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Oregon on Trail towards Hydrogen Economy

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski wants to turn the state’s economy into a hydrogen economy in order to create new jobs, a cleaner environment and less dependence upon foreign oil.

According to Governor Kulongoski, “Hydrogen holds great promise and offers great possibilities, including clean energy, good jobs, and a healthy environment. I will direct Oregon’s Director of the state Department of Energy to develop a strategy to move our region toward a hydrogen economy … I have a vision of the Pacific Northwest leading the nation in producing hydrogen and reaping the environmental and economic benefits of that leadership.”

Kulongoski wants 25-percent of Oregon’s energy to come from renewable energy by 2025 and for 100-percent of the state government’s electricity to come from renewable sources in just 4 years. Governor Kulongoski is also offering increased tax credits to businesses to develop hydrogen technology. These incentives would especially benefit hydrogen auto fueling centers, as each fueling center would be considered a separate project and reap the largest tax credits possible.

As Oregon develops its hydrogen economy and especially its network on hydrogen fueling centers, another peg falls into place for a West Coast Hydrogen Highway Corridor. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has talked about his ambitious plan of developing a hydrogen highway system that runs all the way from British Columbia, Canada to Baja, California.

California currently has 22 hydrogen fueling stations (with more on the way) to support 143 hydrogen autos. British Columbia is currently building its hydrogen highway network to run between Vancouver and Whistler and is expected to be finished by the 2010 Winter Olympics. Now that Oregon has announced its intentions to develop its hydrogen infrastructure, that only leaves the state of Washington to fall in line for a West Coast Hydrogen Highway Corridor to become a reality.

What about it, Washington – are you up for the challenge?

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen auto blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen autos, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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    I watched a show about the Portland auto show for a little while and saw a fuel cell vehicle in the background. Thing is, it wasn’t talked about. the muscle autos
    were evidently more important to the commentator. Not only that, there was a
    huge focus on hybrid autos. For Kulongoski to say that Oregon should move
    towards a hydrogen economy, why hasn’t it? Most people seem to think that
    you have to do electrolysis or reform natural gas to get hydrogen, but that isn’t
    true. Even so, Noryl sounds very promising. I want to see hydrogen stations
    in Oregon. I really want to see one already. It is ridiculous that Oregon isn’t
    doing any, repeat any research with appropriate test autos and test stations into
    hydrogen based propulsion. There isn’t even an effort that I know of to use hydrogen in stationary power applications. If you can truly get hydrogen using nothing more than aluminum and water, it seems like a no brainer to start

    My only concern about fuel cell vehicles is the claim that you need a lot of platinum to build a high quality stack where this is a highly limited resource.
    The argument that the hydrogen economy won’t materialize because the
    automakers cannot build enough hydrogen based vehicles to make it worthwhile comes up a lot. I think if a goal of say 10% of autos fuel
    cell based within 8 years were set and met, that the technology would
    improve and a solution to the platinum shortage would be found.

    I wonder why Kulongoski said he wants to work towards a hydrogen economy
    yet there are no Oregon stations to date that I know of dispensing hydrogen?
    I wonder how hard it is to build a hydrogen station and whether or not I could
    get federal funding for one?

  2. admin

    You raise some good questions. I’ve blogged today about how Oregon is taking one small steps towards a hydrogen economy.

    But, I also agree wholeheartedly that more needs to be done. The economic crisis that we’re in right now, i would guess, would be one of the larger reasons it’s harder to get funding right now. We’ll have to see how Obama’s green initiative spur the alt energy part of the economy.

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