The Long Island New York town of Hempstead may be at the forefront of carbon neutral thinking in the U.S. In 2009 they became the first town near New York City to install a hydrogen and natural gas fueling station. They currently operate two town vehicles and a town bus on hydrogen fuel cells. What puts them at the forefront is the addition of a 121-foot tall wind turbine next to the fueling station that powers the station. Hempstead is taking advantage of their proximity to powerful Atlantic Ocean winds. The turbine can generate 180 megawatts of power per year, and is saving Hempstead $40,000 per year in hydrogen fuel costs. When the turbine is not creating hydrogen fuel, the excess power is being fed into the Long Island Power Authority electricity grid, lowering the costs to all Hempstead residents. Hydrogen fueling stations are not springing up around the country, but Hempstead’s novel approach could easily be emulated along the coastlines of the U.S., spurring on the adaption of hydrogen fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels. Even though the initial set up is not inexpensive, (the turbine cost $615,000, and the fueling station cost $2.2 million to build), it does provide this country with an energy alternative that further reduces our need to do business with Middle East.
Photo Credit: SourceOne