Cheat Sheet Q&A:
Today’s topic: Hydrogen Fuel Cells for automobiles
Today’s entry (It’s in response to a story I shared last week regarding Toyota’s new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that will be available in 2015):
The following blurb brings to question the "revolutionary" innovation in potential auto production. The alternative to fossil fuel, albeit questionable environmental benefits, seems only marginally worthwhile.
The efficiency of getting hydrogen from electrolysis is around 15% to 20% so as free hydrogen does not exist it would be derived primarily from natural gas and petroleum: fossil fuels. This would make hydrogen at best a fossil fuel and not an alternative. Or some would say that it is not a fuel at all because it does not exist in nature and must be created. It is therefore only an energy carrier.
An exception would be to use a thermal process to split water instead of electricity. This may have an efficiency of up to 67% but it would require a lot of high temperatures. The best way to do this is speculated to be with a nuclear reactor. It is interesting that hydrogen like nuclear reactors produce little pollution in their use but it is elsewhere where problems exist. Some do not consider nuclear to be a good option because no one can reasonably guarantee the safe storage of the highest level waste for 1/2 a million years, let alone low level waste for 10,000 years.
So hydrogen might be considered better than fossil fuels if you keep your view narrow and don't look too carefully at downstream and upstream problems (But to some extent this is the approach that gave us our present situation).
Bottom Line: So last week I characterized the hydrogen fuel cell as a revolutionary automotive advance (vs. the evolutionary technology advances in fuel systems since the incarnation of the automobile). The gentleman who submitted today’s entry 1: Knows far more about automotive engineering than I do and 2: He has an excellent point.
My view of hydrogen fuel cells as a revolutionary technology is subjective and whether it’s correct also remains to be seen. I would call the electric vehicles revolutionary except that I don’t believe that plug-in electric vehicles will ever be the mainstream. Since you do need existing natural resources for the hydrogen extraction, I can see the argument that it’s an evolutionary process. Nevertheless I do believe that it is a game changer. It does open up natural gas, petroleum and coal for extraction. It does produce only water vapor when burned by vehicles and the length of time to replenish at service stations would be as quick as or quicker than filling up with gas.
In any event I’m glad to see the hydrogen fuel cell advance and I’m excited to see where it goes.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
According to us the best & worst Presidents in modern history...:
Bottom Line: Just in time for Independence Day Quinnipiac University polled Americans to determine the best and worst Presidents of the post WWII Era. Quinnipiac used their same accredited polling system for the purpose of this polling. Here are the highlights:
- Ronald Reagan: 35%
- Bill Clinton: 18%
- John Kennedy: 15%
- Barack Obama: 33%
- George W. Bush: 28%
- Richard Nixon: 13%
It’s also worth noting that in head to head polling with regard to the 2012 election that if it were held today Romney was indicated as winning by 7 points.
It’s not secret that I strongly oppose the current administration and greatly admire Ronald Reagan. This exactly how I would have voted. It also demonstrates that there is opportunity for meaningful political change in this country.
Auto brands with the most repeat buyers:
Bottom Line: So what auto brands have been able to convert the most existing customers into new car buyers within the last year? Here’s the breakdown:
- Hyundai 51%
- Lexus 53%,
- BMW 53%
- Honda 54%
- Subaru 56%
- Chevy 56%
- Nissan 57%
- Mercedes Benz & Toyota 58%
- Ford 64%
What’s notable is that despite GM’s recall issues and controversy – Chevy continues to post one of the better conversion numbers. With the best brand loyalty being at 64% you could argue that no automotive company does an especially good job at retaining its customers but anything above 50% indicates that a brand at least has the potential to grow.
You aren't going to believe the new "protected" class in the workplace - implications:
Bottom Line: To be clear I don’t believe we should have any so called “protected” classes in the workplace. That’s because I believe that discrimination laws already make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, orientation, etc. I also think that businesses that are run by people who do discriminate will never be as successful as they’d otherwise be. That being said current protected classes are:
- Those over 40
That basically means that everyone has added protection from an HR standpoint except for younger, straight white guys. Yesterday the Labor Department added a new protected class. Transgender individuals. Here’s the thing… Given that there is no standard for transgendered individuals (the actual definition is self-identification). If a business even attempted to vet that claim – that alone would be discriminatory. The actual definition of Transgender allows for anyone who believes they are of another gender all of the way to those who have taken surgical and hormonal changes. So for example… What would keep anyone from stating that they are “transgender” to seek protection? I know it may seem absurd and most people won’t even think of heading down that path but it’s possible. Given that any employee can sue any employer for discrimination placing a legal burden on a business to respond and prove otherwise, this could be exploited.
Why you shouldn't wait until after college to begin to work:
Bottom Line: Glassdoor.com asked college grads who successfully obtained employment what was most important in landing the job. 80% of them said that not one question pertaining to their education came up in their interview. 72% said that questions pertaining to previous work experience did come up. Here was the takeaway. The college degree most commonly was cited as helping them obtain the interview but it was more commonly their real world experience that put them over the top. So for the best opportunity for you kids to succeed… If possible have them work while their obtaining their education.