Hydrogen appears, finally, to be well along in realizing its enormous potential to substantially decarbonize our energy. I wrote about The Hydrogen Economy last year and this week I sat in on a compelling webinar, “Opportunities for Hydrogen in the Northeast,” presented by the NECEC. NECEC includes the Northeast Clean Energy Council and NECEC Institute. Continue reading
The Great Transition is the title of the preeminent sustainability theorist and activist Lester Brown’s last book. The Energiewende – energy transition – is what the Germans call their brilliant initiative to reshape the energy economy. Call it a transition, revolution, mobilization or transformation, or what you will. Call it clean tech, green tech, the green economy, sustainable development, or even the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services Sector (LCEGSS). Whatever you want to call it and however you slice it, we are in the midst of a series of remarkable breakthroughs. Continue reading
We’ve been hearing about the “hydrogen economy” for a long time. NASA was developing fuel cells in the 1960s and United Technologies started commercializing stationary power plants in the 70s. Jeremy Rifkin wrote about it in 2002. The Bloom Box got a lot of attention in 2010. In 2013, several US states agreed to pursue a mandate for a percentage of zero-emission vehicles, including fuel cell electric vehicles, to be sold in their jurisdictions. The Hydrogen Initiative was launched in Europe in 2018, building on the work of the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a robust public-private partnership begun in 2008. An even broader international consortium was launched only last month. Companies, governments, and research institutes around the world have been pursuing the vision of a hydrogen economy at an increasing pace and with more tangible breakthroughs every year. I was struck early this year, for instance, by the fact of South Korea’s enthusiastic embrace of hydrogen.
While we’re waiting for our brothers and sisters in Lima to come up with a template for agreement in Paris next year, here’s a great story from Bloomberg about the demand destruction for oil. (See my post, “Houston, You’ve Got a Problem,” for some background.) If we keep on this trajectory for reducing greenhouse gases, an international treaty will be useful, certainly, but not essential. Continue reading
Don’t you love acronyms? ZEV MOU means “zero-emission vehicles memorandum of understanding.” The eight states of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont today signed an agreement to develop an action plan to collectively require 15% of all new vehicles sold in their states be either electric or hydrogen fuel-cell by 2025. That should translate, as the rule phases in, to having 3.3 million ZEVs on their roads by that time. California Governor Jerry Brown said: “This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment. From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.” Continue reading
We pulled over in Jutland for a coffee and a driver change, and lo and behold: a defunct Better Place station. I had not seen one of these. As you may know, Better Place was a very ambitious plan to supply batteries, in a quick and easy swap – spent for fully recharged – which went out of business in May. Being the cockeyed optimist I am, I take this as a sign of the burgeoning success of electric vehicles because the competition to the Better Place model was simply too much from “conventional” EVs. (Actually, Tesla offers a battery swap option so there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea. It’s just that the execution from Better Place was poor.) Continue reading
Triple-E stands for efficiency, economy of scale, and environment. The illustration above shows how, for marine shipping, the first two lead to greater protection for the third. The Triple-E ship is now being built for the Maersk Line, one of the most prominent shippers in the world with 25,000 people and 600 ships. The first of 20 vessels, 400 meters long with a capacity for 18,000 containers, is being completed in a shipyard in South Korea and will be delivered this summer. Continue reading
It seems more and more evident every day, with storms like Sandy upon us, that business as usual is no longer an option. It’s certain that we have to accelerate our efforts to mitigate the greenhouse gases that are exacerbating, day by day, global climate change. But we also have to adapt. The sad reality is that we are seeing the unmistakable signs of a warming world and that the impacts of climate change are here to stay, probably for a hundred years or more. As no less a personage than the New Yorker’s David Remnick writes this week, we can have No More Magical Thinking. Continue reading
The demand destruction of oil for transportation, as I wrote recently, is in train. (See Houston, You’ve Got a Problem.) One of the key factors in this trend is the electrification of light-duty vehicles. In order to fully realize this potential, though, it will be necessary for automakers to significantly reduce the weight of their cars and trucks.
This graphic represents what Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute think is a viable pathway to 0% oil use in the transportation sector. It is part of the brilliant Reinventing Fire scheme “…for running a 158%-bigger U.S. economy in 2050 but needing no oil, no coal, and no nuclear energy.” (I use Reinventing Fire as a textbook for my graduate class on clean tech.)
How do we get to zero oil use for transportation by 2050? Continue reading