Monday, 3 November 2008

The problem with crude oil

Due to the general economic slowdown oil is no longer in such demand right now. This had resulted in a drop in the price of crude oil. Now OPEC want to restrict supply in the hope of driving prices back up.

Now I am not generally in favour of what the Green’s are. Their science often seems dubious, their policies ill thought out. Their motives anti progress, anti people. To the point where the mere fact that they may endorse something is enough to raise suspicions about it.

Never-the-less I do sometimes involuntarily find myself marching in parallel with them. Their dislike of oil is one of those occasions. Needless to say I am not demonising 4 wheel drive vehicles and their drivers, wanting to impose punitive taxation on air travel, or want to see Tata forced to stop selling cheap cars in India.

Still it would be nice to wean the world off carbon fuels. This is difficult as there is a massive existing technology and infrastructure. It is not like starting out from scratch.

The thing is, a standard car/truck, preferably made with a stainless steel engine parts and exhaust could run almost unmodified on hydrogen gas, producing nothing but water in the way of emissions. Zero Pollution.

Now Hydrogen can be ticklish stuff, but so can petrol. Surely it can not be beyond the wit of the worlds engineers to come up with a relatively 'safe' (as safe as petrol) means of storage, if only a really tough tank/bottle.

If it could be accomplished it would be an easy win in so many areas and has the potential to grant energy self sufficiency.

With sufficient power it would be possible to crack hydrogen from water.

So then, lots of power… atomic power stations anyone? Follow the French lead?

That would certainly cut green house emissions, but having power to spare is probably not sufficiently hair shirt for the Greens. Obviously not hair shirts for them personally, just the rest of us who would get to live in mud huts and die before 45.