Hydrogen Fuel Crisis

'The Hype About Hydrogen' warns that creating new energy sources won't be easy. Report on Joseph Romm's new book

Published: 22-Mar-2004

rogen is the best of fuels. Hydrogen is the worst of fuels," writes author Joseph J. Romm. "We were all going directly to hydrogen, we were all going directly the other way."

In terms of waxing lyrical, paraphrasing Dickens is about as good as it gets for Romm, who directed programs in energy efficiency and renewable technologies during the Clinton Administration. As a longtime supporter of pollution-free energy, Romm is succinct if not elegant in presenting his overview of the prospects for developing hydrogen as a clean and inexhaustible fuel.

Yet Romm keeps his political leanings in check in this balanced assessment of hydrogen fuel cells and the many hurdles facing this technology. His logic is clear, and he reaches conclusions similar to an authoritative study issued last month by the National Academy of Sciences.

With worldwide petroleum production expected to peak in the next few decades, this book serves as a primer on what to expect as the cost of energy becomes increasingly expensive. It is a must-read for environmentalists who may be expecting too much from hydrogen fuels and

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