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Techno Tourist Visits Maine (Part 1)

Posted August 22, 2008 9:50 AM by julie
Pathfinder Tags: fuel cells hydrogen cars maine

Earlier this month the Techno Tourist had a chance to check out some really cool hydrogen cars while visiting Maine. The Maine-based Hydrogen Energy Center (HEC) and the Maine Clean Cities Program (MC2) brought several hydrogen cars to Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Models on display included vehicles made by BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. The specific cars featured were: BMW Hydrogen Series 7, Daimler F-Cell, GM Chevy Equinox FCV, Honda FCX Clarity, Hyundai Tucson FCV, Kia Sportage FCV, Nissan X-Trail FCV, Toyota Highlander FCHV, and Volkswagen Touran, and Tiguan HyMotion.

Members of the HEC and MC2 were present to demonstrate the fundamentals of hydrogen energy and fuel cells. Hydrogen cars can be powered either by hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines or hydrogen fuel cells. An interesting fact that this Techno Tourist learned is that hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines have been around since 1807, when they were invented by Francois Isaac De Rivaz. Hydrogen fuel cells run a reverse form of electrolysis, which uses electricity to separate water into its constituent gases – hydrogen and oxygen. The fuel cell recombines the hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy to power the car. The zero-emission by-product is water.

Despite a lack of infrastructure and research dollars these hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are being hailed as our environmental saviors, better than hybrids. President George W. Bush dedicated $1.2 billion to hydrogen fuel technology in 2003, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has committed to building 200 hydrogen fueling stations by 2010. Most major manufacturers are pursuing hydrogen fuel cell technology; but a recent report by the US National Academies estimates that hydrogen fuel cell cars are at least 15 years away from widespread use.

To promote the hydrogen vehicles the US Department of Transportation, along with other sponsors and organizers, are taking their show on the road. The vehicles left from Portland's East End on the Hydrogen Road Tour 2008, a two-week journey across the US from Maine to California. Click here to see the tour route.

http://www.hydrogenenergycenter.org/
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/

http://www.howstuffworks.com/fuel-cell.htm

Check back later for Techno Tourists other adventures in Maine!

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Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Ohio. USA
Posts: 574
Good Answers: 30
#1

Re: Techno Tourist Visits Maine (Part 1)

08/24/2008 8:14 AM

Julie, thank you for the article that helps us appreciate where development work is being done that has gotten as far as implementation. Did those promoting hydrogen forthrightly explain that that when "hydrogen fuel cells run a reverse form of electrolysis" there is still large amounts or energy used to separate the hydrogen in the first place and that even though the cars themselves "zero-emission by-product is water" that the process to generate the hydrogen fuel is far from zero emission.

I do believe hydrogen as an energy transport may pan out and am also hoping that those working to implement it are up front with its overall energy and footprint realities.

Hopeful in Ohio

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