A Lot Of Hot Air

[Editor's note:This letter is in response to the article "Seeking A More Secure Energy Future," July 7.]

Efficiency programs certainly work, but when the discussion moves to fuel cells and a hydrogen economy, it's plain old bogus hype for federal dollars.

The fact is, we have no hydrogen. I know of no scientist on this planet who knows of any method to produce hydrogen in a manner that doesn't consume significantly higher energy than is realized.

Today, most hydrogen is made from natural gas, of which the supply is quite limited. Hydrogen is also produced very wastefully from electricity and other costly chemical reactions. Solar will have its storage limitation through my lifetime, and wind, in powering our nation, is a lot of hot air.

I would like to see energy independence for our country. We have 1,000 years of coal and clean coal processes today. Small nuclear plants that cannot reach meltdown are awaiting approval.

A conservation program? You could make a lot of people including manufacturers unhappy by requiring every new home (or other structure) to have geothermal (solar, in essence) HVAC.

Until someone violates the laws of nature, we are stuck with oil and electricity by coal or nuclear.

Peter Carpenter
Smartvent Inc.
Conway, Ark.

Energy Efficiency And You

[Editor's note:This letter is in response to the article "Higher Gas Prices in Forecast," Sept. 15.]

Ready or not, you are the energy expert known to your customer. What is going to happen to the price of gas? Don't we have an almost unlimited supply?

The Department of Energy projects an increase in natural gas production from 21.4 trillion cubic feet in 1999 to peak production of 32 trillion cubic feet by 2020. Good news, but the rest of the story is that most of that new production will be going to power our ever-increasing need for gas-fired electric generation, so the price of gas will continue to climb.

Our advice to our customers therefore needs to be continuous improvement in efficiencies for all appliances, as well as in the envelope of the structure, insulation, windows and doors, etc. Help your customers (both commercial and residential) set energy goals; this will allow them to realize that they can, in fact, take some control over energy costs. With our help, customers will know the costs of operating their appliances and their buildings. Building energy use profiles indicate that heating and cooling is the greatest of the "energy use sectors," and, therefore, doesn't that put us HVAC guys in the energy business? You bet!

Michael H. Foraker
Jennings Heating Company, CEP
Akron, Ohio

Publication date: 10/13/2003