The Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid. It is touted as the most
advanced minivan ever created. You can put either gasoline it, or hydrogen, doesn’t matter which. (Different tanks. Can’t mix gasoline and hydrogen in the same tank. Bad news.) It runs on both. If you fill it with hydrogen, it becomes a zero-emissions vehicle, with a range of 120 miles. The big problem with the hydrogen tank, though, is that hydrogen, as we all know, is a gas.
Gases take up a lot more volume than liquids, since the molecules are so far apart. You can do what you can to squish them together, but you can’t squish them that hard with just a metal tank, because you’re not going to suddenly squish it back into a liquid. That would require much more energy than the hydrogen itself provides, and the last thing you want is a car running on liquid hydrogen.
Start messing around with that, and if you get into an accident, big explosions and such. And liquid hydrogen is very, very cold. And very, very big explosions. Insurance companies won’t be happy and people will probably die.
But anyway. Along with the 150 liter hydrogen tank, it’s got a 25 liter gasoline tank, and an electric battery for hybrid purposes. Though, until hydrogen refueling stations become the norm, the car has limited appeal to those without easy access to some hydrogen. Make the battery a bit bigger, and this car is basically the same as the Chevy Volt, which runs 40 miles on an electric motor and then switches to gas.
More than 16,400 people attended the 2nd World Future Energy Summit, held January 19-21 in the Gulf Emirate state of Abu Dhabi. Representing 79 countries, the visitors saw 359 exhibits in the three day Summit, which included many world leaders and experts in the field of renewable energy. That the conference was held in the oil and natural gas rich Persian Gulf region made it even more significant, as even these countries see the necessity in developing alternative energy sources, including wind and solar power, as well as hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to help slow down the advances of pollution and global warming.
One of the more memorable events occurring during the conference was the awarding of the Zayed Future Energy Prize to Bangladesh innovator and entrepreneur Dipal Barua, whose Grameen Shakti alternative energy enterprise has resulted in the installation of thousands of low cost solar energy units in rural households all over a country where most of it’s 130 million inhabitants has little or no electricity and live on less than $2 a day. The solar units costs less than $400 each, most of which is subsidized or financed with low interest loans, have enabled people to have basic electricity in their homes for the first time.
A number of world political and technology personalities were present at the conference, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and International Peace and Cooperation Center (IPCC) Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri.
Israel plans to host a similar alternative energy conference next month in Eilat, where the latest Israeli and foreign developed alternative energy projects will be on display. Entitled the Eilat-Eilot World Renewable Conference and Exhibition, the conference will be held February 17-19 at Herod’s Palace. In a joint effort of cooperation of the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, enterprises involved will be able to receive joint venture assistance and funding for alternative energy projects involving both countries.
Although all forms of alternative energy projects will be featured, the 3 day conference and exhibition with feature solar energy advances and will include both local and international solar energy concerns including the German company Concentrix and the American solar energy giant Sun Power .
That so much attention is now being given to developing alternative, environmentally friendly energy resources, even by oil rich countries like the UAE, only emphasizes how the countries of the world are beginning to change their attention to the importance of developing “green” sources of energy to help offset the problems of fossil fuel caused air and water pollution as well as global warming.