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Articles by Tom Koppel

Tom Koppel is a freelance writer from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and author of Powering the Future.

Featured Article

“Our long-term goal is very simple,” said California Gov. Gray Davis (D) outside the state capitol in Sacramento in April 1999. “Zero emissions in the air. Zero. Nada. Nothing. Zip.” A crowd had gathered to hear Davis announce a major new state initiative, and to see the latest non-polluting automobiles to be unveiled by DaimlerChrysler and Ford. Running on electricity, the peppy performance of these cars dazzled the spectators. The two auto giants promised to have them in commercial production around 2003 or 2004. A new era of environmentally friendly transportation had begun.

Read more in Koppel’s book: Powering the Future John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 276 pages, 1999

At the heart of these vehicles is the Ballard fuel cell, the drastically improved version of an exotic and prohibitively expensive technology that was originally developed by General Electric for the U.S. space program and then shelved. A fuel cell is like a battery, but better. It requires no charging. It simply reverses the familiar high school science demonstration in which electricity is put through water to produce hydrogen and oxygen. In a Ball... Read more