A small town called Nuestra Señora de Koluel Kaike, located 23 kilometers from Pico Truncado's Hydrogen Producing Plant in Patagonian province Santa Cruz, was chosen as one of the five populations of the world which will begin to replace the use of electric power and traditional fuels by renewable energies.
The election of this place -the only one in America for this experience- arises from an investigation on renewable energies of the International Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (Ichet), dependent institute of the United Nations. Patagonia was picked by the power of its winds, that combined with the Hydrogen Plant could bring to life the idea of clean hydrogen.
Seems like Hydrogen is getting popular in Argentina these days, with the recent story on Argentinean scientists getting pure hydrogen through ethanol......Let's remember that this substance is the most basic and abundant element in nature, and has a totally clean combustion, but the problem is that it's not found in pure state and its production -by means of electrolysis- requires energy expense. But if the hydrogen can be produced through wind power instead of coming from nuclear energy or petroleum (like it will be in the case of this Patagonian town), the result is a clean production of a great alternative fuel.
This plant's production should be enough to progressively replace conventional energies in Nuestra Señora de Koluel Kaike, according to the promoters of the project. That is, the energetic needs of 500 people by 2008.
Hydrogen produced from clean sources is still more expensive than fossil fuels, but if petrol continues to increase its cost, the gap will be reduced soon.
The other places in which this experience will be carried (all populations with less than one thousand inhabitants) include China, Libya, Turkey, and Oceania. [by Paula Alvarado, Buenos Aires]