A New Record On A Hydrogen Car Shows Consumers Can Save The Planet

PARIS, FRANCE – 2015/12/10: Chief Executive Officer of the long-range experimental solar-powered … [+] aircraft project Solar Impulse Bertrand Piccard speaks before an award ceremony at the Cop21 in Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference. (Photo by Jonathan Raa/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LightRocket via Getty Images

The Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard will set a new record, travelling from France to Belgium through Luxembourg, to encourage more people to adopt alternative mobility. He presented this new project and his broader mission at G-STIC, the tech and sustainability conference, in Brussels last Thursday.

Piccard is leaving today from Sarreguemines, in Moselle, where the first French hydrogen station was opened in 2017. He will drive without further refueling for a record 700km and reach Le Bourget, in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, via Metz, Luxembourg and Brussels by the end of tomorrow.

His goal is to promote the technology to local authorities.

“My trips attracted a lot of attention from the public institutions and this one shows that you can set records with ready-to-use products,” Piccard said. “It’s a car you can use with your family and today these technologies allow us to do things we were not allowed to do before, which is something I want to prove.”

Owner of a Hyundai Kona Electric himself and ambassador of the Korean brand, Piccard will try to establish a record of autonomy on the hydrogen SUV Hyundai NEXO. While the model is homologated with 666km of autonomy, the goal is to reach a new symbolic threshold with a full tank.

However, while solar energy and biomass are expected to generate more hydrogen in the longer term, it is still currently produced from fossil fuels for the most part. According to the US Department of Energy, 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States only is made by natural gas reforming in large central plants.


In an attempt to demonstrate that logical and ecological solutions exist and can generate profit, Piccard founded the Solar Impulse Foundation. He wants to achieve this by selecting a portfolio of 1,000 ‘Efficient Solutions’ within the next two years. Judged and labelled by independent experts, there are 287 products or services defined as such so far.

The present record drive represents just the latest project for the Swiss psychiatrist, aviator and balloonist. Indeed, the Solar Impulse Foundation was named after the aircraft used in 2016 for his world-wide solar plane trip and since then Piccard gained more fame with his powerful speeches.

“We are consuming the capital of nature by polluting the air and the waters, by destroying biodiversity, by deploying resources. This is not capitalism, this is a way to rape nature for short term profit. I a company was run like the world is run, the CEO would be in jail,” he told Forbes. “People always believe that the future will be an extrapolation of the past, but the future is disruptive and we have to change our mindsets because we are going to be really in trouble if we don’t.”

The organizers of G-STIC 2019 put a special focus on energy, stressing the importance of renewables and the transition to modern district energy systems.

“Without deep technological innovation, we will not achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Veerle Vandeweerd, co-founder and policy director at G-STIC, said. “I think that the most challenging issue is that we all know it’s impossible to continue business as usual, but there are not enough market-ready disruptive solutions. The research is not going fast enough.”

Dirk Fransaer, founder and chair at G-STIC, added: “In terms of technology and innovation, our society is going forward. I am convinced that the regular business models are definitely going to change.”

Source: Forbes – Energy

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