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Hydrogen is not only a sizable industry in its own right (industrial gases), but the whole idea of a hydrogen energy economy has gone in and out of fashion for decades. I first came across it in the 70's, when colleagues at Brookhaven National Lab were drawing up scenarios that looked a lot like the diagrams people have today for a national hydrogen infrastructure.  When and how much of that will actually happen is anybody's guess, but before hydrogen meets our every energy need, it could grow to represent an interesting fraction of the overall energy picture.  Even at 5 or 10%, it would be very signiificant.

BONUS--the Economist, March 29 issue, has an exceptional special section "Survey of Biotechnology".and one of the articles outlines how biotech is changing some basic industries, including chemicals, materials, and energy.  It will remind you of the message we heard at NREL a year ago about the "biorefinery" and biomass  eventually replacing fossil resources.  Serious new  progress is being made on converting plant material (cellulose) into ethanol.  But what really caught my eye was the discussion of Craig Venter's new pet create a bacterium with a completely synthetic genome which would produce hydrogen directly, without the intermediate step of making glucose.   The story broke back in November '02, with his announcement of the establishment of the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), which was awarded a three-year, $3 million grant from DOE for research to develop a synthetic chromosome which is a first step in the Institute's work toward developing cost-effective and efficient biological energy sources.

Here are references to previous UFTO Notes that have focused on new and novel approaches to Hydrogen technology.

02 Apr 2003 UFTO Note - Photolytic Hydrogen from Sunlight

08 Jan 2003 UFTO Note - Sugar to Hydrogen by Aqueous Catalysis

08 Dec 2002 UFTO Note - 2002 Fuel Cell Seminar

05 Dec 2002 UFTO Note - H2 from Multiple Fuels & Polymeric Membrane Separation

15 Nov 2002 UFTO Note - H2 Production Adapts Smelting Technology

10 Jun 2002  UFTO Note-DOE H2&FC Reviews

24 May 2002 UFTO Note - NREL VISIT

29 Oct 2001 UFTO Note - CO,CO2 Removal from reformate H2

16 Feb 2001 UFTO Note - On Site Hydrogen for Generator Cooling

21 May 2000 UFTO Note - DOE Hydrogen Program