'Hydrogen highway' proposed for Illinois
April 12, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
When America was a
series of dirt roads, model concrete highways only a mile long
were created to demonstrate the future potential of the automobile
with decent roads.
Coalition, city of Chicago, state of Illinois and the private
sector are joining forces as the Illinois 2 H2 Partnership. They
propose a model "hydrogen highway" along I-90 from the
Indiana border to the Wisconsin line. No road construction is
involved, just the creation of hydrogen-fuel filling stations
that would enable alternative-powered vehicles to travel the route.
prices climb past $2 a gallon, it's a smart move. With Illinois'
combination of raw materials, R&D and political clout, our
state has the potential for economic gain.
very critical now with what's going on with prices," says
Sam Skinner, chairman of the Illinois Coalition. Skinner, retired
CEO of USFreightways, is a former White House chief of staff and
secretary of transportation.
Hydrogen Highway: Illinois' Path to a Sustainable Economy and
Environment," Skinner proposes a "corridor of hydrogen
energy demonstration projects situated around I-90." Depending
on location, the price tag is "between $600,000 and $2 million
per station," Skinner says. While the cost is significant,
the benefit of demonstrating hydrogen-fuel viability will be greater.
The long-term geo-political benefits of weaning America from foreign
oil are immeasurable.
going to have alternative fuels," Skinner says. "It's
just a matter of when."
There is an
environmental benefit. "Chicago was the first city to have
hydrogen-fueled buses," says Sadhu Johnston, assistant to
Mayor Daley for green initiatives. "We're interested in having
the first complete hydrogen highway."
hydrogen fuel cells as one additional tool to assure clean air.
"We've planted over 400,000 trees. We've displaced the pollution
of 30,000 cars. Hydrogen fuels are another piece of the puzzle,"
he says. "There are some good economic development opportunities.
We'd like to see Chicago be a leader in green technology,"
hook up a nozzle and fill up your vehicle," says James Miller,
manager of Argonne's Electrochemical Technology Program. "These
"We think we have a practical plan."
the cost of my last fill-up, I hope Sam's right.
deal came up quickly," says Chris Gladwin, founder of Chicago-based
MusicNow, which provides a technology platform for consumers and
companies to download music. Gladwin reports he's closed the sale
of MusicNow to Circuit City.
an unsung local tech hero. His company paved the way for legal,
on-line music services. "MusicNow created the digital service
license," Gladwin says. "We were the first to begin
developing and licensing this capability with major music companies."
is one of Chicago's real success stories," says David Weinstein,
president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. "As
one of the earliest tenants of the Hub, Mayor Daley's first major
technology development initiative, Chris demonstrated his commitment
to the city's technology community."
and Andrew Obenshain, two second-year Kellogg MBA candidates,
are cooking up a biotech conference this Friday and Saturday.
They'll showcase approaches to transform R&D into commercial
Ron Dollens, CEO, Guidant Corp.; Thomas Bumol, vice president
biotech discovery research, Eli Lilly; G. Steven Burrill, CEO,
Burrill & Co., and Norbert Reidel, chief scientific officer,
Baxter International. A solid lineup for a student-led effort.
Sitrin joins Pfizer, and Obenshain joins Merck.
vice president, partner marketing Americas for Hewlett-Packard,
speaks Thursday at the Business Marketing Association. ... Former
British Telecom chief technologist Peter Cochrane speaks today
at IIT. Cochrane predicted the mobile phone and the text messaging
phenomena. ... Jeff Coney, 51, director, Northwestern ITEC, joins
B2P Commerce as president and COO.
Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.