So over on Facebook I’d shared the news that 200 nations approved the new climate agreement in Paris.
I’d commented when I shared the video:
“I’m shocked – I would love to see the vote tally and if the United States plans to adhere to this agreement. One thing I can see immediately disappearing by the half century mark is the internal combustion engine. The future is going to be both electric and autonomous.”
So a Facebook friend commented:
“I do not think eliminating all internal combustion engines is a smart idea. just make them run on hydrogen and they will emit only water.”
My reply was:
“The problem is it’ll be orders of magnitude more difficult to build for a hydrogen economy than for an electric economy. Besides the point – the best way to use hydrogen isn’t to burn it but react it in a fuel cell with oxygen. And the end result is electricity anyhow.”
And the friend replied:
“true. but rethink having battery powered electric cars:
the “carbon footprint” is NOT significantly better than gas burners. you have to realize where the power to charge those batteries comes from: huge power plants that burn fossil fuels.
so “electric cars” just shift the point of combustion AND are inherently LESS efficient because fossil fuels have to be combusted first, converted to electricity, then that electricity is used to charge batteries which is a low efficiency process generating waste heat, then when the batteries discharge they again generate waste heat.
and eventually those batteries wear out and become toxic waste.
this is NOT an “environmental” solution.”
My final reply and I think I may have ended the discussion with:
“Well – it will require shuttering coal, oil and gas power plants and replacing them with nuclear fission or fusion. Plus solar, wind, tidal etc.
And there are certain economies of scale since even if you are running dirty coal, oil or gas power plants it’s taking millions of dirty internal combustion engines off the road.”
The thing is the friend isn’t a stupid guy. He’s got more than a few brain cells to rub together.
And what he offers about the batteries wearing out and the “environmental” thing – that’s just plain obstinate if not stupid. Think about it for a moment. Current estimates of the number of cars on the road, and vast majority are run on internal combustion engines. Pollution from cars I’d posit is WORSE than all the power plants and environmental concern over lithium batteries than what we’re currently living with right now with internal combustion engines.
Now in the U.S. we use 136.78 Billion gallons of gasoline per years. Multiply that times 9,533.5 grams of CO2 per gallon on average split between gasoline and diesel fuel for auto usage along and you’re looking at 1,303,992,130,000,000 grams of CO2 emission per year from motor vehicles in the United States ALONE. That is an astounding amount of pollution coming from predominantly cars and trucks in the U.S.
Now even dirty coal, oil and gas only contributes 2000 Million Metric tons of CO2 per year.
But if you removed the internal combustion engine from the equation our CO2 emissions would drop precipitously.
But people just don’t get it.