Saturday, May 10, 2008

The US Department of Energy dips it's toe

When I started this blog 18 months ago, all I really hoped to accomplish was to learn more about blogging by tracking an interesting news thread related to a CNN story on Aquygen. I didnt start this as a cheerleading soap box for hydrogen fuel cells or Aquygen for that matter. It just seemed like an interesting story that captures the imagination of anyone who ponders it for more than a moment: a car that can run on water?  Which ever way the wind blows on that one seemed like a good place to be--either it gets debunked and you have a human interest story covering a modern day scam or it gets validated and a modern energy revolution ensues transforming modern day life in a way we couldnt imagine even 5 yrs ago.  Nice odds either way. 

What's interesting to me is when I tell people I have a blog on water/hydrogen fuel cells, almost no one ask me whether or not I believe in it. Instead, they ask about what it's like to blog and how much money I earn from adsense, etc.   I've never taken a public position on where I stand with regard to this technology.  I reason with myself that I'm not a scientist capable of disproving these claims and try to simply stick to reporting or sharing information I find on the topic.  But If you've read this blog over the last several months, I think you can tell that I am hopeful about water based fuel cells.  I dont spend alot of time looking for disproving information....but I can tell you there are alot of angry people out there who identify themselves as either scientists or very science minded and who dismiss this technology with a  sneer.   Here's an example of what I mean from an engineering forums website. 

One good thing came from that article in that it caused me to look into what our very own USA tax dollars are doing to examine this new set of energy efficiency claims. After all, what are we getting for our $25Bil/yr anyway? Actually, that's a much wider scope than I'd like to cover here obviously so I confined it to a simple, "is anyone looking at this technology at DOE?"

Well, I couldnt find any studies or funded research per se but that was via a 10minute scan of their website.   What I did find was a section of the DOE website devoted to Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data and more specifically a page on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Related Links. 

If you scour that list you may find more than I did but what I found was a listing of a company called Hy-Drive Technologies LTD.  It appears to be a publicly traded company in Canada.  And their main focus is hydrogen on demand systems for vehicles although they appear to be heavily focused on heavy machinery vehicles....naturally, right, since that's where the consumption and dollars are if this thing is ever going to get going. 

What's interesting about Hy-Drive is they have a section listing the science behind their capabilities. Take a look at this list of scientific research related to their hydrogen on demand hybrid system.  And if you are a potential investor, have a read of this: short sweet summary of their capabilities from a benefits/advantages point of view. 

I think it's interesting to see how organized and serious this company is about pursuing a business based on a hydrogen on demand system.  While it does not constitute scientific proof, I think the fact that a publicly traded company is pursuing this at least puts the venture on a footing of increased legal scrutiny that is significant. 

But as for the Department of Energy having a link on it's website to this company, I find it very very interesting.  Yes, but you say, they have a disclaimer on that website saying they dont endorse any organization in the list.   Well, my response is  take a closer look at the full disclaimer statement.  This is a human edited list. And here's a note for the legal department at DOE to ponder: "The researchers and technical writers made diligent efforts to ensure the information presented on this site is accurate and complete."  

To me, that's fairly interesting but of course more information still needs to be gathered.

Photo Credit:  Hy-Drive's photo used in this post is found at this URL

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