...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 2473: My Next Car


Now, I KNOW that I am TOO LITTLE to have my own car JUST YET, but this prototype looks VERY COOL! And – more importantly – because it uses HYDROGEN FUEL it has ZERO Carbon Dioxide emissions from driving.

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Its makers, General Motors (who actually own Vauxhall so they sort of made Daddy's tank Penfold, too), have created a "Project Driveway" to give over a hundred drivers Fuel Cell cars like this for a year.


Maybe Daddy could try one out for me!


Failing that, and since it IS a prototype, maybe by the time that the production model is ready I will be all grown up!

Meanwhile, I hear that Honda are developing a Home Refuelling Station – initially for use with their natural gas hybrid Civic, but eventually for Hydrogen Fuel too. Basically it is a box the size of the TARDIS that you plug in and it separates water into hydrogen and oxygen, essentially the reverse of the process by which the Fuel Cell turns hydrogen into water and electric power for the car.

Now, I know what you are thinking – that's going to need a lot MORE electricity, and that electricity is going to come from somewhere that probably ISN'T carbon neutral. You are RIGHT!

But let us not get too up in arms about this. Remember first that this is a MEANS to an END, not the final end itself, and if we are aiming to convince people to switch over to a Hydrogen-powered emissions-free car, then this is something that will make it EASIER while we wait for somebody to please start installing Hydrogen Petrol stations everywhere.

Of course, in the end it will probably be more efficient to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen AT the green power station – so you do not lose power transmitting it through cables. (Though you also have to transport the hydrogen safely too – so there is a balance to be found.)

Also, more and more of our electricity WILL be being generated from RENEWABLE sources. For example, plans are going ahead this year for two of the largest wind farms in the world.

After a public inquiry, the government have given permission for (specifically the substation that will connect to) a huge wind farm in the Thames Estuary between Essex and Kent called the London Array. Three-hundred and forty-one majestic windmills will generate power for three-quarters of a million homes and potentially save one-and-a-half million tons of CO2 emissions.

And an even (slightly) larger farm of three-hundred and fifty windmills called the Atlantic Array is planned for the North Devon coast.

Each of these huge projects is capable of generating a whole 1% of the UK's electricity.

Yes, I know (again) – a whopping 2%; we have a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go. But it is a beginning.

As the old Chinese Proverb goes – the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step… into your shiny new Hydrogen Fuel car!

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