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As a result of the foregoing study, the following conclusions are reached: (A) The solar–hydrogen energy system is environmentally far more compatible than the fossil-fuel system; it is actually the only solution for the carbon-dioxide-induced ‘greenhouse’ effect and its threatening consequences. (B) The utilization efficiencies of hydrogen are greater than those of fossil and synthetic fossil fuels; therefore, in the hydrogen-energy system, less energy will be required to perform the same services. (C) The solar-hydrogen energy system is the most cost-effective system if effective costs (the costs which society pays for the energy services) are taken into account. It is not only more cost-effective than the synthetic fossil-fuel system—it is even more cost-effective than the present fossil-fuel system. (D) Clean coal technologies could be used for thermal-energy generation, satisfying approximately 30% of the world's total energy needs. Such a system, which employs coal for thermal-energy generation, and hydrogen from renewable energy sources in electricity generation and transportation sectors, would be the least-cost energy system for the transition period. (E) Transition to the solar–hydrogen energy system could help to save our economy and our planet.
The fuels that are being most favourably considered for the post-petroleum and natural-gas era, namely hydrogen (both gaseous and liquid) and coal and coal-derived synthetic fluid fossil-fuels, have been compared in this paper by taking into account production costs, external costs, and utilization efficiencies. The results show that hydrogen is a much more cost-effective energy carrier than coal or synthetic fossil-fuels. At the same time, and most importantly by far from our viewpoint, it is the most environmentally compatible of all.