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The Hydrogen Economy Paperback – August 25, 2003


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The Hydrogen Economy + The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World + The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; 1 edition (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585422541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585422548
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rifkin, who is an influential writer and lecturer at a major American business school, has produced a very readable book with an important message. It deserves to be studied in governments, in the boardrooms of business and, more important, by the citizens of the world -- for it is up to them to plan their destiny within realistic options. In short, it speaks of nothing less than the survival of the species." Times Higher Education Supplement --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

One of the most popular social thinkers of our time, Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy, The Age of Access, The Biotech Century, and The End of Work. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program, he is president of The Foundation on Economic Trends in Bethesda, MD.

More About the Author

One of the most popular social thinkers of our time, Jeremy Rifkin is the bestselling author of The European Dream, The Hydrogen Economy, The Age of Access, The Biotech Century, and The End of Work. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program and an adviser to several European Union heads of state, he is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Bethesda, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

Great book, very informative.
Smart Buyer 40
Noting that heat and water vapor are the byproducts of hydrogen fuel cells, no further mention is made to this "pollution".
skyrat
This should have been a chapter, but was instead not discussed at all.
David J. Segal, Ph.D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Mario Baldassarrini on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jeremiah Rifkin's book "The Hydrogen Economy" does not give what its title promises.
Most of the book is devoted to historical, political, social considerations, most of which I find well written and even convincing, but which have nothing to do with hydrogen.
However, to me as an engineer, his recourse to thermodynamics to explain the fall of past civilizations appears ludicrous and unnecessary - there is no need to appeal to thermodynamics to make us understand that our world will collapse if it will run short of reasonably cheap energy.
Whether the production of liquid fuels and natural gas will peak within the time frames advocated by Rifkin, or at some other time, there is no doubt in my mind that it will peak, and that well before that time the world must start to convert to renewable energies (assuming that energy from nuclear fusion is still far away from being harnessed).
However Rifkin sees everything easy and cheap. In his chapter on Reglobalization from the Bottom up he advocates the installation of fuel cells in every household or neighbourhood or community, but he seems to forget that "upstream" of each fuel cell there must be a power generator (wind turbine or photo-voltaic cell), electrolytic cells to produce hydrogen and a hydrogen storage facility. Scale economies will certainly reduce the cost of these commodities, but in my mind it is difficult to think that with their combined cost, and the energy losses that will be incurred at each step (electricity to hydrogen gas, hydrogen gas to stored hydrogen, hydrogen to electricity) electricity generation will be cheaper than present day cost from fuel or gas fired power plants.
Also the numbers are staggering.
Read more ›
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David J. Segal, Ph.D. on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was excellent and that everyone should read it. I found Rifkin�s arguments about the role of energy in the rise and fall of civilizations and the thermodynamics of Rome to be extremely interesting and thought provoking. Also, anyone interested in a very readable yet detailed overview of the whole fossil fuel picture � its history, future potential, and global impact on politics, humanity, and the environment � would find this book enjoyable. These parts alone make the book worth buying. However, his eventual discussion about the hydrogen economy seems like it was written late at night after a few beers. In comparison with the very analytical earlier sections, he provides only a �warm and fuzzy� vision of a hydrogen future. Three specific criticisms I had were: 1) Although he uses words like �hydrogen� and �fuel cell� a lot, Rifkin�s vision really depends on the use of renewable energy technologies. And since most people don�t live near a thermal vent or can easily dam a river, the fundamental question is whether solar and wind power can provide enough power to meet the high energy demands of 10 billion people. This issue was not addressed. 2) Although he makes a compelling and analytical argument against oil alternatives such as natural gas, coal, and tar sand, the potential role of nuclear power seems to have slipped his mind completely. This is a rather large omission, considering several European countries get more than two-thirds of their electricity form nuclear sources. This should have been a chapter, but was instead not discussed at all. 3) It is not clear that the costs and technical expertise required to build and maintain a distributed energy production network would be more efficient than having several elite companies manage mega-fuel cell facilities.Read more ›
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Denis O'Sullivan on November 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of defining the energy dilemma especially the upcoming "Peak Oil" issues. It also does a great job of providing a historical context of our energy usage patterns, showing how energy use is intimately tied to material progress.
The uses of hydrogen as a fuel and its effectiveness is defined well.
So what is wrong?
Well, most people who have even taken high school chemistry have a passing acquaintance wiht hydrogen, its cleanliness and its simplicity. So, this is not a great strength in my opinion.
The real problem is Rifkin does not define how hydrogen can be produced or distributed efficiently, and without that, there is no real hydrogen vision at all. He uses a scant 8 pages to define alternatives for generation of hydrogen for instance. Yet, this is the essential mystery, and he does not resolve it! If hydrogen just becomes an energy transfer medium, like electricity, then it does nothing to resolve the scarcity or environmental problems of fossil fuels. I also found Rifkin's uses of some units of measurement showed him to be an amateur. Several times he mixed up units of work with power, a common enough error, but a dead giveaway against someone who purports to be an energy expert.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David McMillan on September 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book based mainly on the title and the brief description of the book on the cover. It's a good book, but I think it would be more accurate to name the book "The History of the Oil Industry, and some stuff at the end about hydrogen". I guess I should have browsed through it more before I bought it, but the book doesn't really begin to focus on hydrogen (as opposed to oil) until the last two chapters.
My other complaint about the book is that it tries to explain very complex world issues/events in very simple cause/effect terms. While I agree that future of the oil industry will be closely intertwined with the various religions and cultures of the Middle East, it's a bit of a stretch for a book that is supposed to be about hydrogen to start *explaining* world religions and Middle Eastern social structures.
It also basically concludes that Rome fell because it couldn't support its energy needs. OK, that could have been one of the causes, but it's a lot trickier than that.
It seems to be a well-researched book, but if you're just looking for information about "The Hydrogen Economy", skip to the last two chapters.
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