The Fuel of the Future: Impact

Hydrogen could very well be the sustainable answer to the world’s growing demand for renewable energy.

Cars that run on hydrogen require an entirely different infrastructure from cars that run on gasoline. This means that everything from the cars to the roads and fuelling stations must be modified. This change is already beginning to happen.

General Motors, Ford and Toyota are developing fuel cell cars. The first "hydrogen highways" – roads with hydrogen gas stations – are scheduled to open on both the east and west coasts of the United States in the coming years. In Canada, there are also plans for a hydrogen highway to be built between Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Olympic Games. During the Olympics, hydrogen-powered buses will carry athletes between competitions.

Fossil fuels like gasoline need to be shipped from where they are made to gas stations. This is an expensive, slow process that creates a lot of pollution.

With a hydrogen solution like the Stuart Energy Station (SES), the fuel would be made where it is needed, when it is needed. Disasters like oil spills would become a thing of the past. The entire supply chain of fuel production and distribution would be flipped upside down. The people who use the hydrogen would become the ones who produce it, and would share in the profits from it.

The hydrogen energy stations could also perform another important function. They could be used to store electricity from wind and solar sources that do not produce constant levels of energy.

If we changed to hydrogen power, it wouldn’t be the first time we switched to a different way of producing energy. Before gasoline-powered combustion, there were steam engines. Before that, people used animal power and waterwheels to drive machines. Petroleum fuels like gasoline are much too costly – both environmentally and socially – to keep using. And they will eventually run out, anyway.

In 1901, 2% of energy in the United States was produced by burning oil. In 2001, 2% of energy around the world was produced using renewable source. See the pattern?

The Hydrogen Village
The Hydrogen Village Project is based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). People at the project are working to find solutions to make hydrogen power practical. They are looking at hydrogen fuel, how hydrogen power could be used in everyday life and how our current infrastructure needs to change. They are working with public and private groups to bring hydrogen products into local communities.
-The Hydrogen Village Project (http://www.hydrogenvillage.ca)


Canadian Heritage Information Network
Bruce Mau Design, Institute Without Boudaries

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