Today and yesterday I manned a booth at the EPA’s P3 student competition. P3 stands for People, Prosperity, and Planet, and the student competition was focused on sustainable development. I had the chance to walk around and see every one of the finalist’s proposals, and I must say that I was quite impressed.
My favorite student submission was a solar powered hydrogen gas generator. I’ve always been told that the ability to make hydrogen gas for personal, industrial, or commercial use was not feasible because it takes electricity to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen through electrolysis and thus not financially practical. Yet what they demonstrated was passive hydrogen creation, where the electricity from the sun was used in the electrolysis. Depending on the size of the solar panel, the more/less hydrogen gas is produced. If this apparatus is sold to people along with a hydrogen powered car, people could just fill up their cars every morning with hydrogen gas they passively created.
Yet, in my opinion, this practical application will not come into existence for awhile, and not because the technology doesn’t exist, rather there is no money to be made from such a creation. It’s ironic that capitalism and sustainability are so diametrically opposed. It’s well understood that the current form of capitalism cannot be sustained indefinitely, yet the same factors also prevent such sustainable options as the solar powered hydrogen gas extractor from coming into existence. I can only hope that people interested in making change take it upon themselves to be the first converts and show the rest of the world that another option is possible.