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Just a thought

Posted by Lewis on October 22, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Hydrogen generation posted by Ward on October 21, 2004

: : : : : : What word best describes an action that is self-defeating, or contrary to its own purpose; eg, DOE's hydrogen-fuel program to make us less dependent on it includes a program to extract hydrogen from oil

: : : : : Nugatory might be made to serve, but what's wrong with self-defeating? SS

: : : : nugatory sounds either like a nut-based sweetmeat or something you do to a right-wing politician.

: : : : "self-negating" would be a compromise.

: : : : counter-productive, contradictory, there's quite a lexicon for stupidity.

: : : Lewis has provided some fine and apposite words. But I still fail to see the faults of self-defeating. If it's not a word, then why have I seen so many examples of it used as a word? Even if it had been coined for just this occasion, the coinage follows the usual pattern of using known words in a way that conveys a clear meaning. In this case, the process defeats the purpose for which it was created. It is self-defeating. SS

: : No doubt Hileman's characterization of the DOE's hydrogen-fuel program for producing hydrogen as self-defeating is true, or largely so. I would be interested to know if the use of the hydrogen fuel cell in cars, either as a supplement to the gasoline engine or as a replacement, uses, in toto, as much oil, or more, or less oil, including that used for making hydrogen, than is required for an equivalent car running only on gasoline. Moreover, the process used by the DOE has only been the dominant process since the 1970s. Earlier manufacturing methods based on coke or coal had their disadvantages, but we have a huge supply of coal in this country. Perhaps one could use fully-aged sheep shit. Electrolytic conversion is also a possibility, although it does require the production of electricity first. There is a large market for hydrogen in the U.S., not only for hydrogen fuel cells and chemical experiments, but also for making ammonia and for hydrogenating vegetable oils. Perhaps the DOE could put a little more effort into finding other production methods. Oh, I forgot. The DOE serves a higher purpose in this administration. SS

: The deserts of this country, and the world, are places where solar energy falls to the ground in great abundance, and is wasted as heat. The fact that they are largely undeveloped may someday be a blessing, since solar collectors could someday provide the electrical energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, to be later recombined in hydrogen engines. Global warming needs to be appreciated as the huge risk it is, and we need to address the need to modify our energy consumption from the carbon burning cycle that is one of the accelerators of this process.

...but are not deserts rather short of water?

I suppose you could electrolyse sea-water near a desert, but I reckon the Gobi desert is a no-no for splitting water.