Using a Scientific American article's numbers, it would cost $40 billion to build a hydrogen filling station every half-mile in American urban areas and every 61/4 highway miles. This counters an auto industry excuse that they can't build hydrogen-powered cars because without an infrastructure those cars wouldn't sell. The infrastructure for creating and transporting hydrogen already exists as hydrogen has been used in mass quantities in American industry for decades. The auto industry claim requiring a 300-mile single-tank capacity is another feeble smokescreen as most Americans seldom travel more than 50 miles a day in normal driving, and current hydrogen cars get 200 miles per tank.
Government subsidies to the oil industry help make wind and solar industries non-competitive. Current technology makes wind generators that are quiet, slow moving to avoid wildlife dangers, and look more like art than oversized fans, while solar panel efficiency and designs have advanced to the point of spray-on coatings. If another $40 billion were used to subsidize solar and wind technology, prices would plummet enough to put single-home units in reach of any family income, and eliminate all the worst polluting coal plants. Most Ohio coal plants occupy considerable acreage on river and lakefront land and converting their oldest, most polluting plants to wind/solar energy farms would help those (former) coal companies remain profitable, and more ecologically respected.
An $80 billion total is a fraction of what the Iraq War has cost in non-retrievable funds every year for five years and would provide a permanently recycling service industry (and tax base) for American jobs. In the special election to replace the recently deceased Rep. Paul Gillmor, it would be nice if campaigns concentrated on economic prosperity for northern Ohio through leadership in green energy job creation.
Rick A. Mullins