Woz’s and Buzz Aldrin’s hydrogen-powered Hummer trip to South Pole provokes environmentalists

Apple Store“A plan by Apple Macintosh computer billionaire Steve Wozniak and former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin to drive a monster 4WD to the South Pole next Christmas is drawing flak over environmental concerns,” Stuff.co.nz reports. “The Apple co-founder is claiming the trip will be ‘research’ because the Hummer H1 Alphas – a civilian version of the US military’s high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV or Hum-Vee) – will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.”

“The plan was outlined by documentary film-maker and electric car enthusiast Chris Paine at the 2007 Detroit auto show, after Mr Wozniak released some details in July last year at Stanford University,” Stuff.co.nz reports.

“Paine said he will film the Zero South expedition and that it will be a ‘race’ between vehicles variously running on bio-fuel, the hydrogen fuel-cell, and on electric batteries,” Stuff.co.nz reports. “Paine, who recently promoted electric vehicles with a documentary called Who Killed The Electric Car?, said the vehicles will run to the South Pole and back in an effort to prove that alternative fuel vehicles can tackle the harshest of conditions.”

Stuff.co.nz reports, “The engineers preparing Mr Wozniak’s Hummer are reported to have received advice from California’s Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which has experience running hydrogen-powered buses.”

“But the expedition by Mr Wozniak, from America’s McMurdo Station in New Zealand’s Ross Dependency to the South Pole, has also caused concern among environmental lobbyists who see it as a stunt by rich technology enthusiasts based in California,” Stuff.co.nz reports.

“Alan Hemmings, senior fellow in Antarctic studies at Canterbury University, has already raised concerns over the plan amid increasing commercialisation of the continent,” Stuff.co.nz reports. “Mr Hemmings said the group’s planned drive to the pole was ‘part of a much wider problem’ in regulating tourism to Antarctica, where visitor numbers are expected to jump to reach 50,000 tourists and support crew next summer. In 1990 the number was only about 2500.”

Stuff.co.nz reports, “Nick Baggarly, an executive director of the Zero South expedition, told the Associated Press newsagency that his group’s trip was not tourism and that it opposed tourism in Antarctica ‘or exploitation of this precious area. This exhibition does not promote tourism,’ he said in the email. ‘Its purpose is to create enlightenment opportunities that will inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.'”

Full article here.


  1. 1. Is this really tourism. I don’t usually take a film crew along when I take the family on a nice jaunt to the South Pole.

    2. Is Woz really a billionaire? He got out of Apple before much of the lucre had appeared, and he’s given away alot and spent alot on some pretty hairbrained businesses in the period since then.

    I’m just wonderin’

  2. Who cares if it’s a stunt by rich businessmen? I think Buzz and Woz have both earned the right to go do something like this if they want to. Let the boys have their fun. They’re not hurting anyone and they’re hurting the environment least of all. Those environmental organizations should spend more time practicing what they preach instead of condemning the people who don’t belong to their cult.

  3. Gandalf,

    If we went to the moon or not, I don’t know. But you are tricking us into watching that video. Plus, if I was one of those astronut actors, I would be pissed at that film maker too.

    Did they have enough shielding to get through the radiation belt, no. If they did, the craft would be too heavy.

    Nonetheless, I would want to punch that film maker too.

  4. keep it up, “greenies”… the more you talk, the more obvious your platform is much less about the environment and more about telling other people what to do.

    i am an environmentalist.. i love the mountains by my home, and i love all the trees and i am against the constant construction of new homes in our area when the vast plains of east Colorado are much better for expansion than our forested areas… i’d KILL to have a nuke plant in town instead of a coal one, and i’ll be the first guy to buy a 4wd electric car that goes 250 miles on a charge…. (4wd is a requirement here – tough shit, whiners). I also carry a 45-auto on me, a 9mm-auto in my car, and a shotgun in my house. I love red meat, and Ronald Reagan.

    the constant barrage of nay-saying from so-called “greenies:” makes it more and more obvious that they want to tell us how to live – and they want is to shit on ourselves in mud huts while they travel around the world in private jets eating caviar and driving Priuses that are no more eco freindly than your average 1992 Honda Accord.

    Fsck them – support nuclear power (in the form of pebble-bed reactors) and i’ll start to believe you care about the environment. This world was not meant to be a museum, but to be explored and researched and appreciated… and you can’t do that from a mud hut.

  5. Would this even be news if Woz weren’t a former Apple founder and employee? Would the enviro-wackos be happier if sailing ships delivered our intrepid stunt masters to Antarctica, sled dogs were used for transportation, and seals and penguins used for food? I would like to see 21st century men attempt Antarctic exploration like Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew.

    Whether the following advertisement attributed to Shackelton is fact or fiction, the reality of early 20th century wilderness exploration was nonetheless demanding physically and mentally:

    “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

    Seems that Woz et al are nothing more rich tourists rather than bold adventurers.

  6. RE: Woz being a billionaire – amazing what you can do with some wise investing… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    And he hasn’t exactly been sitting on his butt since he left Apple, either…

  7. There is nothing environmental about this “adventure”. The Woz would be a lot better off trying to convince the govenator not to terminate high-speed rail in California. High-speed rail has the added benefit of allowing people to use all the cool internet and entertainment functions on their iPhones and MacBooks. Something that is really dangerous to do while driving.


  8. ….caused concern among environmental lobbyists who see it as a stunt by rich technology enthusiasts based in California

    Yeah? So what? They are using a hydrogen fuel cell which produces water as waste. As long as they are not running down or disturbing key animal ecosystems (and I am sure they are not) I say go for it! It promotes awareness about clean fuel cells.

  9. South Pole + Hydrogen = How hydrogen powered vehicle survives in cold conditions

    Nice to see how they manage. Here in Finland we’ve had lots of problem with everything. Even Diesel. During worst cold temperatures (-40°C – -50°C) police have authored the people to add oil into Diesel fuel to keep it from freezing. Normally that would give you a huge ticket, since the oil you use to warm your house and move your boat is tax free.

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