• All Purchases made this month instantly go into the draw to win a USD $ 100.00 credit to your HoP account.
 

Forums > Social Discussion > Iceland phasing out fossil fuels

Login/Join to Participate

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted: Written by:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/09/18/driving.iceland/index.html * Story Highlights
* Iceland turning to hydrogen to power its cars, buses and fishing fleet
* Professor Bragi Arnason: Iceland will be the world's first hydrogen economy
* Iceland wants to eliminate its dependency on oil by 2050
* Icelandic homes, powered, heated by domestic renewable energy sources

By Peggy Mihelich
CNN

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (CNN) -- Iceland may be best known for world-famous musical export Bjork but there's a new star quickly gaining this island nation worldwide acclaim -- clean energy.

For more than 50 years Iceland has been decreasing its dependence on fossil fuels by tapping the natural power all around this rainy, windswept rock of fire.

Waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs provide Icelanders with abundant electricity and hot water.

Virtually all of the country's electricity and heating comes from domestic renewable energy sources -- hydroelectric power and geothermal springs.

It's pollution-free and cheap.

Yet these energy pioneers are still dependent on imported oil to operate their vehicles and thriving fishing industry.

Iceland's geographic isolation in the North Atlantic makes it expensive to ship in gasoline -- it costs almost $8 a gallon (around $2 a liter).

Iceland ranks 53rd in the world in greenhouse gas emissions per capita, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center -- the primary climate-change data and information analysis center of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Retired University of Iceland Professor Bragi Arnason has come up with a solution: Use hydrogen to power transportation. Hydrogen is produced with water and electricity, and Iceland has lots of both.

"Iceland is the ideal country to create the world's first hydrogen economy," Arnason explains. His big idea has earned him the nickname "Professor Hydrogen."

Arnason has caught the attention of General Motors, Toyota and DaimlerChrysler, who are using the island-nation as a test market for their hydrogen fuel cell prototypes.

One car getting put through its paces is the Mercedes Benz A-class F-cell -- an electric car powered by a DaimlerChrysler fuel cell. Fuel cells generate electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. And fuel cell technology is clean -- the only by-product is water.

"It's just like a normal car," says Asdis Kritinsdottir, project manager for Reykjavik Energy. Except the only pollution coming out of the exhaust pipe is water vapor. It can go about 100 miles on a full tank. When it runs out of fuel the electric battery kicks in, giving the driver another 18 miles -- hopefully enough time to get to a refueling station. Filling the tank is similar to today's cars -- attach a hose to the car's fueling port, hit "start" on the pump and stand back. The process takes about five to six minutes.

In 2003, Reykjavik opened a hydrogen fueling station to test three hydrogen fuel cell buses. The station was integrated into an existing gasoline and diesel station. The hydrogen gas is produced by electrolysis -- sending a current through water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen. The public buses could run all day before needing refueling.

The bus project lasted three years and cost around $10 million.

The city will need five refueling stations in addition to the one the city already has to support its busy ring road, according to Arnason. The entire nation could get by on 15 refueling stations -- a minimum requirement.

Within the year, 30-40 hydrogen fuel-cell cars will hit Reykjavik streets. Local energy company employees will do most of the test-driving but three cars will be made available to The Hertz Corp., giving Icelanders a chance to get behind the wheel.

"I need a car," says Petra Svenisdottir, an intern at Reykjavik Energy. Svenisdottir, 28, commutes to work from her home in Hafnarfjorour to Reykjavik. The journey takes her about 15 minutes if she can beat traffic. "If I didn't have a car I would have to take two or three buses and wait at each bus stop to arrive at work more than an hour later, cold and wet!"

Most Icelanders drive cars, says Arnason. Around 300,000 people live in a place about the size of the U.S. state of Kentucky. Transportation is limited to cars, buses and boats. "Everyone has a car here," Arnason says. And it's very typical for an Icelandic family to own two cars. Arnason drives a small SUV.

Fuel cell cars are expected to go on sale to the public in 2010. Carmakers have promised Arnason they will keep costs down and the government has said it will offer citizens tax breaks.

He figures it will take an additional 4 percent of power to produce the hydrogen Iceland would need to meet its transportation requirements.

Once Iceland's vehicles are converted over to hydrogen, the fishing fleet will follow. It won't be easy because of current technological limits and the high cost of storing large amounts of hydrogen, but Arnason feels confident it can happen. He predicts Iceland will be fossil fuel free by 2050.

"We are a very small country but we have all the same infrastructure of big nations," he said. "We will be the prototype for the rest of the world."



GO ICELAND!!!


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete Topic

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted:Unreal!!

Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

Delete

ElectricBlue
SILVER Member since Feb 2002

ElectricBlue

Now with extra strawberries
Location: Canberra

Total posts: 810
Posted:Wow that is really cool.
It great when countrys really follow this kind of thing rather than going with what earns them the most money. I wish we had more renewable energy here.


I {Heart} hand me downs and spinning in the snow.<br /><br />

Delete

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth

Total posts: 5814
Posted:We have a govt that is influenced more by money and big corporations.
Hence the huge tax on farmers making biofuels for their own use.


Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

Delete

polarity
SILVER Member since May 2005

polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet

Total posts: 1228
Posted:There's a little Greenpeace film I was showing round the festivals this summer called "Decentralised Energy".

To sum up, it's how about 2/3s of the energy produced at the UKs power stations is wasted, and never gets used in homes and businesses.

Some of it is wasted as hot water, which is just sent to the cooling towers at the power stations, so it can be dumped into rivers, and some of it is wasted as it is sent huge distances along the power lines.

The film mentions a few places where energy production has been 'decentralised', so the power stations are near enough to towns that they don't lose as much energy with long power lines, and the hot water can be piped to homes for heating (so you're paying less for your electricity, and it includes your heating as well).

The government here just wants to build more of the big old power stations, and keep wasting energy.


You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Sweet! Now all we need to do is build more volcanoes, thermal springs, geysers and waterfalls everywhere else and we'll be set!

wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

Delete

robnunchucks
BRONZE Member since Jul 2004

robnunchucks

enthusiast
Location: manchester uk

Total posts: 363
Posted:to be fair though its alot easer to stop useing fossel fules when you've got 100's of geothermal vents pumping out ready superheated steam 24 hours a day for free with no nasty bi-products.

the reason iceland is doing this is less about looking after the enviroment (though its a nice bonus for them) its about looking after there big buissnesses because the most profitable way for them to produce energy is by geothermal not petrol which is expensive for them to import.

if england had as many geothermal vents as iceland and no oil reserves we would be doing the same thing but not because of the enviromental advantages because it would be good for uk buissness.


My nunchucks vital statictics biggrin

weight: 500g
handle lenght: 16 inches
chain length: 2 inches

Delete

JauntyJames
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA

Total posts: 3533
Posted:The one issue I don't see addressed is the fuel cost. How cheap is it to manufacture hydrogen? I suppose with 8 dollars a gallon as the alternative it isn't much, but for those of us used to a cushy cost of living that's certainly an issue to be concerned about.

-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

Delete

robnunchucks
BRONZE Member since Jul 2004

robnunchucks

enthusiast
Location: manchester uk

Total posts: 363
Posted:dont know most of europe buys petrol at about the same price as iceland




Non-Https Image Link




the US actualy pays vastly less than most of the world for fule. and yet people still complain about paying $2.25 a gallon smile

EDITED_BY: robnunchucks (1190763533)


My nunchucks vital statictics biggrin

weight: 500g
handle lenght: 16 inches
chain length: 2 inches

Delete

JauntyJames
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA

Total posts: 3533
Posted:We certainly do not! We complain about paying $2.90 9/10 a gallon. ;-)

And by we I mean I don't drive. My bicycle runs on the food pyramid.


-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:I don't complain, and I *do* drive. I want it to go even higher! I want that hybrid I'm about to buy to pay for itself, dammit!

And I want it to force other people to use low-emission forms of transport, too.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete