Monday, April 6, 2009

Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Alternative Fuels

Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Alternative Fuels

I recently had the privilege of speaking to members of the New York State Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) during their annual conference in Canandaigua NY.

The discussion was on Alternative Fuels and I spoke on the future of Alternative Fuels regarding how it will affect Public Works Fleets and Operations.

The attendees were very knowledgeable and very interested in the how the alternative fuels are likely to impact their operations.

The images shown are of General Motors Equinox Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle

This fuel cell vehicle operates on compressed hydrogen gas that when fueled with hydrogen derived from electrolysis powered by non-fossil fuels is a true zero emissions vehicle. It is truly amazing to drive this vehicle and even when following it you can actually see that the emissions are water vapor.

While we are a long way from having cost competitive hydrogen available at the local gas station, this is a practical, vehicle that can be driven without any special training and the only unusual consideration is in making sure you know where the next fuel station is located.

Monroe County (Rochester) NY is at the forefront of making alternative fuels into mainstream products. They have recently completed a new state of the art fueling center that provides gasoline, gasohol (E20 and E85), diesel (biodiesel blends from B5 through B20), CNG, and Hydrogen all in a modern, efficient, and safe Green Fueling Station.

Monroe County and its forward thinking team lead by County Executive Maggie Brooks who have not only acknowledged the future, but have embraced it. They have recognized that there is a lot Federal, State, and private money available to municipal governments that are willing to lead the way into a greener future.

They are benefiting from grants for infrastructure, equipment, and even free or low cost vehicles. They are able to take advantage of research initiatives by elite universities and world class manufacturers who are providing testing resources that would be virtually unobtainable outside of governmental involvement.
This proactive approach has benefited not only Monroe County, but will provide long term benefits to the private sector in the region surrounding their operations.

We strongly believe that this type of public leadership will directly translate into benefits for the taxpayers and residents both now and in the future.

I want to thank Dave Butters, John Graham (retired), and Bob Hamilton of Monroe County for providing me with the opportunity of speaking to this auspicious group.

Diesel Doctor
Copyright 2009 - William Richards