August 2010, Vol. 22, No.8

Water Volumes

Innovation, Markets, and Sustainable Energy — The Challenge of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Stefano Pogutz, Angeloantonio Russo, and Paolo Migliavacca, Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc., William Pratt House, 9 Dewey Court, Northhampton, MA 01060, 2009, hardcover 237 pp. $115, ISBN: 978 1 84844 107 1

This was the first significant book developed by the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Business Observatory (EHFBO). The goal is to describe not only the technology of hydrogen and fuel cells but also to describe a specific phase of technology change that has been neglected — the introductory or formative phase. This book provides some insight into the role hydrogen and fuel cells can play in a more sustainable world.

Part 1 discusses the role of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source and, more specifically, the market, infrastructure, and innovation of fuel cells shaping the energy industry.

Part 2 discusses several managerial processes of technological innovation and strategies. Also, a 10-year period from 1997 to 2007 is analyzed to determine technological advances in the fuel-cell industry. This section includes a discussion on the role of venture capital, as well as the markets for fuel-cell technologies.

Part 3 discusses the strategies and policies for hydrogen and fuel-cell development and marketing in Europe. It also includes chapters on the United States’ hydrogen policy and on Japan, which is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies.

The book concludes with a discussion on projects implemented in Europe.

What I found most interesting was that fuel cells are still in the innovative stage of development even though the technology has been around since 1839. Only recently has hydrogen as an energy source and the fuel-cell technology received significant attention.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in alternative energy sources, sustainability, or, specifically, fuels cells.

 

Timothy R. Banyai is managing engineer at Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.).

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