Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
ily spread over the ground or other objects. Hydrogen gas will rise into the
In a high-pressure gas or cryogenic liquid hydrogen fuel distribution
the hydrogen is such a small molecule that it tends to leak through the
smallest of cracks.
A leaky infrastructure could alter the atmosphere according to re-
searchers from the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. They used statistics for accidental industrial
hydrogen and natural gas leakage which were estimated at 10 to 20% of
total volume. Extending these estimates to an economy that runs on hy-
drogen results in four to eight times as much hydrogen in the atmosphere.
The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy thinks these estimates are much too high. But, more hydrogen in
the atmosphere will combine with oxygen to form water vapor and create
more clouds. This increased cloud cover could alter the weather more and
affect global warming.
When electric vehicles emerged after the 1973 Arab oil embar-
go, small companies like Linear Alpha produced conversions. Sebring-
Vanguard made its CitiCar and was able to sell all it could make for a
short time, but sales dropped when gas prices dropped and the gas lines
disappeared. One of the more affordable of the electric cars during this
time was the Danish-made Kewet El-Jet I. It sold for about $18,000 fully
loaded while other EVs started at $25,000. But, instead of a standard met-
al body, there was a fiberglass box and performance was slow and noisy,
while most electrics are very quiet. Ron Kaylor, Jr., was an electrical engi-
neer from Menlo Park, CA, who started building electric cars in the early
1960s. He specialized in VW Beetle conversions using motors from F-100
fighter planes. In the early 1970s, he offered his Kaylor Hybrid Module
that provided VW electric cars with a 400-mile range.
Hybrid conversions have not been common, since they are twice as
complex as electric conversions. But in 1979, Dave Arthurs of Springdale,
Arkansas, spent $1,500 converting an Opel GT into a hybrid that got 75
miles-per-gallon, using a 6-horsepower lawn mower engine, a 400-amp
electric motor and a bank of 6-volt batteries. Dave Arthurs continued
building hybrids into the 1990s. One of these conversions was a 99 miles-
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