Drennen’s First Book Vanguards a Hydrogen Future – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Drennen’s First Book Vanguards a Hydrogen Future

In October, Associate Professor of Economics Thomas Drennen’s first book was published, illuminating his ideas for a conversion to a hydrogen-based economy. The book, published by Elsevier Science, clarifies the conflicting ideas about a hydrogen-based economy, explains the trade-offs of the change and recommends forward steps in accomplishing a large-scale shift to hydrogen as an energy source.

More than just ink on paper, “Pathways to a Hydrogen Future” also includes a CD-ROM that allows readers to interact more fully with the possibilities of hydrogen. Using a simulation model called “H2Sim,” readers can input their own information and be proactive in their exploration of the possibilities discussed within the text.

The model calculates how much it would cost to produce hydrogen, get it to cars, drive the cars, and more. This makes “Pathways” an effective real-world tool for policymakers and students of energy. “It’s supposed to be totally interactive; the book is simply the textual component.”

“Pathways” began during Drennen’s research as senior economist at Sandia National Labs. As the principal investigator of his team of economists, engineers and scientists, he spent two years doing the analysis that became the H2Sim model. During the book’s four year process, Drennen had the help of Jennifer Rosthal ’03, a former economics major. Rosthal spent a year in Geneva helping Drennen complete research and writing for the book while completing her Ph.D. in economics at Rice University.

Thinking back on the topics of his book, Drennen says, “It’s so easy to say that we have to do something different. But we all love to drive, we all drive and we don’t have oil in the United States. It’s a matter of where we are going to get energy from. How are our cars going to look in the future? How can we keep going?”

Drennen earned a B.S. in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in resource economics from Cornell University. In 2006, he received the Hobart and William Smith Excellence in Teaching Award.