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400% hydrogen

One of my personal projects involves research into the exigencies of a hypothetical world hydrogen economy. The results are not encouraging so far. Going by the global oil consumption figures compiled by the OECD, and energy-conversion ratios, we (as in all contemporary human civilizations combined) would need to increase our electrical-energy production capacity by approximately 471% in order to electrolyze sufficient water to supplement oil consumption in the transport sector alone.

That figure assumes a 25% rate-of-efficiency in electricity-to-hydrogen conversion, which is a fairly standard figure for large-scale production - though some groups claim that their methods can reach levels as high as 50%. It also presumes consumption levels equivalent to those of 2003, and I'm essentially assuming that electric and oil production levels rise at roughly similar rates.

Either way you cut it, a transportation fuel switch-over to hydrogen would require a massive reinvestment in primary power generation capacity. Frankly, the only continous power generation technologies that are available today that can be scaled up that far (afaik) are nuclear fission, geothermal power, and hydro power. Personally, I prefer the idea of Generation III or IV fission reactors - there's considerably more capacity for growth, and less environmental damage involved...



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