Hydrogen is a clean fuel but it's not an alternate energy source, so it's not going to save the planet, improve our health or protect us from foreignersany time soon.
I'm not sure how this one got started but it probably has its roots in the environmental movement. The belief seems to be that running our vehicles with hydrogen will stop air pollution, reduce global warming and remove our dependenceon foreign nations for fossil fuels.
President Bush introduced his vision for a hydrogen economy in his 2003 State of the Union message, and the press jumped on it. That initiative didn't get too far, though. It wasn't mentioned in this year's State of the Union (apparently steroid use is more important) and is currently sitting in the Senate Finance Committee with few signs of life.
A couple of weeks ago, State Governors Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger got into the act, (as did several of the Democratic presidential contenders). Schwarzenegger is the worst, as he says we can have "Hydrogen Highways" in California by 2010.
Proving, once again, that many politicians don't know squat. Theproblem is that while GM's claim may be true
"We expect to have a commercially viable fuel cell by 2010, a vehicle that can be bought by consumers. It won't cost more than the other vehicles in that category on that day," said GM spokesman Scott Fosgard. [Schwarzenegger Is Driving Force 1/21/2004]
if it comes to pass, it will increase pollution, increase the risk of global warming and increase our foreign energy dependence.
Here's the speed reader version of why:
1. Hydrogen is not an alternate energy source - it's a mechanism for storing and transferring energy from a source to where it's needed. While hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe, it's not just hanging around - it's all tied up in other matter.