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Healthy hydrogen

John Dyra Berkeley
Wednesday November 13, 2002

To the Editor: 


In response to Greg Hoff’s letter (Forum, Nov. 6), it appears to me that he may not see the full potential of hydrogen vehicles. Hydrogen is not made from petroleum, but from electricity via electrolysis. Electricity can be made from expensive and polluting oil, but it can also, less destructively, be made from wind turbines, solar panels or falling water. Electric demand has peak periods during which most or all of the current produced is used, but during low demand periods there is a large unused or lost capacity. It is during these periods that the hydrogen could be produced quite efficiently. Hydrogen-fueled tanker trucks could then distribute the fuel from the slants located next to hydro dams, solar panel farms and the Altamont wind farms to filling stations. Hydrogen doesn’t have to be produced Monday through Friday, nine to five, but can be made anytime, when the juice is cheap and green. 

Changing our current vehicle fleet of petrol burners to hydrogen would have enormous health benefits; it could be the equivalent of the introduction of penicillin in the 1930s. Serious illness and mortality would drop significantly – the economic benefits of this alone could build all of the hydrogen production plants. Let’s not go slow on this one. 


John Dyra