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19 April 2024
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The Hydrogen Economy – Energy and Economic Black Hole
by Alice Friedemann   
22 March 2007
Editor's note: Wonder why you're hearing much more about biofuels than hydrogen fuel these days? It's because the "Hydrogen Economy" has been found to be unrealistic. It so happens our author has been a main factor in sinking the technofix illusion of hydrogen. Alice Friedemann's next report is on biofuels, and it ought to accomplish the same thing.

This report was first published on Culture Change as a draft two years ago. A revision appeared in various publications, helping to burst the hydrogen bubble as promoted by George W. Bush, Jeremy Rifkin and Arnold Schwartzenegger. You are looking at the very latest edition. - JL

The energy-literate scoff at perpetual motion, free energy, and cold fusion, but what about the hydrogen economy? Before we invest trillions of dollars, let’s take a hydrogen car out for a spin. You will discover that hydrogen is the least likely of all the alternative energies to solve our transportation problems. Hydrogen uses more energy than you get out of it. The only winners in the hydrogen scam are large auto companies receiving billions of dollars via the FreedomCAR Initiative to build hydrogen vehicles.

Most importantly perhaps, the real problem that needs to be solved is how to build hydrogen trucks, so we can plant, harvest, and deliver food and other goods. However, hydrogen trucks are completely impractical, as we shall see in this report.

Lessons for California and the U.S. from movie "How Cuba survived Peak Oil"
by Alice Friedemann   
02 June 2006
After seeing the film The Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil at a San Francisco Oil Awareness meeting in May, I thought about how those lessons might apply to California Agriculture. California grows about one-third of the U.S. food supply.

Much of what follows is based on the excellent Oxfam analysis of the complexities involved in Cuba and its food production reforms.

There are no technofixes for Peak Oil
by Alice Friedemann   
02 June 2006
[Note: this report resides in the new sction on this website, Energy and Survival. ]

When you read articles that promise renewable energy, go to the library and pore over old Popular Science and Scientific American magazines. You’ll see a lot of Gee-Whiz contraptions that never materialized.

The only information you can trust on matters of science and engineering are peer-reviewed articles in respected journals. And even then you have to be a bit skeptical. For example, the Farrell Science paper on ethanol had to resort to the results of three non-peer-reviewed USDA sponsored papers to come up with a very tiny favorable positive net energy result for ethanol (half of the papers cited).

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