Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A digression into a topic of current interest. Published in the Letters to the Editor, The Age Newspaper November 16, 2009.

Give birth to No. 1

RECENT articles on energy generation and use are welcome. However, it is disappointing that some of the fundamental science of energy production is not discussed. Perhaps this is because we are not particularly scientifically literate.

But if the Government of the day can propose a hugely expensive National Broadband Network, it can just as easily propose a national energy plan based on the hydrogen economy. It will be the only energy economy of the future.

Australia has land, sunlight, seawater and technical skill in abundance. Electricity from solar cells can electrolyse water to produce hydrogen and oxygen that can be recombined in fuel cells to produce electricity with water as the only by-product. The hydrogen can also be used as a transport fuel by burning it in oxygen.

Carbon (element No. 6) is dead. Let's save it to make diamonds. It is time to give birth to hydrogen - element No. 1 in more ways than one.

Bill Healy (Kew)