TO THE EDITOR:
Reading "Long awaited, hydrogen's moment may be here," (autonews.com, Nov. 6), I was reminded of hype about how hydrogen would be in widespread use now if it weren't for the greed and political clout of the oil industry.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier — not a fuel resource like oil, coal, uranium, thorium or biomass. Saying that hydrogen is the most plentiful element on Earth is as meaningless as saying electrons are the most readily available subatomic particles.
If we intend to derive hydrogen from electrolysis of water, the electricity has to come from somewhere. Windmills are one possibility. But if we continue to erect more and bigger windmills in our quest for 100 percent renewable and carbon-free energy, sooner or later Mother Nature is going to complain. Nuclear power is another possibility — if those who raise the loudest voices about climate change will allow it.
We could obtain hydrogen from renewable biomethane. But one advantage of present auto engines is that they can be adapted to burn methane or natural gas directly, without processing it to obtain hydrogen. I'm fond of reminding people that since the flammable gas that arises from anaerobic digestion is methane, perhaps Mother Nature is trying to tell us something.
Hydrogen has applications in our economy, such as ammonia synthesis and processing fats to yield renewable jet fuel. And perhaps fuel cell vehicles will find their niche. But it would be better if we all would stop the hype about hydrogen being the "forever fuel."
ALEX KOVNAT, West Bloomfield, Mich. The writer, who is retired, worked at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, Mich.