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Peter Hoffmann, Hydrogen Energy Expert, Dies at 78

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A longtime chronicler of hydrogen energy and fuel cells, Peter Hoffmann died of a heart attack on April 18 at 78 years old. Hoffmann operated the longest-running news enterprise covering hydrogen energy, wrote books on the subject and was a long-time ENR and McGraw Hill contributor and overseas bureau chief.

Early in his career, German-born Hoffmann worked in the Ford Motor Co.'s PR department, where he expanded his interests in automobiles, energy and photography, says his family. He began covering hydrogen in the 1970s, while working as a correspondent for McGraw-Hill World News, then a major business and technology news service. Hoffmann was based in Washington, D.C.; Bonn, Germany; and Milan, Italy, where he was bureau chief from 1970 to 1974, covering many construction projects and firms, among other business stories. He eventually made his home in Rhinecliff, N.Y., where he further developed his passion for photography and regularly displayed nature portraits at local art shows. "He had a lifelong affair with photo- graphy," Hoffmann's son, Peter, told ENR.

Hoffmann launched, in 1986, what is now known as The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter, still considered the leading news publication in the hydrogen-energy field. In 2001, MIT Press published his book "Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet," which now is in its second edition.

Always up for a friendly debate, Hoffmann tirelessly covered developments in the science, business, economics and politics of hydrogen and fuel cells. He counted a wide range of industry sources—at NASA, BC Hydro, Boeing, BMW, Chevron, GE, Credit Suisse, Sierra Club and Texas A&M, among others—as his regular subscribers.


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