Cover image for Tomorrow's energy : hydrogen, fuel cells, and the prospects for a cleaner planet
Tomorrow's energy : hydrogen, fuel cells, and the prospects for a cleaner planet
Hoffmann, Peter, 1935-
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
x, 289 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Why hydrogen? Buckminster Fuller, Sheikh Yamani, and Bill Clinton -- Hydrogen's discovery : phlogiston and inflammable air -- A history of hydrogen energy : the Reverend Cecil, Jules Verne, and the redoubtable Mr. Erren -- Producing hydrogen from water, natural gas, and green plants -- Primary energy : using solar and other power to make hydrogen -- Hydrogen for cars and buses : steaming tailpipes -- Fuel cells : Mr. Grove's lovely technology -- Hydrogen in aerospace : clean contrails and the Orient Express -- Hydrogen as utility gas : the invisible flame -- Non-energy uses of hydrogen : metallic H₂, biodegradable plastics, and H² tofu -- Safety : the Hindenburg syndrome ; or, "Don't paint your dirigible with rocket fuel" -- The next 100 years.
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TP359.H8 H633 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Hydrogen is the quintessential eco-fuel. This invisible, tasteless gas is the most abundant element in the universe. It is the basic building block and fuel of stars and an essential raw material in innumerable biological and chemical processes. As a completely nonpolluting fuel, it may hold the answer to growing environmental concerns about atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and the resultant Greenhouse Effect. In this book Peter Hoffmann describes current research toward a hydrogen-based economy. He presents the history of hydrogen energy and discusses the environmental dangers of continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Author Notes

Peter Hoffmann is a former Washington correspondent for McGraw-Hill World News

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Editor of The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter and author of The Forever Fuel: The Story of Hydrogen, Hoffmann chronicles the worldwide progression of hydrogen energy from a niche market to a viable commercial product. Arguing that fossil fuels will not be cheap to find in the future and that renewables are becoming less expensive, he advocates the use of hydrogen as a nonpolluting form of energy for fuel cells and as an energy storage medium. Hoffmann thoroughly details the history of hydrogen projects worldwide from experimental fuel cell vehicles produced by the major auto makers to research into the use of hydrogen as airplane fuel, the application of hydrogen in utilities in Germany and China, and a few experimental hydrogen-powered houses in the United States. Hoffmann frankly explains the pros and cons of the hydrogen debate, including safety issues, economics, and the difficulty in moving our national energy policy away from fossil fuels. Because there are so few books on this energy source, academic and public libraries that have a strong interest in alternative energy materials will want to purchase for informed readers. Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hoffman comprehensively reviews a possible role for hydrogen in the energy mix of the future. He has pulled together the historical chronicle of hydrogen's discovery--the many false trails as various researchers tried to find useful niches for this truly wonderful element. The false trails are continuing today as companies and governments try to exploit hydrogen's great qualities but are frustrated by its drawbacks. Hydrogen is used in large quantities in industry but the promise of a completely nonpolluting fuel is always just out of reach. The basics are almost too simple. Water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. Electricity can separate them, and if they are recombined in a fuel cell, most of the electricity can be re-produced. Since no carbon is involved, no greenhouse gases are emitted. In fact, the only products of a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell are electricity and water. Despite its good points, hydrogen remains an expensive, hard-to-handle, hard-to-store, specialty fuel, and is considered dangerous, the so-called "Hindenburg" syndrome, even though experts say that fire was caused by static electricity. Hoffman discusses all this in a nontechnical, journalistic style with little commentary. Recommended. General readers; undergraduates; two-year technical program students. J. C. Comer emeritus, Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents

Senator Tom Harkin
Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
1 Why Hydrogen? Buckminster Fuller, Sheikh Yamani, and Bill Clintonp. 1
2 Hydrogen's Discovery: Phlogiston and Inflammable Airp. 19
3 A History of Hydrogen Energy: The Reverend Cecil, Jules Verne, and the Redoubtable Mr. Errenp. 27
4 Producing Hydrogen from Water, Natural Gas, and Green Plantsp. 53
5 Primary Energy: Using Solar and Other Power to Make Hydrogenp. 79
6 Hydrogen for Cars and Buses: Steaming Tailpipesp. 99
7 Fuel Cells: Mr. Grove's Lovely Technologyp. 141
8 Hydrogen in Aerospace: Clean Contrails and the Orient Expressp. 161
9 Hydrogen as Utility Gas: The Invisible Flamep. 187
10 Non-Energy Uses of Hydrogen: Metallic H[subscript 2], Biodegradable Plastics, and H[subscript 2] Tofup. 211
11 Safety: The Hindenburg Syndrome, or "Don't Paint Your Dirigible with Rocket Fuel"p. 233
12 The Next 100 Yearsp. 247
Notesp. 265
Indexp. 283