April 27, 2003 – Vol.8 No.5
TALK ABOUT HYDROGEN.
No, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham did not fly to France this week to sample Freedom Fries in Parisian restaurants. He did however propose an international partnership for the development of a hydrogen economy at a meeting of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris.
The Secretary said that he hopes that the first car purchased of a child born today - in roughly 2020 - would be a hydrogen fuel cell car. But for the research and commercialization to advance at a brisker pace, international cooperation and money, will be needed. The Bush Administration has proposed spending $1.7 billion over the next five years for fuel cell and hydrogen infrastructure research, while the European Union plans to spend $2.3 billion for similar research in the next four years.
Back in the U.S., the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, considered the birthplace of the atomic bomb, is looking to become a national center for hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cell research.
It could happen.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is supporting the creation of a national fuel cell center in his state, and was head of the U.S. Department of Energy under the Clinton Administration, obviously knows his way around Washington. And the state’s senior senator Pete Dominici, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, wants Los Alamos to combine its expertise in nuclear energy with its experience with hydrogen fuel cells.
In carefully chosen words the Senator has written ”... the best way to produce hydrogen, with no pollution in the production process, is through nuclear energy.” (The careful phrase - no pollution in the production process - is the one to scrutinize here. When nuclear power is functioning properly - read no accidents - it is pollution free. But most fears of nuclear pollution are in those possible accidents, fuel processing and the storage of spent nuclear fuel.)
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