‘Pie in the sky’ energy

Written by ECA Review

Dear Editor,

The commitments being made by our exalted ruler over his half-baked investment plans for hydrogen production would be laughable were it not for the tremendous cost to the rest of us for another ideologically driven and blunderous pursuit of yet another “Pie in the Sky” energy industry, parallel to what we already have and will still require.

Reality is that even though the burning of hydrogen produces virtually no CO2, the production of it does. In fact the fossil fuel energy required to produce hydrogen closely approaches the equivalent as the energy available from it.

Additionally, hydrogen is problematic to store requiring thick, heavy and expensive, extreme pressure containment vessels of exotic alloys in order to combat an effect this gas has on metals, known as hydrogen embrittlement.

About the last thing I would want if operating a hydrogen vehicle would be an extreme high pressure and brittle fuel tank. Maybe should get on some Kevlar underwear.

Onboard containment weight, as well as safety are seriously prohibitive factors. And H2 fuel cells pose a whole ‘nother set of problems particularly in cold countries such as Canada.

It was well understood by our Industrial Revolution forebears, there are no straightforward means around optimal fuel choices, which is why gasoline and diesel have long since been settled upon as the ideal overland transport fuels in terms of reliability, economy and safety.

Lithium-ion batteries safety questioned?

In regards to onboard electric vehicle (EV) lithium-ion batteries, unlike the flammability and fire hazard of gasoline or diesel which is governed by octane rating and the availability and feed rate of surrounding oxygen (which usually buys a window of time for egress), in the case of an EV dead short occurring, particularly under relatively high voltage, (36Volts-DC and up), the onboard contained electrical energy will unload at 1/100th the speed of light, thereupon rapidly transforming into heat.

Especially serious if the dead short occurs inside the battery.

Design requirements for high energy density means the plates are placed close together increasing the chance of battery overheating or plates touching.

Cracks in the casing due to aging or deterioration can introduce water which can easily cause a lithium-ion battery to ignite.

Highway collisions also pose a high risk of battery internal dead shorting, ensuing fire and possible explosion. If the collision doesn’t do you in, the battery just might.

Some people have similarly had the unpleasant experience of having their cell phone spontaneously burst into flames. An EV on board lithium-ion battery typically carries 10,000 times the kilowatt-hours energy as a cell phone.

Now, for the cause of cashing in on subsidization by my fellow taxpayers, would I still wish to strap my asset down to an onboard lithium-ion battery?

Would I stand by and watch my grand-kids being buckled into a be-wheeled electric mobile toaster oven.

Sure I would. On a cold day in Hades.

M. Lee Hudson

Calgary/County of Paintearth

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