To the Editor:

I was glad to read about the emphasis being placed on hydrogen vehicles (“Firm to oversee hydrogen-powered buses for the city,” 1/12), which is quite justified due to the urban environmental impact. Many opportunities for further use of hydrogen-powered household appliances are victims of underinvestment.

Most consumer electric bills are driven by refrigeration, electric ranges, full-sized ovens, microwaves, toaster ovens, computers and television equipment. Hydrogen alternatives to these electric appliances are on the drawing board in many R&D labs, private and public, throughout the United States. The cost of effective design is prohibitive, given uncertain adoption. The benefits to the public, however, are quite evident: fewer fossil fuels emissions from dirty power plants (especially the horrendous ones in Connecticut) and less reliance on foreign oil and natural gas. Also, the consumer payback after buying this equipment is estimated between 12 and 18 months and should improve as prices come down.

Hydrogen is our future. Before the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, this was widely accepted. It’s time to pay tribute to the Americans who lost their lives on that landing field in New Jersey by re-embracing the technology.

David A. Friedman ’94, LAW ’99

Jan. 12, 2005