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ILSR Argues Against CA 'Hydrogen Highway' Proposal.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) recently announced the release of a new report by ILSR vice president David Morris which argues that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed "hydrogen highway" is "too expensive and would reduce oil consumption much less and more slowly than an ethanol highway."

In the report, titled "A Better Way of Getting From Here to There: A commentary on the hydrogen economy and a proposal for an alternative strategy," ILSR said Morris urges Schwarzenegger to conduct a study of the comparative costs and benefits of hydrogen and ethanol before implementing the hydrogen highway proposal. Additionally, ILSR said the report notes hydrogen's "major shortcomings -- astonishingly high costs, low overall energy efficiency and a reliance on non-renewable fuels."

"For a hydrogen economy to have any impact, the nation would have to change virtually every aspect of its energy system, from production to distribution to the design of our gas stations and our cars," writes Morris. "Why spend billions of dollars over the next 20 to 25 years to completely redesign our transportation system from the ground up when we could build a high-efficiency ethanol transportation system for a fraction of the cost and time."

According to ILSR, the report also notes that while "the use of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) by itself could reduce liquid fuel consumption by 30 to 50 percent," expanding the electric-only driving capacity of HEVs' electric battery system "could reduce liquid fuel consumption by another 30 to 40 percent and allow the vehicle to run off renewable electricity," with "the dramatically reduced liquid fuel consumption that would result [enabling] the building of an ethanol highway."

"A sugar economy makes more sense than a hydrogen economy," said Morris. "California has a rich potential for converting homegrown sugars into ethanol and biochemicals, and even without subsidies, ethanol costs half as much as hydrogen."

Contact: David Morris, ILSR, phone 612-379-3815, e-mail

(EIN STAFF: 1/20)

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Publication:Fuel Cells Today
Date:Jan 23, 2004
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