Energy 

Mobil Oil Blowing Smoke
Over Fuel Cells

Says Fuel Cells 2000 (Reprint from Environmental News Network, January 1995)

Mobil Corporation is "blowing smoke" in its latest paid "advertorial," according to Fuel Cells 2000, a non-profit educational organization.

A recent ad discussing fuel cells on Mobil's series entitled "Clearing the Air" says that fuel cells would be "astronomically expensive" and "take decades" to develop. It also said that converting natural gas to hydrogen "results in emissions of carbon monoxide."

"The Mobile ad does anything but clear the air." said Robert Rose, executive director of Fuel Cells 2000. "To the contrary, it obscures the debate over our energy future in a haze of distortion."

While Rose said Mobil's statement about carbon monoxide is "technically" correct, he noted that "the implication that carbon monoxide emissions are a significant concern is not true. the emissions would be a tiny fraction of the pollution caused when gasoline or diesel fuel is burned in a car, bus or truck." Recent tests of a fuel cell bus confirm the environmental benefits of the technology, according to Rose. "A fleet of 75 fuel cell busses would produce less carbon monoxide than a single conventional bus." he said, noting that measurements of other pollutants are even more favorable to fuel cells.

In reference to Mobil's contention that fuel cells would take too long to develop, Rose commented, "The first fuel cell vehicles are on the road already, and more are on the way. Daimler Benz, the company that invented the automobile, concluded last year the main technical barriers have been hurdled." As for cost, a division of General Motors concluded last year that fuel cells could be mass produced for about the same cost as the car's internal combustion engine, Rose added.

Rose concluded, "Fuel cells will permit a transition to a smog-free, energy independent future. There are many things Mobil can do to ease that transition, and many ways Mobil might even profit from it. One would hope Mobil would concentrate its energies on that future, and not on defending the smoggy status quo."

For more information, contact Frank O'Donnell at (202) 293-7800.

Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.

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