First Hydrogen Fuel Station
The first hydrogen fuel station has opened in the UK today. It has been opened in the Honda factory in Swindon and is the first along the M4 corridor. The route of the M4 could become a “hydrogen highway” with additional hydrogen fuel stations opening along the motorway. Honda are already developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cells utilise hydrogen as the power source and the emissions are just water. Whilst this technology seems to be an ideal transport solution there are costs of where the hydrogen is derived from. Currently most hydrogen is sourced from hydrocarbon fuels. This reduces the clean technology to be almost worthless unless the hydrogen can be cleanly sourced from electrolysis. Water may be separated into the basic constituents of hydrogen and oxygen. This process was discovered in 1800 by William Nicholson and Johann Ritter. Eelectrolysis uses energy and, of course, may use sustainable power such as wind generated power for the process. The BBC have an analysis to see if hydrogen is the energy of the future.
Honda have even developed a home charging station based upon natural gas (see Honda’s Home Energy Station. The home energy station extracts hydrogen from natural gas to enable a fuel cell vehicle to be refuelled at home. This is very much an “old school” system using existing hydro carbons. Honda have developed the Honda FCX Clarity as the world’s first production fuel cell vehicle.
There are proposals to build a huge off-shore wind farm in the Bristol Channel. The plan is to construct up to 400 turbines which could power a million homes. The site is planned between Swansea and North Devon. RegenSW, the organisation that supports renewable energy in South West England, estimate that there is the potential for up to 9.22 GW installed capacity for offshore renewables by 2030 in the greater South West England region. The Atlantic Array could generate up to 1500MW from the wind farm in the Bristol Channel area. The site of the wind farm would be around 14 kilometres from the nearest point on the North Devon coast and 16 kilometres from the nearest point on the South Wales coast and 13km from Lundy Island. Full details can be viewed on the RWE website.
Germany Achieves 20% Renewable Output
Germany has, for the first time, produced more than a fifth of its electric power requirements from renewable energy. See this link: Green Tech. Photovoltaic accounts for 3.5% of the total and wind was 7.5% of the total. Interestingly there is a compressed air energy storage (CAES) facilities in the form of the 290-megawatt Huntorf plant.
With great pressure on the Euro it remains to be seen what will come of the currency and whether there will be a break up of the countries using the currency or if there will be greater political integration. Greece has been the biggest challenge for the currency with mounting debts. There have also been worries with Italy in addition to Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain. Watch this space.