Ideas That Work

by Handsome Matt

A good friend of mine posted this video as a comment on my earlier post “internal combustion.” I was lamenting the fact that internal combustion engines aren’t very efficient. Anthnony suggested that hydrogen is the answer for our automotive emissions.

After watching this video, I have to agree. I especially like Jay Leno’s comments near the end “[m]uch like the automobile was the savior of the horse… and I think these types of cars, will be the savior of our sports cars.”

For those that don’t know, Top Gear is the premier car show in the UK and of course Jay Leno is one of the premier car collectors here in the states. If these people are for hydrogen powered cars, then why should anyone disagree.

There are some issues that do need to be addressed.

  • No Infrastructure. There isn’t a hydrogen centered fuel delivery and storage system right now in the states
  • Explosion. We’ve all seen videos of the Hindenberg and knew it was filled with hydrogen and it burned.
  • Loss of power. Hydrogen powered cars are less powerful than their gasoline counterparts

These are all valid concerns that should be addressed.

To begin with, there was no infrastructure for automobiles when they were first invented, but we made one. Adapted carriage roads, built gasoline stations and refineries. With our current system, we could easily adapt gas stations to sell hydrogen as well. Furthermore, many gas stations have been closed down due to President Clinton’s environmental mandate regarding gasoline storage tanks. These stations could be put into use again selling hydrogen.

The explosive and flammable nature of hydrogen needs to be taken seriously. As serious as we take the explosive and flammable nature of gasoline. Our cars already have a ten to thirty gallon “bombs” tucked nicely within a few hundred pounds of structural steel, crumple panels, and energy absorbing materials. Even if you were to get involved in an accident that would cause your gas tank to rupture, be it hydrogen or gasoline, it was most likely so severe that you weren’t going to survive it anyways.

When was the last time you needed three hundred break horsepower?

We have commercials showing trucks pulling not one, but TWO other full-sized trucks

cars flying around the desert, apparently able to control the weather

Cadillacs now can break the speed of light.


When was the last time you or I needed to pull two trucks from a mud pit? I know a few individuals who need a truck that powerful. They’re called farmers.

All of these commercials, the high speeds, copious amounts of horsepower appeal to a primal instinct in your brain. When was the last time your car went above the 75mph, how about 85? When was the last time you desperately needed to reach 60mph in under three seconds?

Conservance’ Stance

I understand that there are hundreds of sources of pollution both man made and naturally occurring. However, automotive emissions are one source that we can stop, or at the very least drastically reduce. A few power plants supplying electricity to capture and pressurize hydrogen will create much less pollution than millions or even billions of cars around the world emitting pollution.

Are there kinks that need to be worked out? Yes. Just like there were when the automobile first rolled off the assembly lines, and out of the carriage shops. Did we overcome those probems? Yes. Can we overcome these? Yes.

We’re facing a tumultuous time. Things are changing and realigning, and some old ideas that worked in the past won’t survive. But the worst thing that can be done right now, is nothing. As humans, our knack has been to move forward, and now we must do this once again. Once more into the unknown, to see what lays over the horizon.