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Comment Re:Did anyone proof-read this story? (Score 1) 212

Highly unlikely fuel cells are the future of personal vehicles

Firstly, a fuel cell is vehicle is really nothing more than an electric with a different kind of battery. The advantage of the fuel cell 'battery' is that it can be refueled similar to current gas vehicles. But this is really a dubious advantage since I'd wager most people would rather let a car charge in their garage overnight rather than make a detour to a service station a few times a week. Even if I'm wrong, this is still about where the advantages end. The disadvantages and obstacles are numerous:

1. Fuel cells are a very young, exotic, technology, at least for consumer use. Batteries are already good enough now and getting better and cheaper rapidly
The infrastructure is not available to enable widespread adoption of fuel cells even if people wanted them. Batteries can be charged anywhere and supercharging technology is spreading rapidly cutting into the possible 'refueling time' advantage.
2. Electricity is fundamentally easy to move around. We can use wires. Hydrogen requires new pipelines or trucks to move it from point of production to point of use along with 'gas' stations to dispense.
3. Hydrogen may be better suited to large truck or buses which have space to store large tanks of hydrogen.
I'll let the more scientific minds on this forum correct me if I'm wrong...
4. ...but it seems to me that the wastage of energy from production to consumption of energy is higher through fuel cells than simple battery electric. Electric generation>convert electricity to hydrogen>hydrogen transport/storage>convert hydrogen back to electricity for use. -VS- Electric generation>transport and store directly in car battery>Discharge for use.

To sum it up: Fuel cells are starting from a long way back, on balance offer few if any advantages over current batteries. Meanwhile, battery tech is entering a period which is already giving us dramatic price drops and improvement in performance. Fuel cells are likely destined to continue on as a niche technology.

Comment Re:Oh, hey - I forgot to ask . . . (Score 1) 309

Anything that actually does something can be dangerous if it's used incorrectly. People choose to use it though when they want an actual effect to occur. If your point is that you're putting on a show to pretend to your kids that you're treating them, well, that's a different thing altogether.

Comment Re:Apple problem mostl or platform-independent iss (Score 2, Insightful) 121

Ya, there is something inherent about apple that leads to a plethora of unsafe knockoffs. They design their products to need expensive accessories that they then gouge the consumer on. If they really wanted to slowdown the knockoffs, they should start selling at a price that's related to the cost of production.

Comment Re:Why not wind? (Score 1) 191

They won't ever need to take 'the other system' down. It's modular. You can swap components out on the fly. One of the reasons they ditched the diesel was that it was too unreliable. Batteries are the backup now, 3 days worth of backup in fact. Integrating wind into the system would undoubtedly make it incredibly robust, but would be crazy overkill.

Comment Re:Always question a study... (Score 1, Funny) 312

Read the first line of the article: "ALL electronic cigarettes emit harmful chemicals..."

Not a smart idea to base your argument on the assumption that these laboratories are putting the ejuice through some 'extreme' conditions. The fact of the matter is that the tobacco companies just put these devices on the market with no scientific testing, but with the subtle marketing campaign that they were 'safer'. Now that the science is coming in, we're discovering that these devices are not as harmless as their devotees would like to believe.

Submission + - North American city record of 46% wind power integration. (

Socguy writes: The city of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, achieved the highest level of wind power integration in North America at 46%. It has achieved this remarkable feat through the creation and utilization of a smart grid that controls thermal storage in hot water heaters and furnaces within community homes.

Submission + - Harvard professor writes post admitting he was wrong about solar power (

Socguy writes: The Keith group has posted an expert analysis basically saying that their 2008 and 2011 projections were wrong. In those papers the group projected that the cost of solar had a 50% chance to drop to $0.03/W by 2030. In the most recent analysis they note that the current unsubsidized cost of PV in optimal locations is $0.04/W and could easily be $0.02/W by 2020 making solar the cheapest source of electricity on the planet. http://www.keith.seas.harvard....

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