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May 26, 2009

Local People: Local Energy Pioneer: Bill Paetzold of Hereford

Bill Paetzold was born in the depression and has been a farmer all of his life. During his years of dryland farming, he has seen the oil economy boom and bust, water levels drop, and fuel prices go through the roof. In his 70+years of wisdom, Mr Paetzold began to think there should be a better way, and he decided to do something about it rather than sit idly by.

In reading and talking to people about the energy problem, he discovered information about using hydrogen as a storage medium for energy. Using his own retirement funds, Mr. Paetzold has made an investment in equipment and his time to purchase one of the first electrolysis machines by Millennium Reign Energy. Their website is located here. He also purchased a 10 kw Bergey wind turbine.

Even that may have been enough for some, but Bill has expanded his promotion of the hydrogen economy by creating demonstrations of how hydrogen can be utilized. He has converted small engines and a 6 cylinder engine to run on straight hydrogen. He has modified a torch to run on hydrogen. He even grills his burgers on a hydrogen grill. Remember, this is hydrogen that he makes himself. His hydrogen making machine is connected to the Bergey 10 kW wind turbine. So, the wind blows, and he gets stored energy in the form of hydrogen. The hydrogen is stored in old propane tanks at 100 psi until he is ready to use it. The water that he is extracting the hydrogen from is collected from the roof of his house and barn when it rains.

It is an endless source of frustration to Mr. Paetzold that more people cannot see the simplicity and usefulness of using hydrogen on a regular basis. If we produce local, and buy local, Mr. Paetzold thinks that it could be a good thing for local economies as well.

While there is nothing new about using hydrogen, producing hydrogen, collecting rainwater, or using windpower, these items all together make up an energy system that is only utilizing locally obtainable fuel. This is Mr Paetzolds strongest argument for such use of hydrogen systems. One of the main arguments against a wind-to-hydrogen system is that efficiency of the energy storage is an issue. Mr. Paetzold is very interested in having independent testing performed on the Millennium Reign unit and proving what the efficiency of the whole system is in terms of energy stored, and energy used. The Alternative Energy Institute has expressed interest in Mr. Paetzolds work, but with neither he nor AEI have the funds to obtain the sensors needed for such testing without external funding focused on the effort.

Anyone interested in Mr. Paetzold’s hydrogen work can contact him through AEI.


The Bergey and the Rainwater Collection System are pictured here:



Here are a few photos of Patezold at work:




Assistant Director David Carr also filmed Paetzold working with hydrogen-power. Check ‘em out, they’re pretty cool!


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