Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet

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Hydrogen is the quintessential eco-fuel. This invisible, tasteless gas is the most abundant element in the universe. It is the basic building block and fuel of stars and an essential raw material in innumerable biological and chemical processes. As a completely nonpolluting fuel, it may hold the answer to growing environmental concerns about atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and the resultant Greenhouse Effect. In this book Peter Hoffmann describes current research toward a hydrogen-based economy. He ...
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Overview

Hydrogen is the quintessential eco-fuel. This invisible, tasteless gas is the most abundant element in the universe. It is the basic building block and fuel of stars and an essential raw material in innumerable biological and chemical processes. As a completely nonpolluting fuel, it may hold the answer to growing environmental concerns about atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and the resultant Greenhouse Effect. In this book Peter Hoffmann describes current research toward a hydrogen-based economy. He presents the history of hydrogen energy and discusses the environmental dangers of continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Hydrogen is not an energy source but a carrier that, like electricity, must be manufactured. Today hydrogen is manufactured by "decarbonizing" fossil fuels. In the future it will be derived from water and solar energy and perhaps from "cleaner" versions of nuclear energy. Because it can be made by a variety of methods, Hoffmann argues, it can be easily adapted by different countries and economies. Hoffmann acknowledges the social, political, and economic difficulties in replacing current energy systems with an entirely new one. Although the process of converting to a hydrogen-based economy would be complex, he demonstrates that the environmental and health benefits would far outweigh the costs.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Editor of The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter and author of The Forever Fuel: The Story of Hydrogen, Hoffmann chronicles the worldwide progression of hydrogen energy from a niche market to a viable commercial product. Arguing that fossil fuels will not be cheap to find in the future and that renewables are becoming less expensive, he advocates the use of hydrogen as a nonpolluting form of energy for fuel cells and as an energy storage medium. Hoffmann thoroughly details the history of hydrogen projects worldwide from experimental fuel cell vehicles produced by the major auto makers to research into the use of hydrogen as airplane fuel, the application of hydrogen in utilities in Germany and China, and a few experimental hydrogen-powered houses in the United States. Hoffmann frankly explains the pros and cons of the hydrogen debate, including safety issues, economics, and the difficulty in moving our national energy policy away from fossil fuels. Because there are so few books on this energy source, academic and public libraries that have a strong interest in alternative energy materials will want to purchase for informed readers. Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Indeed, Hoffmann has written a persuasively clear, technically accurate,and convincingly optimistic book on the future of hydrogen in this revised edition.

A must-have reference for any instructor or student of energy or energy conversion and the environment, and for any government or industry energy analyst or policy maker."—S.R.Walk, Choice

Choice
Indeed, Hoffmann has written a persuasively clear, technically accurate,and convincingly optimistic book on the future of hydrogen in this revised edition.

A must-have reference for any instructor or student of energy or energy conversion and the environment, and for any government or industry energy analyst or policy maker.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262082952
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Pages: 301
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Peter Hoffmann was editor of The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter. He was former Washington correspondent for McGraw-Hill World News and the author of The Forever Fuel: The Story of Hydrogen.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
1 Why Hydrogen? Buckminster Fuller, Sheikh Yamani, and Bill Clinton 1
2 Hydrogen's Discovery: Phlogiston and Inflammable Air 19
3 A History of Hydrogen Energy: The Reverend Cecil, Jules Verne, and the Redoubtable Mr. Erren 27
4 Producing Hydrogen from Water, Natural Gas, and Green Plants 53
5 Primary Energy: Using Solar and Other Power to Make Hydrogen 79
6 Hydrogen for Cars and Buses: Steaming Tailpipes 99
7 Fuel Cells: Mr. Grove's Lovely Technology 141
8 Hydrogen in Aerospace: Clean Contrails and the Orient Express 161
9 Hydrogen as Utility Gas: The Invisible Flame 187
10 Non-Energy Uses of Hydrogen: Metallic H[subscript 2], Biodegradable Plastic, and H[subscript 2] Tofu 211
11 Safety: The Hindenburg Syndrome, or "Don't Paint Your Dirigible with Rocket Fuel" 233
12 The Next 100 Years 247
Notes 265
Index 283
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