Will Roney

Book Review – The Hydrogen Economy by Jeremy Rifkin

In Practical Industrial Applications on September 10, 2012 at 21:29

Hydrogen Economy

Energy is a measure of how advanced a civilisation is. Western economies, as well as their competitors in the East consume oil and gas at a rate that would have been thought unthinkable only thirty or forty years ago, yet there appears to be no significant attempts to find alternatives when these supplies dwindle.

The problem is not just putting fuel in our cars and trucks, but most of the products we buy in the shops and trade with require a constant supply of oil to survive. We are facing a crunch time where all of our fundamental foundations need to be reassessed. Jeremy Rifkin thinks he has the answer.

According to the book “The Hydrogen Economy”, the answer is not unsurprisingly based on the second most abundant element in the known universe. From the cyclical rise and fall of mineral-based civilisations to the use of oil scarcity as a terrorist weapon, this book takes a global look at the problems and opportunities posed by a world based around hydrogen.

From a purely scientific  point of view, I have always been under the impression that there is enough energy contained in a gallon of water, to power the Earth for a year. Obviously, to extract that sort of energy potential we have to design and build powerplants that haven’t even been thought of, but we have started by designing fuel-cell vehicles. This is a small but important step in the transformation of a way of life that will come to an end in my lifetime.

Although this book is short on specific scientific detail, it can be seen as a rallying call for the politicians, the industrialists and the entrepreneurs to convert to the cause and create a New World Order where everyone has access to clean, plentiful energy with which to fulfil a planetary potential.

On a personal note I am sure that the use of Hydrogen as the energy commodity of choice would throw up questions and problems that we haven’t even thought of yet. But we need to be thinking about not whether we should be doing it, but when we are going to be doing it. We have at most the next 40-50 years to change our whole way of life, and this book can be the clarion call that the world needs.

This book review is part of the Practical Industrial Applications series on Startup Business Book Reviews, providing quality book reviews of the business books that matter.


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