An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Volume V, Issue # 134, May 10, 2003
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
Government Committed to & Acting in Accord with Conservative Principles
Ensures a Nation's Strength, Progress, & Prosperity
Home Page   Main Menu   Recent Articles   Site Map   Website Index   Issues & Controversies
  Cyberland University   Political Science, Philosophy, & History: Lectures   U.S. Constitution
  American Constitutional Law   American Constitutional System   American Political System
  Conservatism, Liberalism, & Radicalism   How America Goes to War
  World War IV: Islamist Terror War Against the U.S.A. & the West

By Alan Caruba

Not long ago I wrote a commentary, "The Great Hydrogen Myth" (location: on my Internet website at, in which I offered my opinion that throwing another billion dollars at more research for the purpose of replac- ing oil, coal, or natural gas was a huge waste. Recently, that commentary was posted on www.EnergyPulse.Net, an Internet site for those who work in industries that provide and use various forms of energy. It's a favorite among the many engineers and scien- tists whose lives are devoted to the issues and news about energy.

Here are some of the responses my commentary received. The names of the innocent have been protected because their jobs depend upon it!

"I have often thought that this 'hydrogen economy' seems intuitively flawed; using en- ergy to make hydrogen to then be used as an energy source. Intuitively, it feels like the Escher painting with the water flowing uphill."

Therein lies the central issue that undermines the hype about hydrogen as an endless, virtually free, source of energy. First of all, it is not energy. It is what the engineers and scientists call "a carrier." You have to break the hydrogen molecule free from others to use it and that requires energy. Thus, you have to use a lot of energy in order to use hydrogen to make energy. In real life, there is no free lunch.

A graduate chemical engineer with 35 years in the chemical and oil industry, who knows a lot about the catalytic reforming units that make and use hydrogen in the reformation processes, had this to say: "Not only does H2 (hydrogen) require a lot of energy to pro- duce, collect and store, it also presents rather nasty safety problems."

Need it be said he thinks that ethanol (grain alcohol made from corn!) is another bad idea the environmentalists have foisted on us? Why? "Ethanol costs far more to pro- duce than the fuel value it provides, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in its wisdom, forced industry to oxygenate fuels only to discover that covalent bonds of all oxygenates are very soluble and stable in ground waters when released." In other words, this environmental "solution" has led to the poisoning of ground water supplies throughout the nation. It also forces up the cost of gasoline.

He wasn't through. "While I'm at it, Greens have our environmental experts at EPA on another even wilder goose chase to capture mercury from coal fired utility plants across the U.S.A.. If you add up all the Hg (mercury) released from coal combustion and com- pare it to global sources, the current analytical and statistical techniques and technolo- gies probably will not be able to detect any reduction in the global Hg pool in the envi- ronment."

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The Greens live to conjure up endless scare cam- paigns, always shouting that everyone, especially children, are being "poisoned" by things that pose no real threat. Or they find ways to force government mandates that either end up poisoning us, i.e., ethanol, or represent no real threat, i.e., mercury. The end result is higher costs for energy use of any kind.

Part of the hydrogen hype is its use in fuel cells. A retired General Electric engineer wrote to say: "I previously analyzed and designed fuel cells and it is apparent to me that they will always be too expensive for all but very special uses. They are twenty times the cost of a piston engine and are very likely to remain at least ten times more, in spite of all the research done."

Like all realists, engineers and scientists believe we are, in fact, running a risk in our dependence on petroleum. Even with a trillion and maybe even two trillion barrels of oil available, at the present rate of use, the experts estimate we will go through it in about forty years. Others, however, believe there are vast amounts of undiscovered oil re- serves.

Part of the problem of energy costs, energy dependency, and the cost of oil can be found in the fact that the U.S.A. has experienced a drop in its refining capability over the past twenty years. We went from being able to refine 18.5 million barrels to 16.5 million barrels. There has been an even sharper drop in the number of refineries, from 315 to 155! Thus, the U.S.A. is highly vulnerable. We will be in serious trouble, if even a small number of refineries stopped producing, even temporarily. A major factor for the dramatic increase in oil prices is this lack of refining capacity.

This may explain why the oil industry and automobile manufacturers are willing to spend billions to find a way to make hydrogen the transportation energy of the future. Hybrid vehicles that utilize a fuel cell could get more than 75 miles per gallon of gaso- line, and that's a good thing. Environmentalists support this and, if the technology can be developed to a point of being affordable, why not? It remains, however, a very big "if".

The real answer, of course, is to build more refineries and, in part, to tap the reserves of oil known to exist in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) in Alaska. Envi- ronmentalists have fought both these options.

Here's the bottom line. Without energy, this nation shuts down. All others, too. The good news is that technologies are being developed whereby, for transportation and other uses, new engines will revolutionize the use of current energy sources. They will be far more efficient and they will be affordable.

Beware of the hype about hydrogen. Many engineers and scientists know it's baloney, and you should too.

More on Policy Issues Relating to
Energy, Environment, & Natural Resources

Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, Communications Director of the American Policy Center, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center ( He is the author of A POCKET GUIDE TO MILITANT ISLAM and THE UNITED NATIONS VS. THE UNITED STATES, both available from the National Anxiety Center, 9 Brookside Road, Maplewood, New Jersey, 07040.

Copyright 2003 Alan Caruba

Published with Permission of Alan Caruba

Return to Top of Page

Return to Beginning of
Public Issues & Political Controversies

Return to Beginning of
Volume V, 2003

Return to Beginning of
Subject Matter Highlights



Africa: Black Africa * Africa: North Africa * American Government 1
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control

This is not a commercial website. The sole purpose of the website is to share with interested persons information regarding civics, civic and social education, political science, government, politics, law, constitutional law and history, public policy, and political philosophy and history, as well as current and recent political developments, public issues, and political controversies.



Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.

Government, Politics, Public Policy, Legal Issues, Constitutional Law, Government & the Economy, Cultural Values, Foreign Affairs, International Relations, Military Defense & National Security, Geopolitics, Terrorism & Homeland Security, American National Interests, Political Systems & Processes, Political Institutions, Political Ideologies, & Political Philosophy




An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis

Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor

Conservative & Free-Market Analysis of Government, Politics & Public Policy, Covering Political, Legal, Constitutional, Economic, Cultural, Military, International, Strategic, & Geopolitical Issues

Conservative Government Ensures a Nation's Strength, Progress, & Prosperity