Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hydrogen Honda Available Next Year

Honda has taken the motoring world by surprise by announcing at the Tokyo motor show that it will be putting the world’s first Hydrogen fuel cell car into production next year. The car will travel an estimated 270 miles at speeds of up to 100 mph and will produce only water vapor from its exhaust. It is expected to cost around $101,000 (£50,000) and will be available initially only in America and Japan.

The Hydrogen automobile will be unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show next month and is expected to closely follow the design of the FCX concept car with space for four passengers in its futuristic looking cabin. Instead of a fuel gauge the vehicle will have a range meter that tells you how far you can travel with the Hydrogen left in the tank. It is also expected to feature lithium-ion batteries to recover energy during braking and a gearless transmission.

This is truly incredible news especially given that previous estimates for a viable Hydrogen fuel cell car ranged from 10 years to 20 years in the future. Also, this vehicle will have a modest price tag which means the Hydrogen Honda will cost less than many exotic vehicles available now. The Hydrogen Future is coming sooner than we think.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Traveling The World Supersonic Style

The European Space Agency (ESA) has just been granted financing to study the development of a Hydrogen fueled hypersonic aircraft capable of travelling at Mach 5.5.

The first phase of this Long-term Advanced Propulsion Concepts And Technologies (LAPCAT) scheme winds up early next year and is being run by the ESA.

The $14.5 million funding will go towards studying how to bring this supersonic aircraft to life so that one day it will travel from Brussels, Belgium to Sydney, Australia in just 4.6 hours (covering 10,407 miles).

For now, researchers are trying to figure out how to develop an engine that will be capable of thrusting the airplane to Mach 5.5 speed. The engine will most likely consist of a rocket engine with a turbo compressor that will be also be able to fly at subsonic speeds while travelling over land where sonic boom is not permitted. This amazing technology is definitely something we can expect to see in the Hydrogen Future.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Wunderbar Wunderengine

Boeing has successfully completed testing the wunderengine, a Hydrogen powered airplane engine developed by the Ford Motor Company.

The engine will power the HALE, an endurance airplane that will be capable of flying for seven days in the stratosphere. As part of the testing, the wunderengine went for three days non-stop under the simulated conditions of a flight at 65,000 feet.

Although the HALE is expected to hit the skies within several years, its primary purpose will be communications for military or commercial purposes and may also be used for persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance purposes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hydrogen Honda Is Here To Stay

Honda Motor Company has come out with a trial based Hydrogen fueled vehicle called the FCX Concept. During the debut of the vehicle Honda predicted a bright future for Hydrogen fuel cell cars, stating that mass production of such vehicles may happen within a decade.

Honda has stated that it is making significant efforts in the development of fuel cell vehicles with the hopes of bringing down the high price from $840,000 (more than 100 million yen) to below $87,700 (10 million yen) within the next ten years.

Honda also believes that there is no future for the auto history without Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles especially when other cleaner technology such as electric vehicles cannot go as far as needed without additional charging or a massive battery. After trying to mass produce electric vehicles three years ago Honda realized the technology was not enough and decided to pursue fuel cell technology instead.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So You Think You Can Drive?

As a part of their Project Driveway Program, General Motors Corporation is launching an online research community whereby members will have a chance to test drive the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle. You have to live or work in the metropolitan New York City, Washington, D.C. or southern California area and sign up on their website to become eligible to test drive this Hydrogen powered vehicle.

The first group of eligible test drivers will be identified in the fall of 2007, with the first mainstream driver vehicles available after the New Year. The program will stretch over a three year period with several hundred people getting a chance to test drive one of the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, due to the limited number of vehicles, not all online community members will become Project Driveway drivers.

Although Chevrolet seems to refer to this vehicle as being more of an electric vehicle than a Hydrogen powered vehicle, this program is a still good start as it will hopefully bring awareness to all of the possibilities that Hydrogen has to offer.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Ultimate UAV

Korean scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a Hydrogen fuel cell powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The UAV weighs less than 4.5lbs (2kg) and is able to carry out a flight of over 10 hours with only one charge of its Hydrogen fuel cell.

According to the sceintists, the sodium borohydride used as the liquid fuel can produce more Hydrogen than Hydrogen gas and is also more convenient for commercialization. Furthermore, the Hydrogen fuel cell produces about 10 times more electricity that existing batteries.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hydrogen, Eh?

As part of the Hydrogen on the Hill project launched last year, the Minister of Environment in Canada (John Baird) was on hand for the opening of the first permanent Hydrogen fueling station in Ottawa, Canada. The new station is the fifth permanent Hydrogen fueling station in Ontario and the tenth currently operating in Canada. The new station's first customers will be three Hydrogen powered buses operated by the Senate of Canada.

Hydrogen on the Hill is led by Industry Canada and Ford of Canada and managed by Advanced Technologies and Fuels Canada with the goal of assessing the environmental benefits and commercial feasibility of using Hydrogen as a transportation fuel.

The buses currently using the technology have already racked up more than 3,700 trouble free miles (6,000 km) over the past year. This project is proof that not only is Hydrogen a clean alternative but also a realistic alternative.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Riding On Hydrogen In New Zealand

As part of the Panasonic World Solar Challenge in Australian Steve Ryan is getting ready to drive more than 1,800 miles (3000km) from Darwin to Adelaide on a blend of waste oil and water. Mr. Ryan, the founder of New Zealand based Bios Fuel, will use an old 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser with nearly 250,000 miles (400,000km) on the odometer for the challenge.

Bios Fuel began in 1996 when Mr. Ryan started tinkering with an old motorcycle engine in his Auckland garage. Mr. Ryan's concept became a reality two years ago when he rode a 350cc motorcycle powered solely on water for the CBS television show 60 Minutes.

Mr Ryan says the water based fuel system he is using allows Hydrogen to be housed safely in water and released. Although it is blended with waste oil for lubrication and a bonding agent, ultimately the power comes from water. He says the fuel runs via a normal combustion system and that the delivery system is the key, which he says must remain under wraps.

It is great to see people like Mr. Ryan hard at work proving to skeptics that the possibility of creating a Hydrogen Future is here and now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Keep On Truckin'

Exide Technologies (the parent company of battery maker GNB Industrial Power) and Ballard Power Systems (a Canadian fuel cell manufacturer) have teamed up to develop a hybrid energy system for lift trucks that uses both a battery and a Hydrogen fuel cell.

As part of their contract with the U.S. Department of Defense the companies are looking to produce a system that will use a Hydrogen fuel cell to recharge a lead acid battery while the battery remains in the lift truck. The battery will do its traditional work of providing power and acting as a counterweight while the fuel cell will eliminate the need to lift the heavy batteries out of the trucks for electric charging. A working prototype of the hybrid system is expected to be ready in 12 months.

Although this is not something targeted for the masses maybe the technology could be leveraged into other uses such as for automobiles, motorcycles or even boats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

High Marks On The Hydrogen Report

According to global growth consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan government led initiatives such as the Hydrogen fuel initiative in the United States as well as projects in the European Union are helping to accelerate active research and development technologies in Hydrogen.

Their report titled "Innovations in Hydro Production and Storage Technologies" states that as a result of these various developments, Hydrogen production and storage technologies could reach commercial stage and enter the market in a reasonably short time.

The report also confirmed that both production and storage technologies were some of the challenges that had to be overcome before the Hydrogen economy could become an achievable reality. Ultimately though cost is what they believe will continue to play the biggest role in determining which technologies will dominate.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

First One To Zero Wins

As part of project Zero Regio (zero-emission region) a second Hydrogen station has been opened in Mantova, Italy. True to its name, the goal of the project is to establish a zero emission region. Financed in part by the European Commission and supported by 16 partners from four European countries, the project involves constructing two Hydrogen distribution networks for the refuelling of fuel cell vehicles in the municipality of Mantua, Italy and Frankfurt, Germany.

The newly opened service station allows for Hydrogen to be produced on site using a gas powered reformer, with the Hydrogen then being used to power a fleet of three fuel cell Fiat Pandas.

Although the service station uses gas to produce Hydrogen it is still a very positive project since it should help improve the acceptance of fuel cell and Hydrogen technology by the general public.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Hollywood Has Gone Hydrogen

Davis Guggenheim, the director/producer of the movie Inconvenient Truth has just been given a set of keys to long term test drive the BMW Hydrogen 7.

He joins a select group of people that have been keys to test drive this amazing vehicle for an extended period of time. Among them are comic Jay Leno and opera singer Plácido Domingo.

This is hopefully a good sign of things to come from BMW in terms of more of these revolutionary vehicles being made available to the masses. As more of these vehicles become common place for everyday drivers so does the reality of a Hydrogen Future.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hats Off To The Hydrogen Man

Mike Strizki of Hopewell, New Jersey has rigged his home to run on Hydrogen in the winter and solar power in the summer. This one of a kind home has zero public utilities bills and produces zero pollution. Not only does his house run on Hydrogen but so does his speed boat, car and even his golf cart.

To generate electricity all Mr. Strizki has to do is turn on a flow of water, which leads to an electrolyzer machine that splits the water into its component parts of Hydrogen and oxygen. The Hydrogen then feeds into oblong metal tanks that fuels his house, his vehicles and boat. The Hydrogen can be stored in pressurized tanks for months or even years and when needed is funneled into a Hydrogen fuel cell where, when recombined with oxygen, free electrons are created and captured in the form of electricity. At the end of the process the only byproduct is water which is fed right back into the electrolyzer, where the solar energy splits it into Hydrogen once again.

Hats off to Mr. Strizki and his wonderful set up! Although this system cost around $500,000 it is great to see that living in a Hydrogen Future is definitely possibly as Mr. Strizki is proof of it today.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Checks and Balances

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has asked the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop methods, standards, and measurements with respect to bringing Hydrogen into the marketplace.

The NIST has been tasked with developing the standards, test procedures and test methods that are needed to buy and sell Hydrogen in the future marketplace as easily as gasoline, diesel and other fuels are bought today.

Even though accurate measuremnts and standards are critical for bringing us one step closer to the Hydrogen Future it still something that could have easily been overlooked.

It is great to see that accurate measurements and standards are being developed and implemented towards this technology, especially since such standards and measurements are necessary in almost every stage of Hydrogen, from production to distribution and sales.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Chemical Attraction

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a model that could help speed up the development of Hydrogen vehicles by identifying promising Hydrogen storage materials.

The researchers have been able to predict the favored thermodynamic chemical reactions through which Hydrogen can be reversibly stored and extracted. One of these promising solutions involves storing Hydrogen within a material in the form of a chemically bound hydride such as lithium hydride (LiH).

This is all very promising news especially given that one of the problems when dealing with Hydrogen is how to store it given its volatility. Hopefully this will lead to safer and more efficient storage practices for Hydrogen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Mazda has unveiled a new hybrid vehicle that runs on Hydrogen but can switch to gasoline if needed.

The Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid also has a lithium-ion battery that drives the motor and recharges itself using energy from braking.

The vehicle will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month and will be available in Japan next year. For now it will only be available on lease from the factory at around $3,577 a month.

This Hydrogen/electric/gasoline hybrid is very intriguing and should do well as it can bridge the gap for now between gasoline vehicles and vehicles that run solely on Hydrogen.

Good Day Sunshine

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry in Mülheim, Germany have developed a promising new catalyst for splitting water using sunlight and storing the Hydrogen and oxygen produced.

The team of scientists found that titanium disilicide (TiSi2) can split water using a photocatalytic process similar to photosynthesis whereby chlorophyll molecules use light energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose. The semiconductor is also able to separate and store the Hydrogen and oxygen released.

Using simply the sun and no other fossil fuels to produce Hydrogen is about as clean as a method as one can find. Assuming this can be implemented on a large scale it will definitely be something that we can expect to see in the Hydrogen Future.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Driving on Egg Shells

Engineers at Ohio State University have discovered that egg shells can be used to filter out the carbon dioxide that is produced during the seperation of Hydrogen from hydrocarbons.

As it turns out the calcium carbonate found in egg shells is one of the most effective carbon dioxide absorbers ever tested.

The engineers were however quick to add that egg shells alone may not be adequate to produce enough Hydrogen for the whole country but at least it would be better than just dumping them into lanfills.

This is promising technology but not perfect since the use of hydrocarbons is still involved.

He Sells Hydrogen Hyundai's on the Sea Shore

Hyundai has unveiled its new Hydrogen fuel cell concept vehicle called the i-Blue at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. The company says that the zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) is built on a car based crossover platform in what it calls a two plus two crossover utility vehicle (CUV).

Hyundai is confident that they have succeeded in designing a true Hydrogen fuel cell ZEV that still retains the comfort, convenience, safety and driving range of a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle. The company is optimistic that it will begin mass production of the vehicle within the next decade.

Hopefully with all of their technology and ingenuity Hyundai will become successful in producing the Hydrogen fuel cells necessary for vehicles like the i-Blue without using any fossil fuels. This would position the company very well into the Hydrogen Future.

Coming to a Movie Premiere Near You - The New Toyota Hydrogen SUV

Toyota has announced that a new version of the Highlander SUV fitted with Hydrogen fuel cells is capable of driving 900km (560 miles) at around 80 km (50 mph) on a single tank of Hydrogen. This is excellent news especially given that the only exhaust produced during the trip would be water.

The company did not mention when the vehicle might become available or what it might cost.

Once again though we have to ask whether the original Hydrogen fuel cell was made using fossil fuels or not. Either way, this is very promising.

Pedalling Hydrogen in China

Recently Shanghai Pearl Hydrogen Power Source Technology unveiled a Hydrogen fuel cell bicycle at an international fair in Shanghai, China. According to the company the $2,600 bicycle is similar to a conventional electric bicycle except that there are two hydrogen gas bottles and a small fuel cell. The bicycle has a range of 100km (62 miles) at a speed of around 25km (15.5 mph). The bicycle only takes 30 minutes to refill compared to three hours for recharging an electric bicycle battery.

Given the technology involved the bicycle is expensive although the company is confident that price will drop to around $670 once mass production begins.

This is a great start although one has to wonder how the Hydrogen fuel cell was made in the first place. If it was made using a wind mill or some other non fossil fuel source that is great. However if it was made using fossil fuels, although it is still great progress, it is not yet a true product of the Hydrogen Future.,21985,22395601-664,00.html