Paul Mutolo ’94 harnesses the hydrogen future, bringing it to bear on the carbon present: For his TEDx Chemung River talk in November, Mutolo, director of external partnerships at Cornell’s Energy Materials Center, imagined a world where cars no longer use oil. “There would be no smog in our cities. There would be no wars over oil-rich regions. There would be no oil spills to clean up,” he said
“Now imagine further that replacement we find for gasoline is just as easy to use, automatic to access and inexpensive to buy,” said Mutolo, a chemist who works to develop fuel cell technology and is a faculty fellow at Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. “That’s a future I believe in. That’s what I call honorable transportation.”
In his talk, Mutolo said that for every gallon of gasoline an automobile burns today, only about one-fifth of that energy is used, while four-fifths are lost to heat. Two-thirds of electricity production is lost to heat. “These are pretty bad numbers,” he said.
Mutolo described hydrogen fueling station where energy is created by the sun. It’s clean, efficient and quiet – “works like a tree,” he said. “Let’s think about reconnecting with our energy footprint, not just because it’s clean, but once we reconnect with it, [we can] imagine a better future for ourselves. Let’s choose that path, let’s dream and imagine … and dream out loud.”