Funding the Hydrogen Economy
By Bill Moore
"Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime," Robert Rose began his acceptance speech as the 2004 Fuel Cell Seminar award recipient, quoting theologian and social activist, Reinhold Niebuhr, "and nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone."
In his address, he proposes a plan to fund the research needed to make possible the hydrogen economy. But he first spoke of the need for mobilizing the fuel cell industry, which is still relatively young.
"The opportunities are enormous, but the challenges are great", he stated, noting that his remarks were his alone and not those of the US Fuel Cell Council or the Breakthrough Institute.
"It's time for plain talk and bold action," Rose soberly remarked as he carefully spelled out the rationale for his plan. "Our industry faces opposition from entrenched interests and also from some people who should be our friends. Our nation faces determined and clever enemies who see energy dependence as a fundamental vulnerability. The community of nations faces a world shaped by the geopolitics of oil and the consequences of carbon-based fuels.
"The world economy is addicted to oil. Oil demand exceeded 82 million barrels a day this summer in the face of rising prices. And the Energy Information Agency of the US government projects demand will reach over 120 million barrels a day by 2025. Most of that demand will come, largely, from nations that have missed out on the benefits of the oil century, and that's good. They want and deserve their share of human comfort and affluence."
What happens, Rose asked the nearly 3,000 attendees at the opening plenary session in San Antonio, Texas, just a block from the historic Alamo, when supplies begin to run short or price competition becomes too aggressive? For this and many other valid reasons, Rose believes the only logical course of action is to look to hydrogen, recognizing that there are hurdles that must be surmounted and will require extraordinary, but not unrealistic financial resources, though certainly more than is currently being expended by government or industry today.
To listen to the entire 17:30 minute address, use the Flash-based MP3 Player at the right, or feel free to download the file to your computer's hard drive for transfer to your favorite MP3 device. EV World wishes to thank the Fuel Cell Seminar and the U.S. Fuel Cell Council for permitting use to record and then share Mr. Rose's address.