THORSTEINN INGI SIGFUSSON
The Global Energy Prize laureate 2007
Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson considers his effort in the development of hydrogen technologies to be an advance in the pursuit of cleaner air
The energy housed within this colorless, common gas has long been a point of attraction for scientists. Within the past few decades a new branch of power appeared, called hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen is considered to be an alternative to traditionally extracted resources, because of its high calorific value. Also, hydrogen does not require specialized extraction; it is available and always at hand, in every drop of water. One man who attempted “tame hydrogen,” which is his shorthand expression for his pursuit to use this gas as a fuel and a source of electricity and heat, is the Icelandic scientist, engineer, and researcher Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson.… Thorsteinn Ingi Sigfusson’s project provided for not only the research and development of alternative energy sources, but also a transition from scientific development to practical application. He also considered means of converting the entire country of Iceland to hydrogen energy. Fortunately, throughout the duration of his project in Iceland, he enjoyed the ultimate support of the Icelandic people. Opinion polls revealed that up to 90% of citizens supported the “hydrogen economy.” The government had also supported the scientist: he received financing and technical support. Implementation of his experiment began in the transport sector. “The economy of an island like ours is the perfect place to implement the total usage of renewable resources for energy production,” says Professor Sigfusson. “Iceland can be the first country to cease emissions of СО2 and discontinue buying oil and natural gas, as it works towards the status of Ecoland, a country of a complete hydrogen economy. Because the experiment in Iceland has been successful, other countries will try it for themselves. The key to further adoption is a hydrogen fuel produced by means of an environmentally friendly energy. A total hydrogen economy will not be fully possible before we fully tame hydrogen, in the same way we have with solar or nuclear energy. Hydrogen is different because it is not a primary source, it is an energy carrier.”… Doctor Sigfusson made another interesting invention, this time in literature. “Hydrogen for a long time has been know as an energy carrier. The futuristic novel by Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island, published in 1874, tells about people who discuss future sources of energy. One of the main characters, an engineer, highlights water as a source of energy in the future! The scientist believes that the mysterious island from Jules Verne’s book could indeed be Iceland.