Argentine town may be model for producing hydrogen from wind

The people of Pico Truncado in southern Argentina know the power of the wind that whips through their open land; it rips flags to shreds, dumps dust on clothing, and musses hair. But it also provides more than half of the town’s electricity and could bolster its economic future. Pico Truncado already has four working windmills, and a wind-powered hydrogen plant will open in June. A nearby village is participating in a U.N. pilot project as one of five sites worldwide to be powered solely by alternative fuels, and an Argentine oil company has begun looking into financing a $19 billion wind-powered facility in or near Pico Truncado that could export hydrogen around the world. The 15,000 or so residents of the Patagonian town are hoping their, um, windfall will continue, possibly making the area the Middle East of the future. “Why not?” asks resident Mario Salomon. “We lack water, we lack money, but we have never lacked wind. We have plenty to spare.”