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EP PODCASTSXML

July 18, 2008

The Art of Implementation

Terry TamminenWith a will, we can manage our environmental and energy crises. But it's policy that's too important to leave to politicians, policy-makers, and the market: a large part of the intelligent public must demand that the right things be done. To get a sense of what's possible here in the U.S. I turned to Terry Tamminen, formerly the Secretary of California's EPA and a top adviser to Governor Schwarzenegger. Terry provides a splendid, thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic tour d'horizon. The voice of experience in making things happen. Total runtime an hour and fourteen minutes. Take heart!

Listen

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Comments

Well... the whole thing was lost on me when he started talking about hydrogen. Bummer.

It makes no sense to convert natural gas to hydrogen and then burn it in an internal combustion engine. You might as well just convert the vehicle to run on natural gas.

The only thing hydrogen will be good for, if anything, is as a way to store and transport electricity. It's just a substitute for a battery. But I never see anyone discussing the relative efficiency of using hydrogen versus existing battery technology. Your guest has some good ideas, but he seems to completely ignore EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested).

Unfortunately, I think most people use hydrogen as an excuse to put off any real change. They keep waiting for the "Hydrogen Economy" which seems to be perpetually 15 to 20 years away.

Terry is talking about using off-peak electricity for hydrolysis of water. At three cents per kilowatt hour, a common off-peak line rate in the U.S., hydrogen would cost about $1.50 per kilogram for the electricity, or the equivalent of about $1.50 per gallon of gasoline. Then add costs for the electrolyzer plant, etc., and still the marginal cost of the hydrogen is less than the price of gas.

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