Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell First

Climate change, global warming, environmental devastation, fracking, burst tailing ponds, tar sands, pipelines, oil tankers, liquified natural gas, carbon credits, renewable energy sources – hot topics plagued by fervently distributed information, misinformation, propaganda, protest, and uncertainty.

For days now, local Vancouver news broadcasts have opened with updates on environmental protests against Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion – a project committed to tripling crude oil moving from Alberta’s tar sands to tankers in Burnaby – a suburb of Vancouver. Despite a court injunction obtained last Thursday allowing surveyors to drill bore holes deep beneath a conservation area on Burnaby Mountain – every day scores of concerned citizens peacefully cross police tape, knowing they’ll be “carried” to waiting paddy wagons. Tonight’s news highlight reported the arrest of a 87 year old woman – it’s been several days since accurate numbers of arrested individuals was reported as anything other than “well over 100″.

Immediately following KM protest coverage, a story broke warming corners of my tired oil sands heart. Hyundai made Vancouver the first Canadian city privy to their Tuscon Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.

Not to be confused with Electric Vehicles that run on electrically charged  batteries, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles generate their own electricity. Hydrogen fuel cells basically separate hydrogen atoms into positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. Electricity happens when uninterrupted electrons are free to flow continuously – voila, your motor is running. Meanwhile the positively charged protons bonds with oxygen atoms, creating heat which escapes as steamy water vapor.

Critics are quick to trot out energy cancelling arguments such as ” energy needed to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells negate benefits of zero carbon omissions” – I don’t care. Scores of these very same dullards claimed a few years ago hydrogen fuel cells wouldn’t work in extreme hot or cold climates – absolutely not true.

Undaunted by the fact only one “refueling” station exists in Canada (Surrey B.C.) I prefer to be buoyed by the effort of marketing renewable energy vehicles. Hyundai is taking applications from people interested in a 3 year lease at $599 a month including free “charging” (required every 400 Km. or so, and taking about 5 minutes). The first computers, cell phones, flat screen televisions – how long did it take before demand made them affordable? Take that big oil.


7 thoughts on “Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell First

  1. A few years ago I visited a solar panel research lab and we discussed the issues of solar power. By far the only issue was (and probably still is) storage. I suggested that hydrogen fuel cells was the obvious solution but it was explained to me that hydrogen is very explosive and too dangerous for commercial applications. These were people that would love to see solar power recharging fuel cells.

    Although I’m not an alternative fuel geek (I have other quirks), I couldn’t help but notice in the run up to the Copenhagen climate summit in 2008 when as a consequence of a booming economy (prior to 2008) when governments were likely to agree on tough environmental targets, that alternative fuel research made massive strides in the right direction. Issues like hydrogen storage and transportation were being addressed. Alternative fuel cell fuels were being developed. The pace of research and results was exponential. Then Wall Street imploded, the economy went down the tube and nobody gave a damn about the environment. Copenhagen became a complete flop.

    The main takeaway is that if we have enough incentive, we can solve ALL the energy problems with alternative sources. ALL. Yes we can.

    Right now we don’t have an incentive. Europe’s economy is a corpse that doesn’t respond to CPR. Our focus is on energy independence through new local sources (fracking, Alaska), on fueling unrest and social fire in the Middle East such that they are not able to operate their oil monopoly effectively. Russia has its hands on a gas valve, ready to divert it to China.

    The problem isn’t that we can’t all be driving clean cars and live in clean houses consuming stuff from clean factories. The issue is that there is no money or political power in that. My expectation is that we’ll destroy the planet a whole lot more before we will fix it again.

  2. Top Gear ( UK) did a feature on a Hydrogen powered Honda (?) a few years back.
    It was only available ( at that time) in California and James May raved about the vehicle, reckoning that obtaining hydrogen was no more complicated than obtaining and producing oil and because the fuel was bought at traditional ‘gas’ stations our way of life, which is so heavily reliant on the automobile, would not be disrupted in the least.
    Jay Lenno was on the program ( he is a fanatic car collector) and he thinks it will the only thing to save the traditional sports car , as motorized transport actually saved the horse.
    I think what we must all take heart with is that fossil fuels are finite, and like your comparison with other technology, it is all about supply and demand and thus, when, rather than ‘if’.
    Nice post.

  3. DIdn´t they change it from glabal warming to climate change….and doesn´t climate change occurred over certain periods of time even when man kind was not even around?
    Just saying, that this global warming or cooling or however people want to call it has created a huge industry, for example solar panels, electric cars, hybrid cars, and most important jobs for politicians to campaign on it and with politicians comes the big lobby groups. This climate hysteria happened in the 1970´s in the U.S( here in Spain we where more concerned with our cool dictator Franco) but then it was global freezing and as right now all the expert scientist well 90% of them put on this idea, I don´t see we later on the 80´s when I was born walking around freezing my butt off. Maybe just maybe all the facts are not in right now.

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