Talk:The Hype about Hydrogen

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Someone (not me!) should write up Romm's earlier book, "Cool Companies". His other books, I would think, are too old to merit their own page. Ssilvers 22:31, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup requests[edit]

Please merge the sections, most are way too short. Some more links should be added in the text as well. Sectioning should be argument-based rather than chapter-based. With the current quantity of text, 2–3 sections should be enough.

Units for hydrogen production[edit]

Were in gigajoules, which was clearly wrong. This data, which can be found here [1] (though the original source is not easy to track down), has the same figures in millions of cubic meters. 50 Mm^3 of hydrogen actually contains around 6 petajoules of energy, so the previous figures were off by many orders of magnitude. I don't have the book, so I couldn't say whether this it's wrong in the book as well or just a transcription error. Kyle Cronan 12:51, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup (part 2)[edit]

This article should be severely summarized. At present it's a chapter-based review of the book plus a biography of the writer. The bio should be reduced to a minimum (for context) and the book should be reviewed as a whole. Comments on its controversial claims could also use some WP:NPOV. —Pablo D. Flores (Talk) 15:25, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I took out the bio. The author is wikilinked, and his bio is at Joseph J. Romm, so we don't need it in two places. Also, I combined some sections. Instead of complaining that the article needs more linking, why don't editors go ahead and wikify it more? --Ssilvers 20:12, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Pablo that this needs to be summarized in a big way. For starters it could be two or three sections, max. --PotomacFever 20:57, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


A simple google search comes up with dozens of reviews that do not question the books' objectivity or its sources. The review of the California scientists (who worked for Schwartzenneger) is clearly atypical. Here's just one typical one[2]

  • Also: "It's hard to argue with the relentless logic...." -E/THE ENVIRONMENTAL MAGAZINE
  • Here's another
  • [ Another]
  • Another

--Ssilvers 23:58, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

The reviews are the reviews. Given the choice of quoting fully or quoting interleaved with one's own interpretation, I prefer the former. But don't take my word for it; here's the Wikipedia NPOV policy:
All significant published points of view are presented, not just the most popular one. It should not be asserted that the most popular view or some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one. Readers are left to form their own opinions. (See [[3]])
Besides, why do you care so much? You jumped in just minutes after the addition was made. Did you write the book???--PotomacFever 20:45, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

The review you cite was written by Bush and Schwartzenneger employees. In any case, the quotes you chose do not even present a balanced view of the review itself. I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here. Read the article on hydrogen vehicle. This review does not represent the "critical reception" for the book. NPOV policy does not mean that discredited viewpoints must be represented equally with the consensus of the scientific community. --Ssilvers 03:47, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd suggest having a look at the Wikipedia policy against editing other people's discussion page comments ["Behavior that is unacceptable"].
I believe the article gives a very different spin to the viewpoints of the environmental newsletters versus those of the UC Davis scientists. (I think it is NPOV to call them scientists given that they publish peer reviewed articles in scientific journals.) To reiterate, the reviews are the reviews and don't need our spin; treat them equally. The NPOV policy states: "When bias towards one particular point of view can be detected the article needs to be fixed." [[4]] I believe the constructive next step would be to agree on how to frame the quotation from the UC Davis review. I am open to your suggestions. It would not be productive, once again, to interleave your own point of view with short quotes from the UC Davis review. The assertions you make about the authors, even if you could cite them as facts, are prima facie evidence of political bias. Again, see the NPOV policy. [[5]]. I appreciate that you strongly disagree with the review. That's why Wikipedia has rules that can help us.--PotomacFever 00:19, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. Here are my problems with what you added:
  • 1. I think that it is unbalanced to quote only the negative parts of this review, when in fact the review states that they agree with the book's main points.
  • 2. I think that what is quoted from the review is too long considering the overall length of the article.
  • 3. I think that the writers of the review had an agenda, because they were working for government projects that had a strong interest in promoting hydrogen vehicles.
  • 4. Words like "decrying" are not NPOV.
Is there any way we can compromise on this? I have no problem with your noting this review, but I don't think the quote needs to be so long and prominent as to overbalance all the other reviews that were favorable to the book. As to editing the talk page, I merely added bolding on a word that you quoted, which is OK according to the WP policy that you cite. --Ssilvers 05:16, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Here's an attempt at a rewrite. I've framed their point about hybrid fuel economy as part of the reaction to those vehicles' exaggerated performance claims, not as a criticism of the book per se. By the way, if these specific points have been refuted elsewhere, and refuted in an equally specific fashion, then let's add that to the thread.
In a 2004 review, three UC Davis scientists noted their agreement with the book's main points but found that the author had made selective use of sources. [6].
He [Romm] consistently relies on sources that tend to the high side of the cost range in the literature, and often cites only the highest cost case in referenced studies. Some of his hydrogen costs are roughly twice those in the recent National Academies study of hydrogen. Too often, he cites controversial research that has not been peer reviewed, ignores well-known studies that do not support his conclusions, or gives incomplete citations that leave the reader wondering about the source.
The reviewers also expressed their concern that an unrealistically high estimate was employed of the fuel economy of gasoline hybrid vehicles, which are considered by some analysts to be the alternative to hydrogen vehicles.
For example, to bolster a point about the near-term potential of advanced gasoline automobiles, Romm states that gasoline hybrids are approximately as energy efficient as hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Yet careful simulation studies by Argonne National Laboratory, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and others suggest that gasoline hybrids would have no more than 1.3 to 1.5 times the fuel economy of a comparable gasoline internal combustion engine car, and that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles would have 2 to 2.5 times the fuel economy.
Indeeed, others have found the initial claims of the gasoline hybrid's superior fuel economy to be exaggerated. In its June 2006 issue, Consumer Reports found that actual mileage was roughly 40 percent below the EPA ratings.--PotomacFever 10:17, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

I put your new language into the article with a few chages that I think you can live with? --for instance, I took out the inference that the Consumer Reports study has anything to do with the studies cited by the reviewers. The Consumer reports info supports the book's main point that hybrids are significantly better than what we are driving now. Also, fuel efficiency is not the only issue (consumer reports focuses on the cost to the consumer). Hybrids have much lower emissions than gasoline vehicles -- about 70% lower or more. But these are not the main focus of the book, which is that fuel cells do not work for cars, which point is amply discussed in the article on hydrogen vehicles (that I had no hand in editing). Also, it is only fair to point out that these reviewers work for pro-hydrogen government projects, and they are key proponents of the government's argument that we do not have to concentrate on conservation because hydrogen will magically save us. See the new movie Who Killed the Electric Car?. By focusing on a few trees in Romm's book (and drawing biased conclusions based on oil-company studies), these reviewers obfuscate his forest. --Ssilvers 15:28, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

We are in substantial agreement. Running down a few cites would help. Can you give a citation about their advisory work for California and the US Government? As is, it sounds like we're dodging their technical points by claiming bias, plus why not mention the hydrogen book author's connection to Rockefeller and let readers decide? I think Consumer Reports is more cautious and says hybrids offer only 10 or 20 percent fuel economy improvements, with the Prius being the statistical outlier at 45 percent.--PotomacFever 13:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

The Rockefeller Foundation is not pro-oil. I have no idea what gave the commenter below that idea, except that the Foundation was originally endowed by Rockefeller in 1913. Like other charitable foundations, it has an independent Board of Directors. Read the Rockefeller Foundation article to find out more about this venerable foundation. There used to be a Romm bio here, but editors said that since there is a separate bio article under Joseph J. Romm that is wikilinked in the article that it should not be repeated. If you want to repeat Romm's bio here, copy it back in, but I believe the wikilink is sufficient. Personally, I would delete the Consumer Reports reference. Consumer reports did not review this book and does not even discuss the pros and cons of hydrogen vehicles. It is not really relevant here. --Ssilvers 02:39, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

I think we need to either provide citations regarding the reviewers' work for State of California or else delete. See Wikipedia policy. Another point about the reviews: The NYRB review actually says of Romm's book "technical obstacles, [are] described in great detail." That's different from what this (Wikipedia) article says, i.e., that the article is "unbiased." Lastly, alot of these linked reviews are weblogs. --PotomacFever 13:18, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I thought the whole point about hydrogen was carbon capture at the power station? People normally talk about the hydrogen or more correctly - electro-chemical economy with this in mind.Littlebluemint 17:58, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Hello. This book discusses objections to relying on hydrogen vehicles. If you look at hydrogen economy, that is an article about using hydrogen at power stations and all other purposes. This book does not object to power station usage, only vehicle usage. Is that what you were asking? Best regards, -- Ssilvers 21:10, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
His argument is weak. The use of hydrogen vehicles does not infer a greater contribution to greenhouse gases at all. If a pure hydrogen (or electrical) economy was adopted, carbon is dealt with at the plant - which is the *whole* point.
Carbon sequestration or a hydrogen economy implies nothing about producing hydrogen at the plant itself.
A number of researchers in the fuel cell field are referring (more correctly) to a electrochemical economy, since most recognise that hydrogen has too low an energy density and is not efficient/economical to transport/store/use directly rather than from a refuelling station etc. It is common sense anyway that most electrolysis takes place at refuelling stations meaning lower fuel transportation/pumping costs (see the development of Hydrogenics' HyStat products).
Furthermore, the additional point of developing hydrogen vehicles, is to allow for easier reformation from biofuels to allow for carbon neutral vehicles. Currently the purity of fossil fuels is the major limiting factor in the development of effective on-board fuel processing and reformation technologies. The overriding goal here is that electrochemical oxidation is more efficient than combustion oxidiation, even using diesel/gasoline as the primary fuel for both. Littlebluemint 14:14, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

The Author's Biases[edit]

According to Wikipedia's page on the author, he was employed by the Rockefeller Foundation. I think it would be appropriate to mention that in this article as it does at least have the appearance of creating a pro-oil stance. While it is not definitive, it could be the reason that he is such a strong proponent of Gasoline and disel hybrid vehicles. Vehicles that will continue to utilize Fossil Fuels. --The foregoing was added at 14:25, 28 August 2006 byUser:

If you read any of the author's articles (or this book) or see the new film Who Killed the Electric Car?, you will see that he is no friend of the oil industry. What this book says is that we need to pursue conservation and technologies that can reduce our dependence on oil *now* instead of waiting around for several decades until hydrogen fuel cells become economically feasible. Please sign your contributions to the talk page by using 4 tildes(~) --Ssilvers 19:14, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Besides, aren't you (original commentor above) aware that fuel cells would be mostly dependent on fossil fuels? This makes a pro-fuel cell position a pro-oil industry position, a priori. +ILike2BeAnonymous 19:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
This is similar to a discussion above on the reviews of the book. If the political affiliation of reviewers, real or perceived, is relevant, then we should note the political affiliation, real or perceived, of the book author. Then I don't see why the debate is "either or"; that is, why does backing hydrogen rule out hybrids, or vice versa, when the respective propulsion systems call for different energy resources? The use of coal and natural gas by the former, to say nothing of other possible feedstocks, won't deprive gasoline vehicles of their (refined) oil.--PotomacFever 10:33, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

A review of the book (and the author's other articles and books) shows that author is firmly in favor of reducing US and European dependence on imported oil now using conservation and other currently-available strategies, and in *immediately* reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Romm claims that the pro-hydrogen government projects and strategies are designed to maintain the oil companies' profits and to defer the crucial choices that we should be making *now* to decrease emissions and save our planet. --Ssilvers 15:36, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Can you quantify to what extent hybrids "immediately" reduce greenhouse gas emissions? John Heywood of MIT writes in September 2006 Scientific American that it would take 10 to 15 years before one third of vehicles on the road would be hybrids, and that it would be 35 years until major impact (page 62 of "Fueling Our Transportation Future").--PotomacFever 13:04, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
What the government ought to be doing is requiring auto companies to increase fuel efficiency standards significantly. The tecnology is available, just not the political will. Moreover, see Romm's article in Scientific American, April 2006, "Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction," in which he argues that Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which can achieve much higher fuel efficiency than currently marketed hybrids, will soon become standard in the automobile industry. See also this article from the same issue (Sept. 2006) of Scientific American that you cited. -- Ssilvers 15:58, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I can't follow what you're saying. If hybrids provide better mpg by themselves, what is the added benefit of increasing CAFE? It would give a few Washington bureaucrats something to do, I suppose. Then you haven't explained how hybrids "immediately" reduce GHG. We keep our cars for 14 years on average. If everyone purchased a hybrid when their old car went kaput, the fleet would not turnover (be all hybrid until) until 2020. But people aren't buying just hybrids, their buying deisels and conventional ICEs, so 25 years is more likely as a best case. Further, you cite Heywood's article but it refutes your viewpoint. I've noticed many of your cites do not say what you think they say. I think you may be a sock puppet.--PotomacFever 16:50, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I haven't been able to follow the discussion, with all those citations flying around, but the sheer amount of ellaboration and review in this talk page suggest the article may have received some original research. Be careful not to analyze and criticize the sources yourself in the article. Also, please let nobody call anybody a sock puppet without evidence, as an unwarranted accusation of sockpuppetry is a personal attack. —Pablo D. Flores (Talk) 19:32, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Pablo D. Flores is right, the article is original research. The assertions in the book are simply restated here without citations or supporting arguments. None of these arguments were peer reviewed in journals. The book itself is from a point-of-view publisher rather than an academic press. Then the creator of this article, who knows the book author very well, he says, has allowed no one else to make substantive edits. --PotomacFever 22:47, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
This article is just a review of the book. It is not relevant whether you disagree with the book. Paul Studier 04:34, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
That's right, it's not relevant whether I disagree with the book. The article, however, can be compared against Wikipedia policies. When we talk about original research, we are referring to wikipedia content policies, in particular verifiability and no original research. I believe our earlier comments say this. --PotomacFever 10:44, 30 September 2006 (UTC)


The article makes numerous quantitative, factual assertions that do not have citations. There are two ways to view this: 1) as lacking references and therefore original research; or 2) as implicity drawing upon the book itself as the reference. If the former, then it needs citations. If the latter, we then should ask whether the book itself meets Wikipedia's criteria for reputable publication? I do not believe it does, since the criteria call for sources to be either peer reviewed or, if books, published by an academic press, which Island Press is not. In short, these are all going to need citations. I invite everyone to comment on how to proceed.--PotomacFever 11:21, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Reputation is a matter of subjective judgement. You can have not-so-reputable sources cited, as I understand it, as long as the matter is non-controversial, common knowledge, and/or minor. You shouldn't have dubious sources for major possibly problematic assertions.
However, the book is the subject of the article, not its source, so it cannot be subject to Wikipedia source-related policies like you just said. If the article employs citations from the book, they should of course be marked as such ("The book claims that...", "According to the author...", or with double quotes or as indented blockquote paragraphs. I don't think it's required to have each and every statement from the book cited as The Hype about Hydrogen, Chapter 3, p. 120 or the like.
Based on both of the above, the article should consist on an intro with author, publishing etc. information, a summary of the claims, and a summary of the criticisms and reviews with citations. At present it's still too fragmented, and the reviews are taking up too much space. —Pablo D. Flores (Talk) 17:46, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree, Pablo. Please go ahead and make the edits that you describe. I dare not touch the article or PotomacFever will get me.  ;-) -- Ssilvers 23:53, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
I've severely pruned the article. I believe that the interested reader has plenty of places to read about it by following the external links and/or (of course) buying the book. If I took out too much, feel free to restore what you feel necessary. I've also formatted the references in the new style with <ref> tags, which makes it easier to see what you're referencing in each case. I removed an unsourced statement about the consensus of scientists, which didn't belong anyway (because it was editorializing on the book) and an external link about the government's agenda... which was not clearly referenced from anywhere and digressed from the point. —Pablo D. Flores (Talk) 04:13, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Wow! Now *that's* an impressive copy editing job. Want to do the referencing on all my other articles?  :-)

I added back the four reasons given regarding greenhouse gases and Romm's quantification of the hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Other than that, looks great! -- Ssilvers 05:35, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Wasserstoff.jpg[edit]

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Image:Wasserstoff.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you. BetacommandBot 18:28, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

I have now added a fair use summary. Thanks. -- Ssilvers 18:37, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:HypeCover.jpg[edit]

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Image:HypeCover.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use. BetacommandBot 05:56, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I have now added a fair use summary. Thanks. -- Ssilvers 13:07, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


A critic is that hydrogen could be a viable energy carrier if it could be produced cleanly without much loss of energy in the conversion process. Work is in progress on this. Please include

This article is about a 2004 book. Perhaps you have information that would be useful in the article at Hydrogen Economy. If you have WP:Reliable sources, feel free to contribute to the discussion there. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:10, 4 June 2009 (UTC)