I started this blog because on what used to be my fun blog, Our Hydrogen Future, there were too many external influences on hydrogen as a transportation fuel and energy storage means that I had begun to discuss. A hydrogen economy is pretty complex. So I wanted to separate the physics from the politics and bring more of the physics portion to this blog. There was too much blending of issues which detracted from the issue, hydrogen.
Here, I can't get too far away from politics either. Politics is a major factor in every part of our lives, even science. The more complex the issue the more politics will be involved at some point. That is not good, bad or particularly unusual, it is just life.
This post on blending, could be on either blog. The advantage of hydrogen is it allows the blending of various technologies using one of the basic building blocks of the universe. Any form of energy can be used to manufacturer hydrogen. At differing efficiencies, but generally to improve overall efficiency if it is not the primary objective, but the catch all energy pigeon hole.
The fear of catastrophic global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions was an excellent motivation to look to hydrogen for future use, even if depleting conventional fuel resources and declining energy security was not.
It seems people don't think that way, for some reason, people have become much more binary, yes, no or good, bad in their thinking. Action will only result from one of three situations in that case, yes wins, no wins or some blend or compromise develops. I am a centrist or blender by nature. It is not difficult for me to read the writing on the wall and know that the truth is near the middle, at least initially.
The EPA MATS is a perfect example of "no" winning. A very caring and concerned group of people that want to protect the world selected one potential danger, coal, and attempted to sentence it to death with regulation. Their binary world believes in perfection and that by eliminating every perceived threat, one at a time, the perfect world will evolve. If a perfect energy source existed, they would be on the right path to realize their vision of perfection without upsetting the energy applecart. One of the darlings of the "kill coal" movement is biomass. Biomass is not without its ugly realities. So the EPA MAST will kill more biomass production, as a percentage of total production, that it will coal. I would think that is an undesired consequence.
The "yes" crowd, in the eyes of the "no" crowd only want more damaging coal to be used because the "yes" crowd are selfish, ignorant and mean people. The "yes" crowd may be all of that or they may not be, it does not really matter because the reality is if they have their way, the middle, blending would be missed.
From an engineering point of view, efficiency is the name of the game. Making more with what you have available. So as an engineer, I would not eliminate any tool for improving efficiency, that includes nasty coal.
Climate science has the same yes, no or good, bad conflict. The middle ground is lost on most other than the engineers and a few other groups. We know about blending.
From an engineering perspective, there are short term "solutions" that may lead to longer term "solutions" which may lead to even longer term "solutions". Solutions in quotes, because engineers know that there are likely no "true" "solutions" for the ultimate future because no one is that smart. We just know that improving efficiency can lead to more improvements. That is what we do, attempt to optimize efficiency within the constrains of the real world, physics, finance and political limitations. In other words, we are used to dealing with overly optimistic and overly pessimistic assholes.