Thunder Bay: 1st Stop on the Hydrail Orient Express!


HydrailTHUNDER BAY – As you read in NetNewsledger a short while ago, ICHET (the International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technology) is hosting the Sixth International Hydrail Conference this July 1 &2 in Istanbul, Turkey.

ICHET is a project of UNIDO (the United Nations Industrial Development Organization), headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and is supported by the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

A key ICHET objective is to assist developing nations to bypass the carbon fuel phase by introducing hydrogen technologies in their stead. Hydrail is a prime example; thus the Istanbul Hydrail Conference.

Per one hydrail conference presentation in 2007, India—an industrial powerhouse but still with a country with vast underdeveloped regions—was (at least before the current downturn) actively entertaining the possibility of powering as many as ten fuel cell commuter trains using waste hydrogen from chemical plants.

Since the days of the British Empire, India has been continuously developed toward a rail-intensive transportation system. A virtual Eden of bio-fuel potential, certainly not wanting for solar energy potential; and already a nuclear energy power, India could be a huge market for post–carbon hydrail commuter trains built here in Thunder Bay.

South and Central American countries, as well as African countries and East Asia, could be similar markets.

Those Eastern European countries still playing catch–up after years of Soviet-era stagnation, are in a position to use hydrail to bypass not only further carbon fuelled rail development but also unaffordable and moribund track electrification investment; yet another market for Thunder Bay hydrail trains.

Ontario, already a world source for fuel cells, may one day owe a major debt of gratitude to ICHET and Turkey for putting the hydrail question squarely on the table for resolution.

Let’s hope some of the Ontarians now urging realization of Premier McGuinty’s 2007 vision of Thunder Bay as commuter hydrail purveyor to the world will show up in Istanbul to bring home ammunition for the argument that, re hydrail manufacture, sooner is much, much better for our region of Canada.

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