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Why Hydrogen

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February 27, 2003

Why Hydrogen

By Harry Braun

Energy policy and use profoundly impacts the interrelated issues of the economy, the environment and foreign policy. While there are a wide-range of alternative fuels that have been under development in recent years, including ethanol, methanol, propane, butane, natural gas, the focus needs to be placed on making solar-sourced hydrogen for the following reasons:

1. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe.
2. All green plants on the earth have been successfully using solar hydrogen photosynthetic production processes on a global scale for over 3.5 billion years.
3. Hydrogen is the only combustion fuel that is non-toxic, essentially pollution-free, and inexhaustible.
4. Hydrogen is the lightest element in the universe, which makes it much safer than gasoline or other hydrocarbon fuels in the event of a leak or an accident. Even in the horrific Hindenburg accident, two-thirds of the passengers and crew lived, and no one was burned to death by the hydrogen.
5. Hydrogen is the only energy option that can make the U.S. energy independent.
6. Hydrogen is the only energy option that can allow the U.S. to become a Saudi Arabia-class energy exporter.
7. Hydrogen is the only carbon-free energy option that can fundamentally reverse the global warming and the related climate change that could disrupt global food production systems.
8. Hydrogen is the only "universal fuel" that can power virtually every existing engine or appliance, including SUVs, trucks, aircraft, ships, spacecraft, or a Coleman stove or laptop computer on a mountain-top.

Hydrogen Production Options

Hydrogen can be made from water with any source of electricity, thus the most important consideration is how will the vast new quantities of electricity is to be generated. The Bush administration is focusing on developing the "Dirty" or "Toxic" hydrogen options, which include extending the life of existing nuclear plants and building a new generation of fossil fuel and nuclear plants. Such policies will not solve the more fundamental energy and related environmental impact would be devastating. The Phoenix Project (, by contrast, is a plan to have the U.S. shift from oil to hydrogen economy with wartime-speed by mass-producing wind systems for large-scale hydrogen production and modifying every existing vehicle to use hydrogen fuel. Millions of Americans would be employed in the process as urban air pollution, oil spills, strip-mining, and the need for oil wars and the production of any new radioactive wastes will finally be ended.

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