Hydrogen fuel cell was not really the point of that paragraph, but I will go ahead and address that particular portion. I was hoping the reference to “hugs and kisses” would illuminate the reference to any useable alternative fuel source. Things did not work out that way sadly. So now for the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells in the distant future, at least prior to your 50 to 100 year assessment, I offer that at least six are being trial run at this moment. Three in public buses in California and three in West Australia are currently working public routes. Do they run perfectly, not at all? Yet most of the problems with those buses are attributed to the same problems of running any prototype model. Do I expect to see hydrogen fuel cell cars next year, once again not at all? I do expect there to be an alternative fuel option before 50 years.
The point of that was to detail that searching for “green” alternatives to our current practices serves not only the environment but our own interests. Oil is indeed a finite resource because it takes so very long to produce the material naturally. Perhaps if they developed a way to synthetically manufacture the substance, it could be altered to be more plentiful and cleaner. Since that is probably not going to happen, especially without government incentive, then we are forced to look at other items. Ethanol requiring crops is certainly true, but already we have to pay our farmers not to grow crops so that they will not harm the economy. If they were to grow food in every available space and at full capacity, the price of those crops would drive smaller farms out of business. Ethanol could well revitalize our agriculture market, something it could use desperately. Currently ethanol is being used in the E85 blend (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) but is not seeing wide use. According to the US Department of Energy, the only difference is a reduction in gas mileage since ethanol does not store as much energy. Which yes, does mean alot of it will be needed to fuel even our own country.
Biodiesel is another source, which I believe is being looked at to power truck fleets. Vegetable oils and animal fats are the makeup of this source so are also produce able faster than crude oil. Currently there is a B20 and B100 variant on this idea in limited use. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends the B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum) for standard use. B20 requires little to no engine modifications and few drivers have expressed a reduction in performance. B100 is not as highly recommended but can be used with any engine built after 1994. More than likely some modification is in order, but the Department of Energy does not specify. Wear on engine sealant; limited warranty coverage and microbial contamination are chief concerns. Also B100 does produce nitrous oxide as waste, though it drastically reduces if not eliminates other fumes from its waste.
Come full circle to hydrogen fuel cells. According to this same U.S. Department of Energy, “Hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize transportation and, possibly, our entire energy system.” The main problem with hydrogen is storage capacity. Currently to achieve a 300 mile range, the vehicle would need to fill its trunk capacity with hydrogen. New technology is needed to achieve optimal storage space, though this is being looked into extensively. Notable options are compression, liquid freezing and combination of hydrogen with other substances. Hydrogen is also in line to replace larger facilities. They also share this possibility with geothermal sources, wind turbines, and solar panels. Much of this is done with government backing and grant work as well as by private companies looking to enter the competitive market of energy production.
Now the atomic bomb was indeed a military endeavor. I do support that research and while I will concede that its deployment was of use to our country, I still believe it was a tragic event. Regardless, if the government can be supported in developing technology that can destroy cities than we as a people can also request technology to preserve our way of life. Oil being a non-renewable energy source means it is finite and means we will run out one day. Already our way of life is being threatened and economy suffering from increases by a foreign source. Oil is supposed to still be somewhat available at this point and already problems are occurring. Drilling elsewhere may produce an abundance, but this is simply pushing back our execution date. So, since you’re for research into military endeavors, I don’t see why something this important cannot receive funding from the government, which it does.
So is global warming going to be solved through any of this? A magic cure lurking somewhere in the websites of the U.S. Department of Energy? Probably not. While many scientists are willing to jump on the band wagon to laude global warming, a lot of the research is also hotly contested. Climatologists, environmentalists, physicists, chemists, whatever ists you want to come up with cannot agree. Course if you put two doctors and a patient in a room, you will get twelve different possibilities…and that is by talking to one of those doctors. So a definitive timeline for our doomsday is obviously questionable and the true impact of global warming, if any, will probably be under debate for a long time. Yet there cannot be a lot of harm in looking into and employing green technology that works. Kind of like having an apartment with a lot of trash in it. Cleaning it doesn’t bring any immediate benefits, but it certainly makes the occupant feel better and does cut down on risks associated with a dirty living space.