As a member of Canada's Energy BOT Squad here's what you need to know.
I'm super efficient. While I'm whipping down the Hydrogen Highway — a demonstration program that includes vehicle fuelling stations - I produce energy using nothing but hydrogen (and oxygen). And what do I leave behind? Nothing but water. No, it's not a slippery trap for fellow racers, just one of the main reasons that hydrogen-fuelled cars are attractive options for future driving.
Fuel cells operate on a range of temperatures — solid fuel, in particular, gets mighty warm. But while it's possible to use the electricity generated by a fuel cell for heating, Canadians aren't warming themselves up with hydrogen just yet.
Because hydrogen fuel cells only emit water, they're an attractive source of energy for vehicles, and working hydrogen vehicle prototypes already exist. Plus, the Hydrogen Highway let me soak up the Olympic spirit.
Fuel cells aren't currently being used for large-scale electricity generation in Canada, but there are on-site generating systems that let businesses produce their own power, emission-free. Otherwise, though, I've mostly got my mind on the road.
At the moment, there's not a lot for me to do but spin my wheels. You've either got to ride a prototype hydrogen vehicle or order a fuel cell generator if you want to use it yourself. But hydrogen is the universe's most common element.
If you want to see hydrogen fuel cells in action, there's no better place to go than BC's Hydrogen Highway. That's why I'm there, after all.
How does it work?
In its most common form, hydrogen consists of one proton and one electron. A fuel cell produces power using hydrogen as a fuel source, which is split into protons and electrons. The protons combine with oxygen, creating water (the cell's only waste product), and the electrons move to an external circuit, creating electricity.
I'm not just good at being fast, I'm also pretty efficient too. In fact, fuel cells are two to three times more energy efficient than a gasoline engine.
I like to move fast, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm spreading quickly. The first hydrogen buses were introduced in Iceland in 2003, but the technologies required are still mostly prototypes. For now, I'll just have to take it slow.
Next: Your final target: Geothermal Bot. Here's what we already know: he's using a famous hot spring to do what tourists have been doing for over 100 years. Getting warmer…