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[cdn-nucl-l] Hydrogen from Nuclear
Posted in Science Magazine, Volume 295, Number 5558, February 15, 2002,
Long Road Ahead for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
In early January, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced the
new program Freedom CAR (Cooperative Automotive Research), a cooperative
effort with industry to develop cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. As
David Malakoff and Robert F. Service report in their News of the Week
article "Bush trades hybrid for hydrogen model" (18 Jan., p. 426), this
program replaces the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV)
begun in 1993 by the Clinton Administration that focused on developing
more fuel-efficient cars (such as gas or diesel-electric hybrids) and
other measures to reduce our dependence on gasoline. But what Malakoff
and Service do not make clear is that hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles
will not be available in the foreseeable future except from natural gas
or other fossil fuels. Until hydrogen can be obtained economically from
water by means of solar energy or nuclear power in huge quantities,
there is no point in talking about hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in
I strongly support research on solar energy-derived hydrogen and other
solar programs. However, for Abraham to give up on the PNGV program is
shortsighted. The goal of the Freedom CAR program--or as Abraham calls
it, his "dream car" (1)--is truly just a dream.
Richard S. Greeley*
418 Roundhill Road,
St. Davids, PA 19087, USA.
*Former Director of Research and Technology at The MITRE Corporation,
McLean, VA, USA.
References and Notes
S. Abraham, "Dream car made real," New York Times, 20 January 2002,
section 4, p. 12.