Gatwick Airport in the UK (near London) has opened the world’s first waste-to-energy facility for airline and terminal waste. The facility can process waste from both planes and the terminal itself that was previously being taken offsite (eg. food waste and mixed packaging). Gatwick currently diverts 49% of its waste for recycling and is aiming to reach 85% by 2020. The new plant will convert this waste into bioenergy to heat Gatwick’s waste management site and power its water recovery system. Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport, serving around 43 million passengers a year. The Energy Observer has hydrogen tanks as opposed to a battery, this reduces the weight of the yacht considerably.

Wood pellets were the second largest wood product exported from the US in 2016, totaling 4.7 million metric tons. Over 99% of this volume was shipped from the southeast of the country to European ports and mostly to UK electricity utilities to replace coal.

Total US. energy production decreased 4% between 2015 and 2016, the first year-over-year decline since 2009, according to the country’s Energy Information Administration. This drop coincided with  a 7% increase in renewable energy production and an 18% fall in coal production. Much of the overall decline is attributable to an economy that is demanding less energy overall.

Research and Markets predicts the global hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle market is about to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 82% during the period 2017-2021. A fuel cell electric vehicle is a motorized vehicle powered by a fuel cell that burns hydrogen to produce electricity to drive the motor. These vehicles can be quickly refueled from a pump like a petrol or diesel vehicle, except that the tank fills with hydrogen gas. They have a range of about 300 miles per thank full, similar to internal combustion engine vehicles. Key manufacturers mentioned in the report as pressing ahead with this technology include Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota. A major barrier to the take up of fuel cell vehicles is the lack of refueling infrastructure in most countries.  Currently, the cost of installing a hydrogen refueling station is over $1 million, putting it out of reach of residential installations and small entrepreneurs. Some countries, such as Germany and Japan, are subsiding the costs of these stations to get them into the market quickly. Germany has created a joint venture with several private sector firms, including auto maker Daimler, to roll out a nationwide network of 400 hydrogen filling stations by 2023.

Edmunds test drives the new Honda Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche said at an automotive summit in Germany last week that hydrogen fuel cells are no longer a major part of the automaker’s plans for the future. Zetsche said declining battery costs have made fuel cell vehicles uncompetitive with electric cars. The German auto maker concluded liquid hydrogen is energy-intensive to produce, and in contrast to cars powered by existing electrical networks, would require an entirely new system of liquid hydrogen production and distribution.

The world’s first hydrogen powered yacht, the Energy Observer, will set sail from Paris in May 2017 on a 6 year journey around the globe.  The ship can generate hydrogen from 130 square meters of solar panels, two wind turbines, a traction kite and two reversible electric motors. Explorers Victorien Erussard and Jerome Delafosse will sail the vessel. (You can see a video of the boat here.)

Germany has tested a hydrogen powered train. After some more planned tests, the train is expected to begin commercial operation as early as later this year in Lower Saxony. The zero emission iLint Train as it will be called uses an onboard fuel cell design that combines stored hydrogen and oxygen taken from the local atmosphere to generate electricity. That electricity can propel the train up to 87 mph (140 kph). The latest test saw the train reach just over 50 miles per hour, so further testing is required to make sure that it is safe at higher speeds.

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