In an unexpected development, on May 4th the US House Committee on Armed Services directed the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on advances in low-energy nuclear reactions (LENRs) to the committee by September 22, 2016. This is the first time Congress has issued an official request for a national security briefing on the implications of LENRs. The statement from the Committee said:

“This briefing should examine the current state of research in the United States, how that compares to work being done internationally, and an assessment of the type of military applications where this technology could potentially be useful.

The Naval Research Laboratory, along with the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and possibly the Department of Energy’s national laboratories likely will be among the participants preparing the Department of Defence briefing for Congress.

Filling vehicles with the equivalent of one gallon of gasoline takes about 14,500 gallons of uncompressed hydrogen. However the National Energy Renewable Laboratory in the US says that hydrogen has nearly three times the energy content of gasoline, which more than compensates for the efficiency losses.

It is  difficult to store hydrogen — a major barrier when it comes to commercializing fuel-cell vehicles. In addition to storage is the need to develop a pipeline infrastructure that can deliver the hydrogen to automobile drivers. Pipelines that move hydrogen are 30% more expensive than those that carry natural gas. In order for the hydrogen economy to become a reality we will have to learn how to to produce, distribute and store hydrogen in an economical manner.

The Japanese city of Tokyo is gearing up for the hydrogen economy. The city has set aside $350 million in a special fund to subsidize hydrogen fuel cell cars and fueling stations in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics. In addition, it is building the 6,000-unit Olympic village to function exclusively on fuel cell power. Tokyo hopes to have 200,000 fuel-cell vehicles on the roads and 150 fueling stations by 2030. The government is providing 80% of the funds to construct these fueling stations. Tokyo is hoping by showcasing hydrogen at the Olympic games it will encourage other cities, states, or countries to move in the same direction.

Japan is hoping to have 40,000 hydrogen fuel-cell cars on its roads by 2020, and 800,000 by 2030. Currently, about 400 such vehicles operate in the Asian country.

The US city of San Francisco is ramping up the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles and a hydrogen infrastructure — funded jointly by the US Energy Department and the city. The northern California city is also looking to have a high-speed hydrogen fuel cell passenger ferry and the world’s largest hydrogen refueling station that will serve the ferry boat as well as hydrogen fuel cell cars and buses.

Norwegian manufacturer H2 Logic plans on building a hydrogen refueling network in the Nordic country. The first station will be build near the Oslo, the country’s capital, later this year and a network of 20 stations are is expected to be in place by 202o.  Each station will be able to hand 5 vehicles simultaneously. The stations will produce hydrogen by using excess energy taken from energy positive buildings within close proximity.The network will link major cities such as Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, and Kristiansand. Using Denmark’s approach, the hydrogen stations will be built and operated along with oil, energy, and natural gas companies.

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