Posted by: Erin | April 27, 2008

Million Dollar Ride

The RES students backed their bags, boarded the plane, The Plane Ride and took at trip down south to Reykjavik for a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Conference. All the RES students weren’t used to being in the “Big” City, but we managed to fit in with the other 120,000 Icelanders.

The conference was a typical conference with a day full of presenters from all over the North Atlantic, touting their product or mission with the usual PowerPoint. Lunch was followed with the best part of the conference…the chance to drive several fuel cell and hydrogen power vehicles. If you know me well, you know my love for cars. As a gadget queen there is no better place to find so many useful (And useless at times) features condensed into one space.

There were four brands that were available some were direct fuel cells like the Ford Focus or the Mercedes Little Electric CarFord FocusMercedes Fuel CellA-Class while others were a hybrid fuel cell/battery like the Toyota Prius. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to drive the Ford Focus, which is apparently the better car with a price take of $800,000. But I did get to drive the A-Class…does if feel like a car worth over $1 Million? Absolutely Not. But given all the R&D that that went into it and the expensive components that are under the hood, I applaud both companies for making the costly investment into the next generation car. In order to reduce our Green House Gases emissions, namely carbon dioxide, we have to tackle the transportation sector which is one of the largest contributors to GHG by changing from our typical fossil fuel alternatives such as gasoline and diesel and fuel cells are a good start.

The conference ended and the school took us out to one of the best Restaurants in Reykjavík, Perlan. The building was converted from three water towers to a museum with the restaurant on the top floor with a huge class dome roof that rotates to see then cityscape. Great dinner, great views, great company.

The next morning we went to see the first commercial fuel cell boat cast off in Reykjavik harbor. LFuel Cellet me say that the propulsion system is still powered by diesel. TheThe boat only thing the fuel cell is responsible for is the auxiliary electricity, i.e. the lights.

The RES students were invited on for the first trip around the harbor. We boarded the boat and started taking pictures of the scene. I leaded up against the railing only to find out that it wasn’t a railing, but a gate that wasn’t secured shut. Luckily my nimble cat like reflexes were able to keep me from cascading on to the ship deck below. My good friend Sebastian is enacting the almost disaster.

The Loose Gate

At the conference the day before, the presenters involved with the first hydrogen fuel cell on a commercial vessel were talking about the construction progress; taking place over a 3 week time frame and their hope that it will be ready for today. Well when I see the fuel cell, I started to wonder if it just wasn’t an empty metal box…but they lived up to the hype when they shut the engine off and the lights continued to work. It’s a small step, but Iceland will use this as research project to establish the feasibility of an entire fleet of hydrogen power ships.

We disembarked the boat to drive more fuel cell and renewable energy cars. And I finally got to try out theThe Segway famous Segway…for a few seconds. There two Segway representative there, each with a test model. However, I went to the sales man wasn’t very open to letting the customers try it out and instead of letting people try it, he just rode around the parking lot…apparently he doesn’t know marketing all that much.

After that event, we went to the University of Iceland to head Scott Stanley, the Chief Engineer of Fuel Cell Vehicle Technology Development. He gave us a talk on the recent fuel cell car they brought to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to race. Subsequently, the Ford 999, as they called it became the first fuel cell car to race there and also became part of the 200 mph club.Ford 999



  1. Hi Erin,
    I want to be you and then I want the 1 million dollar car!!!! I also like the look of Sebastian!!! love,Lee

  2. million dollar car.. I think everyone should have at least one..
    glad you have such quick reflexes, I am not planning on coming to Iceland before July…no quick unschedule trips if you please…
    stay well

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