Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hydrogen Economy

Was reading the online version of a major Icelandic newspaper. One story was discussing problems with the hydrogen filling station in town.

So. Iceland has a deal with Daimler Benz (IIRC) to try to be a model for transition to a hydrogen transport economy. Starting with buses, Benz supplied, I believe, some subsidised hydrogen engine buses and someone ponied up for an experimental fueling station.

This makes sense for Iceland, its been a dream of many of the power engineers there at least since the 60s. Iceland is totally dependent on imported fossil fuel for transport, despite having an enormous electric surplus. A natural candidate to transit to hydrogen fuel, if the storage and generation is solved. Double leverage since buses are used, and land routes are compact; and a major consumer of fuel oil are ship engines, which should transition more easily. And unlike most other places, the primary energy source to crack H2O to get the hydrogen is not an issue.

But, that is not what struck me about the article; rather the fact that it was so matter of fact in describing operational difficulties and shutdowns and attributing (and quoting engineers) it to engineering shakedowns - a very rational, normal discussion of startup transient difficulties and engineering progress - no exposes, or dramatic emphasis on failure or crisis, and no fake "binarity", no obligation to find and quote some "anti-hydrogen" activist. (Its ok, Iceland has tabloids too, the media there are no saints). But it was still very reassuring to read a calm, informative technical news item in a regular newspaper.


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7:18 PM  

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