• Mar 1st 2008 at 8:33AM
  • 7

Just the other day, we wrote a post highlighting a quote from Nabil Kassem, professor at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology, who commented, "Driving a hydrogen-powered car in 2030 will be a common thing" As always, there are many commentators on AutoblogGreen who have much to say on the merits (or lack thereof) of hydrogen. So, for those interested in the idea of a "hydrogen economy" or "hydrogen society" (for good or for bad), it seems that the European Union is estimating that there will be 16 million hydrogen-powered vehicles on European roadways by 2030. Any such scenario must also include plans on creating an infrastructure to handle these cars, and the EU is figuring on this as well. Their goals (sub. req'd to read this WSJ article) include cutting oil usage by 40 percent through the use of hydrogen and they are putting their money where their mouths are by approving a $1.4 billion investment into research for using hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

[Source: Auto Observer]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well, I wouldn't count hydrogen entirely out of the picture.

      Who knows, it might serve as a method of electrical grid storage. A metal-air fuel cell might serve that purpose. (Which is essentially a glorified flow-battery at that point)

      However, it certainly has no future as onboard storage for transport.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Add me to the contingent that thinks hydrogen is the next boondoggle of the future to rival Ethanol today. A way to transfer more billions of taxpayer money to corporations.

      This picture tells the story succinctly:

      Right now we are looking at a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle going 1/3 the distance with the same energy input. No doubt with billions of dollars they can manage someday to go half the distance of an electric car.

      I really don't get what the push is behind spending multi-billions of dollars creating an infrastructure to support using the energy at less than half the efficiency of an infrastructure we already have in place.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Ah, predictions are so often wrong. While there may indeed be 16 million (or more) "alternatively powered" vehicles in Europe by 2030, few if any will run on H2 fuel. By then, the dominant "alt fuel" will be electricity, with biofuels being used in vintage vehicles and some PHEVs, and even some running on compressed biomethane. Heck, even compressed air cars, as pitiful as they are, will likely outnumber H2 vehicles.

      Of course, the government agents, being unaware or unconcerned about the realities of H2 cost and efficiency, have fallen for the hydrogen hype being promoted by the oil companies. After all, the oil companies are the biggest producers of H2, they have the cheapest source of H2, and they desperately want to be the ones selling this pricy new fuel when the oil runs low.

      BTW, GreyFlcn, Metal-air fuel cells (Zn-air, Al-air, etc.) do not use H2, and can be cheaper, more compact and more efficient than H2 fuel cells with H2 storage.
      • 7 Years Ago
      First of all we need to stop thinking of how we produce hydrogen in the present time. By 2030 there will be ways to make hydrogen using solar power. Corn based ethanol is just a waste of time. We need to start making cellulose Butanol to run in our cars and trucks till we can transition to a clean form of power.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh, those wacky futurists. Flying cars, Colony on the moon and the end of paper?

      They were NEVER right before, why should they start being right now.

      Storing electrons in H2 is just dumb!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm one of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle skeptics, and the one thing I can't get past is the amount of energy it takes to power a car with hydrogen vs. the amount necessary to fuel an EV.

      For an excellent discussion of the issues Google "Ulf Bossel" of the European Fuel Cell Forum, and read several of published papers, in particular the "E21" paper, "Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense?" Bossel does a detailed analysis of the losses in converting electricity into transportation via hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, and the losses in some parts of the hydrogen cycle (like the cost of compression, which is almost never talked about, or the efficiency of the cells themselves, ditto) are very significant hurdles.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If you believe the video "Who Killed The Electric Car," you would know that hydrogen powered car research was a red herring, supported by Big Oil and President Chaney (oops! did I say Chaney...well! we'll leave it like that anyway!) to divert funding away from electric cars because it was a disruptive technology to the auto and oil industries.
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