April 21, 2007

From Charles F. Barth:

Re: Ethanol vehicles pose health risk, study finds (April 18): No one had critically examined the toxicity of ethanol fuels before rushing headlong into production of ethanol. I lament that situation, but I wish to also make some comments regarding the recommendations at the bottom of the article.

While hydrogen-based fuel cells or hydrogen fueled engines offer pollution-free operation, battery powered vehicles merely move the pollution from the tailpipe to the (largely) coal fired generating plants. It appears there is a better solution but the near-hysterical opposition to electricity generation by nuclear plants has essentially stalled these efforts. Modern nuclear plants can be designed and built that produce little to no radioactive wastes. The resulting electricity can be used to retire the fossil-fueled generating plants, providing safe, clean power. The issue of carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effects would ameliorate quickly. Further, the electricity could also be used to dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen for fuels as well.

Dr. Charles F. Barth, retired scientist


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