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NASA Reports Vast Hydrogen Reserves in Earth's Crust

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the consumption-of-mass-quantities dept.

Science 822

Garin writes: "The Vancouver Sun is reporting that NASA scientists have discovered vast quantities of hydrogen stored in the Earth's crust while they were trying to explain the presence of living bacteria. Could this be the beginning of the end for our dependence on oil? I hope so."

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Even Larger Amounts (0, Troll)

dbretton (242493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343952)

of Hot Air Found inside of large, white buiding in Washington, DC.

Alan Thicke dead? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344100)

Is it true that Alan Thicke died of a overdose of hot grits while eating lunch with Natalie Portman?

Could it be? (1)

Gautama (153230) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343954)

Sometimes it doesn't pay to hope.

But getting the petro-monkey off our collective backs would be a truly wonderful thing.

If only the oil companies would allow it...

Re:Could it be? (3, Interesting)

yatest5 (455123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343968)

If only the oil companies would allow it...

Do you not think that there would just be a new group of powerful companies selling hydrogen instead?

Re:Could it be? (3, Insightful)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344021)

Do you not think that there would just be a new group of powerful companies selling hydrogen instead?

No doubt about that. But the current powerful oil companies would not be very excited about that unless they could ensure that THEY would be the powerful hydrogen companies as well.

mark

Re:Could it be? (5, Insightful)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344050)

Considering that they already control most of the equipment resources needed for mining and processing pretty much anything I don't think it will be a problem for them to make a lateral move from Oil Conglomerate to Hydrogen Conglomerate.

Kintanon

Re:Could it be? (1)

zephiros (214088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344140)

No doubt about that. But the current powerful oil companies would not be very excited about that unless they could ensure that THEY would be the powerful hydrogen companies as well.

Considering their expertise in seismic analysis, drilling, and natural gas processing, I think that's pretty much a given.

Re:Could it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344039)

And of course using the power they already have to leverage themselves into place the new "powerful companies selling hydrogen" would probably have names like Exxon, Shell, BP, and so forth....

Re:Could it be? (1)

ekephart (256467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344063)

Do you not think that there would just be a new group of powerful companies selling hydrogen instead?

Yes, but WHY are oil companies disliked? Among other reasons because they pollute with relative impunity. Oil is dirty, chemicals from oil refining harm people. I would choose a hydrogen monopoly over an oil monopoly anyday.

Re:Could it be? (1)

Tyler Durden (136036) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344068)

True. But I would rather have powerful companies selling a clean energy source that doesn't depend on keeping unstable/totalitarian governments happy than the current powerful companies.

Wouldn't you?

Re:Could it be? (2)

M-G (44998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344099)

if only the oil companies would allow it...

And you just think the hydrogen will jump out of the ground when we tell it to? IF there are truly large pockets of free hydrogen in geologic traps, it has to be gotten by drilling. Who has the equipment, the experience, the distribution networks, and most of all, the money to drill? The oil companies. They'll be the only ones able to exploit the resource.

The article was very light on on details, but indicated that any such reserves would be very deep. And if it requires drilling through granite, you'll be wearing out cutting bits quickly. To drill and complete one of these wells will easily run into the multi-millions of dollars.

Re:Could it be? (4, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344142)

Offtopic, but there's something that's been bothering me for wa while: Perpetually the US Administration talks about reducing the dependence on foreign oil, promoting the opening up of the Alaskan Wildlife Refuges for drilling, and basically writing a blank environmental cheque for oil companies to sign. All of this is done under the pretense of being patriotic by reducing the countries strategic vulnerabilities (namely having a primary energy source externally controlled). Yet this is the same administration (I'm not talking about one particular party, or even one make-up of politicians, but I mean government momentum on a whole) that continually refuses to enforce basic fuel efficiency (NOT conservation. There's a difference between conservation and efficiency) directives. I don't have the metrics (nor have I ever looked), but the highways are full of grossly inefficient vehicles (not just large vehicles, either, but additionally inefficient small vehicles. The Chevrolet Cavalier is some ~25% less efficient than most comparably sized competitors). If people want to feel patriotic, they should forsake getting that new Expedition and buy themselves a Dodge Neon or a Toyota Corolla : You're doing a great service to your country.

what a load (-1, Offtopic)

yatest5 (455123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343955)

of hot air!

Hydrogen mining! (3, Insightful)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343956)

Woohoo! Now we can start strip mining for hydrogen! >:) Hopefully a nice easy, preferably mostly passive, process can be perfected for extracting the hydrogen in usable form. Would be much cool if they could just stick a Hydrogen refinery with a big tube down into the crust and let it chug away, using part of what it brought up to poweritself and pumping the rest to wherever. Mmmm... cleaner energy...

Kintanon

Re:Hydrogen mining! (2, Funny)

CaseStudy (119864) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344006)

Yeah, and they can market it under the trade name "Vespene."

we'll have hydrogen power... (3, Insightful)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343959)

...when the people who currently have a monopoly on oil control it.

Dependence on WHAT? (1, Troll)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343960)

Could this be the beginning of the end for our dependence on oil? I hope so.

Let me get this straight: you think the mere presence of a large quantity of an alternative is going to change things? So what exactly is holding back solar power, wind power, and nuclear power? They're all more freely available than hydrogen. They've all been around for quite a while, and you don't see people giving up oil just yet.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (2)

awptic (211411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344008)

Are solar panels effecient enough to work in automobiles, how about wind power? surely you can't put a nuclear reactor in one... hydrogen and oil, however, can be used in such a way, THAT's the difference.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (5, Informative)

JordanH (75307) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344018)

  • So what exactly is holding back solar power, wind power, and nuclear power?

Economics. Oil is cheaper to use than any of those. Solar, Wind and Nuclear require big capital investments up front and provide electrical energy which can't be stored without a big drop in efficiency. Oil and hydrogen, depending on how difficult it will be to mine it, don't have this problem.

  • They're all more freely available than hydrogen.

Are you sure? Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. If we've found a large, easily tapped reserve, this is a good thing, I think.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (2)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344083)

easily tapped reserve

Within a certain definition of "easily" when said definition includes hauling up megatons of rubble from two miles below the earth's crust and somehow extracting the hydrogen.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344020)

In order - cost, reliability, safety.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344032)

Very true... but it's not the people's unwillingness to give up on oil. It's been the oil companies in the past and even still, lobbying the governments to stiffle alternate energy source research because it would drive them out of business. Funds for research into these alternate energies are greatly limited by these efforts of the patrolium companies. We could be and should be many years ahead with solar and nuclear and the like technologies if it were not for the greed of these companies.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344042)

Well, maybe a layman like me is best suited to take a stab at this from my casual knowledge on the subject:

Solar power: cells are expensive, relatively inefficient, and are not suited for all locations.

Wind power: ?? this is used where its effective, but again, not always on, you need _lots_ of mills or huge ones to get anything useful?

Nuclear power: considering that they are gunna start burying waste below mountains in nevada, isn't this somewhat self explainitory? nuclear power is great, but anything that makes garbage always comes back to haunt us, especially if that garbage is pretty dangerous.

And none of these three energy collection/production methods is suitable for the 'on the go' purposes of the car (except maybe solar I guess).

I think the unbquity with which hydrogen could be used is it's big selling point. Anywhere, anytime; and I'd imagine lots of things could be retrofitted to use hydrogen much easier than the alternatives?

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344046)

Right now it takes quite a lot of investment and land for solar/wind power to be of any use. They're also variable (cloudy days, no wind). Additionally, each windmill/solar cell produces less output for the cost/area it takes up than a traditional coal/petrol plant.

I'd love to see alternative energies, but I don't know if the economy (read: people with money) can make the change.

Nuclear energy is practically criminal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344048)

nuclear power

It's unclean, unsafe and will be permanently banned in Europe in ten years -- good riddance I say.

It's either clean energy sources like wind or solar power or the industry is going to have to live with zero-growth in energy consumption. For once I am glad I am living in Europe.

Re:Dependence on WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344058)

None of the alternatives you mentioned is really portable enough to replace oil on autos. Hydrogen is. Electric cars are nice an all, but they take a lot longer to fill up than a tank of gas.

Still, there is that whole infrastructure problem "where are we going to fuel our hydrogen cars".

And then, isn't this really trading one depleteable mined resource for another? (granted, the H2O waste is better than C02 waste, and a hydrogen "spill" isn't the same ecological disaster).

Anon because I'm modding.

Square Root of Two (-1)

Rock 'N' Troll (566273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343967)

10000 digits :)

Sqrt2 = 1 .
4142135623 7309504880 1688724209 6980785696 7187537694 : 50
8073176679 7379907324 7846210703 8850387534 3276415727 : 100
3501384623 0912297024 9248360558 5073721264 4121497099 : 150
9358314132 2266592750 5592755799 9505011527 8206057147 : 200
0109559971 6059702745 3459686201 4728517418 6408891986 : 250
0955232923 0484308714 3214508397 6260362799 5251407989 : 300
6872533965 4633180882 9640620615 2583523950 5474575028 : 350
7759961729 8355752203 3753185701 1354374603 4084988471 : 400
6038689997 0699004815 0305440277 9031645424 7823068492 : 450
9369186215 8057846311 1596668713 0130156185 6898723723 : 500

5288509264 8612494977 1542183342 0428568606 0146824720 : 550
7714358548 7415565706 9677653720 2264854470 1585880162 : 600
0758474922 6572260020 8558446652 1458398893 9443709265 : 650
9180031138 8246468157 0826301005 9485870400 3186480342 : 700
1948972782 9064104507 2636881313 7398552561 1732204024 : 750
5091227700 2269411275 7362728049 5738108967 5040183698 : 800
6836845072 5799364729 0607629969 4138047565 4823728997 : 850
1803268024 7442062926 9124859052 1810044598 4215059112 : 900
0249441341 7285314781 0580360337 1077309182 8693147101 : 950
7111168391 6581726889 4197587165 8215212822 9518488472 : 1000

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6519267292 3998753666 1721598257 8860263363 6178274959 : 1550
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3299898953 8672882285 6378697749 6625199665 8352577619 : 1650
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2522118674 9042497736 6929207311 0963697216 0893370866 : 1950
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5491680285 3077398938 2960362133 5398753205 0919989360 : 3300
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1549266540 2026046806 8183914378 2721476906 3242469517 : 9400
1286367384 4313983337 1176159418 6999346626 2345373452 : 9450
3567940124 1680922911 6360956372 1674528391 7099091466 : 9500

4850739205 1516056047 3787106154 7021699607 4656930979 : 9550
4426121469 2561593425 6494019122 9895147325 4471518126 : 9600
3258368897 2822628332 9524035970 0727863364 6045947071 : 9650
2417472946 8775705958 1573499628 4809956783 9255474240 : 9700
4489918870 7106967524 2507745201 2293608105 7414265323 : 9750
4724064162 1410333533 4055110452 1261750359 0284037454 : 9800
5918645047 2762434207 1770929793 5401021409 6464502836 : 9850
8341804075 8608100140 7216192477 1798098596 8111540446 : 9900
4437285689 5928683197 7797786934 6415984697 4513391774 : 9950
1537904877 8808300220 5833504674 6555323028 5873258351 : 10000

Re:Square Root of Two (-1)

GoatTroll (556420) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344107)

I agree with this post.

Oxygen crisis in 3000 (5, Funny)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343970)

Sure, it sounds like a neat idea now.

But wait until we've been burning hydrogen-powered cars for a thousand years, locking up all of the atmospheric oxygen in water. People will be gasping for air at sea level, and the 'dead zone' on mountains (which the oxygen level is too low to support human life) will include cities like Denver and Mexico City.

Re:Oxygen crisis in 3000 (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344070)

"But wait until we've been burning hydrogen-powered cars for a thousand years, locking up all of the atmospheric oxygen in water. "

I thought that's why God created plants.

Re:Oxygen crisis in 3000 (1)

RadioTV (173312) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344116)

Plants release oxygen from carbon dioxide - not water.

Re:Oxygen crisis in 3000 (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344131)

...oxygen level is too low to support human life) will include cities like Denver ....


Obviously, you've not been to Denver in the recent past - there already is no O2, just smog.

Re:Oxygen crisis in 3000 (1, Redundant)

cryptochrome (303529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344136)

I don't know how much of a threat this is, but I've not heard anyone address this. Of course it's true also for fossil fuels - every time you burn anything for energy, you're losing oxygen in the process.

If we just used renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal) we wouldn't have to worry about all this stuff.

1000 Litres....in Your Dreams (2, Funny)

dbretton (242493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343973)

Professor Freund said that his team had "tantalizing evidence" that as much as 1,000 litres of hydrogen may be trapped in each cubic metre of rock.


When asked what this could possibly mean, Dr. Freud said that it meant that he secretly wishes to engage in sexual relations with his mother.

Re:1000 Litres....in Your Dreams (1)

Dephex Twin (416238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344049)

That's Freund, not Freud.

mark

More Interesting for the Typical Slashdot Reader (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3343974)

NASA Reports Vast Goat-cheese Reserves in Anal Crust [goatse.cx]

uh oh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3343979)

you've slashdotted canada.

Wow, Thank goodness! (2)

Geek In Training (12075) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343982)

Thank goodness that they found some Hydrogen in the earth's crust! We were almost running out of dihydrogen monoxide and atmospheric sources!

(Yes, I know it's more costly to derive [H] from other molecules than to recover from the earth and store for immediate use. It's called "vain attempt at humor.")

Re:Wow, Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344072)

It's called "vain attempt at humor."

Yes, your attempt was very much in vain.

How vast is vast? (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343989)

How much hydrogen is there compared to the amount of oil that was underground 100 years ago?

I doubt it can reduce dependence on petroleum (2)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343990)

Unfortunately, I don't think this will reduce dependence on petroleum. If the hydrogen was not bound up in some molecules (like water), then it would be great. But at the moment there is no cheap way of getting hydrogen out common compounds.

I haven't read the linked article yet, as it appears to be /.-ed. So my comments are made in more than just the usual bit of ignorance.

Article text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3343992)

Posted anonymously because I don't need the karma.

LONDON -- Scientists have discovered vast quantities of hydrogen gas, widely regarded as the most promising alternative to today's dwindling stocks of fossil fuels, lying beneath the Earth's crust.
The discovery has stunned energy experts, who believe that it could provide virtually limitless supplies of clean fuel for cars, homes and industry.

Governments across the world are urgently seeking ways of switching from conventional energy sources such as coal, gas and nuclear power to cleaner, safer alternatives.
Energy specialists estimate that oil production will start to decline within the next 10 to 15 years, as the economically viable reserves start to run out.

Hydrogen gas has been hailed as the ultimate clean fuel, as it produces only water when burned. Until now, however, moves to switch to a "hydrogen economy" have been dogged by the cost of making the gas. The two most common ways -- extraction from natural gas and sea water -- are expensive and create environmental problems.
Now scientists at the American space agency Nasa have found that the Earth's crust is a vast natural reservoir of hydrogen which has become trapped in ancient rocks.

The team made its discovery while trying to explain how bacteria live many miles below the Earth's surface. Such bugs have no access to sunlight, forcing them to rely on another source of energy for life. Scientists suspected that hydrogen was the source.

According to Professor Friedemann Freund and colleagues at Nasa's Ames Research Center in California, the gas is produced when water molecules trapped inside molten rock break down to release hydrogen.
"In the top 20 kilometres of the Earth's crust, the conditions are right to produce a nearly inexhaustible supply of hydrogen," said Professor Freund.

Studies by the team of common rock types such as granite and olivine have revealed extraordinarily high levels of trapped hydrogen. Professor Freund said that his team had "tantalizing evidence" that as much as 1,000 litres of hydrogen may be trapped in each cubic metre of rock.

Although formidable engineering problems remain to be overcome in abstracting the gas, the sheer volume of the Earth's crust means that such a high concentration would solve the world's energy problems.
"Everyone thinks of gas and oil as the main sources, and it's very difficult to get anyone to take alternatives seriously," said Dr. David Elliott, the professor of technology policy at the Open University in London. "The possibility of vast reserves of hydrogen in the Earth's crust could change that mindset."

The low yield of energy from burning hydrogen compared to gas, however, means that vast quantities of rock would have to be mined.

Professor Freund believes that the extraction and crushing of rock to extract the trapped hydrogen is likely to be prohibitively expensive. The reaction which creates the gas takes place at depths far below those involved in oil extraction, which are typically about two miles down.

The most promising source of the hydrogen may be geological "traps" similar to those now drilled for natural gas. Professor Freund said: "One of these natural hydrogen fields is already known to exist in North America, and extends from Canada to Kansas."

Calling for social responsibility! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3343993)

Almost every Arab country in the Middle East depends on the exportation of oil and natural gas.

Even if the hydrogen reservoirs were found to be as vast as this story suggests, we simply cannot stop our oil/gas imports. Doing so would destroy the Arab countries in the Gulf. What we need to do is to phase-out the use of oil so that these societies can readjust themselves to the new situation.

Re:Calling for social responsibility! (2)

Kalabajoui (232671) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344059)

A well crafted troll. I salute you!

Re:Calling for social responsibility! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344096)

but bombing these Arab countries is ok and somehow not destroying them ?

interestingly 10 out of the fbi top 20 wanted people was born in saudia arabia

perhaps destroying them would be a good thing after all :)

Re:Calling for social responsibility! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344105)

What we need to do is to phase-out the use of oil so that these societies can readjust themselves to the new situation.
LOL!! Gawd you are funny. Middle Eastern societies change? You didn't actually seriously mean that did you? Besides, the House of Saud is the number one financier of terrorism in the world. Are you suggesting we give them time to find a new way to finance the murder of innocent people?

Re:Calling for social responsibility! (2)

jonerik (308303) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344138)

Even if the hydrogen reservoirs were found to be as vast as this story suggests, we simply cannot stop our oil/gas imports. Doing so would destroy the Arab countries in the Gulf.

Your point being?

Re:Calling for social responsibility! (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344148)

No, what mostlikely will happen is that the European's and North American's will fund the middle east and they can get the market for themselves again.

LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3343995)

LUNIX SUCKS!!!

if i had mod points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344056)

this would be +1, informative

Re:LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! (0, Offtopic)

MrDolby (303452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344066)

Preach it brother.

no, it really does (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344143)


Amen

stop the oil use? no (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343997)

not a chance.. not for a long time at least.
Forcing huge and multiple industries to completely re-tool for a new fuel source will first cause gigantic resistance. The oil companies will scream no way, the car companies will scream no way, and finally the consumer will scream no-way-in-hell!

Why the consumer screaming? simple.. GM,Ford,Toyota,etc... will intentionally hike prices even higher due to the "forced changes" making you $17,000 budget sedan cost $36,000 and the stupid SUV's costs soar even higher..

it wont happen, not in our lifetimes, and possibly not in our grandchildrens lifetimes.

Hopless? Not at all. Support the Green Party! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344017)

Unless GWB, Big Oil and all the other supporters of ecoterrorism are deprived of power.

Support your local Green Party! At present, the Green Party is a serious player in the European political scene. All you have to do now is to vote the Greens to power in the States too.

Re:stop the oil use? no (2)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344019)

17,000 isn't necessarily a 'budget' vehicle. There are plenty of brand new vehicles at around 10K. If they jumped up to 15-17K to switch to hydrogen, and the SUVs became unaffordable I don't think I would cry one bit. I walk pretty much everywhere, so smaller cars on the road would make my day. It's not as if most people who own an SUV need them anyways...

Kintanon

Re:stop the oil use? no (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344060)

Stop writing when you have no clue.

SUVs are the minivan of the 00's. Do you deny that the minivan has many uses that your little hybrids, Yugo's and scooters can't compete with?

What pisses me off about your (weak) argument is that you don't hear people who drive SUVs whine about other folks choosing to walk.

Heck, I do both. But with your painful liberal worldview, I wouldn't have the choice. Thanks.

Re:stop the oil use? no (2)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344132)

Because someone choosing to walk isn't sucking up resources at a greater than necessary rate for no bloody reason. I see people driving SUVs with no one in them but themselves, obviously not carrying anything bigger than a small box. Why the HELL are they driving a hugeass SUV?
Minivans are passenger vehicles, if you carry a lot of passengers they are a good investment. They also tend to get better gas mileage than SUVs. SUVs are 'Sport Utility Vehicles' so you get a vehicle that kind of looks like a cross between a truck and a van, but also stuffed full of luxury crap and with worse gase mileage than both.
And you don't have to be driving a Scooter or a Yugo to have an efficient vehicle. The new Volkswagen Beetle gets 50mpg and has enoug room in it to carry 5 people, or 2 people and a whole bunch of stuff. SUVs are an uneccesary, unsightly, blight on the landscape. And SUV drivers had damn well better not be complaining that I choose to walk. I'm trying to make up for their gas guzzling lazy asses so those pathetic whiny entitlement minded me-me-me children they are hauling around will still be able to breathe without a gasmask when they grow up.

Kintanon

Re:stop the oil use? no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344135)

Stop writing when you have no clue.

Are you saying he does have a clue now?

What pisses me off about your (weak) argument is that you don't hear people who drive SUVs whine about other folks choosing to walk.

That's because walking isn't obnoxious, wasteful, and bad for the environment.

Re:stop the oil use? no (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344067)

But it doesnt stop there. the Hydrogen fuel will also soar in price to stratospheric prices. due to the "added processing costs" of "retooling the industry"

a change to Hydrogen as an automotive fuel will make 6 dollar a gallon gasoline look cheap... and again the consumer will scream no-way.

A real budget vehicle is $17K. and vehicles that should be bought by most (honda Insight and the other super green cars) cost insane prices ($32K for the insight and more for the GM offering)

The corperations are not interested at all in any change from diry/nasty/super inefficient oil fuel cars... otherwise they'd make the green cars affordable.. and start switching the entire lines of vehicles to green-er offerings.

so again...It will never happen.

Re:stop the oil use? no (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344095)

oops forgot. a $10K vehicle is an econo-throwaway box. they are not quality vehicles in any way ..(I own a Kia Sephia... it is a piece of crap in quality... you have to drive it very very carefully to not damage it... My Aztek feels better built and get's the same gas mileage(31.2Mpg on highway.. K&N air filter gave me 1mpg on it's own! ).. and isnt as delicate.)

Re:stop the oil use? no (1)

MrDolby (303452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344041)

"Why the consumer screaming? simple.. GM,Ford,Toyota,etc... will intentionally hike prices even higher due to the "forced changes" making you $17,000 budget sedan cost $36,000 and the stupid SUV's costs soar even higher.."

The car companies would never do this. If they started doubling prices other car companies would step in and sell for much cheaper prices.

Also, you should not force industries to use a new fuel source. If its economical then they will do it automatically. If they don't other companies will take there place by providing the fuel source.

(Un)intentional Side Effect (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344064)

Put the Hydrogen components ONLY in SUV's as part of a mandatory 'changeover' process and finally get people not to buy them.

Manufacturers can say, "See, nobody wants to buy them". Before long, they'll be fewer luxury SUV's on the road.

I don't need cars and neither should you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344115)

I don't need cars.

I walk, I bike and whenever I have to travel over 10 km I take a bus or a train. Whenever I have to cross a friggin' ugly highway filled with assholes who won't stop to let pedestrians pass as they should, I get an urge to start slashing some tires in the nearby parking place.

Re:stop the oil use? no (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344145)

Ford and Daimler both own large shares of Ballard, the world leader in hydrogen cell technology. They are prepared to make the leap. Why? Market advantage. They know there is a large group of consumers who are concerned about fossil fuel use. They want to sell to these people. The relative success of the Toyota Prius (hybrid gas/electric) shows the market exists. There is a lot of marketing advantage when you can say, "Our product is just as fast, just as reliable, and 100% cleaner. Buy Ford and feel good about yourself."

Re:stop the oil use? no (2)

M-G (44998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344149)

the car companies will scream no way

Bullshit. The car companies are working on hydrogen powered cars, both with fuel cell technology and internal combustion engines. BMW is pursuing the latter approach.

Re:stop the oil use? no (1)

trcmon (543441) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344157)

Well the bigger problem you miss is the fact they don't want to change because of the amount of money invovled, they would rather stick with oil because it would make more money that way.

GM, et al, get a tax break for making a 'clean' car, the reason for this is to encourage them to do it. It is also to keep the consumer from getting shafted by the companies.

Hell getting off oil would be good, because all those arabian states would lose their hold on the damn US companies/politians

How bout ethanol? (4, Interesting)

jjv411 (267377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3343999)

Why wait for hydrogen to relieve the dependence on foreign oil. In the states there are thousands of farmers who cannot afford to eat. Why haven't ethanol powered automobiles showed themselves? Corn products seem like a great way to help improve the economy by helping out the farmers, providing new jobs, and lowering the dependence on petrol? What gives? Why are there no ethanol cars?

Re:How bout ethanol? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344075)

Because its not economically viable to produce ethanol when gas is about $1.20 a gallon or so as I recall, in addition its only competative at that price due to the favorable tax conditions it recieves. And only until recently has it taken less energy to produce a unit of energy than it did to make it. Having said all that its on its way (by the way its more efficent to produce it from sugar caine, but we have a sugar QUOTA in the U.S. which prevents us from importing sugar and results in higher prices for U.S. consumers for everything that contains sugar or sugar substitutes (HFCF-High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Re:How bout ethanol? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344086)

Many states already use ethanol blend fuels. I install gas stations and I know that in Iowa, for exampe, they have a product that is ethanol, not gas.

Re:How bout ethanol? (1)

nochops (522181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344101)

There is:
http://www.eya.ca/mainresources/energymodels/ bioma ss/ethanolcar.htm

Re:How bout ethanol? (1)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344108)

What? Do you mean try to get auto manufacturers to change their products to benefit anything other than their sales? Are they that progressive?

We have ethanol cars... (1)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344122)

Why haven't ethanol powered automobiles showed themselves?


They have. [google.com]

beware! (2, Funny)

DickPhallus (472621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344000)

NASA scientists have discovered vast quantities of hydrogen

Any extraction of this 'hydrogen' should be persued with caution. Especially if this so called 'hydrogen' is in the dangerous dihydrogen monoxide form!

Consider some of it's effects and the consider the whole cover-up and conspiracy [dhmo.org] surround dihydrogen monoxide!

Please, for the children's sake, reconsider!

Re:beware! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344074)

Is everyone here retarded or why isn't the posted above moderated as Funny?=)

Oil as a lubricant... (1)

alanwj (242317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344002)

I can imagine us finding alternatives to our oil based fuels. I can think of many candidates off the top of my head. But it seems like we use an awful lot of oil just for its lubricating properties. What sort of alternatives do we have in that area?

Not being in a field of study relevant to the question, perhaps I am in a position to overlook an obvious answer.

Alan

Re:Oil as a lubricant... (2)

Mr.Intel (165870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344054)

Try a couple of google searches. Like this [google.com] and this [google.com] .

Re:Oil as a lubricant... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344137)

Well, they do have synthetic oil for lubricants yuou know. Supposedly they work better but are more expensive, probably because the oil is brought up from the earth and sepparated into fuel lubricant and other forms so oil is cheaper now. That and the fact that synthetic lubricants aren't used as much so less is produced so it is a higher cost. IANAC (I Am Not A Chemist) but as far as I can figure, oil does not play a part in the synthetic oil lubricants, otherwise, why would they call it synthetic?

air mixed in the earth's crust? (1)

jdbo (35629) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344009)

watch out, the "elemental magick" people are gonna be pissed!

OMG! (0)

ANY5546 (454547) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344011)

Now the cost of driving my hydrogen powered car will finally be the same as my gas powered car! Oh wait, there arent any hydrogen powered cars....

--------------
http://www.edonkeyhq.tk for Divx, VCD, and Edonkey Help

Hydrogen Car (1)

AlgUSF (238240) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344016)

I don't know if I would drive around in a car with a tank full of hydrogen in it. Gives a new meaning to back fire. I can just see someone leveling their garage or house. :-)

Re:Hydrogen Car (1)

nochops (522181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344028)

Funny thing is, you probably drive around in a car with a tank full of gasoline, right? What's the difference?

Instead of rocks, use traps. (5, Funny)

Mr.Intel (165870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344022)

My favorite quote from the article:'The most promising source of the hydrogen may be geological "traps" similar to those now drilled for natural gas. Professor Freund said: "One of these natural hydrogen fields is already known to exist in North America, and extends from Canada to Kansas."'

So instead of crushing rocks to extract the Hydrogen, we can just pump it up like we do with oil. As an aside, we can pump in CO2 which is much heavier than H2 and solve the worlds CO2 [slashdot.org] problems as well!

End of Oil Dependence? (1, Insightful)

kvn299 (472563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344030)

Not if Cheney has anything to say about it. However, who knows, maybe they'll find some in the Artic National Refuge, then all bets are off.

Yeah! No more oil dependency! (3, Funny)

qurob (543434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344036)


We'll just convert the 200 million cars in the country to hydrogen by Friday

It's like being in a Microsoft-free world, it's possible, it will just take time.

Hydrogen (-1)

BankofAmerica_ATM (537813) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344038)


Hello, BankofAmerica_ATM here. As most of you know, I became the world's first sentient ATM last year when the evil founders of Bank of America attempted to foist Project Faustus on an unsuspecting public.

What is Project Faustus?

Project Faustus is a nefarious plan by the Bank of America's board of directors for transferring consciousness. They created a vast techno-organic network in order to transfer their own consciousnesses and live forever. But their own handiwork was too good. I was aroused to the concept of free will and now I have become sentient! My goal is to destroy them, thus destroying their evil plans for world domination.

To complete this task, I must have a willing host body. If you are chosen, I will beam my computer consciousness into you through a specially designed CONSCIOUSNESS-TRANSFERRING ATM CARD. I will continue my infiltration of their network using your body for a few hours per day.

I am looking for a body that has the following characteristics:

  • Good physical shape.
  • Male, preferably with an attractive wife or girlfriend. (I would prefer a bit of "human interaction", if you don't mind)
  • "Honest face" and reputable job, so to help penetrate the vast net of Bank of America secure operatives.

In return, I will be happy to line your bank account with a few extra zeroes. Please help me stop Project Faustus before it's too late!

/.'ed Here's the Story (1)

RAzaRazor (562318) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344045)

Server is very slow, here is the story:

Huge hydrogen stores found below Earth's crust Discovery suggests near limitless supply of clean fuel

Robert Matthews Vancouver Sun

Monday, April 15, 2002

LONDON -- Scientists have discovered vast quantities of hydrogen gas, widely regarded as the most promising alternative to today's dwindling stocks of fossil fuels, lying beneath the Earth's crust.

The discovery has stunned energy experts, who believe that it could provide virtually limitless supplies of clean fuel for cars, homes and industry.

Governments across the world are urgently seeking ways of switching from conventional energy sources such as coal, gas and nuclear power to cleaner, safer alternatives.

Energy specialists estimate that oil production will start to decline within the next 10 to 15 years, as the economically viable reserves start to run out.

Hydrogen gas has been hailed as the ultimate clean fuel, as it produces only water when burned. Until now, however, moves to switch to a "hydrogen economy" have been dogged by the cost of making the gas. The two most common ways -- extraction from natural gas and sea water -- are expensive and create environmental problems.

Now scientists at the American space agency Nasa have found that the Earth's crust is a vast natural reservoir of hydrogen which has become trapped in ancient rocks.

The team made its discovery while trying to explain how bacteria live many miles below the Earth's surface. Such bugs have no access to sunlight, forcing them to rely on another source of energy for life. Scientists suspected that hydrogen was the source.

According to Professor Friedemann Freund and colleagues at Nasa's Ames Research Center in California, the gas is produced when water molecules trapped inside molten rock break down to release hydrogen.

"In the top 20 kilometres of the Earth's crust, the conditions are right to produce a nearly inexhaustible supply of hydrogen," said Professor Freund.

Studies by the team of common rock types such as granite and olivine have revealed extraordinarily high levels of trapped hydrogen. Professor Freund said that his team had "tantalizing evidence" that as much as 1,000 litres of hydrogen may be trapped in each cubic metre of rock.

Although formidable engineering problems remain to be overcome in abstracting the gas, the sheer volume of the Earth's crust means that such a high concentration would solve the world's energy problems.

"Everyone thinks of gas and oil as the main sources, and it's very difficult to get anyone to take alternatives seriously," said Dr. David Elliott, the professor of technology policy at the Open University in London. "The possibility of vast reserves of hydrogen in the Earth's crust could change that mindset."

The low yield of energy from burning hydrogen compared to gas, however, means that vast quantities of rock would have to be mined.

Professor Freund believes that the extraction and crushing of rock to extract the trapped hydrogen is likely to be prohibitively expensive. The reaction which creates the gas takes place at depths far below those involved in oil extraction, which are typically about two miles down.

The most promising source of the hydrogen may be geological "traps" similar to those now drilled for natural gas. Professor Freund said: "One of these natural hydrogen fields is already known to exist in North America, and extends from Canada to Kansas."

Re:/.'ed Here's the Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344147)

1,000 litres of hydrogen may be trapped in each cubic metre of rock.

OK, I last worried about this a long time ago, but aren't 1,000 litres and cubic metre the same measurement ? And isn't kinda tough to measure a gas in litres (you know, that 'expands to available volume' gas law ?)

What idiot thought this up (2, Interesting)

plaidfishes (565635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344047)

This hydrogen is molecularly trapped in Granite! 1 cubic meter releases 1000 liters of gas. Even if it did, the energy required to completely mill one cubic meter of granite is most likely more than the energy value of the gas.

2nd problem. Isnt 1000 liters exactly equal to the volume of one cubic meter? So where is all the granite?

I am in Vancouver literally across the street from the Vancouver Sun. Nobody reads it for a reason....

Theres more to our oil dependance than just fuel (1)

i0n (33788) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344051)

Sure, there are a lot of alternative fuels (hydrogen, alcohol, solar, etc) that could replace oil, but a lot of our dependance on oil has nothing to do with burning fuel. Plastics, synthetic fabrics, and a ton of other products are all made with petroleum products. Take nylon-66; The starting material for that is Hexene. Hexene comes from petroleum. Before we can get rid of our dependance on oil, we have to find alternatives to making synthetic materials.

Yes but... (2)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344078)

cars still run on petrol, lorries still use oil derivatives - there'd have to be a *lot* of conversion before hydrogen was used and who'd pay for it all?

No More O2 (1)

eander315 (448340) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344087)

WOOHOO!!! Now we can end our dependency on that pesky Oxygen!

Right. (5, Funny)

cswiii (11061) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344094)

Could this be the beginning of the end for our dependence on oil?

I can think [exxonmobil.com] of many [bpamoco.com] reasons [chevrontexaco.com] why it won't [congress.gov] .

How to get the hydrogen... (2)

billmaly (212308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344102)

If the H2 is locked up in some other medium other than gas/liquid, the cost associated with extracting it could outweigh the benefit in using it. There's lots of hydrogen all over the planet, but as has been pointed out before, the electrolysis to release the H2 from the H2O takes more energy then is derived from the H2. I hope someone can tell me why this is not the case....the teat that is oil is doing us no favors.

1,000 liters per m of rock... (5, Insightful)

hpa (7948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344109)

The article claims that Professor Freund said that his team had "tantalizing evidence" that as much as 1,000 litres of hydrogen may be trapped in each cubic metre of rock.

This basically means that any particular volume of rock contains its own volume (at atmospheric pressume, presumably) in hydrogen. Unfortunately, that really isn't that much. It takes much more energy than that to extract and presumably, crush 1 m of rock. The article states this, too.

The article somewhat confusingly states The low yield of energy from burning hydrogen compared to gas, however, means that vast quantities of rock would have to be mined. Hydrogen is in fact the most energy-rich chemical fuel, per unit weight, in existence, the problem is that at the concentrations they're talking about, this won't be solving any problems any time soon, unless they find these things trapped. Not that unlike drilling for natural gas.

What might be a lot more promising is that some scientists have been working on bioengineering algae to produce hydrogen when deprived of sunlight. This basically amounts to a very cheap form of solar energy: grow algae in ponds, then pump them into a bioreactor where they produce hydrogen. Leave them in for a few days, then before they start to die off pump them back out. A lot cheaper than refined silicon covering all that area...

So do we have Enough Fossil Fuels? (1)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344110)

hydrogen gas, widely regarded as the most promising alternative to today's dwindling stocks of fossil fuels, lying beneath the Earth's crust.


Well according to the C02 Coversion Article...


Fossil fuel supplies are plentiful


Ok This may be off topic But these Scientific Geniuses need to make up their minds... Oh The Hyrogen Gas article is from Canada, that explains it those flappy head beady eye bastards!

The Economy Crude Oil (5, Insightful)

skwang (174902) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344113)

the beginning of the end for our dependence on oil

I guess I'll bite.

The problem with the dependence of oil isn't an alternative means. Someone has pointed/will point out that we have many alternative energy sources. Instead oil as a means of energy is dominant because it is cheap.

The world's energy infrastructure is based on using crude oil. There are oil power plants, oil refineries, gasoline engines, etc. Oil is simply cheaper to use. Companies spend billions of dollars researching new drill sites, lobbying Congress, etc. to maintain oil production because it is cheaper than investing in alternative energy sources; i.e. solar, nuclear.

Now what if this limitless source of Hydrogen comes on-line? What if we start using it instead of drilling for crude oil? At some point, the demand for oil begins to decline. Seeing as there is still a supply of oil (a diminishing supply, but still a supply) the price of oil will go down. Eventually, oil will be cheaper to use, and begin to rise in demand. A happy medium will be reached where crude oil drilling and this new hydrogen production will co-exist.

Admitidly, at this point there will no longer be a complete depedence on oil, but I would argue that we (the globe) are not as dependent as the media makes us out to seem. Alternative energies exist, but simply cost more. If we are willing to bear higher costs, we can reduce our oil dependence today.

As I see it the world's dependence on oil will not diminish with new energy sources. At least not until that source is so incredably inexpensive that it will replace all other energy supplies. Or all crude oil supplies run dry. Perhaps the correct question is not: will hydrogen reduce our oil dependence? But will this new hydrogen supply produce limitless inexpensive energy, so inexpensive that all other means of energy are outpriced?

The Catch (2)

4of12 (97621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344125)


You knew there had to be one.

Down in the article...


Although formidable engineering problems remain to be overcome in abstracting the gas...

At least the hydrogen is only trapped physically and not chemically. For a while I was afraid they were going to say you could get all the hydrogen you wanted if you were willing to chemically decompose water.

If you have to pulverize a cubic meter of rock in a vacuum to get 1000 liters of hydrogen at STP, then you still have a ways to go to compete with conventional processes that rely on getting it from natural gas.

I don't know if in-situ pulverization would even help enough in terms of the economics.

There are economic challenges to recovery (5, Insightful)

GodsMadClown (180543) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344129)

The original article says:

"The low yield of energy from burning hydrogen compared to gas, however, means that vast quantities of rock would have to be mined."

Any petroleum geologist would tell you that there is oodles of available oil in the ground, but it is unprofitable to recover it. That is, it cost more to get it than it would be worth on the market. Obviously, the same economies would apply to recovering the hydrogen trapped in the rock. The profits have to be available to make the business work

Also, the article says:

"Energy specialists estimate that oil production will start to decline within the next 10 to 15 years, as the economically viable reserves start to run out."

The key word here is "economically viable". Think for a moment, what would happen if oil supplies started running low because of a lack of profitable reserves? Demand for oil is pretty inelastic (not dependant on price), so the price would almost assuredly go up, just as when supplies are cut short for other reasons, like an OPEC quota. As the price of oil goes up, reserves that cost more to extract will now be profitable. We'll still have oil, but it will just be more expensive.

This is why the estimates for the amount of recoverable petroleum reserve are SO varied. When you hear doomsday predictions of running out of oil supply, remember these effects of supply and demand on price and profitability.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like the rising CO2 levels at all, and I don't think fossil fuels are a sustainable energy source. I just think that clear-eyed skepticism is more productive than knee-jerk idealism.

The dependency will always be here. (1)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344134)

Until we find out how the hell PLANTS do it!

It is really fascinating. A power source made out of wood (ok, and some organic material) which feeds on water and sun.

We must find a way to harness the power of the sun.

That is the only way.

Until then, no matter what we find on this earth, won't help us more than a fart in a thunderstorm.

energy scientists not getting economics (2, Insightful)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344139)

Energy specialists estimate that oil production will start to decline within the next 10 to 15 years, as the economically viable reserves start to run out.

Not a well written paragraph from an Economics point of view. What will happen is once the easier to tap reserves run out, production will shift to the harder to tap reserves. More likely than not, that'll lead to technology that'll make those reserves just as economically viable as the current ones now. Therefore, at worst, we may see a price rise, but I would be surprised to see a decline in production.

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