Sunday, June 22, 2008

Maybe Sen. Obama Should Stick With The Magic Unicorn Hair

Sen. Obama opposes all new sources of oil, he opposes nuclear and--if it annoys a Kennedy--he opposes wind farms, too. Instead, Sen. Obama says that "new technologies" will have us all livin' green in no time.

What kinds of new technologies? Well, like running our cars on hydrogen which--Sen. Obama claims--we would already be doing if not for the evil oil companies, George W. Bush, Halliburton, blah, blah, blah. Why, if we'd spent $250 billion of tax dollars like Sen. Obama wanted 10 years ago (when he was a community organizer in Chicago) we'd all be driving hydrocars today, running on water and, er, uh, well, whatever that other stuff is.

Only one problem, Senator: Science.

As aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin points out, the physics for hydrogen power just don't work. The first, high school physics fact the Greenies don't understand, is that hydrogen is a great energy maker because it's an element that is highly reactive to other elements (or, as in the Sun, with itself, making helium via fusion). But because it's so reactive, virtually all the hydrogen on earth is already combined with oxygen and/or some other element. To get hydrogen to make power, you have to use more power to break it away from other elements to get it.

The result is the second obvious fact about hydrogen about which the Greenies are clueless--it's very expensive:

The wholesale cost of commercial grade liquid hydrogen (made the cheap way, from hydrocarbons [a.k.a. "fossil fuels]) shipped to large customers in the United States is about $6 per kilogram. High purity hydrogen made from electrolysis for scientific applications costs considerably more. Dispensed in compressed gas cylinders to retail customers, the current price of commercial grade hydrogen is about $100 per kilogram. For comparison, a kilogram of hydrogen contains about the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline.

This means that even if hydrogen cars were available and hydrogen stations existed to fuel them, no one with the power to choose otherwise would ever buy such vehicles. This fact alone makes the hydrogen economy a non-starter in a free society.

Is Sen. Obama ready to tell the typical American we need to pay $1oo a gallon for our magic hydrogen cars? Until he is, his opposition to new oil and nuclear is, like most of his other policies, ridiculous.