Friday, November 16, 2007

Hydrogen from petroleum?

I missed this yesterday (well, I don't often trawl through stock exchange regulatory announcements), but feel that it is still worthy of comment.

It's about Exxon-Mobil, with partners, developing a new unique technology that "reduces carbon emissions and offers advantages over other Hydrogen delivery systems".

So I read on, with interest, the biggest of the big-oil boys looking at Hydrogen generation systems was definitely an eyebrow twitcher. Oh, the technology will use "liquid fuels ... gasoline, diesel, ethanol or biodiesel and convert them into hydrogen onboard the vehicle where it will be used in a fuel cell power train."

They claim that "it has the potential to be up to 80% more fuel efficient than today's internal combustion engine technologies and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 45%."

Now that's some claim and I'd like to see and understand more of the potential of this technology, but, and perhaps I'm being a little picky here, its fuel source is still petroleum, ethanol or bio-diesel based, so doesn't this sort of technology simply perpetuate big-oil's existing storage and distribution infrastructures.

And one other thing. Though I've forgotten an awful lot of my chemistry over the years, surely if you remove all (or most) of the Hydrogen from a bunch of complex hydrocarbon molecules as a fuel source, aren't you going to be left with an awful lot of Carbon, CO2 and other nasties to dispose of?

No comments: