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Hydrogen Buses In Iceland

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the clean-air dept.

Technology 465

dapyx writes "As part of the shift away from the fossil fuels, Iceland began its switch to hydrogen-powered buses, which are now used on the streets of the capital, Reykjavik. About 70 percent of Iceland's energy is already met by green power. Iceland plans to become the first oil-free country by 2050."

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70%? Impressive. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342855)

Hope they can get to those last three igloos sometime soon.

Misconception (5, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342870)

Iceland is rather green. It's Greenland that has the ice.

Re:Misconception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342896)

Iceland is rather green. It's Greenland that has the ice.

Really?? Those tricky bastards!

Re:Misconception (2, Funny)

tuxter (809927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342974)

It was decided to name the countries this way for tourism. Iceland had too many visitors, because it is truly stunning, so they named it iceland to deter excess tourism, the opposite for greenland. I do find it highly ironic though (in nomenclature only)that iceland is using "green" busses......

Re:70%? Impressive. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343101)

About 70 percent of Iceland's energy is already met by green power.

One of the advantages of living on a geologically active island...

Let us not explore too much the disadvantages.

First post! (-1, Offtopic)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342856)

Yeah!

Re:First post! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342916)

So Iceland is using green energy. Is Greenland going to switch to ice energy? (I know, boooo)

Re: "first poster"
All that work and you're still a dumbass. And you didn't get first post.

Oil? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342864)

Fuck oil!

Re:Oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343192)

HERE! [schnits.org] is a torrent of all the Suprnova torrents. yadda yadda yadda!

Hydrogen? (1, Funny)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342865)

Doesnt anyone remember the hindenburg?

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342926)

Yes but I also remember all the car crashes involving gasoline and explosions so I can't see that this is much more of a threat in that regard. The only thing that isn't too clever about hydrogen is that it isn't renewable. You waste energy creating it and as a result you need a few source that is actually bigger in order to use it. So fusion is still the only answer unless you want windmills everywhere you look.

Re:Hydrogen? (5, Interesting)

TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342962)

True enough, but Iceland is unique in having ready access to more geothermal energy than they'll ever need. Not renewable, yes, but there's more of it around than they'll ever need, and it doesn't significantly contribute to CO2 levels.

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343030)

That is true. I have heard something about that in the past. I was more referring to the fact that other nations shouldn't follow its footsteps until they pass step one which is an actual source of energy that isn't damaging to the planet and that will last a long time.

Re:Hydrogen? (1, Insightful)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343130)

That's the catch with hydrogen from electrolysis. Sure, if you had surplus electricity and nothing else to do with it, then yes, making hydrogen makes sense. A lot of impractical things become possible with free electricity. Unfortunately, not many countries have free surplus electricity. Maybe China when they finish that huge hydro dam.

Re:Hydrogen? (2, Interesting)

Epistax (544591) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342935)

You mean with the combustable paint, right? And the idea that it could have held helium wouldn't have saved it, where as if it had different paint it would have been fine? That's what you're referring to, right?

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

cartzworth (709639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342970)

I doubt it really would have mattered worth a damn if the paint didn't burn - if you have no lighter-than-air materials inside (ie: all your hydrogen burns) the damn thing it would have dropped like a brick anyway.

Re:Hydrogen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342992)

Does anyone else not buy this new combustible paint theory? "Thermite" or equivalent doesn't burn that fucking fast. Look at the videos.

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343158)

Yes, and the only sources of helium at the time were in the USA. The German owners of the Hindenburg petitioned congress to allow access to enough helium for the airship, and at first they agreed. But they changed their minds because of Nazi government policies, and stopped the helium leaving the country at the last minute. So the Hindenburg had to be filled with hydrogen.

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

hopbine (618442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342947)

Nice troll, but the Hindeburg fire was most likely caused by the inflamable gas envelope - not the gas itself.

Re:Hydrogen? (3, Interesting)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342990)

Yeah, it blew up just like an truck carrying gasoline would. Are you seriously trying to argue that hydrogen is not a good alternative fuel supply because a long time ago people decided to fill a huge balloon with it that had an extremely flammable outer skin while there was lighting shooting down from the sky?

If this country (USA) wants to get off its coal, natural gas, and petroleum dependency, it has to build new nuclear power plants to power homes and use that to generate hydrogen to power vehicles. No new nuclear power plant has been built since the Three Mile Island incident, which similar to Chernobyl, was a combination of untrained workers and poor design.

It's not a popular idea around here, but huge amounts of greenhouse gas and radiation could be saved from entering out atmosphere if we used more nuclear power.

Re:Hydrogen? (0, Flamebait)

powderbluedictator (822151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343002)

Each bus costs almost 2 million dollars and probably contains enough explosive hydrogen to send one of the passengers into orbit

Re:Hydrogen? (2, Funny)

schtum (166052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343186)

Each bus costs almost 2 million dollars and probably contains enough explosive hydrogen to send one of the passengers into orbit

As long as that seat is clearly marked, I see no problem with this.

Re:Hydrogen? (2, Funny)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343230)

Actually, you could charge more. I hear people are willing to pay $20M US to get to orbit...

This sub-thread is now officially closed.

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343078)

Why do people insist on posting about the hindenburg every single time hydrogen - insert plural vehicles of choice here - are mentioned?

Every single time it is repudiated with numerous logical explanations, and even more scientific facts about the combustibility of hydrogen in the gasless state.

Let's just all learn something here today, so we don't have to continue the grueling cycle of wash, rinse, repeat.
Thank you.

Re:Hydrogen? (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343156)

*cough*Microsoft*bug*cough*

Actually I was trying to be funny, but i suck at it.
But I sure would like to see your suggestion applied to some other topics.

Re:Hydrogen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343199)

And if the Hindenburg was filled with gasoline instead? It wouldn't explode?

Re: hydrogen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343231)

Doesnt anyone remember the hindenburg? Fortunately,yes. To remember past mistakes is to avoid them. With the Hindenburg incident in mind, engineers have made hydrogen technology much safer today.

Could it be? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342869)

Fist post?

Hydrogen from where? (3, Insightful)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342897)

Honest question here. Isn't one of the best sources of hydrogen for such things hydrocarbons? Which are plentiful in, you guessed it, oil? Breaking water is not very efficient and requires electricity in the first place. So how does a "hydrogen economy" free us from dependence on oil? Where does the hydrogen come from that it's so clean?

Not intended as a troll, honest question.

Natural gas is the alternative source for Hydrogen (1)

arfonrg (81735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342929)

It's also a C with a bunch of H's hanging off.

Re:Natural gas is the alternative source for Hydro (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343076)

And where do you get the natural gas from???

Re:Natural gas is the alternative source for Hydro (2, Funny)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343141)

And where do you get the natural gas from???


TACO BELL!

In the case of Iceland... (5, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342933)

Electrolysis of water, powered by geothermal energy.

Re:In the case of Iceland... (4, Informative)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343124)

Yours is the first post I have seen to mention the key point.

For those not in the know: Iceland is blessed with an abundance of geo-thermal energy which dramatically lowers their electricity and heating costs.

Re:In the case of Iceland... (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343204)

Which makes me wonder: Since they can generate the hydrogen super cheap and other countries can't, why can't they export it?

That would be a good source of revenue.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342967)

So how does a "hydrogen economy" free us from dependence on oil?

It doesn't. It simply centralizes it. Think of hydrogen fuel cells as good batteries.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

JJ (29711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343070)

/fISo how does a "hydrogen economy" free us from dependence on oil?

It doesn't. It simply centralizes it. Think of hydrogen fuel cells as good batteries./fI

Only if you generate your electricty by burning hydrocarbons. Iceland does not.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342985)

I think they use geothermal energy to create steam that drives turbines that generate electricity that is used to crack hydrogen.
Iceland is quite active geologically.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342997)

Well, part of the theory is that the hydrogen engine should be twice as efficient as a gasoline/diesel one, so it makes up for the inefficiency in creating the hydrogen.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343012)

Yes, you're right.

The difference is that hydrogen generation is to be done in large, centralized, high efficiency plants. Car engines and the like are nowhere near as efficient in converting fossil fuels to energy as a smartly designed hydrogen plant would be. And converting hydrogen into energy is trivial.

But until we find a source for elemental hydrogen, we're still reliant on fossil fuels. The term "hydrogen economy" refers to the use of elemental hydrogen as an "energy currency."

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343163)

Can we not use sea water to generate the Hydrogen (plenty of that in iceland too) and since the oceans are rising... well...

I know it's inefficient. But then again if you can make the electricity anywhere and not have to carry it hundreds of miles over power lines, you wil gain some efficiency.

Plus, no power lines.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343209)

we're still reliant on fossil fuels.

Iceland runs on geothermal power. They can win.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343031)

Google?

Hydroelectric, Wind power, Geothermal, Solar power, Solar Catalytic power, and Nuclear power (just to piss off greenpeace).

Rat in a wheel?

Re:Hydrogen from where? (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343085)

iceland has lots of thermal energy for effectively "free".

elsewhere, you got this 'nukularrrr' reaction that you can use to create power to break down that water. but don't tell the ecomaniacs, they wouldn't want you to save the earth.

(honestly, that's just about the only REALISTICAL option for breaking water down to hydrogen on big enough scale. hydrogen is just a way to store energy in this case and the energy HAS to come from somewhere, and the 'eco' sources are not that plentiful or viable to be used in the scale that replacing oil dependency needs.. my opinion? that we won't move into such direction on large scale before we have fusion as viable energy source)

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343088)

The 'hydrogen economy' is ideally built on fusion/wind/solar/geothermal (clean) power sources. The hydrogen is just a storage medium (battery) for the power that has been generated in some other way.

However, even if you use oil/coal to generate it, generating power at centralized facilities and distributing clean hydrogen enables efficiencies of scale and superior disposal methods for your ugly by-products, so it can still be a big win.

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

GrunthosTheFlatulent (735599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343098)

Eventually, there will be cleaner sources of hydrogen. One thing at a time. Today, we can start to convert existing systems to be hydrogen powered. Tomorrow's goal will be to find easier ways to aquire it. (Such as finding a cheap way (wind/solar) to get electricity to strip the hydrogen from water.) The point is that gasolene is going nowhere: it will never be clean, and it eventually will run out. With hydrogen, there is a logical path to a "hydrogen economy".

Re:Hydrogen from where? (2, Interesting)

aldoman (670791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343127)

Electrolysis is VERY efficient. Try doing it sometime. Get a 9V battery and a cup of water. Connect them up.

As you will notice, you'll have hydrogen bubbling and virtually NO heat. Heat is the waste product here. There is no heat, so there is no waste (more or less).

What you are referring to is the fact that it's a very energy-expensive process. But so is electrolysis in aluminium - the price of which is around 90% of the cost of the electricity - yet tonnes upon tonnes are made. The people that discovered how to get the aluminium we use today thought it'd never be used because all they had was batteries (in 1825) and as such put it down as an interesting, but not very useful, discovery. Nowadays the world wouldn't be the same without it.

What if we discover a 'cheap' nuclear fusion process in 5 years, after the G7 realise that yes, peak oil is a problem and pump trillions into research? Hydrogen would be a great energy carrier. Let's face it, if you could 'fill up' your hydrogen car overnight in the garage for $1 because electricity is so cheap thanks to fusion, everyone would choose it, even if it had a 270mile range (which I suspect will vastly increase with time).

Re:Hydrogen from where? (1)

Humorously_Inept (777630) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343191)

Hydrogen can also be had from ethanol, which can in turn be produced the good old fashioned way: a little yeast, a little hops, a little barley, etc. It's still cheaper to make ethanol from fossil fuels, though, and reform it. I think that the current process of reforming methanol brings hydrogen power down to internal combustion levels of efficiency and still uses petroleum...

Re:Hydrogen from where? (2, Informative)

barawn (25691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343201)

Note: all fuels are just batteries. They've got stored energy which was built up by some process - in the case of fossil fuels, it's solar energy from a long, long time ago, combined with gravitational potential energy (from being squished under things).

Isn't one of the best sources of hydrogen for such things hydrocarbons?

Hydrocarbons have hydrogen that's easy to liberate - that is, you'll get more energy out of burning hydrogen than by separating it. You get less energy than you would by just burning the hydrocarbon, so if there was no other source of hydrogen, it'd be stupid.

However, hydrogen happens to be, shall we say, extremely plentiful.

Where does the hydrogen come from that it's so clean?

The sky. Well, only on a miserable day - more likely, from lakes and the ocean. That is, water.

Of course, it takes more energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen than you get by burning the hydrogen (but not much more - it's just efficiency factors here). So you need some way to generate that energy. Thankfully, you can just use electricity - and there are plenty of clean ways of generating electricity. You could even imagine geostationary solar power satellites beaming power down to water electrolysis hydrogen plants, if you want to be really silly. Other than spreading water around the country and the slightly increased heat generation, there's no environmental impact.

The entire point of the hydrogen economy is that while we can generate electricity, electric cars, to put it mildly, suck, because batteries suck. So even if we could replace all those power plants, how would we replace the oil we use to move cars around? And that's where hydrogen comes in.

Personally, I prefer hydrogen over other fuels (biodiesel) because hydrogen is essentially infinitely scalable, whereas biodiesel definitely has an upper limit. Our desire for fuel seems to have no bound, so replacing one solution with a scaling problem (oil) with another one (biodiesel) seems silly. Until we have portable fusion generators, hydrogen is probably the farthest-scaling solution, so it's nice to not be pansy and go for the best option.

I hate the term "green power", article full of shi (1, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342907)

Hydrogen, tested in buses from Amsterdam to Vancouver and used in the rockets of the U.S. space shuttle, is a clean power that promises to break dependence on oil and gas -- at least in Iceland.

Except that hydrogen isn't found, or mined, it's created. Either from fossil fuels or by electrolyzing water, which requires electricity, which comes from fossil fuels.

How are they generating the hydrogen?

It's easy for iceland to claim 70% "green" because geothermal heating is a real option for them. The air is cold, the earth is hot. It doesn't work for most of the rest of the world. There's nothing for me to dig into but cold muck and the chesapeake watershed.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342986)

From geothermal power. Iceland has lots of volcanic activity, hot steam vents and such. They will use that power to produce hydrogen.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343086)

Well, that's good for them, but it still doesn't do much for the rest of us.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (2, Interesting)

TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343045)

Most countries probably have at least some geothermal reserves, which could feasibly be used for power. For example, Australia isn't exactly known for its volcanoes, but we do have a major geothermal energy project under way:

http://hotrock.anu.edu.au/cooper.htm

And the geothermal energy doesn't have to be next door. I'm sure there are plenty of geothermal sites in North America. They may not be enough to supply the whole nation's ebergy requirements, but they might cover some of it.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343074)

Excuse me but not all electricity comes from Fossil fuels. Here in BC we've in fact found a better way. More than 95% of our electricity comes from Hydro, and if we were to use that power to create hydrogen, we'd be completely green.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (1)

k98sven (324383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343094)

Except that hydrogen isn't found, or mined, it's created. Either from fossil fuels or by electrolyzing water, which requires electricity, which comes from fossil fuels.

Not in Iceland it doesn't.

It's easy for iceland to claim 70% "green" because geothermal heating is a real option for them. The air is cold, the earth is hot. It doesn't work for most of the rest of the world.

What the heck is your problem?

First you go off about how hydrogen is useless since you've got to get the power from somewhere. Then you lambast the icelanders just because they don't get power from a dirty source and make the point that somehow doesn't count, since their solution doesn't work for every single nation in the whole world. (As if anyone claimed it would!)

And someone modded this 'insightful'?!

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343146)

I never said hydrogen is useless, I said it isn't "green energy". It's a means of storing energy. If hydrogen is "green" then alkaline or lead acid batteries are "green".

I'm not lambasting Iceland, I'm saying that their solution doesn't scale for the rest of us.

I was annoyed by the articles opening line about hydrogen being some magical abundant fuel that has absolutely no strings or drawbacks. It's not. It's only a small part of a solution to a very complex problem.

I could heat my house off the grid if I had a hot spring in my backyard, I don't.

So what the heck is your problem?

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343112)

Dig a few miles more. The temperature of the earth's increases the farther down you dig. My guess is this is probably not economically feasible though.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343161)

and with those natural heat sources, it is still going to take a small not overly industrialized country until 2050 to break its dependence. Yet the greens seem to think the United States should stop using oil immediately.

Re:I hate the term "green power", article full of (5, Informative)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343185)

Actually, most of the energy needs in Iceland are currently met by good old hydro (as in water) dams rather than geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is almost the sole source of heating, though; 85% of heating needs are met by geothermal energy.

Now, some people may debate exactly how 'green' hydro dams are, but they are certainly more green than fossil fuels. However, there is one strange twist here, which is somewhat offtopic: more than a few dams in Iceland, including a massive one that is currently being constructed at Karahjukar [bankwatch.org] are erected for the exlusive purpose of providing power for aluminum smelters, which are not that green.

Hydrogen generation is at least a noble attempt to use some of the available electricity for slightly more eco-friendly purposes, and surely causes less polution than fossil fuels if it is powered by hydro power.

Totally oil free? (4, Interesting)

SpamSlapper (162584) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342909)

"Iceland plans to become the first oil-free country by 2050." Wow. That's impressive. So they're not going to use any products made from plastic, or oil-based paints, lubricants, etc?

Re:Totally oil free? (1)

jj_johny (626460) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342976)

Yeah you should see their seal skin case mods. And their ICs encased in whale blubber. And everything at the grocery store comes in dried gourds .....

Re:Totally oil free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343023)

Yes, that is correct.

Re:Totally oil free? (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343159)

I'm sure one can live without oil based plastics or paints... but without oil based lubricants... one wonders how they will keep their cars running and their sex lives lively.

Oil free? (3, Insightful)

agm (467017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342934)

I predict we will all be oil free by 2050 - because there won't be any left! Well, not the kind that gets sucked out of the ground at least.

Re:Oil free? (1)

thebes (663586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343021)

The foreheads of greasy McDonalds minimum wage burger flippers will be our new source of oil! They will become a) rich because we're all buying oil off their foreheads or b) incredibly poor, because they'll be stripped of all rights and put in McD's for the rest of their natural (and unnatural) lives to have all the oil possible drained from them.

Isn't this the place... (1)

cartzworth (709639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342938)

Isn't this the place where they use thermal springs from the earth for energy?

Progress (2, Insightful)

zachthemagictaco (843689) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342939)

Ah, finally. All these years of speculation, the United Nations, and treaties is resulting in something.

Of course, the U.S. doesn't approve of this, as we reject the Kyoto Treaty.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11342980)

The Kyoto accord is crap. China is exempt, and they are well on their way to being a huge polluter.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343017)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Accord#Current_ positions_of_governments
read

Re:Progress (2, Informative)

j0e_average (611151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343150)

I did. The world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is China. Yet, China was entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. This is a challenge that requires a 100 percent effort; ours, and the rest of the world's. America's unwillingness to embrace a flawed treaty should not be read by our friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility. To the contrary, my administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of climate change. Our approach must be consistent with the long-term goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. China signed on because it was exempt...the better question would be would they have signed on had they not been exempt? Hmmmmmmmm? The stream of bullshit emitted from the UN is nothing but fuel for smaller countries to put blame on the US for something or another.
Well, you'll have a new whipping boy soon, and his name is China...and he doesn't give a fsck what the US, UN, EU, Amnesty Internation, et.al. thinks... Count on it!

Re:Progress (2)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343183)

Kyoto has nothing to do with the environment. Even the best estimates if it worked have it lowering our mean planet temperature of a couple hudredths of a degree over the next few centuries.

Kyoto is all about redistributing wealth to other countries. Bush was right to reject it.

Hydrogen (0, Flamebait)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342945)

Why hasn't this been adopted in the US?

Also:
"With almost unlimited geothermal energy sizzling beneath its surface, Iceland has ..."

Do not let the Bush family know about this!

2050 should be a interesting year (5, Funny)

Class Act Dynamo (802223) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342946)

First the robots will win the World Cup [slashdot.org] then Iceland will become oil free. 2050 will be marked down for ages as a year of great change and upheaval.

Re:2050 should be a interesting year (1)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343166)

Hydrogen powered robots from Iceland?

Iceland is the Saudi Arabia of the 21st Century (4)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342989)

Why?

Thanks to Iceland being basically one Giant Volcano, they've lots of Free Geothermal energy to make electricity and (bonus bell rings) it's surrounded by water. Put the two together and bingo: hydrogen.

It's going to be funny to see the Icelanders, who are already an incredibly literate and well educated people, will do with all the loot.

Personally, I look forward to our new Viking Overlords.

RS

Re:Iceland is the Saudi Arabia of the 21st Century (0, Offtopic)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343210)

It's going to be funny to see the Icelanders, who are already an incredibly literate and well educated people, will do with all the loot.

If they know whats good for them? Guns. Lots of guns.

Peak Oil (1)

aking137 (266199) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342995)

Iceland plans to become the first oil-free country by 2050.

Best of luck to them: lots of people out there are saying that we're going to reach peak oil (the point at which supply of oil can no longer meet demand) much sooner - in which case, Iceland and, well, every other country won't have any choice but to be almost entirely oil free by 2050.

If only every country was at least this forward thinking and we didn't all take energy for granted.

Here's a few references: 1 [oilcrash.com] 2 [oilcrisis.org] 3 [peakoil.net] 4 [dieoff.org] 5 [after-oil.co.uk] or just Google for peak oil [google.co.uk] .

Geothermal is useful (2, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11342998)

It's the geothermal power that Iceland has in abundance that's a big help here. There's absolutely no shortage of it available. I guess the key is that Iceland has made full use of it for their energy needs. Not all countries have it quite so easy with readily available energy sources, making the 70% of energy needs from green power a little harder to attain. Then again, a few steps in the direction of energy efficiency could actually make significant impact in some of the countries guilty of rather conspicuous consumption when it comes to energy (not pointing any fingers or anything...)

It is good to see countries taking positive steps though: if you have a surfeit of electrical power readily available, why not make the move to hydrogen powered transport? Hopefully a few other countries that are naturally well stocked in clean electricity generation (eg. those with a good supply of, for example, hydroelectric power) can make similar moves. The road ahead looks like it will be an interesting one.

Jedidiah.

Green power? (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343014)

Where does the Hydrogen come from? Electrolysis. Where does the power to do that come from? In Iceland, it's geothermal. The US doesn't have nearly enough geothermal / solar / wind / whatever deployed to have similar results. Good for Iceland, but don't get your hopes up in the US.

Re:Green power? (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343118)

Well let's face if if the US hangs on and stays with dirty power sources while the rest of the world converts, they'll have the highest energy costs in the world. Sooner or later we WILL run out of oil.

Re:Green power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343145)

Well, there is always nuclear, albeit everyone is scared silly of anything nuclear or radiation. Despite its dangers and radioactive waste, nuclear power can't be any worse than destroying the ozone layer.

Err .... (3, Funny)

taniwha (70410) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343015)

wont this leave the streets full of exhaust (ice) in the middle of winter ...?

Re:Err .... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343138)

Uh, the streets are _already_ full of ice in the middle of the winter. They will probably just pelletize it so it rolls to the side of the road. But the impact should be minimal compared to the several feet of ice and snow they already get...

Re:Err .... (1)

haggar (72771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343157)

Iceland has very mild winters, thanks to the northatlantic conveyer.

Now, if the melting of the ice stops it, then things could turn ugly for them. But so will for Britain and most of Northern Europe.

Energy independence is a national security issue (4, Insightful)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343018)

Replacing foriegn oil imports is vital to continued economic growth and ensuring security for any nation or society. A country would be foolish to place their bets on a resource that is dwindling and susceptible to manipulation by foreign interests. The good news is that it is mearly a technical problem but the lead time requires planning and foresight - which in some unnamed countries is sadly lacking.

Anyone interested this topic should checkout the Rocky Mountain Institute [rmi.org] and read up on the ideas of Amory Lovins.

Vapor Cloud ! (1)

hopbine (618442) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343040)

According to the article - "some scientists say the atmosphere might simply become too cloudy in a hydrogen economy, emitting vast amounts of water vapor" I have never heard this before as a reason not to to use hydrogen. Surely any combustion engine will produce water vapor - does Hydrogen produse more than gasoline ?

How to generate hydrogen... (1)

MLopat (848735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343066)

Some people are a little naive about energy generation. While hydrogen can be isolated from hydro carbons, it can also be produced from water... and yes this requires electricity. But there's a number of ways to generate electricity that doesn't involve oil including solar, wind and tidal power plants. For example, Toronto, Canada now uses 2 windmills located within the city to generate electrical power for 42,000 homes. This same technology could easily be employed to seperate hydrogen from water and produce a true "green" fuel.

Free at last! (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343080)

When the oil runs out in 2050, we'll all be "oil-free". But maybe Iceland will be the only country still running. Except for many really poor countries, which were hardly ever "running" on oil at all. The "American Centuries" might someday seem the stuff of legend, like Atlantis sunk deep in Mexico.

oil free is a misnomer. (2, Informative)

LiMikeTnux (770345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343089)

Unless they plan to use only synthetic rubbers, plastics, lubricants, you see where this is going, you cant be oil free. Petroleum has ALOT more uses than just fuel, you know.

kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343090)

To the Icelandians, for those of you not in island but interested in renewables there's always fieldlines! [fieldlines.com]

I didn't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343095)

that Iceland had all that hydrogen. It seems to me that they would use lava. There's plenty of that there. Transporting it could be a hassle, though.

Oil free by choice or coercion? (1)

dunng808 (448849) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343129)

Goals are nice, and 2050 is a nice round number to aim at. I think it would be great if they reach their goal. I wish Hawaii, where I live, would set such a goal. But I do not want to achieve such a goal through heavy handed laws that force people to change, or tax breaks that give an unfair advantage to alternative energy. I want oil to loose because people choose alternatives on their own merits.

This is a big deal. (2, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343132)

With current technology, burning oil to make hydrogen to run a bus produces more pollution than simply running the bus on oil. Iceland sees itself as a testing ground, where almost unlimited heat from hot springs can be tapped for experiments.

This is a big deal folks. Geothermal is quite abundant [doe.gov] but it is relatively low grade energy. If you can get drilling costs down and figure out how to use the low grade energy along the lines the Icelanders are doing, you can not only resolve most subsistence energy problems, you can localize most food production for consumption in colder climates with articficial hot springs [jardhitafelag.is] just as the Icelanders are doing.

Just in time, too... (1)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343134)

Just in time for the swearing in of President Björk.

Iceland is not switching for the environment (1)

Bishop (4500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343174)

The article implies that Iceland is switching to hydrogen and geothermal due to all the environmental reasons. This simply isn't the case. Iceland is switching away from fossil fuels as they have none. The move away from oil is an economic decision. Oil is very expensive in Iceland as it is all imported. By contrast geothermal is practically free. Watch for Iceland to become a major exporter of hydrogen.

What About Norway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343176)

Norway has been energy-independent (hydro-electric) for many years.

Got a bet for you all (1, Offtopic)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343214)

Iceland plans to become the first oil-free country by 2050.

5 bucks says we invade iceland next year because that's where all the terrorist hang out.

Very Small Country (4, Informative)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11343216)

While I commend the notion, Iceland has a unique feature not mentioned in the article -- an extremely small population. According to the CIA [cia.gov] (spare the check-your-facts comments, thanks), it is currently less than 300,000 people.

To put that into perspective, there are over 1200 CITIES [mongabay.com] in the world with more that 300,000 people. Seriously, more people live in Toledo than all of Iceland. As far as the Hydrogen economy goes, it's a start, but such a very small start. By 2050 I sure hope we're further along worldwide.

Better act fast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11343227)

Iceland plans to become the first oil-free country by 2050

How much oil does Sealand use? Probably not that much.

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