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.