(393e) A Low-Greenhouse-Impact Hydrogen-Based Liquid-Fuels Future
The world faces two interconnected energy challenges: higher cost crude oil and potential greenhouse impacts from the burning of fossil fuels. The fundamental challenges are primarily associated with transportation because stationary energy demands can be met using electricity and heat from multiple non-greenhouse-emitting sources.
The high volumetric and energy density of liquid fuels make it technically difficult to replace liquid fuels in the transport sector. The key to success for starting down the path toward a hydrogen economy is to provide a means for gradually integrating hydrogen generating technologies into the highly integrated, huge liquid fossil fuel based economy. A two part strategy to reduce greenhouse emissions in the transport sector by ~80% while retaining the use of hydrocarbon liquid fuels (gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel) for transportation purposes is proposed.
? Liquid fuels production. An economic source of hydrogen from a non-greenhouse-emitting source is used to generate liquid fuels from a variety of carbon sources other than crude oil, such as tar sands, coal, biomass and garbage. Depending upon the feedstock, the carbon dioxide released from all the steps required to make the fuel varies from 20 to 200% of the amount of carbon dioxide released from burning the fuel. With nuclear generated hydrogen, all of the carbon in the fuel feedstock can be converted to liquid fuels drastically reducing the total carbon dioxide released per liter of fuel.
? Hybrid vehicles. Projections by the Electric Power Research Institute and others indicate that the full deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicles (electric batteries with liquid fuel engines), can double the vehicle mileage per liter of liquid fuel for cars and light trucks. A plug-in hybrid uses night-time electricity to recharge vehicle batteries and uses a combination of electricity and liquid fuels to minimize liquid fuel use without compromising vehicle range or performance. Plug-in vehicle prototypes are now being tested and hybrid vehicles are already in production.
Potential scenarios and their associated potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and costs are evaluated. The use of a PBMR reactor to generate hydrogen is used as the economic basis.
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