First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Ferry

The high-speed hydrogen fuel cell ferry boat is set to hit the waters of the San Francisco Bay Area.Image: Green Car Reports

The high-speed hydrogen fuel cell ferry boat is set to hit the waters of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Image: Green Car Reports

Diesel burning vehicles in the U.S. alone emit pollutants that lead to 21,000 premature deaths each year and act as one of the largest drivers of climate change. The traditional ferry typically burns around one million liters of diesel fuel each year—producing 570 tons of carbon dioxide. In order to help combat this issue, Sandia National Laboratories and the Red and White Fleet ferry company are joining forces to create the first hydrogen fuel cell ferry boat to hit the waters of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Currently in the early stages of development, the boat is set to be named SF BREEZE—an acronym for “San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric vessel with Zero Emissions.” As far as consumption goes, the researchers believe it will take about 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) of hydrogen per day to power the ship.

ICYMI: Listen to Subhash Singhal, a world-leader in the study of fuel cells, talk about the future of energy and climate change.

To satisfy this demand, the construction of the world’s largest hydrogen fueling station will begin off shore and will have the ability to service both sea and land vehicles.

But this isn’t Siemens first take on zero emission ferries. Earlier this year, the lab developed the technology for the world’s first electrically-powered ferry in Norway. This ship has already hit the water successfully, causing no carbon dioxide emissions.

PS: We’re currently accepting abstracts for the 229th ECS Meeting in San Diego! Submit today!

Dan Fatton, ECS Director of Development & Membership Services, recently came across this article on the validity of climate reporting from Columbia Journalism Review.

The internet is a wonderful place to express opinions, foster ideas, and gain knowledge. However, sometimes facts an opinions swirl together, creating content presented as truth with very little credibility.

This issue is specifically prevalent in the area of climate change. Now, the (somewhat ironically named) group known as Climate Feedback is working to improve the credibility of climate journalism on the web.


The Image at the Center of the Climate Debate

hockeystickFor the past several years, there has been one image that has been central to the climate change debate: the infamous “hockey stick” graph.

Since the graph appeared in the paper “Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: Inferences, uncertainties, and limitation,” Michael Mann has been hard at work defending his research.

“The hockey stick graph became a central icon in the climate wars,” Mann said at the Feb. 11 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “The graph took on a life of its own.”

The graph gained notoriety when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the image and starting using it to drive home the message of climate change. The graph still remains an ever-present part of the climate debates.


Making Solar Wallpaper

Design freedom improves the range of applications of the panels on the surfaces of interior and exterior building spaces.Image: Antti Veijola

Design freedom improves the range of applications of the panels on the surfaces of interior and exterior building spaces.
Image: Antti Veijola

We’ve been talking about climate change and green energy for a while now, so of course we think solar panels should exist wherever light is. Now, that could mean using solar wallpaper to harvest as much energy as possible.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed and utilized a mass production method based on printing technologies that will allow the manufacturing of decorative, organic solar panels for use on the surfaces of interior and exterior building spaces.

The new organic photovoltaic panels are only 0.2 mm thick each and include the electrodes and polymer layers where the light is collected.


Solutions for the Climate Change Problem

“They will either remember us as the generation that destroyed its home, or the one that finally came to respect it.”

Check out this powerful short film about the need to solve the climate change problem.

Here at ECS, we aim to drive new ideas, experiments, research, and discovery in order to address some of the most pressing global issues. Check out the research our scientists are doing to find a solution to climate change and how our move toward Open Access could have serious implications for action on this topic.

Bill Nye + Deflategate = Climate Change?

Bill Nye the Science Guy drops some science on the Patriots and takes the opportunity to deliver a message on climate change.

open_access“Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.” This is pulled from a public policy statement originally written in 2004 by the American Chemical Society.

Eighteen scientific societies signed on to a similar American Association for the Advancement of Science statement affirming the consensus scientific view on climate change in 2009. According to the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, at least 200 worldwide scientific organizations now formally hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1988 to assess global warming and its impacts. Recently, the panel released a major report, capping its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-percent certainty that nearly all warming seen since the 1950s is due to human activity. More than 700 of the world’s top climate scientists and 1,729 expert reviewers from more than 70 countries participated in the report process.


Image: Antalexion

Image: Antalexion

With climate change being a continually rising global dilemma, many scientist have turned their attention to research in the area of renewable energy sources. Even with some of the most brilliant minds working on improving efficiency and price of solar cells, they are still not widely used due to the high cost of materials used to develop the them. Now, a scientist may be on the path to cracking the code on material prices of solar cells by using nanotechnology.

Elijah Thimsen, assistant professor at the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, worked in conjunction with a team of engineers at the University of Minnesota to develop a technique to increase the performance of electrical conductivity.


A Revolution in Renewable Energy

Towering like a beacon of hope in Germany’s North Sea stand wind turbines. Stretching as high as 60-story buildings and standing as far as 60 miles from the mainland, the turbines are part of Germany’s push to find a solution to global warming.

Some call it change. Some call it transformation. We call it a revolution.

According to an article in the The New York Times, it is expected that by the end of the year, scores of new turbines will be set in place – thus allowing low-emission electricity to be sent to German cities hundreds of miles south.


Climate Case for Open Access

This weekend I watched the recently released short film, Disruption, which is available online for free viewing. In less than one-hour, the scientists, authors and activists featured in the film highlight some truly frightening data and trends. As those who believe in the vast majority of the science already understand, we must do more to limit greenhouse gas emissions if we want any chance of keeping global temperature change below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels.

Thankfully, the conversion to a clean energy economy is already feasible, both economically and technologically. Countries like Germany have been demonstrating the possibilities of renewable energy, despite having sunshine similar to that of Alaska. We also know the scientists of ECS are currently working on even more exciting research to improve our understanding and technological capabilities in photovoltaics, nanotechnology and fuel cells, among other cutting-edge fields.

In my view, the bold pledge to move toward open access at ECS has serious implications for action on climate change. If we can make the scientific research results and latest findings more widely accessible, we may speed up the scientific discovery process. Perhaps a young scientist in the developing world will unlock the key to some perplexing scientific dilemma, once we’ve made the latest findings more freely available in an ECS journal. Many of us believe we can accelerate the pace of innovation, and help solve critical challenges by opening access to scientific research. You can support those efforts by donating to the ECS Publications Endowment.

PeoplesClimate.orgIn the meantime, I plan to attend the Peoples Climate March on Sunday, September 21. There is an entire staging area for scientists, among the various  1,500 other groups, including students, environmentalists, labor unions, and community activists. Together, we’ll be demanding action on climate change, just two days before President Obama and other world leaders are set to attend a Climate Summit at the United Nations hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

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