Why is Crude Oil Priced So High?

That’s the trillion dollar question … literally.

I’ve expressed my opionion several times … and listening to the talking heads on the television … at least some of them agree with what I’ve said in the past. Congress is now trying to construct legislation to regulate the speculation going on in the commodities with oil.

The price of oil has doubled since last year, probably tripled from it’s low of last year around $45 a barrel. Has the demand for oil double d or tripled in the past year? Not just no, but hell no!!

So … what’s changed?

The market was riding high until the end of October. Then it got the jitters and started heading south fast with a few slight rebounds in late November and December. This was related to the sudden realization the the financial markets might be in trouble of the housing markets … which proved to be very true.

From the beginning of November through the middle of January literally trillions of dollars made an exodus out of the stockmarket and was “sitting on the sideline”. Speculators, hedge fund manangers and managers of other funds as well as individual investors had a lot of cash sitting around not making any money.

They looked at oil, gas, gasoline and other commodities … like corn … and decided that was a good place to put their money. Betting that the U. S. government, run by the Democrats and with two Democratic candidates firmly opposed to increasing the U. S. supply of oil, and with the odds favoring a Democratic victory in the fall, they felt they had found a sure thing. The money is being placed on the bet that the Democratic controlled Congress will do nothing to relieve the pressure on the price of crude oil, gasoline or corn. To the contrary, Congress has tried to pass a bill to continue subsidies for corn as well as continue the tariff on importing ethanol from Brazil … both actions contributing to the current $7.50 or so price of a bushel of corn now and the concurrent rise in food prices.

The results of the later “action” of Congress is that the price of corn has nearly doubled since last year. You have to keep in mind that two years ago, ethanol producers were virtually loosing money with ethanol selling around $1.60 a gallon.

We are all feeling the results of Congress’ “inaction” with the price of gasoline hovering around $4 a gallon now. I’ve previously stated that “news” has a profound effect on the price of crude oil and gasoline like the nearly $10 rise in the price of crude the day after Boone Pickens said it would go to $150 a barrel. The inaction on Congress’ part continues to feed the negative news with the resulting inverse rise in the price of crude oil.

While Congress decides how to regulate the speculators, they happiily continue with their profitable feeding frenzy knowing that Congress moves slower that pond water. Billions, if not trillions, can be made while Congress debates the issue … all at our expense.

What is the Democratic line. Drilling is harmful to the environment. It won’t make any difference for ten years or, more optimistically, until 2012. It’s okay to import so much oil from the Middle East. We need to levy windfall profit taxes on the oil companies. We’ll be better off with alternative sources of energy … wind and solar. The high prices are good for us. We will consume less gasoline and oil.

While they’re preaching the evils of oil, America is being stripped of tens of billions of dollars a week. And we are consuming less oil and gasoline … as well as less meat, eggs, cheese and everything else. Their approach is destroying the U. S. economy.

We need to use hybrid cars and electric cars. Well, hybrid cars run on a mixture of ethanol and gasoline. The price of corn has doubled. Guess what? My car runs on premium unleaded gasoline. What is premium unleaded gasoline? Well, it’s the old gasohol of the 1970’s. And guess what? It’s more expensive than regular gasoline.

Well, just buy an electric car. Well, how do they think that electricity is made? It’s made primarily from burning fossil fuels That’s right … natural gas and coal … with a little nuclear power (that they’re opposed to) thrown in on the side. Honda has a hydrogen car. buy one of them. Well, where does that hydrogen come from that those cars run on. Right now, it made from hydrocarbons. You guessed it …  crude oil and coal.

The Democrats don’t want to begin drilling more for oil and they’re opposed to building new nuclear reactors. Well, nuclear reactors don’t last forever. They have a life span of about 50 years and many of them have already eaten up about 30 of those years … so, without new reactors being built, we won’t have nuclear power in another 20 or so years.

Wind and solar power can provide as much as 30% of our energy requirements by 2030 … if there aren’t any obstructions to their development. But you have special interests that Democrats cater to … including their own self interests …ergo Senator Kennedy … that will obstruct their own professed salvation to our energy crisis.

Correct me if I’m wrong … but the last time I checked it’s another 22 years until 2030. What the hell are we going to do in the mean time? Hey … 22 years … that about the time all the current nuclear reactors will have to be deactivated. Oops!!

One day this week, I actually heard a Democratic pundit actually say it wasn’t the goal of the Democratic party to drive us all back to the Stone Age … living in caves. Well, I hope not. There aren’t that many caves for us all.

Another thing … the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. What are we going to do to have continuous uninterrupted power? Nuclear …..????

Regardless … we’re going to need oil and gas. They speak of using “renewable” sources of fuel … ethanol and biodeisel. With these providing less than 3% of our current fuel requirements, look at what their use has done to the price of food. What’s going to happen to the price of food when that percentage increases? Are we going to have to choose between eating versus going to work to try to afford the cost of the food? How is that food going to be produced … with horses and mules? Or maybe we can all start a “victory” garden to celebrate our independence from oil … and so we won’t starve.

This is absolute insanity. I suppose one way to resolve the healthcare crisis is to simply starve people to death. Those with the most expensive health issues will be the first to go. It’s also a way to resolve the purported “obesity” problem in the U. S.

All this week, I’ve heard Democrats like Bill Richardson and others talk about how the oil companies aren’t doing what they need to … simply gouging the public. One said they already had leases on 68 million acres of land … 37 million of those in the west. What they don’t tell you is that in those 37 million acres, much of it doesn’t have projected reserves and what is known to be there amounts to about a 28 day of supply of crude oil at the current consumption rate.

One thing that has been forgotten about in all of the madness is the discovery last year of a massive reserve in deep water in the southwestern gulf. Unfortunately, practically all of the deep water rigs were moved to the Persian gulf and other places prior to Hurricane Katrina. No one is talking about this so the speculators are happy.

Further exploration needs to be done on both the east and west coasts as well as the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in the Florida Straits. Why? We need to be independent from imported oil … period. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t conserve and use alternative forms of energy where available and practical. If we can expand our known reserves, we can ensure that the U. S. will have a domestic source of oil for hundreds of years.

Also, if we start building new nuclear reactors now, we will just have some new ones coming on line just before the ones now in operation will have to be shut down.

Last night, I saw Tyson Slocumb on the O’Reilly Factor. For an answer to one of the questions, he smuggly stated he rode the subway to work and it ran on electricity. I wonder how he thinks that electricity is made? He’s one of these “don’t drill, no nuclear” type of people. Unfortunately, probably 280 out of our 300 million people don’t have access to and “electric” subway … or any kind of subway or reasonable form of mass transit at all.  The rest of us that don’t live in Washington, DC, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles or Chicago can just walk or ride the bus. Right?

Unfortunately, that horse I bought back in college is probably dead now. Shouldn’t have sold it, though.

Simply put, the Democrats … in some perverse and insane way … and led by Barack Obama now … are savoring the current oil crisis. It is the means for them to achieve their goals of promoting biofuels, energy conservation and development of alternative power sources such as wind and solar. They feel that the American public doesn’t have the discipline or knowledge or intelligence to make coherent decisions about their future so they’re using the current crisis to win the White House and Congress to force their agenda. It’s really that simple. They preach all of these things as available solutions now. But are they? How many electric or hybrid cars are sitting at the car dealers lots? What’s happening to the corn crop with the current weather in the Midwest? Where are all those wind farms and solar farms? How long will it take for all of these promised solutions to become a practical reality?  Well … wind and solar … 2030 … 22 years. Have they priced what it costs to put solar panels on a house? Who can afford a hybrid or electric car? It sounds good until you start asking questions.

Obama’s VP Selection Team Causes a Fit of Stuttering

“Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh …”

That’s a quote.

And I just heard Alan Colmes say, “As Barack so eloquently put it … ”

Right. What a joke.

Complaints about Wind Turbine Noise … Postscript

Okay.

I went back and took another look at the video, Wind Turbine Noise.

Point by point …

Who gives a rat’s ass what the Canadian premier thinks? Currently, the technology to harness wind power is expensive, but … wind is FREE. Is wind unreliable? Do your homework. Canadian premier, Dalton McGuinty shouldn’t talk about something he neither understands or knows anything about.

Expensive … $138 a barrel crude oil is expensive.

If you’d like to talk about a “wind scourge”, try sitting through a hurricane or tornado. Those are “wind scourges”.

I read the 1,2,3 of the purported claims listed as being attributed to the government and wind industry in Canada. Any idiot knows that the only predictably sustainable forms of electricity generation are fossil fuel and nuclear. I.e., the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Either an idiot wrote the claims or an idiot misinterpreted them.

If your electricians or electrical engineers in Canada can’t keep lights from flickering, get a double “E” (EE) major from Georgia Tech. He’ll straighten it out for you.

I don’t know how many people live in Canada and frankly don’t care. I do know that I’m one of about 300 million Americans living in the United States and we have been spending about 340 billion dollars each year to import crude oil from Canada, Mexico and other foreign countries while we sit on hundreds of billions of barrels of oil that our government has sanctified and put off limits. This means that it’s costing every man, woman and child in this country about $1100 a year to import energy or about $4400 per family of four … and that really doesn’t take into account the increases in crude oil prices this year. If the politicians haven’t figured it out, this puts a typical family’s imported energy expenses on par with health insurance … very expensive if not completely unaffordable.

Wind power may not make sense in Canada … yet … but anything other than what our government is currently doing … which is essentially nothing … makes sense.

To say that wind power will never achieve it’s claims … well it depends on whether the claims are based on science and fact … and reality … is being as false as the prophets being railed against.

Whether something is expensive or not is relative.

Wind power can be an adjunct to fossil fuel and nuclear power and it can be significant. To say that it won’t reduce carbon emissions is ludicrous. Any form of energy production that doesn’t require the burning of fossil fuels or organic matter will reduce carbon emissions. How much simpler can that concept be? To imply that implementation of wind power is some sort of international conspiracy is moronic.

Try this experiment. Go to your fuse box and pull the main switch. That’s right cut off all the electricity to your home … and don’t turn it back on for 11 days. Better yet, cut off all the electricity to your town or city and block all the exits so no one can leave for 11 days.

Then decide how bothersome the noise of those turbines is.

Complaints about Wind Turbine Noise

After making the last post, I got a response from atomcat who included a link to the following site and video:

Wind Turbine Noise Video – Suncor Wind Farm Ripley Ont.

I understand the point he’s trying to make … sort of. Maybe I didn’t have my sound turned up high enough, but … somehow … I wasn’t impressed.

Okay, I understand these people live in the country. I grew up in a small town. Now I live in a city of about 250,000. They don’t like the noise which could be constant if the wind is constant.

Okay, just to do a reality check, I went out into my backyard. It’s nearly 1 a.m. and I could barely hear an industrial type of hum above the constant din of crickets chirping. After thinking about it for a while, I finally realized the hum was the sound of several hundred air conditioning units running in my neighborhood .. both the crickets and a/c units something I normally wouldn’t notice if I weren’t particularly atuned to listening to them.

Fortunately, it’s after midnight and the six or so hours of daily rush hour traffic that is generated on the four lane highway several blocks from my house isn’t currently adding to the noise pollution. People are generally patient and polite both in the morning and evening so it’s not a lot of horns blowing like I used to remember from childhood visits to downtown Atlanta. But … the hum of several thousand engines patiently waiting for a light to change or accelerating when it does, not to mention the friction noise of those engines multiplied by four where the tires meet the pavement do provide a relatively constant although varying background noise.

Now, this doesn’t take into account the mariachi band that also cranks up on the weekends at a Mexican restaurant about five blocks from my home. Yep, I can hear it … or the cannons firings when a local military college makes a touchdown on Saturdays in the fall. It’s several miles from my house. Or the fireworks being lit during the Fourth of July celebration at a city park across a river from my home … again several miles away. I live about five miles from a municipal airport and can occasionally hear jets revving their engines to take off. At least it isn’t the end of the runway at Atlanta International.

And yes, I grew up in a small town, population 1200. My parents had a farm and I spent a lot of time there working, playing and have even carried my daughters camping there. Again, the tree frogs and crickets seemed to make a lot more noise than the wind turbines on the video. The last time I camped there, at the farm … above the noise of the crickets and frogs … at night, I could hear the constant drone of a generator running on an adjacent farm across the creek about a half mile away. It didn’t bother me. Occasionally, I could hear a car run up the highway about a quarter mile to the west. If the wind was right, I could hear the neighbors talking at their homes in the river bottom anywhere from a quarter to half mile away.

One of the most restful nights of sleep I ever spent was falling asleep listening to the roar of waves crashing onto a beach. I can guarantee you it was a lot louder than those wind turbines but hardly objectionable.

Don’t these people have children playing and yelling, dogs barking, cattle lowing, pigs squealing? One thing that impressed me about the noise of the video was that the turbine sound, if that’s what it was … was the only sound. Do any people actually live nearby?

Wind makes noise … rustling through the grass or in the trees … howling in a storm. Running water … can’t you hear it? I could sit for hours listening to the creek on the farm flow by.

If this noise is supposed to make people sick, then I should be dead. But, fortunately for me, I live in a living world that is full of noises made by men, man-made machines, animals, insects and Mother Nature herself. If people weren’t so anal compulsive, they would just get used to the noise and ignore it like any sane person with something to do other than complain.

I’m sorry. I could sympathize … but I don’t. The only sound I hear in the video of the wind turbines is the noise made by the turbines … supposedly. Frankly, if that’s all the noise that the people have there, they need it to keep the place from sounding … and being … dead.

And, as far as me being careful of what I wish for … it wouldn’t be the dead silence of that video without the turbines.

Barack Obama, Wind Power and Ted Kennedy

Barack Obama is the candidate of change. How do I know? Because he says so, right? Who would question anything that Barack says. While viewing a recent Obama speech, I saw “CHANGE” in large letters on the front of the podium as well as in three places positioned like the points of the fleur de lys on a screen behind him, presumably symbolic of the heir apparent to the presidency … simply waiting for the coronation.

Obama says he is going to make the United States energy independent by pursuing wind and solar energy. How is he going to do this and bring about change while hanging his star on the likes of Ted Kennedy who is the epitome of back room politics, special interests and, probably worst of all, unbridled self interest.

Ted Kennedy has been the one person who has blocked the development of a wind farm in Nantucket Sound … so he won’t have to view it from his Cape Cod home, reiterating that well worn environmentalist cliche, to preserve a pristine area in our country. If I hear one more politician, including John McCain use that phrase, I’m going to puke. Ted Kennedy wasn’t concerned about anything pristine or environmental or even sanitary when he order his boat crew to pump out the bilge of his sailboat in Nantucket Sound … just one more fat, fat cat politician who will do whatever he can get away with such as running his car into the marshes and destroying natural habitat, not to mention killing people.

Unfortunately, even brain surgery can’t apparently provide Senator Kennedy the epiphany that quite possibly function is beauty. What can be more pristine or beautiful than a wind farm, preferrably the first of many in the Cape Cod area, which can make this country less dependent on fossil fuels and foreign oil.

Wind will power our future

Energy experts are predicting that as much as 20% of the U.S. energy requirements can be met by wind power by 2030. Because of powerful individuals like Senator Kennedy I was careful to use the word, “can”, in the previous sentence.

Upon reviewing a wind resource map of the contiguous United States, it becomes very apparent that there are only three primary areas in the eastern United States that are most suitable for the most cost effective, efficient and reliable energy production. They include a very narrow stip of mountain ridges in New Hampshire and Maine, A very short strip of mountain ridges in the extreme western part of Northe Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains … and the Cape Cod area. Of these, the Cape Cod area has the most reliable sustained winds with the greatest average wind speeds.

The following is a map of the continental United States showing average annual wind resource estimates. The blue areas have the highest estimates with the estimates increasing from light to dark.

Map 2-6 Annual average wind resource estimates in the contiguous United States

Wind resource estimates are rated on a scale from 1 to 7. With current technology it takes a sustained wind speed greater than 6 miles per hour for wind turbines to have enough speed to produce electricity. This wind speed has to be sustainable for the turbine to be cost effective and efficient. It, therefore, requires an area to have a wind resource estimate of 3 or greater for that area to be minimally efficient.

The following map of the Massachusetts area reveals that in the Nantucket Sound/ Cape Cod area the wind resource estimates range from 3 to 6 with the sound randing from 4 to 6 and the Cape Cod peninsula having a rating exclusively of 6.

3-21 Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island annual average wind power

By comparison, the Cape Hatteras area of North Carolina has ratings which range from 2 to 3 with the Outer Banks only meeting the absolute minimum requirements. This map also shows that the only area in North Carolina that truly meets the requirements for efficient and cost effective wind power production is in the Great Smoky Mountains section of the Appalachian Mountains on the North Carolina/ Tennessee border. This is the only area in the Southeast that actually exceeds minimum requirements.

3-30 North Carolina annual average wind power

The other section of the eastern United States is in the mountains in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine with the coastal area of Maine having a rating of 4.

3-23 New Hampshire and Vermont annual average wind power

3-22 Maine annual average wind power

All of these areas are “pristine”. To reach the goal of having 20% of national energy requirements being met by wind energy by 2030, there are going to have to be some concessions made and a little adjustment in what people consider pristine.

People need to start seeing beauty in function. What could be more beautiful that a machine that produces electrical energy from the wind, reducing our country’s dependence on imported oil or reducing our need to burn fossil fuels to produce that same electricity?

One might ask, “Why not just put the wind farms in the less populated West and build power lines to bring the electricity back to the East? The West has many larger areas with adequate wind resources.”

Today, I heard that the electrical infrastructure of the United States is going to require trillions of dollars in new investment to upgrade it to handle future requirements. People need to consider where all of that electricity to power their electric cars is going to come from. Various power grids in this country are already interconnected to shift electricity through high voltage lines among the grids to handle changes in energy requirements among the various grids. Everyone should know the results when this function fails.

Each section of the country should be willing to shoulder its share of the responsibility of maximizing its capacity to utilize wind power rather than throwing that responsibility onto someone else’s shoulders. Senator Kennedy is a good example of what a person shouldn’t be like, selfish and hedonistic.

If Senator Kennedy were truly dedicated to the betterment of the nation and the interests of his constituency, he would introduce a bill in the Senate condemning all the property on Cape Cod under eminent domain and raze all the homes on that peninsula. The federal government could then lease the land to power companies to build wind farms on the peninsula with areas such as beaches set aside for public use and enjoyment not simply the playground of the idle rich. It’s easy enough for the government to condemn the property of the poor or less fortunate to provide land for a real estate developer to exploit the commercial value of property for the developer’s personal benefit in the name of eminent domain. Why shouldn’t the government do the same to rich people when it truly and actually does benefit the common good?

Can Barack Obama actually add some meat to his populist message rather than some vague hypothetical lip service? If Barack Obama were truly a candidate of change, he would make the above recommendation one of his highest priorities. It’s time for less empty rhetoric and some definitive action. It’s easy to talk a populist message about windfall profit taxes for oil companies which are perceived to be impersonal behemoths rather than the employers of tens of thousands of Americans and the property of millions of stock holders whether they be individual investors or have an interest in the oil companies through their pensions or retirement plans. How will the candidate of change handle the national interest in the face of a relatively few fat cat politicians who happen to be his political cronies and supporters? Obama definitely doesn’t need the added burden of lobbyists. He has enough millstones hanging around his neck in the form of political endorsements from the likes of Ted Kennedy and other political hacks.

Windows 7 … another Microsoft Innovation to be Shoved Down Our throats

Microsoft’s next incarnation of it’s operating system (OS) is now being whispered about in public. Apparently, instead of an improved and updated version of Microsoft’s best and most practical OS, Windows XP Pro, it appears that Windows 7 will be just another bloated behemoth that will force everyone to buy the next latest and greatest computer already outdated just to keep from having to take a nap, much less a coffee break, while it loads.

As Bill Gates recently revealed, the new operating system will incorporate a multipoint touch screen for carrying out even the most mundane commands. Now, everyone that currently has a touch screen computer, please raise your hand. Unfortunately, this new operating system isn’t going to magically or miraculously turn your current monitor into a touch screen device. That’s going to take another huge chunk of change or probably even a loan … like a home loan and auto loan isn’t already enough.

I recently watched a video clip preview of the new operating system. Touch this … touch that. You can use two hands or two fingers … simultaneously. I wonder how they’re going to handle it for the disabled … bilateral upper extremity amputees and the blind. I’m not picking at the disabled. I’m having orthopedic problems and my vision isn’t what it used to be … and I’m wondering if Microsoft is going to eventually gimmick me out of my ability to use a computer.

At least some people, myself included, were hoping that Windows 7 would be a correction of the bloated, memory and cpu intensive Windows Vista that only Microsoft seems to be raving about.

While waiting … eternally waiting … for the promised update to Windows XP Pro, SP3, the message is still going around that Microsoft will stop support for XP Pro and other version of XP soon. Only Microsoft could be so inept. Now that XP has matured and many of the bugs have finally be removed or at least molified, they want to drop it. I suppose it makes sense from a financial standpoint … make something new and force people to buy it to keep the cash flow coming. But how much will the computing public put up with before they rebel and overthrow the dictatorship of Microsoft?

For some reason, they seem to completely discount that fruity little company that has managed to survive and is slowly but surely gaining market share year after year … yeah … Apple. Then there’s Sun Microsystems which is still alive even though it can’t aim the gun straight when it tries to shoot itself in the head … forget about the foot. Although the creases from the bullet wounds are deep, Sun’s OS, Solaris, is still alive and out there lurking among the open source rebels … also waiting for Microsoft to commit a fatal blunder. Then there’s also all the flavors of the open source champion, Linux. Microsoft pundits and diehards are quick to criticise it, but it continues to live and thrive in a small but growing niche of the computing world being fed by Microsoft’s bullying and ineptitude.

Every time a new removable media for storage is developed, Microsoft’s tendency is to engorge its operating system to max out the media’s capacity. From the 5.25 inch floppy disk to the high density dual layer DVD, Microsoft has kept pace. With every computing advance that promises greater speed, Microsoft has to bog the computer down with “enhancements”.

Frankly, I don’t want to play “This little piggy went to market” with my computer. I’ve already maxed out the ability to upgrade the memory and video capacity of a computer that I built a year ago just keeping up with the “security” or “critical” downloads Microsoft keeps throwing at me … whether I want them or not … and especially WHEN I don’t want them.

I don’t use Vista. I’m still running XP Pro and am very satisfied with it … well, as much as a person can be. I read enough reviews about Vista before its release and have kept up with its developments since its release to know that I don’t want my computer contaminated with its inherent quirks, whether bloated graphics, insane security tweaks or lack of functional drivers.

Maybe someone needs to tell Microsoft that … maybe, just maybe … it’s okay to have three versions of their operating system. And I’m not talking about the five versions that they have of Vista … nothing like that.

Why not offer a “relatively lean” operating system like XP Pro and do away with the worthless, watered down XP Home. Then have a Vista …. with all the promised bells and whistles as found in Ultimate … and forget about the other versions that don’t really measure up … as their graphics intensive demon OS. And … then they can offer their touchy, feely Windows 7 for those that really do have to get tactile with their computer.

And … leave the rest of us alone with our lean, relatively mean OS that is functioning just fine … but not left out in the cold.

That would be a change. Bill Gates and Microsoft actually doing something for, and not to, the very people that have provided the billions of dollars that Bill Gates wants to give to the noncomputing world. Yes, Microsoft … how about showing some compassion to the humanity that made your benevolence possible?

Crude Oil Crisis … Hydrogen is the Answer

Water as fuel for your car …

If you “google” “water as fuel” a number of sites will come up offering plans for converting your car to use water as a fuel source. It sounds crazy … but it’s not.

Several years ago, President Bush proposed a national agenda to get a practical fuel cell into production to relieve the United States dependence on foreign oil. This has yet to become a reality and frankly may never be from a practical or cost effective standpoint. The technology is difficult and expensive requiring that cars be run on electricity or a “hybrid” mix of electricity and fossil fuels.

Congress began an initiative to use ethanol as an alternative fuel source not considering the implications of the use of feed grains as fuel in competition to their use as food. We are now seeing the result of this fiasco in rising food prices as the competition to use corn as fuel rather than food. Congress continues to support farm subsidies for ethanol production in combination with tariffs on imported ethanol from Brazil which continue to drive up the cost of food from eggs and cheese to beef and pork. It’s an insanity that only the politicians in Washington can pull off and then have the audacity to brag about.

Besides its use in a complicated fuel cell to produce electricity for electric or hybrid cars, hydrogen can be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Pure hydrogen produces no greenhouse gases but pure water as the end product of it’s burning or combustion. Much of the research currently being done with hydrogen as a combustible fuel source is using pure hydrogen which has to be pressurized as a pure gas. This necessitates the need for gas bottles and fuel lines where leaks at connections can be seriously hazardous due to hydrogen’s low flash point which is the temperature that the fuel will ignite. Anyone who has had the slightest interest in history will remember seeing film clips of the Hindenberg disaster in New Jersey during the 1930’s, the consequence of Nazi Germany using hydrogen as its lighter than air gas to provide buoyancy for its fleets of dirigibles.

Besides the hazards of explosion and fire, pressurized hydrogen provides specific challenges in its’ delivery to the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine (ICE). Pre-ignition because of the low flash point is one of the most challenging problems in getting pressurized hydrogen to be a practical consideration for ICE’s as well as timing delivery to the combustion chamber.

In addition, nearly all of pressurized hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels which, in essence, gives it no advantage over conventional fossil fuels since greenhouse gas production is an essential part of the process of producing hydrogen for fuel in this way. Because of this, environmentalists have had a valid objection to its use as an alternative fuel source or additive for conventional fossil fuels whether gasoline, diesel, natural or propane gases.

But, unpressurized hydrogen produced on demand by electrolysis or other means and used as an additive to fossil fuel bypasses the constraints and objections posed above. when mixed with the normal fossil fuel mixture the problem of pre-ignition is eliminated. The hydrogen can be electrically separated from oxygen in water molecules through electrolysis using the electrical system of the vehicle with no additional greenhouse gas production beyond what the vehicle is already producing and providing probably less load on the engine than running an air conditioning unit on the vehicle. It can be drawn into the fuel/air mixture through a vacuum effect eliminating the hazardous need for pressurization and eliminating its own separate timing requirements. Something of this sort is what is now being offered in the many advertisements on the internet.

Hydrogen, whether pressurized or unpressurized, when used as an additive can increase fuel efficiency by 20 to 30% as measured in miles per gallon. This past weekend, I spoke with one of my brothers-in law about this. He owns a business which sells tractor trucks. His initial comment was, “Well … that only amounts to one or two gallons per mile for a diesel truck … but, you know … one gallon per mile could make the difference in a trucker making a profit. ”

A 20 to 30% savings is … a 20 to 30% savings … regardless of where you start from.

In addition, it inhances the utilization of fossil fuels it is mixed with and markedly decreases both CO2 and nitrous oxide emmissions making the currently expensive emission controls on vehicles such as catalytic converters unncessary.

Of interest is the fact that all current internal combustion engines could be retrofitted with a hydrogen producing device at very little cost, probably less than the cost of the catalytic converter alone. One article I read stated that, if this were done a yearly savings of 25 BILLION gallons of gasoline could be saved … which amounts to the quantity of gasoline that could be produced from our entire importation of crude oil from the Middle East. Imagine that … retrofitting all vehicles with a hydrogen producing unit that would eliminate our need to import oil from the Middle East … at the cost of several hundred dollars each … at the most.

Recently, a man in Pennsylvania discovered that hydrogen could be produced from salt water, or sea water by using focused microwave. This was a serendipitous discovery but it could potentially provide what might turn out to be an even less expensive method of producing nonpressurized hydrogen for use as a fuel additive than the currently advertised electrolysis conversion plans.

Currently, millions if not hundreds of millions or billions of dollars are being spent on complex and complicated designs to use hydrogen powered fuel cells or pressurized hydrogen as the source of power for future vehicles whether automobiles or trucks. That means that there are a lot of people who have a vested interest in their pet projects who arent’ going to be too happy with someone coming along with a cheaper and simpler method to solve the energy crisis problem. So, while skepticism is a good thing in all cases the source of the skepticism should be considered.

Yes, water is a source of tremendous combustible energy. It is a very stable vehicle for storing hydrogen. Under the hood of every car are containers which hold an engine coolant, antifreeze, and windshield washing fluid. Isn’t there space for one more container to hold some tap water or a saline solution? How much space would an electrolysis device take … or a small focused microwave?

Occasionally, we don’t have to throw billions of dollars at a problem to solve it … simply a little common sense and initiative. Why try to re-invent the wheel or make a more complicated one when there is a simple economical one available to use?

(I’ve read a number of articles on the above topics and will be adding them to this post for everyone’s consideration. Some are purely commercial but others are based on very valid current research. All point to the practicality of my recommendations so far.)