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Energy

Race for fuel cells kicks off in upstate NY

fuelcell_Brianfit.jpg
Brianfit
/
via Flickr
That's the promise of fuel cell vehicles, but is the U.S. investing enough to make it happen?

The race for a better hydrogen fuel cell is unfolding (in part) in upstate New York, reports the Democrat and Chronicle's Jill Terreri.  But a lack of federal investment means the GM facility in Honeoye Falls might lose out to better funded research programs in Japan, Germany, and South Korea:

As other countries help their car manufacturers bring fuel-cell cars to market by building hydrogen stations, the United States has cut back its investment. The first company to bring its car to market will likely have an advantage over the competition, because it will be able to mass produce the cars more quickly, working out problems or reducing the cost of the vehicles, say experts, who compare the process to the cellphone market. "To be competitive you really need to get out there first," said [Nabil] Nasr, director of RIT's Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. "It's very important for the U.S. to see this as a competitiveness issue."

Biomass investment

A North Country state senator is looking for a $50 million loan for a biomass company that says it'll create up to 50 jobs at a plant in Eagle Creek.  Elizabeth Lyons reports at the Watertown Daily Times that Republican Patricia Ritchie says the project "needs the attention of the state:"

[Ritchie's spokesman] said Eagle Creek officials asked Mrs. Ritchie to intervene on their behalf. "We don't have that many companies standing in line to invest $50 million in Ogdensburg. Senator Ritchie is looking at this, and she feels we need to be proactive about creating new jobs, investing in the community and doing something real," Mr. Reagen said.

Hydrofracking

Natural gas drillers seem to have complied with Pennsylvania's directive to stop sending fracking wastewater to municipal water treatment plants, reports the Associated Press:

Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Katy Gresh said the agency's staff has confirmed that the flow of millions of gallons of wastewater has dwindled to possibly just a handful of truck deliveries in the past two weeks. The agency was trying to track those leads down to determine whether the trucks were carrying drilling wastewater, she said. "We know we have achieved a dramatic sea change here, but we are continuing to verify that we have complete compliance from all the operators all the time," Gresh said.

Drillers were required to comply with that new rule by May 19, following findings that salts from wastewater had wound up in rivers and potentially in drinking water.

Meanwhile Mark Nootbaar at WDUQ reports that there are more ideas in Pennsylvania's legislature, to tax drilling.  One measure would tax drillers to provide tax relief to residents, another would freeze taxes for seniors using taxes on drilling.

Redevelopment

A former cathode ray parts maker left a "tangled mess" in the Cortland area, and now development officials are trying to figure out what to do with the old plant, reports Kevin Tampone at the Central New York Business Journal.

Mapping music

And here's an interesting item from NY Convergence, via Google Maps Mania.  Students have been polling New Yorkers on what song they're listening to and embedded the answers into a Google Map, so you can see (literally) what's hot.

Here's May 31:

More maps are here.

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