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Chapitre d'ouvrage Année : 2017

From the Birth of Fuel Cells to the Utopia of the Hydrogen World


In the 2000s, the fuel cell had become a multifunctional device providing water, heat and power with a high-energy efficiency. This aroused enthusiasm among policy makers and industrialists for its commercialization during the 21st century. Fuel cells are expected to constitute the first node of the hydrogen network. It is not a trivial matter, however, to turn expectations into reality. The hydrogen economy remains a magic formula with no impact on the world. Words are reluctant to be turned into things. It is not like in the antique tale of Genesis, where the God of the Bible once said, “Let there be light. And there was light.” The implementation of the hydrogen economy would have required a Creator to turn the wish into reality. But there is no such a thing as a demiurge in the third millennium. The fuel cell seems to resist all efforts and attempts to create a clean ‘hydrogen world’. To make this long and erratic story short, let us use a parody of the seven-day creation of ‘the heavens and the earth’ in the biblical Genesis. In this parody, the creature plays the leading part instead of the missing Creator. Each metaphorical day sets up a new context in which the ‘hydrogen creature’ is reconfigured and the desired ‘hydrogen world’ remodeled. The tale shows at the same time a process of individuation and the 'recalcitrance’ of the fuel cell during the modern times.
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halshs-04478539, version 1 (26-02-2024)


  • HAL Id : halshs-04478539 , version 1


Pierre Teissier. From the Birth of Fuel Cells to the Utopia of the Hydrogen World. Bernadette Bensaude Vincent, Sacha Loeve, Alfred Nordmann, Astrid Schwarz. Research Objects in their Technological Setting, Routledge, pp.70-87, 2017, 9781138331969. ⟨halshs-04478539⟩
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Dernière date de mise à jour le 12/05/2024
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