Hydrogen Cars

Hydrogen is too often hailed as the solution for all our energy problems and while it is an interesting technology, it also has its limitations. I found the video from Real Engineering an excellent explainer why for example in cars, a pure battery EV is the ‘better’ solution over a Hydrogen FCHEV.

Hydrogen being ‘just a carrier’ of energy, it first has to be made using another source of energy. I think the sensible use cases for hydrogen are:

  1. In case you are sitting on top of a process which has hydrogen as a waste output, by all means utilise that. Convert it to electricity in a fuel cell, or burn it for heat.
  2. In the case where you are in need of a lot of heat, hydrogen can make more sense than trying to apply heat using an electrical source. Steel mills for example, or large scale ovens. You’d be able to make the hydrogen, have a far from perfect efficiency from doing so, but have access to a heat source that is free from CO2 emissions. Assuming you’re using electrolysis to create hydrogen and solar/wind power.
  3. Rockets. I see progress being made with battery powered flight and that just might evolve in big commercial airliners using battery power to fly us around. For a conventional rocket to have thrust, it has to push something out. Using hydrogen for this can make sense. Until we have developed something in the area of ion-drives, or Star Trek inspired impulse/warp capabilities. Let me know if you are working on that.

Winning, but no Competition?

Where new technologies emerge, things change. The old way of doing things gets faded out. I understand some can see this as a competition. An example is the autonomous car. Technically it appears within our reach to deploy this at a large scale. Heralding the improved safety and preventing fatalities in traffic, but likely also costing jobs of professional drivers. In the interview of U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, she tells us:

“the race to develop new transportation solutions like self-driving cars is "not a competition" between the technology and automotive industries.”

Races are often seen as a competition of sorts though, but I found it remarkable that in the same article featuring the interview, a proposal to speed up this change ‘exemptions’ can be won:

“a Senate committee is working on legislation that would make it easier for automakers to get self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads by winning exemptions from rules requiring human controls”

It is branded not really a competition, but a race in which things can be won. Though I expect it is also possible lose then, which still still sounds a lot like a competition.

Introduction Blockchain

This is by far one of the best introductions for Blockchain I have seen in a long time:

With all the buzz surrounding blockchain, it has also become the terrain of the fortune seekers who claim to know it all, charging high consultancy fees while visibly struggling to clarify the basic concept behind bitcoin in their presentations or Youtube video's.