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Hydrogen Economy book published
Production, Nov 27 2009 (The Hydrogen Journal)
- A comprehensive guide to the Hydrogen Economy has put together by Shell Hydrogen's Michael Ball and Martin Wietschel of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe, Germany, published by been published by Cambridge University Press.
The book aims to help answer the most difficult question of all - will there be a hydrogen economy and what will it look like - as honestly and objectively as possible.
If the world ever develops a battery good enough to drive cars the distances people drive cars today, with similar distances between refuelling, the authors say, there will probably not be any need for a hydrogen economy.
But if we don't get a battery this good - and nobody has managed to do it yet - then a hydrogen economy could become very important in keeping cars running in a post-oil, carbon constrained era.
One of the factors which will make a hydrogen economy more widely is widespread use of carbon capture and storage coal and gas power plants, where the hydrogen can be made, the authors say.
Carbon capture is important - because there is no great environmental or social advantage in reforming natural gas to make hydrogen and running cars on it, if the carbon dioxide by-product is emitted to the atmosphere - over running cars directly on gasoline or natural gas.
But if hydrogen is made from coal or gas power stations with carbon capture, particularly if new IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) technology is used (which has hydrogen as a by-product), then there is a clear pathway to powering cars with hydrogen with no greenhouse gas emissions, and no changes to driving habits required.
The book has sections written by different people, but sticks together coherently, with all writers sticking closely to the topic and the central question.
The book is both an informative read and a useful reference guide - and, at over 600 pages long, there is plenty in it.