Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: Matthew Cross on 18/05/2010 09:30:02

Title: Is water vapour acting as a greenhouse gas a risk of hydrogen fueled cars?
Post by: Matthew Cross on 18/05/2010 09:30:02
Matthew Cross  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi Chris and team

Quick question regarding greenhouse gases and vehicle emissions.
My understanding was that back in the 70's and 80' and the car emissions were targeted for the first time, the two main solutions were catalytic converters (the "winner") and more efficient lean burn engines - the loser as it was a more expensive fix. 20 years later and the  big side effect of Catalytic converters, their CO2 production, is coming back to bite us and our short-sighted vision.

My understanding of global warming is that water vapour in the form of clouds is one of the largest contributors to global temperature, are we not in danger of making a similar mistake with the push towards hydrogen cars? If every car on the planet starts producing water vapour will this not have both an  immediate local effect ( I'm thinking of it raining in tunnels if there is a traffic jam) and a longer term global effect that like very other significant emission throughout history we wont recognise until it is too late?

Perhaps I am getting the quantities emitted wrong, but after seeing one of those prototype hydrogen buses chuffing great plumes into the air I can only imagine the damp delights awaiting us!



What do you think?