Friday, February 10, 2012

Water and Energy

Water and Energy, are two sides of the same coin. It is known, from the famous equation E=mc2, of Albert Einstein, that, a tiny amount of mass is a vast storehouse of energy. But, even the molecular Hydrogen, as a result of water decomposition, is a promising energy source, of the future.However, the amount of energy used, to split water, into Hydrogen and Oxygen, is higher, compared to the amount of energy, that can be generated, from the resulting Hydrogen, using Fuel cell. But, this problem can be mitigated, by using renewable source of energy, such as PV solar, Solar (thermal), wind energy, geothermal energy, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) etc.The cost of renewable energy, is still considered expensive, for two reasons. We are used to cheap energy, from fossil fuels, for decades, and most of the investments, made on fossil fuel infrastructures, have been already realized. 2. A complete switch over, to renewable energy technologies, will require massive new investment.Unlike, investments made on fossil fuel infrastructures, over several decades, the investment required, for renewable energy infrastructure, is not only massive, but needs to be deployed, in a shorter span of time, simultaneously all over the world. There is no basic infrastructure in renewable energy industry, in existence, to make this change. Meanwhile, the unabated emission of carbon dioxide, by fossil fuels, is certainly, causing global warming. There are many skeptics, on the science on global warming. Such skepticism does not stem from the fact, that they have a concrete proof, but, ‘such skepticism’ serves, their vested interest. Politicians, who are in power, do not want any increase in the cost of energy, which is unpopular among people, may, eventually, throw them out of power. They say, they want to serve people, with low cost energy, but, neither politicians nor the common man understands the consequences of such measures. It will be our future generations, who will face the brunt of this skepticism, by facing fuel shortage or unaffordable cost of fuel, erratic climate change, and frequent natural catastrophies.It is time, for the world, to act decisively and swiftly, and move towards renewable energy, by massive investment, and creation of new skills and jobs, on a very large scale. The companies who have massively invested in fossil power plants, and the governments who depend on the support of such companies, and who want to keep the energy cost low, because of its popularity, are the major skeptics of global warming. The hidden cost of environmental challenges, and its consequences, is much higher, than the savings, due to cheap fossil fuels. It requires a paradigm shift and a sense of social justice, in the minds of Governments and companies. It is not all that difficult, to switch over to cleaner technologies. In fact, most of the technologies are already available, and it requires only a ‘will, bold decision and leadership’ by Governments. Any clean energy solution, should be sustainable in the long run. Hydrogen can meet not only the sustainability, but even the transition, from fossil fuel to Hydrogen; will be smooth. ‘Clean Energy and Water Technologies’, is working, both on water and energy technologies, to make Hydrogen future, a reality. To start with, all existing fossil fuel infrastructures can be modified towards Hydrogen generation, and fuel cell based power generation infrastructures. Of course, this will require large investment, but compared to a complete shift to renewable energy, it will require only, a relatively smaller investment. For example, all fuel stations can be converted into Hydrogen stations, by simply installing steam reformers, including LNG based fuel stations. All gasoline based automobiles, can be either fitted with Hydrogen IC engines, or converted to fuel cells, similar to Honda FXL models. If the Governments, all over the world, can agree for such conversion, and a complete shift to Hydrogen economy, then, it can become a reality, in the next decade. We have to focus on ‘Renewable Hydrogen’, which can come from seawater, using renewable energy source, and ‘Bio-hydrogen’ using biotechnology from waste organic matter. The future generation will not only have a cleaner and affordable fuel, but a more sustainable future!