Merinos Home Furnishings boosts hydrogen railway project
MOORESVILLE , N.C., June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With a $5,000 travel grant, Merinos Home Furnishings has just helped the Mooresville South Iredell Chamber's international hydrogen railroad ("hydrail") project get closer to the main line.
In 2003, the US Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with Mooresville's Chamber of Commerce to promote alternative fuel vehicles. The Chamber put its emphasis on railway vehicles -- and that has made all the difference.
The Chamber's work became the Mooresville Hydrail Initiative. So far it has received support from fifteen countries, the European Commission and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Mooresville coined the name "hydrail" (for hydrogen railway) now used around the world to describe the new green rail technology.
All this activity has entailed considerable international travel. Volunteer Stan Thompson has made invited hydrail presentations across the USA and in Canada, Denmark, England, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Turkey.
Until now the travel cost has come from the pockets of the Chamber volunteers working on hydrail. But recently Turkish-born Chamber Member Michael Bay -- owner of Merinos Home Furnishings -- made a $5,000 travel fund grant to help.
"If the Chamber from a town this small can reach so far," says Bay, "at least we can help make the stretch a little less difficult." Bay is a sustainable energy advocate who is making his mammoth Merinos retail facility a showcase for energy conservation. When an Istanbul-based agency of the United Nations invited the Chamber to bring their project there, they sought out Bay for protocol guidance.
The Chamber's hydrail project, mounted since 2005 in cooperation with Appalachian State University, consists mostly of convening annual International Hydrail Conferences around the world where scientists and engineers pursuing hydrail (fuel cell railroad technology) meet to exchange expertise and support. In 2010 the UN co-hosted the conference in Istanbul.
The first use of Bay's Chamber gift will fly Appalachian State's Research Analyst, Jason Hoyle, to speak at the University of Birmingham, England, where the 2012 International Hydrail Conference will be convened on July 3 & 4.
Stan Thompson and former Mooresville Mayor Bill Thunberg will also speak at the Hydrail Conference hosted by the University of Birmingham's Centre for Railway Research and Education.
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