A Brand New Car

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON: Kyoto, here we come. Energy Secretary Federico Pena cast new light on the vexed question of greenhouse gas emissions by announcing Tuesday the development of a fuel cell that can convert ordinary gas into electric energy — yielding twice the efficiency with only a tenth of the emissions.

The mood was jubilant because the technique — a hydrogenation of gasoline (or ethanol or methanol) — is relatively elegant, eliminating the specter of electrical-charging stations and three-hour fill-ups.

Pena said the vehicle could be on the road within a decade, potentially yielding a 90 percent reduction in tailpipe emissions, which make up 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases.

That's 27 percent of America's emissions slashed right there — fully 7 percent more than the highest proposal on the table at December’s Kyoto conference on climate change. So don't be surprised to see President Clinton wearing a "fuel cells" T-shirt when he flies to Japan.