How long are we going to "stay addicted to gasoline which is a hideously toxic substance?" posed Harry Braun, a businessman and renewable energy expert who spoke with George this past Tuesday night. Braun outlines in his Phoenix Project how he believes hydrogen could replace fossil fuels within 5 years if a major effort was made.
If we could make the transition, Braun thinks the US could change its foreign policy so we no longer support "ruthless regimes" for the sake of oil and air pollution would be greatly reduced since hydrogen is a clean fuel.
Braun advocates the use of wind machines or turbines, which can be used to make hydrogen. The machines, he says are as simple to manufacture as automobiles and if enough were made they could provide clean energy for the entire country. You could "modify any engine from a Model T to the Space Shuttle and they could all run on hydrogen," Braun said. To move forward with the hydrogen alternative, Braun and the Phoenix Project see political action as the next step and are hoping to have hydrogen hearings in the senate. One positive sign was that CBS' Sixty Minutes was listening in on tonight's program, for a possible story on Braun.
Spotlight On: Hydrogen
Tonight's guest, Harry Braun, is an expert on renewable energy such as hydrogen. Fuel cells can be made to produce clean energy derived from hydrogen. But to use hydrogen on a widespread scale as a clean fuel and power source, the stumbling block has been how to find cost-effective methods. It's thought that as more advanced storage systems for hydrogen are developed, it could become cheaper and more readily available for usage.
Here are a few facts on hydrogen:
- Hydrogen is the lightest of all the elements, and is composed simply of one proton and one electron.
- The universe is made up of 90% hydrogen, with our sun's mass composed of 30% atomic hydrogen.
- On Earth, hydrogen is most abundant in water. Under most conditions it's a colorless gas that is also odorless, tasteless, and non-poisonous.
- Henry Cavendish, an English chemist and physicist is credited with discovering hydrogen in 1766, when he produced water from hydrogen and oxygen.