Originally posted by FabianFnas
Oh, you think I am part of the grand conspiracy? I can assure you that I don't work for any company involved in this matter.
I have opinions, and this is all there is about it.
However, there is a problem with electrical cars - batteries. For city cars they perhaps are enough, but with my petrol engine driven car I can take myself 500 km in one full tank. I need quite a heavy load of batteries to do that trip with an electrical car.
Even having high energy storage batteries, which are coming BTW, I posted a link to new technologies along that line. But considering the idea that a battery can store enough energy for a 500 Km trip, even so, the energy does not come from the battery but an external source so we are back to square one on the energy generation front. The real problem is generating enough energy. Nuclear can certainly do it but that industry has its own set of severe problems such as the extremely high price for an individual reactor and then several years later you get to severe problem #2, disposing of nuclear waste. That problem is MUCH greater than the simple cost of the original reactor so any development that greatly reduces the nuclear waste issue will pay many dividends down the line. The best of all worlds in nuclear of course is fusion, no heavy plutonium waste products because it starts with hydrogen or helium, low atomic mass # stuff and can never end up with million year half life products. The 50 year wait till it becomes real poses a big problem in the short term but 70 years from now it will be apparent fusion is by far the best way to generate energy, along with minor help from solar, wind, wave, geothermal, etc. Even when fusion power comes online, there will still be countries like Iceland who have special resources (geothermal in their case) and won't need fusion, same goes for places with natural hydroelectric, that is a pollution free source too, with its own set of ecological problems for sure but you can see niche areas still being fed by alternative means even 100 years from now. Especially if developments like this new technology of solar cell paint put on cars that can generate energy while parked in the sun, maybe even enough to get back and forth to work for zero fuel cost. I would really like to be around 100 years from now to see how it plays out. For instance, right now, as I said in another post, new battery technology from Stanford University is showing how to stuff ten times the energy in the same kind of lithium ion cell. There seems to be a down side to that even if it goes commercial, in a short life cycle, maximum # of times it can be charged, but other technologies are working to eliminate that problem too so I see batteries coming online in 5 years or so that will hold at least as much energy as petrol.
Hydrogen is an intriguing technology for sure but you need an entirely new infrastructure of hydrogen stations just like we have thousands of gas pumps today so that is not a small problem either. But you still have to make hydrogen and work is going on making that more efficient energy wise. I remember a freshman HS physics experiment where we electrolyized water with a bit of salt to make it conductive and 300 volts DC on two electrodes stuck in the water which made hydrogen on one electrode and oxygen on the other, a great way to power a car but the downside was that simple means had an energy efficiency of about 3% so to get 1Kw of hydrogen power required over 30 Kw of electrical power input so you obviously can't build a hydrogen economy on that but newer work is getting that up to 30% efficient, even so, that means if you want 30 Kw of hydrogen you have to supply the apparatus with 100 Kw of energy, still not very good in the overall picture. I think the answer there is energy recovery, if heat is developed, there are new technologies that can convert waste heat directly into electicity so eventually hydrogen can compete with petrol also. There are also newer technologies for storing hydrogen in a solid gel like substance that can accept and give up hydrogen at relatively low temperatures so there is a lot of effort going into that technology but will if be a commercial success? Finances and politics will answer that question.