Stan Ovshinsky on the Hydrogen Future
By EV World
Someday, Stanford and Iris Ovshinsky are likely to be remembered by history in much the same vein as Thomas Edison and Nicolas Tesla. Their discoveries of amorphous materials have helped pave the way to a more energy efficient society.
Every hybrid electric car manufactured today relies exclusively on their nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery chemistry. Their thin-film solar cell discoveries make it possible to literally print miles of plastic film that turns the sun's light into pollution-free electricity. And someday hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from bicycles to motor scooters to cars and buses may store their 'fuel' in metal 'sponges' pioneered by the Ovshinskys.
So, when Stan Ovshinsky addressed the California Hydrogen Business Council on Honda's Research & Development campus in Torrance, he had the audience's rap attention. It's not often you get to hear from a legend of the Ovshinsky's stature.
He began his remarks, which are just over 30 minutes in length, by saying that in order to transform society and to create a hydrogen-based economy where we don't have "wars over oil", we need a complete system that is a renewable-based loop where hydrogen is created from sustainable energy sources, is stored efficiently and safely, and then used in a cost-effective manner. He showed a 1960s era photograph from his original 'store-front' research lab that depicted back then this perfect energy loop with all energy originating from the Sun. He remarked that ECD and his various spin-off companies have now closed that loop starting with its Unisolar PV business that is expanding rapidly. Its Cobasys venture with TexacoChevron builds 'plug-n-play' NiMH hybrid vehicle batteries and is perfecting 'metal sponge' material to store hydrogen.
It is the latter, solid-state hydrogen storage, on which Ovshinsky devoted most of his presentation, explaining that it solves three of hydrogen's most difficult challenges: adequate storage, quick refill (kinetics) and lifetime cost. He sees hydride-based storage and hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine hybrids as the quickest pathway to get to a hydrogen economy. And to prove it, ECD converted a 2002 model Toyota Prius to run not on gasoline, but on hydrogen stored in an ECD-developed hydride storage tank. This vehicle made its debut at the 2003 Challenge Bibendum and was featured on Scientific American Frontiers hosted by actor Alan Alda.
Click the Flash-based MP3 player just below Mr. Ovshinsky's picture to listen to the complete 35:50 minute recording or download the 8.6 MB MP3 file to your computer hard drive for later playback on your favorite MP3 device.
EV World extends its thanks to the California Hydrogen Business Council for permitting us to record and podcast all of the presentations.