Energy: Federal and state energy leaders
share fuel cell technology with Boise students
By Tammie Knauff
Idaho Press Tribune
BOISE Timberline High School students got a glimpse
of the future of transportation on Thursday when the U.S.
Department of Energy visited the school.
William D. Magwood, the director of the office of nuclear
energy, science and technology for the U.S. Department of
Energy, discussed hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The department is promoting the study of hydrogen possibilities
in schools, and is encouraging more high school students to
become scientists and engineers.
Fuel cells are used in buses in Los Angeles, Chicago and
Germany. Researchers are working to make them affordable for
the average consumer.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts hydrogen
directly into electricity in a reaction with oxygen.
Fuel cells provide power as long as fuel is available, and
the fuel is hydrogen. The only emissions would be water and
Canyon County commissioners do not see the technology helping
the Treasure Valley's air quality because of the current price.
"The fuel cell technology is out there," County
Commissioner Matt Beebe said.
"But it is very expensive and is going to be a number
of years down the road."
To learn more about hydrogen fuel technology, visit www.h2cars.biz
Automakers across America are working with government researchers
to develop prototypes realistic for U.S. drivers.
A Toyota and Hummer appeared at the Los Angeles auto show
in January. Both operate on some form of hydrogen fuel. The
hydrogen Hummer was converted to run on pure hydrogen.
DaimlerChrysler plans to have about 100 vehicles traveling
the highways by the end of the year to help with an understanding
of how the fuel cell vehicles operate.
And President Bush is proposing research funding over the
next five years to help the U.S. develop the technology.
"Public infrastructure needs to be set up to move the
hydrogen around," Magwood said.