Hyper Cars With Powerballs


| February 21, 2003 Issue

Stop wondering whether the hydrogen revolution will ever arrive. It has been happening since the industrial revolution, notes Amory Lovins, one of the world's foremost authorities on hydrogen technology. Considering the transition from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas we’re already two-thirds of the way to a hydrogen economy, says Lovins, noting that each energy form has more hydrogen contnet than the one before it. And Powerballs, ping pong sized balls that come loaded with sodium hydride (a potent source of hydrogen), are just one of many innovationsbeing tested for the future.. “Sodium hydride… can pack up to 600 times the hydrogen into the same sized area as can be pushed into a tank,” writes Scott Lewis in a Salt Lake City Weekly profile of Powerball International, the Utah company that hopes to bring hydrogen power to the masses. But don’t expect to be driving a Powerball-fueled car too soon. Among other obstacles, the little orbs are still very heavy, and the Powerball recycling program is criticized for emitting carbon dioxide and other pollutants. However, even though Powerballs are not perfect, they could succeed as just one of many hydrogen power sources available in the near future. “Any development of technology relating to hydrogen is welcome,” says Lovins. “There should be a lot of different solutions and they should all compete.”
-Nick Garafola

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