For those who thought that the Olympic torch in San Francisco recently brought out many rallying cries from anti-Chinese government activists, there is another rallying cry escalating in the environmental movement. What some have referred to as the “Hydrogen Manhattan Project” over the years is now seen as something that is necessary, viable and in our best interests to do.
As I’ve been talking about for the past couple of weeks, the building of hydrogen cars has far outpaced the building of hydrogen fueling stations. Yesterday, I talked about how GM, Honda and Toyota are all calling for many more hydrogen fueling stations to be build in support to the vehicles that they are now building. The Air Resources Board of California is only requiring a certain amount of hydrogen cars be built in the near future without a similar requirement targeted towards hydrogen fueling station builders.
Because of the frustration with this disparity in parity and lag in the building of hydrogen infrastructure, calls are now being made for a Hydrogen Manhattan Project to take place that will put thousands of fueling stations across the country within a few miles from hydrogen car owners.
One of those people recently making the call for a Hydrogen Manhattan Project is Greg Blencoe, the CEO of Hydrogen Discoveries, who says the $1.8 billion in tax subsidies to oil companies should end immediately and be used to pay for the building of the infrastructure on a nationwide basis.
As you will recall, the original Manhattan Project was a national project during World War II to develop an atomic bomb that would end the war. Many scientists, engineers and laborers were employed around the clock and instilled with a sense of urgency to get this project completed as soon as possible.
Some others have likened the building of a hydrogen infrastructure to President Kennedy’s Space Race program, which threw many of the nation’s resources towards being the first country to put a man on the moon. This is another good analogy except it doesn’t hold the necessity or consequences for failing to act that the Hydrogen Manhattan Project does.
The Hydrogencommerce.com website has also been calling for the Hydrogen Manhattan Project for a couple of years as a way to wean America off imported oil. They say that in order to achieve energy independence, that a massive government undertaking powered by the will of the people will be needed to put this infrastructure in place.
Wired magazine points out that since President Bush has been in office we have spent $1.2 billion on hydrogen infrastructure over the past 5 years, so compared this to the amount for oil company subsidies and one can see where the priorities have been.
The Hydrogen Manhattan Project is not as overwhelming an undertaking as one might think. All it will require is the will of the people coupled with the will of the legislators and there is nothing we cannot accomplish when those two “wills” are aligned.