Boro Boy wrote: ↑
Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:14 pm
Whilst I understand the advantages of certain Green Power, Transport for London (TFL) has been using Hydrogen Powered buses since 2011: http://www.hydrogenlondon.org/projects/ ... s-project/
I am told that these buses are expensive to maintain and even more expensive to purchase; so much so that TFL only ordered their next batch of Hydrogen Powered Buses in 2019 and they are due to go into service this year. With each bus costing in the region of £500,000+ (whereas a normal "dirty Transport" bus costs a little over £300,000+) as well as requiring special fuelling arrangements to be installed in each depot, don't expect this switch over to "clean transport" to happen nationwide over night.
That is the problem neatly summarised. The status quo of carbon based fuels has an established production and supply chain, and for various reasons (including mass use) it is cheap.
New 'green' fuels require new infrastructure, new production, new distribution etc, but will initially only be used by a very small proportion of the population. The cost of all that new development needs to be recovered, and this makes the new alternatives more expensive.
Any company investing in the expensive option risks making its product more expensive to the end user, in return for no immediate tangible benefit - just a feel good factor. That translates as 'uncompetitive', and usually results in reduced sales, income and profits.
Any government doing the same, likewise risks making itself an unattractive base for industry. Witness the world's preference for manufacturing in the Far East, where we know facilities fall short of the standards expected in the West and we still have to ship it half way round the world, but it is cheaper - and that's where the thought process stops. (If I'd put 'cheaper' at the beginning of that sentence, I wouldn't have written the other stuff about standards and shipping because it would have been redundant.)
How to change it? Three options spring to mind:
- Government nudges, encourages, even sets deadlines for industries to make the change. This is the current position, eg. the end of petrol/diesel cars. Hopefully this gives enough time for gradual change, the costs of which can be absorbed. Also, everyone is in the same position, so nationally there is no disadvantage to making the change.
- Demand changes. The public spend their money on the greener alternative. Quite a challenge to steer our hearts and minds; various groups have been trying to do this very visibly and loudly since the 1960s (basically since TV allowed imagery to be quickly spread about). But as it stands, we don't care enough. Plastic in the sea - I'd love to change but throwaway plastic bottle are so cheap and so convenient; who wants to carry an empty bottle all day? Ice caps melting - I'd love to save the polar bears and stop London flooding, but I'm worried I can't drive 300 miles on one charge in my electric car.
- Government shakes the magic money tree and just throws money at the problem. Grants, subsidies, loans, whatever it takes, billions of pounds with no upper limit, available to small, medium and large businesses to develop the production, distribution and consumption technology. Payment schemes to support newly redundant employees of the carbon fuel producers while they retrain, and seek other jobs. Unthinkable! Who could imagine a government ever doing that!?