Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Power failure part X

Like you might have noticed I've been away for a while. Due to a power failure, the museum shut down all pre-HydroNet* machines they have on display. Our little terminal that's hooked up to the old world is one of them. Officially the reason for the power failure was kept secret, authorities claimed it was caused by unknown mechanical failures in the distribution grid (?). We know better, since the explosion in the Hydrogen Facility last week all the municipal buildings been having troubles.

Something has been bothering me about hydrogen for a long time, and I have to get it off my chest.

Why did we end up with this flunky stuff in the first place? I remember a story I once read on the shifting powers in the energy market, back in the beginning of this century. Power plants ran on coal and cars on gasoline. Coal came from the mines and the oil was imported from the former Middle Eastern States or sucked up from the bottom of the ocean, simple. The guys with the oil had the power, because everybody was depending on them. Even plastics where made out of it.

When alternative energy sources finally arrived, the oil companies felt threatened. If you brew your own (bio) fuel, you weren't buying theirs. First they tried to stall these developments by spawning misinformation, emphasizing the negative effect of bio-fuels on the prices of crops and produce and eventually our food. This strategy didn't work very long. People where just a little smarter then they hoped I guess.
So they came up with a new plan. Sell the people a better alternative that's cleaner, more reliable and exclusively available at the gas station: hydrogen. 'But you have to wait a while for this wonder-fuel before you can get it at your local gas station. We're working very hard to get it perfect, just a little patience and all of you can enjoy the benefits if this super-boost-into-the-future-fuel. We only need another 10 – maybe 15 years. O, you want cleaner fuel now? We don't have that, but why don't you try one of our gasoline/electric hybrid cars, they'll take away your guilt (although they aren't actually any cleaner then your regular gasoline car).' It lasted almost 30 years until these "10 – maybe 15 years" passed by and one might ask what good it has brought.

All this was meant to keep the power in the hands of the big oil companies, and their friends the auto manufacturers. And it worked, up until today we still bring our hard-earned cash to Big Oil – or should I say Big Energy – and they're even in our homes too now.

*HydroNet, the successor of the good old power net. Fluid hydrogen distributed directly to your home and locally converted into electricity. The global switch to this system implied all household appliances had to be converted or replaced to meet the new voltage and amperage standards.

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