Friday, 7 August 2009

Fuelling a Community

This week I am visiting Stornoway, on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

Air Products will soon be providing a dedicated hydrogen fuelling station and storage facilities for the Islands’ hydrogen-powered cars as part of the Comhairle’s Hebridean Hydrogen Seed (H2seed) project. The hydrogen fuelled vehicles will be used as pool vehicles for employees of the Comhairle, as well as for educational and public awareness campaigns. How amazing is that - a whole fleet of cars on the island being fuelled by hydrogen!

The H2seed project is phase 2 of the Comhairle’s Hebridean Hydrogen Park plan. H2seed is establishing a renewably generated hydrogen supply chain in the Outer Hebrides, providing technology demonstration projects, delivering appropriate safety training to users and emergency services, and undertaking public awareness activities.

I was able to speak to Ruairi MacIver, Project Manager, H2seed project and he told me how delighted he was that Air Products accepted the partnership with the H2seed project all those months ago, he said: "it will give us access to the world’s leading technology in hydrogen storage, dispensing and training. We are proud to be taking the lead in developing renewable hydrogen production and distribution technology; and hopefully we will be setting an example that will be followed across the world.” Can you imagine that? Seeing other communities, places where you live surviving off hydrogen as a fuel and we were able to see it happen here first!

This is an excellent example of how hydrogen really can fuel the future not just in the case of cars but whole communities. Can you imagine everything in your home being run from hydrogen much in the same way as it is run by electricity now? Rather than having electricity fuel our homes we could have a sustainable energy source which isn't as harmful to our environment. That really is a benefit we can't ignore.

Friday, 31 July 2009

The Science Behind Hydrogen


I have come across THE most amazing site!

H2 and you is a project of the Hydrogen Education Foundation, a 501c3 organization. The Foundation is managed by the National Hydrogen Association.

Hydrogen is a universal fuel that will play a major role in our clean, sustainable energy future. Although you may not know it, hydrogen is already becoming a practical reality in our everyday lives.This site is designed to help you better understand hydrogen so you can make more informed choices about your energy options.

Hydrogen is a clean, flexible carrier of energy that works with all of the primary alternative energies being explored -- solar, wind, nuclear, coal, natural gas and biofuels. Hydrogen's versatility makes it an ideal fuel that can be made anywhere and used in a broad spectrum of applications -- power for buildings, vehicles, and portable electronics.H2 & YouH2 & You

The website has blogs, podcasts and videos as well as a range of hydrogen competitions which allows you to learn about the science behind the greener fuel hydrogen and you can speak to the people behind the science too!

What a great way to keep up to date with all the latest information and see hydrogen events taking place all over the world!

Just like you can follow me on twitter you can follow this website on twitter too!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

From the Road To The Sea Where Will Hydrogen Take Me Next?

You will never guess where I am writing from this week...!

Have you guessed it yet.......? Nope! Told you wouldn't get it! I'm on board a submarine!

A Greek Navy submarine to be exact! They came and picked me up from a secret location and you never guess what's fuelled on hydrogen!

Howaldswerke Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW) have developed a fuel cell-powered submarine system, which allows the vessel to generate energy without leaving a heat or noise signature along its route, whilst also remaining submerged for longer periods. A real benefit for a submarine.

The hydrogen-fuelling equipment supplied to the navies by Air Products, include a piece of equipment called the Cryogenic Hydrogen Compressor (CHC) that was originally developed for big, industrial users in the compression of liquid hydrogen and cryogenic gas. More recently it has successfully been adapted for fuel cell applications and is used in hydrogen fuelling stations around the world. Today, CHC equipment is as easy to use as any fire water pump on board ships.

I was able to speak to Air Products Project Manager, Thomas Scheitz and he said:
“Air Products already has experience fuelling submarines across Europe, specifically in Germany. Additionally we are the leader in hydrogen fuelling for transportation and have active projects in place around the globe including the world’s first hydrogen fuelling station located at an existing retail (gasoline) station. There consumers get a first-hand view of hydrogen-fuelling taking place, perhaps you want to make there your next stop on your hydrogen tour?”

I think that might be a good idea...

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Next Stop Loughborough!

Hello All,

This week I have been lucky enough to visit Loughborough University where they too have been fuelling vehicles on their campus. The University have installed the fuelling station, very similar to the one we saw at Birmingham last week, to further their research in this area as well as fuel all their campus vehicles. One of the main benefits of hydrogen-powered vehicles is that they only emit water vapour into the atmosphere and not environmentally damaging carbon dioxide. Loughborough’s ultimate goal is to transfer its own service fleet over to hydrogen.

Based at Holywell Park, the facility is part of a cluster of hydrogen refuelling stations being set up across the region by the British Midlands Hydrogen Forum. Known as the Midlands Hydrogen Ring, the stations will be at the heart of hydrogen fuelling infrastructure planned throughout the UK. Hopefully we will get to see some more as I make my way across the UK.

The University’s Chief Operating Officer Will Spinks spoke to me and said: “At Loughborough sustainability is key. The opening of this new refueling station several months ago underlined our commitment to operating in an environmentally friendly way and to the development of new technologies that support this goal.”

It is great to hear so many other people excited about a greener future and to see them put possible solutions into place.

The refueller has been funded by Loughborough University in partnership with the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), and was manufactured by Air Products. Initially gas for the facility will be provided by an external supplier, but the University is investigating ways of creating its own hydrogen through the use of green technologies on campus. How cool would that be? To make your own hydrogen?!

My adventures so far have been so exciting and interesting - it really is fuelling my thirst to find out more about the greener energy solution hydrogen.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Which is better, Petrol, Diesel of Hydrogen?

This week I am visiting the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston campus where they have installed a hydrogen gas fuelling station.

Engineers at the University have been comparing five hydrogen powered vehicles with the University’s own fleet of petrol, diesel and pure ‘electric’ vehicles so that they can learn more about their efficiency and performance. The researchers will determine how these vehicles need to be adapted in order to make hydrogen an attractive and cost effective option as a future fuel.

The engineers were even kind enough to take me out for a spin in one of the cars! It was so cool - I loved it! I cannot wait to get my own hydrogen car now.

I was able to speak to Professor Kevin Kendall who is the lead investigator from the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering. He said ‘We are delighted to be the home of England’s first installed hydrogen gas filling station. It has been absolutely necessary that we have the means to refuel our fleet of hydrogen powered cars so that we can carry out our research project into the feasibility of hydrogen in a transport context. This will mean that eventually you may be able to drive a car just like this around the streets of Birmingham and the rest of the UK.’

Thanks to Kevin and the team for showing me round the campus and allowing me a go in a hydrogen car!

As I continue with my hydrogen tour up north stay tuned to see where I am visiting next...

Friday, 26 June 2009

Alistair Darling has a taste of hydrogen

I saw on the news last week that that our very own Chancellor, Alistair Darling has been trying his hand at what a hydrogen car is like. I cannot wait to ride in a hydrogen car of my own!

Does anyone else have any hydrogen car tales? The only experience I have is ‘driving’ a model car!

I am planning a trip 'up north' as they say here to see some hydrogen projects, I might see if I can call by Sheffield myself to give this car a spin.

Must dash and start packing - will speak to you all soon!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

London Schools Hydrogen Challenge - Fueling the Minds of the Future

Wow what an exciting day I had!

On Wednesday I had my first appearance in London, at the London Schools Hydrogen Challenge final where a selection of pupils from a range of London Borough schools were lucky enough to reach the final.

I met Professor Hydrogen who taught me and the other children to build a hydrogen car. These cars are the cars of the future and will no doubt be the vehicle these children will purchase as a first car. In fact, I can’t wait to drive one!! I have already been on a hydrogen bus in the US.

I was honoured to take part in the prize draw and announced the final winner of the prestigious competition. Well done to Waldergrave School, Richmond who won first prize of £1,000 which was sponsored by Air Products.
And then, I met with Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Kit Malthouse said to me: ‘It is great to see London’s school kids learning about new technologies.' I agree with Kit and really think that this will completely change our future.

A pupil, aged 12, from St Thomas More Roman Catholic Comprehensive School in Greenwich, said to me: ‘I really enjoyed learning something new and it was fun.’

I really enjoyed this first day in London – but I still have loads to discover in the capital and the surroundings. I hope to be back soon!!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

UK Beware – I’m on my way!

I am now in the United Kingdom and it’s so exciting!

I will be the new Air Products hydrogen ambassador and look forward to my first ever appearance on British soil at the final of the 2009 London Schools Hydrogen Challenge sponsored by Air Products tomorrow. It will be such an honour to meet all the pupils from the various schools who have taken part in the competition this year.

I will be meeting the local press too for photographs at 8.45am at City Hall - a chance for journalists to get my autograph!

I have come over to the UK to educate children and teenagers on renewable green energy sources by visiting schools and setting challenges which will be rolled out across the UK. I hope you will all enjoy following my quest in discovering hydrogen as a renewable fuel making our future cleaner and greener.

In the mean time I need to finish getting myself ready for my appearance and will be updating you next week on how my debut went.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Seeing Science in Action

An incredible article was published in The Telegraph

A new Brain Computer Interface (BCI) has been created for people who are unable to type manually on a keyboard allowing them to enter their thoughts into twitter.

The system works by monitoring electroencephalography – or EEG – which is the electrical activity produced on the scalp by the movement of neurons within the brain.
The user of a BCI wears a cap, which is studded with electrodes and connected to a computer. The electrodes detect the electrical signals caused by thoughts.

Adam Wilson is the first user and co-creator of the invention and is a biomedical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The article finishes with a quote from one of the creators: "Someone could simply tell family and friends how they're feeling today ... People at the other end can be following their thread and never know that the person is disabled. That would really be an enabling type of communication means for those people, and I think it would make them feel, in the online world, that they're not that much different from everybody else. That's why we did these things."

It is inventions like these that children need to be able to see, understand and relate to. Associating science and engineering to something that children use in everyday life will hopefully enable them visualise what a difference they can make to the world with a scientific or engineering input.

Children need to understand how science relates to everyday life not just using examples of medicine created many hundreds of years ago but with inventions that they use everyday. The stereotype of the mad man in a white coat with crazy hair and corduroy needs to be rebutted with the cool, funky, contemporary and scientists of today who work at cutting edge companies such as Air Products.

How empowering would it be to know that you had been able to create that?

Friday, 17 April 2009

Is Hydrogen the Energy of the Future?


I’m HydroJen™ – your guide to the exciting green world of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is set to be the green fuel of the future. I hope to enlighten you to a greener future, as I travel across the UK visitng schools and launching new challenges along the way with children.

For further information and to have some fun with the quiz's and videos please feel free to visit the website. Remember to keep on visiting this site too as I constantly update it along my travels.

You are also able to follow me on twitter for all my latest news.