BC Shows its Got the Smarts: Chooses Hydrogen Over Biofuels

hydrogenbus.jpgWell this was a welcome piece of news today. The BC government shows progressive thinking by investing in hydrogen fueled buses for the 2010 Olympics. I have to give them credit for making a wise decision and choosing hydrogen over ethanol. The spin-offs from the buses could mean even more hydrogen refueling stations in BC, which will help increase production of hydrogen powered vehicles and eventually bring prices down.

Can West reports on the announcement today stating,

Buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells produce no greenhouse gas emissions and can be twice as energy-efficient as conventional buses, although hydrogen is not yet a miracle fuel.

I understand there are also some groups encouraging the BC government to switch to biofules for BC Ferries. I think this would be a poor investment for BC. Better to invest slowly in new hydrogen powered ferries. Governments should be choosing hydrogen over ethanol, which requires too much water, arable land, does not burn any cleaner, increases the price of our basic groceries and is likely to result in worldwide food shortages.

I also found this article at Rabble stating that the Green party is on the wrong side on the biofuels issue and I couldn’t agree more.

A study by the Library of Parliament says that despite $2 billion destined for biofuels in the Conservative budget, the 10 per cent ethanol gasoline blend aimed for won’t make much difference in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but it will take 36 per cent of Canada’s arable land. Another study by Environment Canada admits that biofuels confer no advantage.

The Globe and Mail reports today on the consequences of the biofuels craze to the world’s forests.

In Africa, Asia and Latin America, forest blocks that were previously reserved for conservation or sustainable forestry are being converted to sugar-cane and palm-oil plantations, whose output will be used as fuel for ethanol. The irony of cutting down forests for biofuels is that forests store a significant fraction of the world’s stocks of carbon.


3 thoughts on “BC Shows its Got the Smarts: Chooses Hydrogen Over Biofuels

  1. rabbit says:

    Hydrogen gas has to be manufactured, and is only as green as the method of manufacture. As I understand it, the only economical means of manufacturing is with natural gas.

    This still might make it better than biofuels, but it is a mistake to think that, just because its exhaust is water vapour, a hydrogen car does not damage the environment.

  2. Woman at Mile 0 says:
  3. vaporguy says:

    Probably worth noting that hydrogen powered vehicles emit water vapour, which is by FAR the biggest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

    Meanwhile, the radiative transfer code in climate models does not properly account for the thermal infrared absorption of water vapour, meaning that the positive feedback on global warming due to atmospheric water vapour is considerably underestimated in these models.

    Possibly unrelated, but also worth noting that arctic sea ice is melting faster than the climate models predicted.

    Whether or not accelerated arctic sea ice melting ultimately turns out to be related to enhanced water vapour absorption, I’d be wary of thinking we’re getting off scot free by burning hydrogen.

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