Breaking out of the lethal loop

Iceland to become the first hydrogen economy, to do away with fossil fuels

Published: Sunday 15 September 2002

Iceland is gearing up to become the first country to do away with fossil fuels completely. The Iceland government pledges to change over to hydrogen-based fuels and has already made the initial moves in the direction.

The country has set up a joint venture company called the 'Icelandic New Energy Limited'. The owners of the company are VistOrka, an Icelandic holding company owned by group of public and private enterprises and institutions that are enthusiastic about the development of hydrogen-based fuels in Iceland or new industrial projects. The foreign owners include multinationals DaimlerChrysler, Shell Hydrogen and Norsk Hydro.

The estimated amount of hydrogen that the transport and vessel sector in Iceland would require is 80 to 90 thousand tonnes of hydrogen. To produce that amount of hydrogen will require only about 8 to 10 per cent of the economically usable renewable energy in Iceland.

Iceland has a chance of becoming a carbon-dioxide free economic system because the electricity to make hydrogen from electrolysis of water will come from hydro or geothermal power and not fossil fuels.

What type of fuel will be used has not been fully decided by the industry, but what ever type of 'hydrogen-based fuel' that will be the future choice for powering the transport sector, the fuel cell itself will help in changing from conventional fossil fuels to hydrogen based fuels.

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