The Phoenix Project:
Saving the oceans and the American economy by
shifting from oil to hydrogen with wartime-speed
By Harry Braun
Although President Bush focused on hydrogen in his recent State of the Union Address, he is waiting to replace internal combustion engines with fuel cells, and wants to make the hydrogen primarily from toxic and non-renewable fossil and nuclear fuels, which will involve significant R&D and will do nothing to solve the primary supply and environmental problems of using such fuels. As such, with the Bush Administration's approach, the solar hydrogen economy will be many centuries into the future. However, due to the exponential and interrelated nature of the global energy and environmental problems, including the destruction of ocean ecosystems, the shift to solar hydrogen technologies and resources needs to occur with wartime-speed. Fortunately, hydrogen is a "universal fuel," that can power any existing vehicle or appliance, including SUVs, aircraft and spacecraft, as well as a Coleman stove on a mountain-top. Moreover, hydrogen can be made from water with electricity, which is found at every gas station, as well as every home. Thus filling up with pure hydrogen will be easier - and much safer - than using gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels where the hydrogen is chemically bonded to carbon. Consider the following:
1. The Phoenix Project is the only multi-trillion plan that would allow the U.S. to shift from fossil and nuclear fuels to wind and OTEC-powered hydrogen production systems by 2010. The plan includes modifying every existing vehicles (including aircraft) to use hydrogen fuel.
2. Approximately 10 million one-megawatt wind or OTEC-powered hydrogen production systems will create 100% of U.S. energy requirements. By deploying these systems at sea for large-scale hydrogen production, a vast sanctuary would be provided to the fish and other marine organisms that are in the final phases of being exterminated by oil spills and destructive fishing practices.
3. The Phoenix Project plan will supercharge the economy and employ millions of Americans as the U.S. rapidly becomes energy independent of fossil and nuclear fuels. Indeed, the U.S. will rapidly become a Saudi Arabia-class energy exporter of a completely non-toxic, pollution free fuel that is inexhaustible.
4. Congressional Hearings are needed in order to enact Fair Accounting Act legislation that will serve as the "trigger mechanism" for shifting to a solar hydrogen economy. This legislation will transfer federal subsidies from fossil and nuclear fuels to clean hydrogen technologies, including the necessary automotive conversion kits and an interstate superconducting hydrogen pipeline system that would also efficiently carry electricity.
5. The hydrogen from wind systems will have a production cost of about $2.00 per equivalent gallon of gasoline, but while gasoline will get increasingly expensive in the future as oil reserves are depleted, the wind-powered hydrogen production costs will continue to be reduced as more and more engineers focus on optimizing the hydrogen production technologies.
The Phoenix Project
Shifting from oil to hydrogen with wartime-speed will accomplish the following:
? The economy will be supercharged as America becomes energy independent.
? Millions of jobs will be created as wind and OTEC-powered hydrogen production systems are mass-produced in automotive, aerospace and shipbuilding industries and every existing vehicle (including SUVs), is modified to use hydrogen fuel.
? America will rapidly be transformed into a Saudi Arabia-class energy exporter with a non-toxic, pollution-free fuel that is inexhaustible.
? American foreign policy will be fundamentally redefined as dependence on foreign oil is eliminated.
? No new radioactive wastes will need to be generated and existing nuclear plants that are increasingly prone to have serious accidents can be rapidly decommissioned.
? Urban air pollution that impacts the health of millions of people will be replaced with crystal clear skies-even in rush hour traffic.
? Oil spills will be dramatically reduced.
? Global warming and climate change issues will be fundamentally resolved as carbon is replaced by pure hydrogen.
? With deployment of offshore wind and OTEC systems, ocean ecosystems be protected from over fishing.
? By avoiding the most serious "Exponential Icebergs" global food production systems will be protected (thereby avoiding the oblivion scenario), which will make the rapidly approaching a utopian era of nanotechnology, "biochips" and "designer genes" inevitable.
? If Oblivion is avoided, Homo Sapiens will rapidly evolve into a new biocybernetic species: Homo Immortalis. This biological transition to renewable resources will clearly be the most significant development since the origin of life itself.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HYDROGEN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE Telephone: 602-977-0888 h2pac.org
April 22, 2003
Calculating Hydrogen Production Costs
By Harry Braun
Two of the most important question to be resolved in shifting to a hydrogen economy is what will the hydrogen be made from, and how much will it cost? In evaluating energy costs, cost per unit of heat, such as British Thermal Units (Btus) are used. Btu numbers make comparative economic analysis of different energy systems easy because every energy resource can be measured on a Btu basis. One Btu is the amount of energy needed to raise temperature of one pound of water by one degree F. Typically, a match has about one Btu, a kilowatt hour of electricity has 3,412 Btus, and a gallon of gasoline has about 120,000 Btus. A gallon of liquid hydrogen has about 30,000 Btus, which explains why a liquid hydrogen tank is about four times larger by volume than a gasoline tank.
Current Hydrogen Production Costs
Since a gallon of gasoline has about 120,000 Btus, if its production cost is $1.00 a gallon, it is equivalent to $8.33 per million Btus (MMBtus). By contrast, although natural gas prices over the past decade have been in the range of $2.00/MMBtu, given supply problems, current natural gas prices are now in the range of $5.00/MMBtu. Moreover, natural gas prices are expected to continue increasing as the available reserves are exponentially consumed. As a rule, hydrogen costs from natural gas are about thee times the cost of the feedstock, thus $5.00 feedstock gas would result in the hydrogen costing $15.00/MMBtu, which is equivalent to gasoline costing about $1.80 a gallon.
Wind Electric Systems
The cost of electricity is a major factor in hydrogen production costs. Although any solar energy option can generate the electricity needed for hydrogen production, the cost of electricity from photovoltaic solar cells is about 10-times more expensive than the electricity generated from megawatt-scale wind machines. State-of-the-art wind systems, which have an installed capital cost of approximately $1,000 per kW and a 35% capacity factor, are able to generate electricity for approximately 4-cents per kWh. If the wind systems are mass-produced like automobiles for large-scale hydrogen production, their capital costs will be expected to drop to well below $300/kW, which will reduce the cost of electricity to one or two-cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
With state-of-the-art electrolyzers, about 60 kWh will be needed to manufacture the energy content of a gallon of gasoline in the form of gaseous hydrogen. Assuming electricity costs of 4-cents/kWh, the electricity costs alone would be $20.00/MMBtu, which is equivalent to gasoline costing $2.40 per gallon. The capital cost and maintenance of the electrolyzer and related hydrogen storage and pumping system also needs to be factored into the equation. With conventional electrolyzers that are not in high-volume production, the installed capital costs are in the range of $600/kW, which adds an additional $4.00/MMBtu, thereby increasing the production cost of the gaseous hydrogen to about $24.00/MMBtu, which is equivalent to gasoline costing $3.00 per gallon. If the hydrogen is to be liquefied, an additional $4.00/MMBtus would be added, which would make the production cost of liquid hydrogen about $28.00/MMBtu, which is equivalent to gasoline costing $3.38 per gallon.
Calculating Hydrogen Production Costs
By Harry Braun
Page 2 of 2
High-Volume Wind Hydrogen Costs
Assuming the wind-powered electrolyzers are mass-produced on a scale to displace fossil and nuclear fuels, the electricity costs would be reduced to about one cent/kWh, and the electrolyzer costs would be reduced to about $100/kW, which would reduce the hydrogen production cost to approximately $10.00/MMBtus. If the hydrogen is to be liquefied, an additional $3.00/MMBtus would be added, which would make the cost of liquid hydrogen about $13.00/MMBtu, which is equivalent to gasoline costing $1.56 per equivalent gallon of gasoline. However, additional cost per mile savings occur because hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines are about 25% more fuel efficient, and they do not generate organic acids and carbon deposits, which contaminate the engine oil and reduce engine component life. These additional factors would reduce the price of liquid hydrogen to about $1.40 per equivalent gallon of gasoline.
External costs cost of fossil and nuclear energy systems include environmental damage and climate change, and the resulting billions of dollars in related health care costs that result from contaminating the ocean ecosystems and the millions of families who are forced to live their lives breathing unhealthy air and drinking contaminated water. Other external costs include the storage of radioactive wastes, corrosion to buildings and bridges, and the military costs of protecting the remaining oil reserves in the Middle East. If these costs were factored into fuel costs, the cost of gasoline would be easily increased by a factor of 2 or 3. Factoring carbon sequestration alone will increase the price of gallon of gasoline by 80-cents per gallon, based on CO2 sequestration costs of $100 per ton. Moreover, unlike wind hydrogen systems, which will always be less expensive in the future as more and more engineers refine the technology, gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels will only get more expensive as the global fossil fuel reserves are exponentially depleted.
The Fair Accounting Act
The "trigger mechanism" for this "transition of substance" to a solar hydrogen economy is the passage of Fair Accounting Act legislation by the U.S. Congress and state legislatures. This legislation would transfer the $150 billion a year in subsidies to fossil and nuclear fuel systems to renewable hydrogen systems, and factor in at least some of the external costs of using dirty energy sources. If a "fair" accounting system is used, taxes on a gallon of gasoline would be increased by at least a $1.00 a gallon, which would then make hydrogen competitive with gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels. Moreover, the funds raised by the Fair Accounting Act could then be returned to the consumers in the form of a tax credit to defer the cost of modifying their existing vehicles to use hydrogen fuel. As the fossil fuels are phased-out, so will the carbon tax that would be imposed by the Fair Accounting Act. This underscores the fact that tax policy profoundly impacts energy, economic, environmental and foreign policies.
The Phoenix Project
Because of the exponential nature of the interrelated energy and environmental problems, The Phoenix Project calls for the U.S. to shift from fossil and nuclear fuels to wind-powered electrolytic systems with wartime speed. Approximately 10 to12 million one-megawatt wind machines would be needed to generate all of the U.S. current energy requirements (i.e. 100 quadrillion Btus). Given that wind machines are similar to an automobile from a manufacturing perspective, and given that 17 million vehicles are manufactured each year in the U.S., the needed wind systems could be mass-produced and installed in less than 12 months once the tooling is in place. As such, it is possible for the U.S. to be energy independent with a pollution-free and inexhaustible energy resource within 5 or 10 years. That would include the deployment of a an interstate superconducting hydrogen pipeline system that would carry both electricity as well as hydrogen, as well as the modification of all of the automotive vehicles and power plants in the U.S. Such a transition of substance will have profound implications for the economy, the environment, and U.S. foreign policy.
THE PHOENIX PROJECT
By Harry Braun
An Overview of The Fair Accounting Act
The Phoenix Project (phoenixproject.net) is an energy and economic plan that will provide sustainable prosperity without pollution by having the U.S. shift from oil to hydrogen with wartime speed. The "trigger mechanism" for this "transition of substance" from an oil economy to a hydrogen economy is the Fair Accounting Act legislation, which would transfer the $150 billion a year in subsidies to fossil and nuclear fuel systems to renewable hydrogen technologies. The legislation would also factor in the external costs of fossil fuel and nuclear energy in fuel taxes. These external costs include environmental damage and climate change; the resulting billions of dollars in related health care costs that result from millions of families living their lives breathing unhealthy air; the storage of radioactive wastes; corrosion to buildings and bridges; and the military costs of protecting the remaining oil reserves in the Middle East.
If a "fair" accounting system is used, taxes on a gallon of gasoline would be expected to increased by $1.00 a gallon, which would then make hydrogen less expensive than gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels. Moreover, the funds raised by the Fair Accounting Act could then be returned to the consumers in the form of a tax credit to defer the cost of modifying their existing vehicles to use hydrogen fuel. As the fossil fuels are phased-out, so will the carbon tax imposed by the Fair Accounting Act. This underscores the fact that tax policy profoundly impacts energy, economic, environmental and foreign policies.
Just as Caesar found Rome a city of clay and left it a city of marble, we have found our civilization addicted to an oil economy that is highly polluting and rapidly diminishing, and we have the opportunity to replace it with a hydrogen economy that is inexhaustible and essentially pollution-free.
While raising taxes of any type is a difficult challenge, it is worth noting that in countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Japan, fuel taxes of over $2.00 per gallon have been in effect for more than two decades. Ultimately, the bottom line is that if gasoline is less expensive at the pump than hydrogen, most consumers will continue to purchase gasoline. Consumers need to understand that they are already paying well over the proposed $1.00 a gallon fair accounting tax in external energy costs. The only difference is that they are not paying the cost at the gas pump-but rather in their taxes, their health care costs and their day-to-day quality of life.
While the Bush administration is seeking to secure the remaining oil in the Middle East and find the last of the world's oil offshore and in the remaining wilderness areas, neither of these efforts will resolve the fact that the remaining global oil reserves are being exponentially consumed, and are therefore unsustainable. Moreover, even if the oil reserves were inexhaustible, their profoundly negative environmental impacts would still dictate a transition to a solar hydrogen energy systems. The Democrats are primarily focused on conserving the remaining oil by getting consumers to give up their Sport Utility Vehicles (all of which can be modified to use hydrogen). Neither political party is talking about a fundamental shift from oil and nuclear fuels to mass-producible wind and other solar powered hydrogen production systems, which would fundamentally resolve many of the world's most serious energy, economic and environmental problems.
THE FAIR ACCOUNTING ACT
A DECLARATION OF ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
Whereas it is well documented that the vast majority of the increasingly unhealthy urban air pollution in major metropolitan areas is a direct result of the combustion of carbon-based fuels for automobiles, trucks, aircraft and power plants, and;
Whereas carbon-based fuels are non-renewable and therefore unsustainable fuel options that must be imported into the U.S., and;
Whereas hydrogen is the only zero carbon emission combustion fuel that can be made from all renewable resources, and;
Whereas all green plants on the earth have been utilizing a solar-hydrogen energy production process for over 3.5 billion years, whereby the hydrogen is extracted from water with solar energy, and;
Whereas hydrogen is the only energy option that can allow the United States to become energy independent and essentially pollution-free, and;
Whereas the United States has enough land and renewable energy resources to develop into a "Saudi Arabia"-class energy exporter of hydrogen fuel that is non-toxic, pollution-free and inexhaustible, and;
Whereas 18 gallons of water is required to manufacture a gallon of gasoline, and only 2.3 gallons is required to make a similar energy content of hydrogen, and;
Whereas NASA, Boeing, Lockheed and Airbus have documented that hydrogen can be safely used to fuel commercial aircraft and spacecraft, and;
Whereas major oil companies, such as ChevronTexaco, Shell and British Petroleum (BP) have already established hydrogen business units, and;
Whereas hydrogen is safer in the event of accidents than hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, or natural gas, and;
Whereas investigations published in Scientific American have shown that the "external costs" of carbon based fuels, which include health care costs, corrosion to buildings and bridges, military costs, crop losses, employment and subsidies cost U.S. citizens up to $300 billion annually; and;
Whereas this $300 billion in external costs does not factor in the fact that the vast majority of U.S. citizens are forced to live and raise their children in highly polluted areas that seriously degrade the quality of life on a day-to-day basis, which results in over 100,000 deaths annually, and,
Whereas the United States consumes about 200 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel annually;
Be It Resolved, therefore, that a Fair Accounting Act shall transfer the $150 billion a year in existing subsidies to fossil and nuclear fuels to renewable hydrogen systems, and provide that a $1.00 per gallon tax be assessed on fuels that contain carbon. Non-renewable gaseous fuels containing carbon, such as natural gas, shall be assessed on a comparable carbon content basis as liquid hydrocarbon fuels.
Be It Further Resolved that the funds raised by the Fair Accounting Act shall be used to provide low interest long-term financing and other financial incentives such as tax credits to encourage the implementation of hydrogen production, storage, transportation and end-use technologies, including the necessary conversions needed for existing automotive vehicles. It is anticipated that individual State Legislatures will also impose similar financial incentives on a state level to provide a level playing field for the renewable hydrogen energy technologies.