Category Archives: Energy

Hydrogen fueled transportation

Humans have burned wood, yak chips, fat from mammals, coal, oil, and the by-product from decomposing plant and animal matter (methane or “Natural Gas”) to scare away animals, provide light, cook food, heat homes, and eventually to power automobiles and industry.  The by-products from combustion are usually a poisonous mixture containing different types of gases, particles, and sometimes unburned fuel.

One exception to poisonous combustion by-products is the reaction produced when Hydrogen and Oxygen are burned together.  The by-product from these two gases is water vapor (H2O).  Jewelers have been using torches powered by Hydrogen and Oxygen for many years.  Hydrogen as a fuel is not without problem technologies and inefficiencies.  But Hydrogen has distinct advantages as a source of power.   Some of these are that the reaction does not produce poison during operation, storage, or during the process of electrolysis (where water is separated into Hydrogen and Oxygen gas).

This post is a quick introduction to Hydrogen fueled vehicles.


California's Hydrogen Transportation Initiatives This page last reviewed July 15, 2016 As zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), hydrogen fuel cells play a significant role in reducing California's greenhouse gas and smog emissions. The California Air Resources Board's most recent Advanced Clean Cars Program builds upon the ZEV Regulation in place since 1990, and rapidly increases numbers of ZEV technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric vehicles. By mid-century, 87% of cars on the road will need to be full ZEVs. This will place California on a path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, a goal adopted by many nations and believed necessary to stabilize climate temperature. What's New 2016 Annual Evaluation of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Deployment and Hydrogen Fuel Station Network Development New Webpage with Information About ARB's Hydrogen Infrastructure Assessments & CHIT Tool Governor Signs AB 8 - Extending programs aimed at reducing auto emissions until 2024, including a provision to fund at least 100 hydrogen stations with a commitment of up to $20 million per year. Hydrogen Stations AB 8 Annual Evaluations By the end of 2017, California is expected to have 50 hydrogen fueling stations open to the public. The California Fuel Cell Partnership's (CaFCP) hydrogen fueling station map provides details and status of all hydrogen fueling stations in the State. Their California Road Map describes the infrastructure that will be needed to successfully launch the commercial fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market. Under AB 8, ARB annually reports on an evaluation of the deployment of Fuel Cell EVs and hydrogen fueling stations in CA. In order to identify areas of greatest need for fueling infrastructure, ARB has developed the CA Hydrogen Infrastructure Tool (CHIT).




Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls For Immediate Halt to Dakota Access Pipeline

Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it’s important to all people & living beings

Press Release: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges President to Immediately Halt Dakota Access Pipeline December 01, 2016
Washington, DC—In a speech on the House floor Thursday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) called on President Obama to immediately halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and announced plans to join thousands of veterans from across the country to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota this weekend.

“Growing up in Hawaii, I learned the value of caring for our home, caring for our planet, and the basic principle that we are all connected in a great chain of cause and effect.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a threat to this great balance of life. Despite strong opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux and serious concerns raised by the EPA, the Department of Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other Federal agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers approved permits to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline without adequately consulting the tribes, and without fully evaluating the potential impacts to neighboring tribal lands, sacred sites, and their water supply. Just one spill near the tribe’s reservation could release thousands of barrels of crude oil, contaminating the tribe’s drinking water.

The impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline is clear. Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Pipeline, has a history of serious pipeline explosions, which have caused injury, death, and significant property damage in the past decade. The future operator of the planned pipeline, Sunoco Logistics, has had over 200 environmentally damaging oil spills in the last 6 years alone—more than any of its competitors.

Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it is an issue that is important to all people and all living beings everywhere. Water is life. We cannot survive without it. Once we allow an aquifer to be polluted, there is very little that can be done about it. This is why it is essential that we prevent water resources from being polluted in the first place.

Our Founding Fathers took great inspiration from Native American forms of governance, and the democratic principles that they were founded on. Their unique form of governance was built on an agreement called the Great Law of Peace, which states that before beginning their deliberations, the council shall be obliged, and I quote, “to express their gratitude to their cousins and greet them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life.”

This recognition of our debt to the Creator and our responsibility to be responsible members of this great web of life was there from the beginning of Western democracy.

Freedom is not a buzzword. The freedom of our Founding Fathers was not the freedom to bulldoze wherever you like.

Our freedom is a freedom of mind, a freedom of heart, freedom to worship as we see fit, freedom from tyranny and freedom from terror. That’s the freedom this country was founded on, the freedom cultivated by America’s Native people, and the freedom the Standing Rock Sioux are now exercising.

This weekend I’m joining thousands of veterans from across the country at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters. Together we call on President Obama to immediately halt the construction of this pipeline, respect the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, and respect their right to clean water. The truth is, whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, or the threat posed to a major Hawaiʻi aquifer by the Red Hill fuel leak, each example underscores the vital importance of protecting our water resources.

We can’t undo history, but we must learn lessons from the past and carry them forward—to encourage cooperation among free people, to protect the sacred, to care for the Earth and for our children, and our children’s children. What’s at stake is our shared heritage of freedom and democracy and our shared future on this Great Turtle Island, our great United States of America.”

Leverage Points: Scientists vs. Big Companies

Considering the article, A Valuable Reputation, regarding the battle between scientist Tyrone Hayes and the company Syngenta, I would like to discuss the idea of leverage points within the world of big companies.

In Hayes’s work with frogs and the investigation of the effect of atrazine, he found that the chemical was harmful to the sexual development of the animals. Once he made the discovery, he felt that Syngenta, a frequent user of the chemical, was spying on him in an attempt to discredit any of his evidence. Hayes was correct in that suspicion. However, the attack from the big company was only the beginning. Employees of Syngenta continued to attempt to get Hayes’s evidence dismissed. They acted as bullies, personally going after Hayes and working together to take him down.

I found this case very similar to that of marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson and pharmacologist and physician Frances Oldham Kelsey, and their discoveries about negative impacts of drugs and chemicals from big companies of their times.

I would like to focus on this recurring issue of big companies vs. scientists in the use of harmful ingredients through the lens of Donella Meadows’s strategy of leverage points and the places to intervene in a system. This strategy focuses on places where in a system that can be looked at and intervened with to make changes. They are as follows, taken from her  essay, Leverage Points Places to Intervene in a System.


In the cases of scientists vs big companies, I thought that the most effective places to intervene in the system would be numbers 6, 5, and 1.

The first step in applying this would be to establish what the system is in the case of scientist vs. big companies. In my understanding of it, the basis of the system is that the big companies have some sort of harmful ingredient which they either produce of use. The harm that said ingredient inflicts on the victim is discovered and released by the scientist. Of course, the big companies do not want to quit using the ingredient or find an alternative for it because it would be the most efficient one to use in terms of money and ease. However, the scientist is persistent in ending the use of the ingredient because they are focused on the harm it causes. This leads to a dispute between big companies and the scientist.

Where Meadows’s strategy would come in would be as follows, (focusing on the effective places listed above):

6. To have the flow of information between the big companies and scientist to be more cohesive. In other words, if the scientists shared their information with the big companies and vice versa, the two could work together in a cordial way and find an alternative solution together.

5. Ultimately to change the rules of the system that I listed above. If both sides of the system changed their approach to it, then the system would ultimately have to change. If the big companies did not attack the scientists and become defensive when the evidence was produced and if the scientists first went to the big companies instead of press with the evidence then the system would ultimately change.

1. Similar to 5, if the paradigm of the system were able to be transcended by one or both parties of the system, then it would be forced to change. This alter in the paradigm would be a leverage point in improving the relationship between big companies and scientists and the issues that arise when a discovery about an ingredient is made.

Standing with Standing Rock #NoDAPL


As police are now using Facebook check-ins to target those in protest at Standing Rock, people are taking to social media to support the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline by checking in to the Standing Rock Reservation via Facebook to dilute the check-in system and stand in solidarity with those physically protesting at Standing Rock.

Internet activism is not particularly new, and it is far from perfect.  It is not necessarily the best way to participate but it is the most accessible and in the end it is an incredibly effective means to raise awareness about issues and start conversations around them.  It’s amazing to see people taking a public stance at the intersection of an environmental and human rights issue.  Making climate change a tangible issue to the public can be difficult as its effects are not often seen immediately, but when factors of climate change are directly correlated to human rights as well I think it is easier for people to sympathize with and take action to fight the unjust.  Issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Sioux reservation exhibit how human lives, particularly an indigenous tribe, are being displaced by actions of large corporations extremely similar to many of the articles we read last week concerning Monsanto and Dartmouth.  This directly reflects how the U.S. government has continued to marginalize Native American communities.  The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline would carry over 570,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.  Not only would this harm the surrounding environment and jeopardize safe drinking water, but sacred burial grounds and cultural traditions would be destroyed in the process.

The gallery below is just a few of the increasing posts I saw when scrolling through Facebook in the last couple of days. If there is an issue that you believe in, there is always something you can do even if it is as simple as clicking a button and sharing a link: