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Forget the hydrogen economy! Lithium (element #3) is the way to go.

The Lithium Economy, Kevin Bullis at MIT Technology Review interviews Donald Sadoway of MIT. [2005 November 22]

"Sadoway thinks the hydrogen economy is a crock:

"'I don't believe in fuel cells for portable power. I think it's a dumb idea. The good news is: they burn hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity, and only water vapor is the byproduct. The bad news is: you have to deal with molecular hydrogen gas, and that's what's stymieing the research and in my opinion is always going to stymie the research.'"

The Lithium Economy, Wikipedia
"The lithium economy is a concept analogous to the hydrogen economy, methanol economy, ethanol economy, zinc economy, electron economy or liquid nitrogen economy but where the energy vector is lithium instead of hydrogen, methanol or ethanol, zinc or liquid nitrogen.

The hydrogen economy as a low-carbon solution to land transport has problems in generation, distribution (infrastructure), on-board storage and cost of power converter (fuel cell). The lithium economy has analogous problems in all four areas, but considered separately, the routes to their solution have different absolute limits and different timescales for their solutions.

The lithium economy concept is used primarily as a political argument to prevent over-domination of the post-carbon energy future by oil companies; and as a post-carbon economy on which action can be taken now instead of deferred to some future date (see FreedomCAR project).

The lithium economy differs from the other proposed future fuel economies in that the transition roadmap begins with conventional rechargeable batteries using conventional Li-ion or Lithium polymer cell batteries and progressing to chemistries (such as Li-S and Li-iron-phosphate) and cell types with higher energy densities..."

The EV Business: A Post-Mandate Perspective, by Tom Gage, AC Propulsion, Inc., San Dimas, California, at Electric Auto Association - Silicon Valley [2003 October 18]
"The Energy Imperative: Energetics more than emissions must inform automobile design over the coming decades.

Electricity must substitute for petroleum as an energy source for automobiles.

Use less gas or fight more wars."

Lead

Is lithium an alternative to the environmental hazards of lead? Check out Occupational Knowledge International.

"Lead poisoning is the most serious environmental health threat to children and one of the most significant contributors to occupational disease. Lead causes symptoms ranging from the loss of neurological function to death depending upon the extent and duration of exposure. In children, moderate lead exposure is responsible for a significant decrease in school performance, lowering IQ scores, and is linked with hyperactive and violent behavior. Both children and adults can suffer from a range of illnesses including effects on the central nervous system, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and blood forming system. It also affects the reproductive system in both men and women. The annual cost of lead poisoning in the U.S. alone is estimated to exceed $43.4 billion in children. Worldwide estimates are not available, but would greatly exceed this figure, as exposures are known to be significantly higher in developing countries."

Case study from La Oroya, Peru on creating global community [2005 November 8]

"'In the beginning,' he said, 'no one would stand up and say aloud that our kids are suffering from lead poisoning. The children come to school with stomachaches and headaches. Theyíre tired. They donít even want to go outside and play, much less study. Theyíre called lazy burros and theyíre often punished, but itís not their fault. This isnít normal behavior for a child.'

'Someone has to throw down the gauntlet,' Felipe said. 'Somehow, we have to stand against the false image that the company pays so much money to promote. They have all the power. They can buy the workers, or trick the population of La Oroya into believing their lies.' He went on to describe a current campaign sponsored by Doe Run to provide a glass of milk for every school child in La Oroya every day. 'What good does a glass of milk do for a child whose bloodstream is being poisoned by lead?' he asked...

"Since my time in La Oroya, each time I pray the Lordís Prayer, I find that the image of Felipe weeping as he described his students is inescapable."

St. Louis University Continues Environment Health Study in La Oroya Despite Violent Attacks, by Lead Free Future [2005 August 15]
"Two St. Louis University Environmental Health Study teams were attacked late this afternoon by groups opposed to the study, which is documenting the levels of heavy metal contamination in the Andean city of La Oroya. Members of the SLU team members and Peruvian counterparts were verbally and physically assaulted by groups which claimed that the study would result in the closing of the mineral smelter owned by the Doe Run Company of St. Louis, MO. The victims included a 16 year old girl who volunteered to be a translator."

I passed through this town on my way to Jauja earlier this year. It was the most stark picture of exploitation imaginable. Apparently the town boasts the tallest smokestack in Latin America.

I use lead-acid batteries. What can I say?! Editor [2005 December 1]

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