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Why I Like Hydrogen
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by
Robert Hawkins

My Uncle Shirley…  

Yes.  I do have an Uncle Shirley.  Not only that, I never met anyone else with the name Shirley until I was eleven years
old.

When I met the new Shirley, I asked her if that was her real name.  When she told me it was, I broke out laughing at the
fact she had a man’s name!  Then I also felt a little guilty for making fun of someone over something they had no choice
in, as well as pitying her a little.  After all, she had name everyone would find hilarious.  The poor thing obviously got
laughed at a lot.

We were in class when I met her, so I’m sure you can guess how the other shoe dropped.

Yep.  I was informed by the teacher that Shirley was not a man’s name at all, but a fairly common name for a woman.  
No one believed I could possibly have an uncle named Shirley.  When I convinced them I did, they thought that was
hilarious! Arrgh.  The humiliation.

Shirley Wilson Young was not a man to be laughed at.  He was a connoisseur of gourmet candies.  He had an
enormous coin collection.  He was the greatest barbecuer of elk on Planet Earth.  And he had a professional garage in
his back yard as big as his house.

A couple of years later, he taught me to appreciate satire, using the example of Walt Kelly’s comic strip, “Pogo.”

Alright.  I hear you thinking, “When will he stop bragging about his uncle and get to the point?”

You are right.  While he plays a part in the subject, this is not an essay on my uncle.  This about a non-polluting fuel.
____________________________________________________

We have to stop burning fossil fuels in our vehicles and our electricity generators.  Their use made our current
technology driven civilization possible.  They perform an invaluable function.

But their replacement – their preferably non-poisonous replacement – is long overdue.  We can no longer allow
ourselves the luxury of air pollution for the sake of convenience, not to mention the fact that obtaining and refining fossil
fuels is a filthy process, becoming more and more so as their scarcity increases.  

What we are looking for here is a fuel, the combustion of which does not pollute the air.  Further, the byproduct of its use really shouldn’t
cause a greenhouse effect that is ultimately worse than the hard-to-breathe air in our cities.  

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons.  When burned, the chemical reaction with the necessary combustion catalyst, oxygen (nothing burns in the
absence of oxygen), produces the byproducts carbon monoxide (deadly, deadly) and carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide can be useful stuff,
and the flora of Earth’s ecosystem is designed to take the excess out of the atmosphere.  

Unfortunately, when carbon dioxide is overproduced it overwhelms nature’s safeguards and produces the greenhouse effect, among
others, mentioned above.

Let’s replace it with hydrogen.

As mentioned above, combustion requires oxygen.  Any fuel that is burned forms a new compound with its oxygen catalyst.  In the case of
hydrogen, that chemical reaction produces water.  Hydrogen can be obtained through the electrolysis of water, separating it from the
oxygen necessary to burn it.

What is the most plentiful, most easily obtained liquid on Earth?  Water.

My Uncle Shirley ran a fleet of trucks.  In the late 1940’s or very early 1950’s, the company he worked for wanted to spend less on fuel for
their fleet.  It also needed to be something that wouldn’t increase the cost of maintenance, since that would negate the effect of the savings
on fuel.

He settled on butane, and converted the fleet to its use.

His method was cheap, requiring little change in the vehicles.  The butane was stored as a liquefied gas in new tanks, and he put new jets
for the new fuel on all the carburetors.  

It worked so well that he converted his pickup to butane.  My father, also a master mechanic, added the butane tank to our car, while
retaining the gasoline tank.  He wanted to be able to burn either, just in case.

One time we went on a long trip, burning butane but with a full tank of gasoline.  We ran out of butane about four o’clock in the morning.  In
order to change over to gasoline, Daddy had to change the jets in the carburetor, so we had to wait for daylight so he could see well
enough.

That seemed a bit much to my father, so he took it up with Uncle Shirley.  Uncle Shirley eventually came up with a system that required a
simple flick of a toggle on the dash to change from one system to the other.  The man could tinker.

I’m including this butane story here, because I believe converting to a hydrogen burning system is just as simple.

I realize this cannot be accomplished instantly, but it is not as big a problem as it has been portrayed to be by those with a vested interest
in the status quo.

I would like to hear your thoughts on this.     Click to read his earlier article
"What We Intend to Accomplish"!

Robert Hawkins
323-244-9723
RobertHawkins@TrueNica.com

TrueNica Music
17617 38th Ave S
Seatac, WA 98188
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