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Faulty portrayal.

Ed Hiserodt's article "The 'Hydrogen Economy'" plays loose with the facts.

Hiserodt wrongly claims that the sun is only perpendicular to the Earth at the equator. The perpendicular rays of the sun "move" northward, reaching perpendicular at the Tropic of Cancer (23 1/2[degrees] N latitude) in the northern hemisphere on the June solstice and reach perpendicular at the Tropic of Capricorn (23 1/2[degrees] S latitude) in the southern hemisphere on the December solstice.

In "explaining" why solar power is impractical for producing enough hydrogen for automobiles, Hiserodt offers an example that assumes more than twice the average American's gasoline usage (according to the Department of Energy). By error or intention, Hiserodt's argument here fails to realistically evaluate the potential of solar-produced hydrogen.

Most egregious though is Hiserodt's failure to acknowledge American ingenuity. Taking a snapshot (erroneous and distorted) of today's technology and concluding that hydrogen is unworkable is antithetical to the American spirit of invention. American innovation will make hydrogen power more feasible than Hiserodt's static view imagines.


Greensboro, North Carolina

Ed Hiserodt responds: Thanks, Mr. Smith, for your attention to those devilish details. Having heard that on the equator nights and days were equal, I assumed this meant the path of the sun tracked the equator. Astronomy is among many subjects in which I wish I were more learned. Regarding gasoline usage, I'll yield to your source without argument as in this case there is little difference in a factor of two. What I will contest is my alleged lack of faith in American invention and innovation. Being involved from 1962-69 in the space program, I've seen firsthand what even a backward (by today's standard) technology could do given the will and the American spirit. But some things are forever impractical due to physical constraints--like the solar constant and the energy required to separate water into its components.
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Author:Smith, Roch; Hiserodt, Ed
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 17, 2007
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