Hydrogen fueling station coming to San Francisco Airport

If you drive a fuel cell vehicle, you’ll be able to recharge at San Francisco International Airport. The hydrogen station that is planned will also be used for a fleet of airport shuttle buses and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority hybrid buses. This project has been funded in part by a $1.7 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (ARB).

Linde North America, an engineering firm, has been engaged to design and install the system. “At the heart of the station is the Linde MaxFueler 90, a dispensing system whose fast-fill technology makes hydrogen fueling quick and easy, creating a similar experience to what motorists now get at their local service station,” says Mike McGowan, head of hydrogen solutions for Linde North America.

John L. Martin, San Francisco International Airport director, said, “The development and installation of a hydrogen fueling station at SFO is just a further extension of the Airport’s commitment to being a good steward of the environment. Whether it be the expansion of solar or wind energy systems, the continued use of CNG and biodiesel fueled vehicles, or being part of cutting-edge systems such as hydrogen fueling facilities, SFO is fully committed to reducing its carbon footprint in our community.”

The project is set for completion in early 2010.

Airline Claims it Will Save $20 Million by Increasing Fuel Efficiency

Etihad Airways has announced that it is on track to save $20 million this year because of the success of its fuel-saving techniques. The airline has taken steps to reduce weight and improve engine performance by increasing the number of engine washes and reducing cruising speeds.

The fuel-saving strategy is not a last desperate attempt to stay in business. Etihad has been wildly successful over the past year. In the first half of 2008, it saw an unprecedented 41% increase in the number of passengers when compared to the same period in 2007. The airline has recently added routes to China and plans to expand further in to Europe and North America.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has added new routes and is planning on expanding its fleet by more than 100 aircraft in the near future. However, a slowing world economy and a projected drop in the number of passengers flying into and out of the Middle East might put a damper on Etihad’s ambitious growth plans.

Flying Green

It’s been on my mind lately. How much harm are we doing to the environment, flying around in fuel-guzzling jumbo jets? Being a large city dweller, I haven’t owned a car for years. However, I’ll jet around any chance I get.

On a per-passenger basis, flying is still less damaging than driving. (Here’s a nifty carbon calculator to see how much CO2 your next flight will generate.) However, airplanes do burn a lot of fuel and generally push pollutants up higher in the atmosphere than cars (the effects of which are being debated).

Fortunately, there is some hope for the guilty-minded. Some companies are offering the ability to pay for carbon-sequestering, sometimes by paying to have trees planted to offset carbon emissions, including Myclimate.org and TerraPass. Information about these programs is available on the web, including recent articles in the NY Times and Wired, and MyClimate’s site carbonoffsets.org.

Expedia, apparently, now offers to sell you offsets directly, charging $5.99 per 1,000 pounds of CO2, or about the amount from a 2,200 mile flight.