Rebirth of Reason

Favorite EditSanction this itemThe Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth by Jeremy Rifkin
The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on EarthAn interesting exposť on the enormous importance and unthought-of benefits that would come with an economy driven by hydrogen power instead of fossil fuels.

The Hydrogen Economy begins with an explanation of how hydrogen can be plentifully derived from water, using natural energy sources such as wind and solar energy to drive the electrolysis of water into its component hydrogen and oxygen gases.

Once separated and stored in separate tanks, the gases can then be recombined in a combustion chamber and then combusted under a solar- or wind-driven spark to recombine the hydrogen and oxygen into water, the exhaust gas, yielding chemical energy in the resulting explosion... In other words, you start with only water and sun or wind... and you end with nothing but water, and lots of usable power.  It's quite elegant in its simplicity and efficiency.   

Rifkin then gives a history and evolution of hydrogen and fossil fuel technology, and reveals petroleum industry information concerning just how much more fossil fuel is left under the earth, and when we should expect it all to run out, for good. 

The answer to this question is a good deal scarier than you might anticipate. 

Rifkin follows up with all sorts of amazing scenarios whereby hydrogen power would plausibly liberate the world from the present paradigm, whereby the widespread source of power is only attainable and controllable by a select few, using very expensive drilling, refining, storage, and transport equipment.

Instead, under Rifkin's scenario, in the future people might very easily own hydrogen generator-engines at their homes and be capable of supplying power to those with whom they share a power grid, under the control of internet technology.

In the future, as long as the water holds out, The Hydrogen Economy could truly set us every bit as free as has the internet.

(review by Orion Reasoner)
About the Author

Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The End of Work, The Biotech Century, and The Age of Access. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program, he is president of The Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C.
(dossier from book jacket)

Added by Orion Reasoner
on 10/28/2004, 2:32am

Discuss this Book (4 messages) Buy this book at Amazon.com