Hydrogen from garbage

Fred Schwartz is taking a very narrow view of greenhouse gas emissions when he states that, "We have the technology to take garbage, turn it into hydrogen gas, and feed it into a fuel cell to create clean electricity and heat, with virtually no emissions, no greenhouse gases released, and no combustion, period" (There's power in all that garbage, 16 June).

If one ignores the water vapour from the fuel cell, then the fuel cell produces no greenhouse gas emissions. However, the process of taking garbage (principally methane gas) and turning it into hydrogen produces carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas). The benefit of this process is that carbon dioxide's global warming potential is about one-twenty-third that of methane.

Published: Globe and Mail, 18 June 2005