for me!
And if I had a bugle
I would blow it to add a sort
o' how's your father's touch.
But since I left me bugle at home
I simply have to say
Thank you very, very, very much!
Thank you very, very, very much!

Thank you for your donation!


2 posted on 07/18/2003 11:16:29 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
"North American car companies are experimenting with the clean and localized production of hydrogen by using electricity to break down water and thus circumvent the carbon dioxide-storage issue."

No, not "circumvent," merely "disguise." 80% of the electricity in North America comes from the burning of fossil fuels and thus the production of CO2. Anyone advocating a "hydrogen economy" is either secretly pushing nuclear power (like Bush and Cheney) or is a buffoon (like Jeremy Rifkin).

3 posted on 07/18/2003 11:21:54 PM PDT by Fabozz
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To: Fabozz
No, not "circumvent," merely "disguise." 80% of the electricity in North America comes from the burning of fossil fuels and thus the production of CO2.

-----------------

The energy use employed to produce the hydrogen would be catastrophic.

4 posted on 07/18/2003 11:29:14 PM PDT by RLK
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To: Fabozz
I think the real propeller heads envision solar pannels on each roof converting water into H &O2. The problems there are the amount you could make at home would get you to the cornner maybe in 12hrs. Another problem seems to me would be O2 poisoning the atmosphere. If everyone did this there would be too much O2 released into the air. I fear O2 poisoning and fires that couldn't be extinguished. Fires would be the only way to burn up the extra O2 to save whats left of the planet. Fire= CO2? Wasn't that the first problem?
5 posted on 07/18/2003 11:29:24 PM PDT by chuckles
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To: Fabozz
I like nuclear power .... I just wish that I had one behind the back yard.
6 posted on 07/18/2003 11:38:18 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (We are crushing our enemies, seeing him driven before us and hearing the lamentations of the liberal)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Although hydrogen cars would not emit the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, making power plants cleaner burning could achieve the same effect at 1/10 the cost, says the paper published today in the U.S. journal Science.

Hydrogen is currently made as an offshoot of oil and coal refining. But this process creates a huge amount of carbon dioxide.

Bwaaahaaahaaahaahaaa!

7 posted on 07/18/2003 11:43:13 PM PDT by Luke Skyfreeper
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Hydrogen is currently made as an offshoot of oil and coal refining.

Repeat as often as necessary until you get it.

8 posted on 07/18/2003 11:52:31 PM PDT by marron
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To: PeaceBeWithYou

9 posted on 07/18/2003 11:53:06 PM PDT by BenLurkin (Socialism is slavery.)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
>>the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide<<

CO2 is now "potent"? Give me a break! If the goal of hydrogen power is to reduce CO2 emmisions, then we are fools. Global temperatures are beyond our control.

It is ridiculous to build an infrastructure for widespread use of hydrogen fuel. Alternative fuels are only practical for local fleet use, where the fuel and qualified maintenance personnel and supplies can be centrally located.

Is there not one person in public life with any sense at all?!
10 posted on 07/19/2003 2:15:33 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This tagline has been suspended or banned.)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Hydrogen cars hold expensive surprises

So does my current car.

11 posted on 07/19/2003 3:37:10 AM PDT by HAL9000
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To: *Energy_List
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
12 posted on 07/19/2003 3:42:12 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: farmfriend
Ping
13 posted on 07/19/2003 3:42:23 AM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou; AAABEST; Ace2U; Alamo-Girl; Alas; amom; AndreaZingg; Anonymous2; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.

14 posted on 07/19/2003 3:50:17 AM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: farmfriend
BTTT!!!!!!
15 posted on 07/19/2003 3:54:28 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
These libs throw this out as if is established fact:

"No one is sure how to keep that carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere and heating up the planet."

16 posted on 07/19/2003 3:55:31 AM PDT by HighWheeler
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To: chuckles
I lke CO2, it puts bubbles in my soda and Champagne.
17 posted on 07/19/2003 4:02:01 AM PDT by appeal2
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
"Today, fossil fuels are relatively cheap. When we use up half the supply of the world's oil, the price is going to shoot up. Will that be 2010 or 2020 or 2037? Nobody knows for sure," said Jeremy Rifkin, a Washington-D.C.-based economist and author of the recent book The Hydrogen Economy.

I wonder if anyone asked the tired hack, Rifkin, if this would happen before or after the ice age? ..or the ice caps melting? ..or any of the other scare scenarios he's promoted through the years.

18 posted on 07/19/2003 4:03:20 AM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Hindenburg-mobiles, Oh the humanity!
19 posted on 07/19/2003 4:11:14 AM PDT by Salman
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Here's a tidbit on a hydrogen car I saw.

It was the early 60's in wealthy burbs north of Detroit. I was driving with Dad and he pointed it out "Oh there's ***, that car is powered by hydrogen". I don't recall ***'s name, but Dad said he was head of GM Tech.

Now the first thing I said was "Dad, that's guy's drivin a rolling bomb, he could take out the neighborhood!" Then Dad said, "oh it's a bomb alright, *** told me it has very impressive acceleration, as to being explosive, it doesn't store the hydrogen. I bumped into him at the Mobil station at Long Lake and Woodward where he was cleaning his windshield and had a look under the hood. Two thick walled pint nalgene canisters, one of hydogen peroxide the other of hydrochloic acid. (Dad explained which dripped into which, but I don't recall). So it goes from the second canister straight to the injectors". Guy was also bragging it went 3 months on one fill up.

Now I'm not a chemist, but having grown up in Detriot I can guarantee that if you develop something like this and don't sell it to one of the Big3 when they come calling (who will without doubt add it to a long list other fuel "saving" improvements lining their circular dead files), you will find yourself wearing some mighty heavy shoes and taking on water very rapidly.

So much for integrity in that town. btw, In searching the net high and low for any info on this 64' Tornado this interesting link came up.

http://www.freeenergy.co.za/1think/supressed/suppressed.htm
20 posted on 07/19/2003 4:34:55 AM PDT by Joined2Justify (Smoke screens were/are bought by the Oil/Auto cartel.)
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To: BenLurkin
Addison Bain, a former NASA scientist and an expert on hydrogen, has made a very good case that the Hindenburg tragedy was not due to the flammability of hydrogen, but rather the extremely flammable coatings on the skin of the airship which were ignited when electrical charges building up on skin caused a spark. There was a TV show a couple of years ago where Bain demonstrated this using a piece of the original skin of the Hindenburg. He applied a spark and it went up in flames. Apparently, when hydrogen burns, the flames are largely invisible. Reference
21 posted on 07/19/2003 4:36:36 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
I really love the fact that these "greenies" don't ever address the fact that these cars will cause a huge toxic problem with BATTERY disposals. You will never hear of this problem due to much larger batteries or the need for many batteries per vehicle.
22 posted on 07/19/2003 5:27:37 AM PDT by DH
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
I've listened to hydrogen fuel pushers, and the money would all stay in our economy. Money for fossil fuel goes directly to the Arabs to spread Muslim murder and hatred worldwide.
23 posted on 07/19/2003 6:00:17 AM PDT by tkathy
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
""But we think we will overtake the internal-combustion engine eventually.""

PBWY, They need a new "spokesman". The hydrogen cars use internal combustion too. Peace and love, George.

24 posted on 07/19/2003 7:42:31 AM PDT by George Frm Br00klyn Park (FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Explosive?

Oooops.
Sorry... I read that wrong.

Never mind.

25 posted on 07/19/2003 7:45:00 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
"Today, fossil fuels are relatively cheap. When we use up half the supply of the world's oil, the price is going to shoot up. Will that be 2010 or 2020 or 2037? Nobody knows for sure," said Jeremy Rifkin, a Washington-D.C.-based economist and author of the recent book The Hydrogen Economy.

Pure hogwash, in his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist (Cambridge University Press), author Bjorn Lomberg points out that $40 per barrel oil will immediately increase world reserves from a 40 years supply to 250 years because vast known oil shale deposits will become economically viable.

And it's domestically produced. Place a $40/BBL tariff on imported oil and put Saudi Arabia out of bussiness forever. Use the resulting $90 Billion/yr to reduce income taxes. I tend to be a free trader and libertarian, but the current situation puts us at the mercy of savages.

26 posted on 07/19/2003 8:04:36 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets ("ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS, WE PRINT")
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To: Joined2Justify
Guy was also bragging it went 3 months on one fill up.

He couldn't be driving too much. The energy density in this mixture is much poorer than gasoline - maybe got 10 miles per gallon. And of course there are vast reserves of hydrocloric acid and hydrogen peroxide sitting untapped in Rocky Mountains. Don't ask about the by products.

27 posted on 07/19/2003 8:10:15 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets ("ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS, WE PRINT")
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To: Joined2Justify
. Two thick walled pint nalgene canisters, one of hydogen peroxide the other of hydrochloic acid. (Dad explained which dripped into which, but I don't recall).

Could conceivably power, maybe, a rather small amatuer liquid fueled rocket. There is only so much energy in any chemical fuel, and that energy is calculable. The amount of energy nescessary to move a given weight of machinery a given distance is also calculable. Even two pints of a very high energy fuel such as nitroglycerine would not power a car for three months. All of these "super carburetor" and magic fuel sclaims are so much BS.

28 posted on 07/19/2003 8:19:16 AM PDT by templar
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
From a scientific point of view this article is wrong. The worst offending greenhouse gas is water vapor. A water molecule traps more heat and accounts for more atmosphereic gas than does carbon dioxide. Putting more of it into the atmosphere will only make matters worse.
29 posted on 07/19/2003 8:30:23 AM PDT by stig
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
"... potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide ...."

Senator Barbara Boxer said today that the EPA has just advised her that humans also emit the potent carbon dioxide when breathing --- so she will ask for studies by the EPA into ways to reduce this potent emission by humans.

30 posted on 07/19/2003 8:43:30 AM PDT by gatex
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To: BenLurkin
The Hidenburg wasn't made up of hydrogen, that was helium.
31 posted on 07/19/2003 8:49:39 AM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: chuckles
Fires would be the only way to burn up the extra O2 to save whats left of the planet.

I believe the 02 would be consumed when the hydrogen is recombined with oxygen (back into water) to produce the energy.

32 posted on 07/19/2003 8:54:24 AM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
It's strange that so many people are dissing hydrogen fuel. A small hydrogen fuel cell may eventually power homes and get us off the grid.
33 posted on 07/19/2003 8:58:43 AM PDT by Consort
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
The Hidenburg wasn't made up of hydrogen, that was helium.

You sure? I thought the Germans used H because the US was keeping He from the Germans for other (security) reasons.
34 posted on 07/19/2003 8:58:51 AM PDT by plsvn
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Any engineer knows that Hydrogen is a lousy choice for fuel. It is widely available, but it makes for lousy returns on effort and costs.
35 posted on 07/19/2003 9:03:52 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican (Helping Mexicans invade America is TREASON!)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
The Hidenburg wasn't made up of hydrogen, that was helium.

Not true. The Hindenberg used hydrogen which was initially blamed for the disaster. Subsequent investigations have advanced the possibility that the treatment applied to the skin of the dirigible was the true cause.

36 posted on 07/19/2003 9:25:07 AM PDT by Bob
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To: Consort
It's strange that so many people are dissing hydrogen fuel.

People aren't dissing the hydrogen fuel itself so much as the pie-in-the-sky claims that it will solve every energy problem known to man.

A small hydrogen fuel cell may eventually power homes and get us off the grid.

Yes, one of them may eventually do just that but it's going to take a major technological breakthrough or two to make that possible.

37 posted on 07/19/2003 9:31:25 AM PDT by Bob
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To: Consort
It's strange that so many people are dissing hydrogen fuel. A small hydrogen fuel cell may eventually power homes and get us off the grid.

I agree.
38 posted on 07/19/2003 11:19:56 AM PDT by tkathy
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To: plsvn
What were the other security reasons surrounding He(he said in a high squeaky voice) ?
39 posted on 07/19/2003 11:33:23 AM PDT by norraad
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To: tkathy
Money for fossil fuel goes directly to the Arabs to spread Muslim murder and hatred worldwide.

It's long been a dream of mine to see the Arab countries lose their oil riches and go back to fighting each other over sand and camel routes. Sorry, I know that doesn't sound very Christian of me, but Arab/Muslim fanaticism has been a pox on the planet for decades, all because they started getting weapons and oil revenue.

I love all those "smoking pot funds terror" commercials. It's much closer to the truth to say that driving our cars funds terror.

40 posted on 07/19/2003 12:44:13 PM PDT by kezekiel
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To: norraad
What were the other security reasons surrounding He(he said in a high squeaky voice) ?

I'm not a history buff, but I seem to recall reading or hearing that He wasn't exported for security reasons. I'm hoping someone better versed in the history of the times could confirm this.
41 posted on 07/19/2003 4:15:58 PM PDT by plsvn
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To: plsvn
From a Wired.com article on current lighter-than-air developments:

Most baby boomers have heard the radio announcer's wail: "Oh the humanity! The humanity!" Some have even seen the film footage of the Hindenburg's crash, which occurred in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937. Those records of the catastrophe sealed the fate of these airships, even though the Hindenburg fire was an anomaly; hydrogen-lift ships rarely ignited.

Even so, Germany had long been cognizant of the gas' potential for combustion, and began negotiating with the US in the 1920s to import helium, which is 7 percent heavier than hydrogen but has the distinct advantage of not blowing up. (At the time, the US controlled the entire world supply of helium.) By 1937, political tensions in Europe prompted the US to hoard the gas, forcing the Germans to fill the Hindenburg with hydrogen.

Emphasis mine.

42 posted on 07/19/2003 4:37:48 PM PDT by Bob
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To: Chemist_Geek
ping
43 posted on 07/19/2003 4:41:41 PM PDT by The Energizer
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
>Don't ask about the by products.<

I think you're right. Producing either of these in quantity has not been known to be all that clean of an event...

Maybe there could be a "clean" way, but til now has been tossed as "not economical".
44 posted on 07/19/2003 8:12:04 PM PDT by Joined2Justify (Smoke screens were/are bought by the Oil/Auto cartel.)
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To: Consort
A small hydrogen fuel cell may eventually power homes and get us off the grid.

Yes, but where do you get the hydrogen for that fuel cell?

That's right...from LP (liquid petroleum) gas or natural gas. That's what GE's home fuel cell unit runs on.

45 posted on 07/19/2003 8:21:34 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: B Knotts
Check this out.

Capstone Microturbines

Reliable, efficient, scalable, fuel flexable, available now, and tons cheaper.

46 posted on 07/20/2003 2:44:55 AM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Great – we’ll have clean emission cars, but making the clean fuel will cause massive air pollution at the refinery. Even if we switch to producing hydrogen by electrolysis, the power needed for this will cause more pollution at the generators – the same if we switch to electric cars. People will spend and extra $5,000.00 per car, and be stuck in cities that have hydrogen stations.

47 posted on 07/20/2003 3:10:42 AM PDT by R. Scott
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
Source

In an effort to keep the Nazis from using the Hindenburg for military proposes the United States Congress passed the Helium Control Act. This Act made it impossible for the Zeppelin Company to obtain Helium because the United States has the only natural deposits of Helium. This upset Dr. Eckert who got along well the United States government and was openly critical of the Nazi government. There was nothing for him to do; therefore on March 4, 1936 the Hindenburg, inflated with the volatile gas, hydrogen, made its maiden voyage.

48 posted on 07/20/2003 3:19:59 AM PDT by R. Scott
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To: Centurion2000
I like nuclear power .... I just wish that I had one behind the back yard.

There was a kid somewhere who built a nuclear reactor in a metal shed in his back yard...

Here it is... just found it on Google:

The Radio-Active Boy Scout

The whole story of how he did it is really interesting.

49 posted on 07/20/2003 3:23:35 AM PDT by Bon mots
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To: chuckles
"Fires would be the only way to burn up the extra O2 to save whats left of the planet."

No, the proliferation of termites would be unbearable. Currently nature maintains the oxygen content of the air with methane (termite farts).
50 posted on 07/20/2003 3:44:36 AM PDT by dalereed (,)
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