The Hydrogen Economy
Hydrogen Cities Charter
The group is inspired to the vision of Professor Jeremy Rifkin like the Orvieto Charter:
Hydrogen produced from water by means of renewable energies and then re-combined with oxygen in fuel cells reproduces the cycle of water and will allow us to fully harness solar energy under all its forms. Sun and water, the two primary sources of life on this planet will supply the energy the man needs for his life without any negative impact on the earth ecosystem.
The Hydrogencities members are set to be the first ones to translate this vision into reality: by planning and implementing in each city hydrogen and fuel cells based projects, and also promoting hydrogen production centers that use renewable energies. All of the cities associated in Hydrogencities adopt a H.C.P. (Hydrogen City Program) that is articulated in two phases:
In a first phase, operational projects will demonstrate hydrogen devices and will aim at spreading pubic awareness about the hydrogen and its economic, environmental and social advantages.
In a second phase, after having raised appropriate funds, the program will aim at producing and distributing hydrogen from renewable sources (wind, photo-voltaic, hydro-electric, geo-thermal and biomass, or a combination of them) in conformity to the meteorological and geo-morphological features of each City territory.
In the long term, this will result in distributed generation power plants enabling the local community and citizens to achieve energy and economic independence as well as a cleaner and more favorable environment.
Hydrogencities is a European network based in Brussels, a City that has become unarguably a non-avoidable reference for any initiative of European dimension.
We believe that on these particular themes, the role of Europe in the international scenario will be crucial. Hydrogencities is a European initiative with the ambition to expand on worldwide scale and to this end, it has already started seeking extra-EU membership and establishing contacts and relations with similar initiatives at international level such as the US "Green Hydrogen Network".
Hydrogen Cities Background Principles
Hydrogen means water generator. It is a well-known fact that hydrogen combined with the oxygen present in the atmosphere generates a combustion, and water as main by-product.
This process also liberates a great deal of energy. In the 19th century the hydrogen-oxygen mix was called thunder-sound mix, because of its power.
Later, the space research developed electro-chemical systems in which the oxidation of hydrogen happens at low temperature with no fire or explosion: the fuel cells. They have been used as power generators on board of spacecrafts for decades now.
The fuel cells produce mainly electricity; they produce only two very useful and exploitable by-products: heat and pure water. Nothing else. No dangerous substances, no noise and above all no green house effect gases; zero emission.
The efficiency of fuel cells is very high: around double that of a diesel engine.
They are also extremely versatile; they can be employed for electricity supply for houses, buildings and city streets but also in vehicles by the transport industry. They can supply energy for cellular phones but also for several megawatt power plants.
As small scale power plants they allow distributed generation of energy, a little Copernican revolution with great consequences.
Electricity is no longer produced in large polluting power plants to be then wire-transported at long distances with great dispersion in the surrounding environment. It will be produced at the end user location, where also its heat can be utilized: this is the principle of co-generation (electricity and heat).
The fuel cells can then be interconnected among different end-users in local networks, on the model of the World Wide Web. This is the basis of the hydrogen economy, set to replace the present oil economy, based on fossil fuels, which has reached its maximum limits, as it's evident by now; global warming and climate changes on the planet with catastrophic consequences like more frequent and stronger tornados in the Americas, progressive desertification in Africa, damaging floods in Europe, interruption of the animal food chain and consequent decrease of marine and land bio-diversity. Not to forget the periodical great geo-political crisis for the control of the increasingly scarce resources, the high dangers for the human health, and the great and no longer sustainable differences at social and economic level.
A change is long overdue: large investments are needed to create the economy of scale that can support fuel cells diffusion.
Renewable energies of solar origin must be encouraged in order to use them for mass hydrogen production (green hydrogen). This will also have a strong impact in terms of the process known as democratization of energy. The European cities gathering in the Hydrogencities European Economic Interest Group (EEIG) intend to anticipate the hydrogen economy, setting the future European green hydrogen scene.