The hydrogen economy is the topic of many discussions that often are more like ideological debates than rooted in reality.
This is partly due to the fact the literature on this subject is either very technical, or written as some form of wishful thinking daydream.
In his book Tomorrow
It is a book that is well worth reading for all who are interested in renewable energy forms. The writer Peter Hoffmann is a promoter of the use of Hydrogen as fuel for more than 30 years. With this book he proves that he not only knows his stuff. But is also capable of presenting it in clear accessible terms.
Because of his background as advocate of this energy form one might expect a certain preoccupation in favor of hydrogen. I found this not to be the case, his point of view is clear, the information in this book allows the reader to take an educated standpoint of their own.
Even the chapters that are covering the chemical characteristics of Hydrogen are written in an engaging objective form. His views on the energy needed to generate the fuel, transportation, and the further development of the fuel cell itself all have their place in the book. And challenges do remain, this technology is not about to bring about utopia in a fortnight.
His analyses on the need to transform our carbon based energy pattern to a more ecological friendly one is clear and not one of those pointing finger kind of analysis that some ecological groups seem to favor. His tone remains firm on his own point of view but open to reason.
Hoffmann discusses a rather extensive amount of possibilities for the Fuel Cell in my opinion he is overdoing this a bit. When reading through them I got the feeling of right got the point let’s move on.
I’m not sure if on purpose or not but other hydrogen applications and possibilities are a bit overshadowed by this preoccupation.
One point that can cause some misunderstandings is the fact that he rather freely changes measurement units. Most of his intended public will not have energy conversion formula’s hard wired in their brain.
The form of writing about each topic is original. Throughout the book he is covering the topics in a past, present and future style.
There are critics who feel that this book is incomplete, and there are some technical details left out. But the reader that wants to get more in-depth technical and chemical information is by other publications already well provided for.
If you want to get a clearer picture on the topic of hydrogen, fuel cells and energy in general Hoffmann’s book is a good place to start.
Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet Peter Hoffmann paints a vivid picture of the possibilities of Fuel Cells and a deeper understanding of the phenomenon Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. (ISBN 0-262-08295-0 2002 MIT Press Paperback).