From email@example.com Sun Jul 27 11:00:06 2003
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2003 05:45:26 -0500 (CDT)
Mark Graffis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Hydrogen Report is Full of Hot Air
A paper1 claiming that a hydrogen economy could deleteriously affect the ozone layer is under fire. The popular media covered the report because of its iconoclastic attack on assumptions made by hydrogen optimists. However, few publications have noted charges that some of the authors’ assumptions are flawed.
If the United States were to adopt a hydrogen economy, the paper
claims, then 20% of the gas, or 120 teragrams, would leak annually
into the atmosphere. Hydrogen would combine with oxygen in the
stratosphere and enlarge the polar ozone holes.
It might be that
[the writers] are well versed in atmospheric science, but they know
nothing about hydrogen, says hydrogen specialist Reinhold Wurster
of LBST, a consultancy based in Munich.
Hydrogen, he says, must be pumped into cars at 700 bars of pressure (700 times normal atmospheric pressure), so even a microscopic leak would cause the whole transportation network to fail.
The paper’s authors did not return phone calls; however, an
editor at Science, which published the work, welcomed the criticism:
It certainly is a lively issue that needs to be addressed, says
H. Jesse Smith.
Senior scientist Susan Solomon, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, notes that since the 1970s, stratospheric hydrogen has
increased by 25% with no measurable effects.
The paper seems quite
speculative. Quite frankly, I’m surprised it was published.
1 T. Tromp et al.,
environmental impact of a hydrogen economy on the stratosphere,
Science, 300:1740, June 13, 2003.