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Re: [sharechat] Genesis reply to snoopy

From: "Hans Van der Voorn" <>
Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 18:19:53 +1200

 having seen you mention this hydrogen theory before I realise that you weren't joking the first time around. To clarify the reality of using hydrogen from water to produce energy. Water is the product of hydrogen releasing energy in a reaction with oxygen, either by burning or exploding (which is the same thing only quicker). To get hydrogen from water requires the input of a large amount of energy to break the chemical bond, a standard experiment in high school science uses electricity. Using the hydrogen as fuel will then release a smaller amount of energy than it took to create the hydrogen and you'll be back with the water you stared with except that now the water will be hot vapour and you will have used a fair amount of energy going nowhere.
It's a bit like the gentleman who wrote to the Dominion Post recently suggesting that we should pump all of the water from a river back over the dams so that it could be used to produce electricity, thereby solving our current problem. I thought he was joking too but maybe he wasn't?
Back to the topic of Genesis using genetic modification to produce plants with more cellulose and less lignin. I don't think such plants would produce any more energy as such anyway, it's merely a matter of form. Lignin is woody material that doesn't easily break down by decomposition in air but it can burn like wood or lignite. Cellulose is less chemically stable so can be used to produce ethanol or digested to produce gas. The problem is the cost of growing, gathering the material to a central location, converting it to a useful form and disposing of the waste products making it an expensive form of energy. It has its attractions because it solves the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
I am firmly of the view that Genesis would be wasting its time and its shareholders money by going down that track.
As a country we are not short of energy as such, we are merely short of it at the prices we have become used to paying.
discl. hold WRI but not  because of Genesis.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2003 5:45 PM
Subject: [sharechat] Genesis reply to snoopy

Snoopy I think It is a cowardly act to rubbish an idea without an explanation, so I had better explain why Jims Idea or merely his thoughts on alternative fuel from plants will never be practical.  Lets suppose Jim cracks it and produces fuel from plants which I do think likely, it is the cost that kills it . We now pay tax on a gallon of fuel, where will that come from?.  We do need the farmland to feed the the populace of the world as it is without trying to add fuel to the equation. Ask your self how much is a gallon of milk  against the price of a gallon of fuel. Real cost take the fuel tax off and add it on to the milk. I do think a cow will produce milk cheaper than Jim will produce fuel from plant material but it lets us work on the feasibility of what we are on about.  There are farms in Scotland that are self sufficient in fuel they let the animals eat the grass produce the milk and the gas is collected from the leftovers to fuel the farm. The greatest source of power is under our noses in water.  The hydrogen in one gallon of water will drive the family car further than a gallon of petrol.  I dont mind If Jim experiments with other peoples money as long as it is not mine on a venture like that.  
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