$3,200,000,000,000 for an Oil-Free Future
Well, you can't accuse either side of the political spectrum of hanging around while gas prices have opened-up the debate on America's energy policy, or lack thereof. While President Bush has removed the executive order against off-shore drilling (over to you congress), former Vice President Al Gore has asked Americans to help foot the bill for a ten-year, three trillion dollar "moon shot" effort to switch to "clean" electricity from solar, wind and geothermal power. While this is an extremely inconvenient solution for coal mining states that leaves pro-nuclear partisans in the cold, I mention Al's plan here because it's implicit that the transition would enable a nation of plug-in hybrids or pure EVs. Hey, what about hydrogen? Big Al made no mention of water vaporware. But The Boston Herald reports that a group of scientists have priced-out a U.S. switch to hydrogen-powered vehicles at $200b. No mention was made of the energy source for the fuel, but apparently the the Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies have bigger fish to fry (deep freeze?). "The cost of platinum is approximately 57 percent of the fuel-cell stack costs and represents the greatest challenge to further cost reductions," the study said. "Future platinum supply is a critical issue in forward projections of fuel-cell costs." If it's not one thing, it's another.
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