Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Hydrogen trucks or hydrogen tricks?

On how to sell new highly polluting trucks as environmentally clean

Isn’t it wonderful, an Israeli invention that has cars drive on water or hydrogen? Water is just water and Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the Universe. Too good to be true? It is.

The Dutch translation of ‘not being able to believe one’s eyes’ is literally: ‘to look as if one sees water burn.’ You can’t burn water.

Still, a year ago, we read that an Israeli invention exactly accomplished that. And zero emissions. And the fluid is not toxic and not inflammable. That is strange since burning implies fuel that burns. Let’s check it out.

The puzzle is not so hard to solve. They reveal that this power supply: ‘contains three key elements: the water, a chemical called BH4 or Tetrahydrobiopterin, and a metal layer – a “catalyzer” [sic] developed by the company – that triggers the production of hydrogen from the mix.’

Water we all know.

BH4 is not just a chemical, it’s a biochemical. This is one of the beautiful complicated biochemicals the animal body makes that can transform into a closely related molecule, which costs energy. And then, when the body needs energy, it reverses the chemical process, winning back some of that energy. Then the process can be redone, recycling these energy carriers. We really can recharge our batteries.

A catalyst makes a (bio)chemical reaction work more efficiently. Per definition, it’s not used up in the chemical reaction it facilitates.

So, this invention is not an invention. It’s applying known biochemistry to fuel vehicles. The water is not the fuel but — just like in our bodies — the environment in which it all takes place and there is no burning. This is a battery. Many batteries create or absorb ions like hydrogen.

The zero-emissions claim is a bit beside the truth too. The battery must be loaded with power. That comes from our power stations. There the burning takes place and there the emissions go into the atmosphere.

This was a year ago. But now we have news. A pilot for ‘hydrogen-powered’ trucks will start soon. Israel is the ideal place for it. Is that because we are so naive? The exhaustion pipe will not come from the trucks but from the power stations. Is that progress? Not as much as advertised, that’s for sure.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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