• Feb 13th 2010 at 6:22PM
  • 47
BMW Hydrogen 7 - click above for high-res image gallery

So, does Peter Wells, who recently wrote an article called "Hydrogen highways: the concept becoming reality," rely on the hydrogen fantasy themes we discussed recently? Not so much, at least at first. He even admits that the current state of hydrogen availability is "sparse and geographically constrained."

Wells' article begins with a simple list of hydrogen projects that have been completed or are being finished now. Wells lists hydrogen corridors in Norway and Japan, California and Germany, to name just four the eight he found, and it's kind of cool to see them listed in one place. Whether or not these stations are a good idea or not we're not going to get into right now, but at least there's a bit of reality entering the hydrogen proponent's vocabulary. Thanks to Roy B. for the tip!

[Source: Automotive World]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The author of this article does use at least 2 of those 5 H2 proponent "themes" - Inevitability, and Patriotism.

      They assume that the "H2 Hiway" is inevitable, even if delayed somewhat by slow progress, and point to a modest increase in the number of H2 refueling stations in various locales. Of course, they ignored the far greater number of public EV recharging outlets, and the far more rapid installation rate of EV recharging, and of course totally ignored the huge number of electrical outlets. If growth of infrastructure indicated inevitability, then EVs and PHEVs are much closer to "inevitable".

      Much clearer is the "Patriotism" angle, listing H2 refueling installations in other nations then proudly pointing to the "Wales initiative" that put 2 H2 stations in his corner of the world.

      The article mentioned how the per Km price of H2 in Norway was "close to that of petrol", but he failed to note that is only with very high taxes on petrol, no tax on H2, use of fuel cells (not ICE), and H2 made by steam reforming of fossil fuels (the cheapest source). He then said "If renewable sources are used to create the hydrogen, then the prospect is for cheap, low carbon fuel in the future", ignoring the fact that renewable sourced H2 costs more than fossil fuel sourced H2. Of course didn't mentioned that EVs would be 3X more efficient using the same renewable sources, and the per Km price of electricity is about 1/4 that of H2 for FCVs!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So why do you need a list for HFC stations if there's only 4 of them in the world. That doesn't require a list really. You could just write them on your hand if you're really stupid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL Good one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        More like "Hydrogen islands" than corridors. There is a huge gap between the cluster of H2 refueling stations in Los Angeles and the cluster in Sacramento, several hundred miles more than the range of any H2 fuel cell vehicle. The gap between Sacramento and the Vancouver H2 cluster is even greater, as is the gap between California and the handful of east coast states with H2 refueling.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are eight hydrogen corridors, driving routes where hydrogen is available. CA alone has ~50 refueling stations in it's corridor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hmmm, sorry for the bad english :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Our cars will be powered by Mr. Fusion long before H2 FCV becomes economical.

      EVs are here right now and can provide for 90% of our needs. Until EVs can fill 100% of our transportation needs we can just use ethanol and/or biodiesel, preferably from algae or natural gas. These will be a stop gap until EVs can take up the slack.

      Within 2 decades we will have either:
      + UltraCapacitors
      + Flywheel Energy Storage
      + Zinc Air Battery
      + Lithium Air Battery

      When any one of these comes to market there will be no need for H2. Why waste resources on a fairy tale like H2?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jackie76: While rechargable zinc/air batteries have a problem with zinc crystals growing and shorting out the cell after just a few charge/discharge cycles, zinc/air fuel cells don't have that problem. A zinc/air fuel cell is "recharged" by refilling with zinc fuel pellets and draining off the zinc oxide waste, the zinc oxide can be recycled back into fresh zinc fuel.

        Li/Air doesn't have that problem.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is indeed a very pessimistic view (two decades). R&D have already produced functional nano ultra caps based on graphene and CNTs. Once viable methods for industrial application have been developed to exfoliate graphene in the required size (ca. 6"x12"), the last remaining problem will be solved. An optimistic view should fulfill expectations in approx. 2 to 3 years time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "a very pessimistic view (two decades)" - sorry but you misread me. I am pessimistic about the chances for H2 becoming viable within 20 years, not the four advances that I named.

        To be clear I know for a fact that one of those 4 will bring the cost and range of EVs to a point where even ICE cannot compete, and by extension H2 fails to deserve even a sideways glance at that point. 20 years is how long it will take fuel cells to become cost effective (if ever), IMO.

        Lithium-air batteries are being researched by IBM along with several national labs and I foresee commercial viability in 5 or 10 years at the most. "In addition to Oak Ridge, IBM will partner with Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Argonne, and Pacific Northwest national labs."
        http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22780/

        Zinc-air batteries store 3 times the energy at half the cost of lithium ion. A Swiss company is bringing them to market this year in button-battery size and will continue to improve cycle life (has potential for 2,000 up to 10,000 cycles).
        http://www.technologyreview.com/business/23812/
        and an interesting chart at http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/10/zinc-air-battery-revolt-3-times-more-energy-lithium-ion-battery-electric-cars.php
        • 5 Years Ago
        Zinc air batteries (or fuel cells depending on how you see it) have been tried before and were not very successful. The major issue is the reversing the cell so the zinc regenerates itself so that it can be used for the next cycle. In general the zinc during this step tends to crystallize causing damage to the electrolyte / separator. Li-air has similar issues.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let's just say that for mobility purposes BEVs will have an edge on FCs. I wouldn't exclude FCs definitely because they could have a useful pupose in heating applications. I would not rely on the oil co's. for supply of hydrogen. I dont like the idea of further pollution with CO2 from the reduction of NG to get to hydrogen. My preference would be e.g.:
      http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/life_sciences/energy_light_water_148225.html


        • 5 Years Ago
        While Stephen Chu might not like FCs for vehicles, he absolutely loves them for stationary power generation.

        "Secretary Chu Announces $41.9 Million to Spur Growth of Fuel Cell Markets

        WASHINGTON, DC ­- To expand the use of clean and renewable energy sources and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $41.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for fuel cell technology.

        These efforts will accelerate the commercialization and deployment of fuel cells and will create jobs in fuel cell manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and support services. The new funding will improve the potential of fuel cells to provide power in stationary, portable and specialty vehicle applications, while cutting carbon emissions and broadening our nation’s clean energy technology portfolio.

        “The investments we’re making today will help us build a robust fuel cell manufacturing industry in the United States,” said Secretary Chu. “Developing and deploying the next generation of fuel cells will not only create jobs – it will help our businesses become more energy efficient and productive. We are laying the foundation for a green energy economy.”

        The $41.9 million will support immediate deployment of nearly 1,000 fuel cell systems for emergency backup power and material handling applications (e.g., forklifts) that have emerged as key early markets in which fuel cells can compete with conventional power technologies. Additional systems will be used to accelerate the demonstration of stationary fuel cells for combined heat and power in the larger residential and commercial markets."
        http://www.energy.gov/news/7262.htm
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the US Govt. does not support hydrogen, you will see yet another technology (hybrids, EVs, diesels) that is done better in other countries.

      The Japanese and Europeans do not care what Chu / Obama think because they know they are only here for another 3-7 years. Because of that they are continuing their projects / hydrogen highways (granted at reduced rates) so when the pendulum shifts (and it will, I guarantee you), they will be ready.

      This happened before when the DOE lefts hybrids yet the Japanese continued or when the US left diesel but the Europeans continued. That is exactly why the Japanese are the leaders in hybrids / EVs, and Europeans are the leaders of diesel. They understand to a better degree the big picture and do not get carried away by the "technology du jour".

      HEV / PHEVs are a stop-gap technology because they rely on fossil fuels. Diesel may have a future if (big if) biodiesel can be made economically and does not cause food shortages. Pure EVs will only work at the mass scale if (and only if) the range and charge time are reasonable to the average consumer (please note, by average consumer I referring to the average American, not the average Autoblog Green reader / blogger) and renewable electricity is massively scaled up. For hydrogen to work, the biggest hurdle (and its a big one I guarantee you) will be the renewable production of hydrogen and the installation of a infrastructure which is what this article is about.

      Finally, if anyone knows about Chu when he was the head of LBNL, they will know that he hated batteries and fuel cells - he mentioned this several times to his staff. He is by and large a supporter of biofuels but under Obama included batteries into his vocabulary. Hydrogen stayed down because that is a Red / Bush thing...

      Let the insanity of this quack blog begin....
        • 5 Years Ago
        You really think the "pendulum will swing" towards the more expensive less efficient H2 fuel solution? Well, maybe, if the oil companies have their way, after all, they want to sell that profitable new H2 fuel, and they do have the cheapest source of H2.

        EVs are much less expensive to "fuel", about 1/3 the cost of petrol and 1/4 the cost of H2 using fuel cells and 1/8 the cost of fueling ICE engines with H2.

        PHEVs could be "range extended" by existing fossil fuels, biofuels, or even H2, though obviously H2 would be the most expensive of those options. Most local driving will be on the cheaper and more convenient (recharge at home) electric "fuel".
        • 5 Years Ago
        The bottom line here is that H2 is an expensive/inefficient/dumb way to store electricity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        --If the US Govt. does not support hydrogen, you will see yet another technology (hybrids, EVs, diesels) that is done better in other countries.

        News flash: if its cutting edge and not a weapons system then chances are its already being done better in another country. But that point aside, its a weak argument that the US should be funding a nonviable solution to our energy problems (thats right, non-viable, the tech's just not there and the people cashing the checks can only make promises, always 5-10 years out) when oil is poised to become a major problem over this next decade (the speculators expect it to go anywhere from $120 to $200, which will crush our economy, again). We need to be fielding alternatives to oil NOW. At this point its almost reckless the government hasn't already begun a crash program to get as many EVs and charging stations out as possible.
        • 5 Years Ago

        EVs are at a real cross-roads. We are at the cusp of real commercialization of EVs based on press-releases of various OEMs. We shall see what reality brings and what the market is willing to support.

        EVSuperhero wrote: "EV's will not support the needs of all the people. Just 90 percent of the population, 90 percent of the time." Time will tell if this true or not. I believe 90% is too high especially when you take into account the incredible highs and lows we have here in the US with temperature.

        EV adoption will very telling. It could end up like the Smart car where the first year was great because of all of the supporters clamored for it but then the second year tanked. Or it could be like the Prius taking on a holier-than-thou personal statement or it could end up like pretty much all of the other hybrids with tepid sales and poor adoption.

        Finally, I often see here the people who spout the inefficiencies of hydrogen and how dumb it is etc. etc. However ever major OEM / govt. is spending $$$ on it. So as third party I have to ask the question - who is right? I am leaning towards OEMs / govts.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Jackie76: Thanks for that DOE report link. It reported some incremental progress from the H2 research, that is to be expected as they've got to justify the funds spent. However, they still haven't reached the minimum goals they've set to make H2FCVs economically viable. One part covered a report as to how well H2 would do in the market if they didn't reach their price goals - short story, they wouldn't sell.

        Why would you think that PHEVs are a "stop-gap" when you see the long-term solution as biofuels or H2? After all, PHEVs could use those "long-term fuels" for range extension and still do most of the local driving on cheaper cleaner and more efficient electricity. Do you honestly think people will give up the convenience and low cost of home recharging? Sorry, but the electric grid is here to stay. BTW, GM and Ford have changed their proposed future H2 vehicles to be plug-in hybrids.

        As for comparing Oil companies to Electric utilities, I must point out that electric rates are regulated, they must ask permission from the Public Utilities Commission to raise rates, and they must be able to justify any increase in rates. The oil companies have no such restrictions and can raise prices at any time and for any reason, and H2 also would have no restrictions on price increases. That alone would give consumers a strong preference for EVs. Another thing, it is possible to "make your own" electricity, easier and far cheaper than "making your own H2 fuel".

        As for why the auto makers are researching H2, there are several reasons:
        1) Government grants are paying most of the research cost.
        2) Some of the knowlege gained will be useful elsewhere, particularly with electric motor drive systems.
        3) Bandwagon effect - One does it, they all follow. Note how they all "followed the leaders" (GM, Ford) into the disasterous SUV fad.
        4) Their H2 research staff keep giving glowing reports, saying "we've almost got it, just give us a few more years, keep the funds flowing", knowing if they told the executives it wasn't practical they could loose their jobs.
        5) Their executives don't know which way the future will go, so they are hedging their bets with a "try everything and see what sticks" approach.

        I must point out that all of the auto makers with H2 research programs also have EV and/or PHEV programs, but the EV and PHEV companies have little or no interest in H2 fuels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jackie76 said, "However, just because electricity is cheaper and EVs are more efficient, does not mean the EVs can and will support the needs of people"

        EV's will not support the needs of all the people. Just 90 percent of the population, 90 percent of the time.

        Jackie76 said, "but has anyone ever thought about the evils of the electricity companies. They are the ones strongly pushing for EVs / PHEVs because they know they have to upgrade to smart-grid but they don't want to pay for it and they also want your $$$ which you currently use to fill your tank."

        To me it is very much more beneficial that my tax dollars and fuel dollars for EV's stay in the US and support Americans with jobs to upgrade the grid. Very preferable to the status quo that currently exists, electricity is pure domestic fuel my friend. Hydrogen would be domestic to, except for the natural gas we import to make it. :(
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jackie76
        The thing is EVs are still much closer to commercial release than any hydrogen vehicle: we have the Volt and Leaf coming out this year (not to mention Tesla, NEVs, and conversions which have been around for quite some time).

        With hydrogen, yes, all automakers are still developing them, but that doesn't really mean anything if they aren't going to commercialize it (and by commercialize I mean actual sales, not just leasing). They need to give hints on prices. If for example, they say it'll be less than $50k in 2015, then I bet there will be more support (esp on the fueling station front). Also they should try blogs like Tesla and GM is doing, to keep people posted on the progress of development. They need much bigger fleets to get people enthusiastic (the biggest fleets are 100 right now, they need at least a 1000 car fleet with owner blogs like the MINI-E, if they want visibility).

        A lot of us BEV fans still resent automakers for using the promise of hydrogen to kill off BEVs 10 years ago. 10 years later, it is again the EV hitting the market and hydrogen continuing to ride on the promise of coming out years later. Right now we have promises hydrogen cars will hit the market in 2015, with Toyota promising they will be affordable. We'll see in 2015.

        And on the range thing, I will argue it isn't that big of an issue once consumers get used to it, esp considering a large portion of the population have another car in the garage and we always have PHEVs and EREVs as alternatives. And it's not like 300 mile BEVs are not possible (see Model S; on feasibility: the Roadster uses 2400mah cells, vs 2900mah being around for quite some time, with 3400mah, 4000mah coming in 2011, 2012) but it won't be affordable in commercial release (with an aim in the $20-40k range). Range starts to matter less in terms of daily driving when you can plug in your car where you park. It'll matter even less when we have rapid charging (which Nissan is rolling out this year, way faster than I expected rapid charging to catch on).
        • 5 Years Ago
        hydrogen fuel cell drive is a complex costly inefficient fragile solution. they require a lot of supporting systems much like a gas engine does, one of which is an ultra high pressure tank for the hydrogen. pressure equivalent to 3-7km deep in the ocean.
        then there is a the issue of energy loss in compressing the gas to that and the loss of releasing it again. you can make systems that draw energy from that pressure but that's additional complication and nowhere near 100% efficient anyway. I imagine the refueling tanks store the hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures to avoid massive heat buildup during compression into the tank (since the tank is plastic composite). the fuel cell is quite inefficient in itself and expensive but let's say they can improve that somewhat, it's still ironically sensitive to pollution as far as I know. particles in the air that it 'breathes' deposites in the fuel cell and clogs it. a normal air filter wont do. hydrogen production is also not 100% efficient but it can be produced from clean electricity. a big hint that hydrogen is wrong is that oil companies are into it. that should tell you a lot : )
        hydrogen transportation and storage is similarly a bitch.
        a halfway decent combustion engine is as efficient as a fuel cell car. the hydrogen fuel cell cars actually consume more energy than some combustion engine cars.
        in short you only think it's a viable solution because you haven't thought about it.

        the real, easy and obvious solution is plugin hybrids aka range extended electric vehicles. at first. the lighter and more aerodynamic the car the easier it is to make viable drivetrains. running battery power is 3 times as efficient as hydrogen and whenever you have to go far you can use the combustion engine on a synthetic liquid fuel as efficient as a fuel cell car. one possibility for the fuel cell is one that can run on liquid fuel instead of hydrogen. that removes a lot of the difficulty and as mentioned you can actually make liquid fuels from electricity same as hydrogen. for instance methanol from water, CO2 and electricity. a relatively easy process. synthetic methanol burns very purely.
        this solution can transition into ultra light ultra aerodynamic fast recharge (
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think anyone will dispute the fact that electricity is cheaper than hydrogen or that EVs are more efficient than fuel cells.

        However, just because electricity is cheaper and EVs are more efficient, does not mean the EVs can and will support the needs of people. PHEVs as you say can help, but it's a stop-gap and the only long-term solution that I can see is either renw. biofuels or hydrogen.

        Also, I know everyone on this board likes to discuss the evils of the oil companies and how omnipotent they supposedly are, but has anyone ever thought about the evils of the electricity companies. They are the ones strongly pushing for EVs / PHEVs because they know they have to upgrade to smart-grid but they don't want to pay for it and they also want your $$$ which you currently use to fill your tank.

        Finally, here is a link to the most recent DOE review of their h2 program.
        http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/progress09/i_introduction.pdf

      • 5 Years Ago
      I think hydrogen has a legitimate reason to be developped: pollution (yes, still)

      Allow me to clarify
      We all know:
      - pure EVs wont be able to satisfy every transportation need for decades
      - PHEVs cut the gas mileage by what? Half? Even if it's more it's still not emmitting just pure water and never will be
      - Electicity is majorly (and still will be for decades) produced from fossile ressources (including nuclear plants)
      - Hydrogen is the most common gas in earth, and its renewable

      So what's the future here? Efforts are being made in order to reduce the pollution caused by transportation
      Those efforts will continue, dragging the emissions max down
      In the short term, for example, the diesel will no more be used as a small car engine simply because it will become way too expensive to have them respect emissions laws

      No cristal ball is needed to understand some day this will happen to PHEVS too, simply because they're burning gas or diesel
      At some point, there will be only 2 solutions to cover all needs: pure EVs and hydrogen based PHEVs (or range extended)

      And even more, in the future, more and more countries will access the way of life of USA or western Europe
      This will require tremendous amounts of electricity
      And then what? We cover the planet with wind driven generators or/and we fight over the last bits of uranium?
      I wouldn't be surprised hydrogen finally wins because the global need for electricity simply won't allow to use them for our cars...
      And don't think too munch about public transportation because in a world were finances gets grimmest by the second there's not really any whance to invest that many zillions dollars they would require to be one day replace every other transportation mean

      That's why I think even thought it seems highly useless for now, hydrogen is a mean to transportation that must not be discarded
      Just because the way we need to think isn't just "clean" but "clean AND renewable AND financially possible AND globally possible"
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Hydrogen is the most common gas in earth, and its renewable"
        No true.

        From Wiki: "Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, making up 75% of normal matter by mass and over 90% by number of atoms"
        "In the universe" is very different from "on earth".

        From Wikipedia: "hydrogen gas is very rare in the Earth's atmosphere (1 ppm by volume) because of its light weight, which enables it to escape from Earth's gravity more easily than heavier gases. However, hydrogen is the third most abundant element on the Earth's surface. Most of the Earth's hydrogen is in the form of chemical compounds such as hydrocarbons and water"

        As a gas, CO2 is much more common, and that is renewable too.
        Fossil fuels on the other hand...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wasn't going to mention the fuel cell-powered vehicle as serial Hybrid because at least two of the powertrain technologies developed by OEMs recently have been Hydrogen ICE, including the one powering the car illustrating this article.

        But, yeah,... whenever I hear the old Fuel Cell vs. Battery Electric argument, I just have to laugh.
        • 5 Years Ago
        - Yes, pure EVs won't be able to satisfy every transportation need, but neither does H2, and I dare say that electricity will satisfy more needs than H2.
        - The amount of fuel savings with PHEVs vary, but under typical driving conditions the reduction ranges from 1/4 (over typical hybrids) to 1/10 (typical gasser). Potential future "range extenders" could include low emission alcohol fuels, or no emission zinc/air fuel cells, or even "powered roadways".
        - In California, 40% of electricity is from renewables (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal) and the percentage is rising.
        - Hydrogen gas is extremely rare on earth, it must be made by splitting Hydrogen atoms from compounds like water or natural gas, that reqires chemical or electrical energy.

        Using chemical energy is in most cases using fossil fuels. The combination of water electrolysis, compression for storage, and H2 fuel cell is only 24% efficient at storing electrical energy, but the combination of charger and battery is 85% efficient - more than 3x more efficient. So, if you want a future powered by renewables, please realize that the H2 option would require 3x more renewable energy, that means 3x more windmills and solar panels and hydro dams and geothermal wells. Efficiency does matter.

        Jackie76: Fast recharging isn't an issue if the batteries are designed for it. Of course, battery swapping is even faster. As for the relative size of natural gas vs H2 tanks, please note that natural gas has 3x better volumetric energy density compared to H2 gas. That means that for the same size and pressure, the natural gas tank would have 3x more energy - and it is possible to run solid oxide fuel cells directly on natural gas.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well-put, Mark.

        European Dude,

        You seem to be missing a major fact here - exemplified by this statement:
        "Hydrogen is the most common gas in earth, and its renewable"

        This is utterly false. H2 is one of the scarcest gasses on this planet. I think you mean H is the mose common atom, yes? There's a big difference! Where does H2 come from? Do you mine it? Or drill a well? Of course not - you pour energy into breaking apart some other molecule to free the H, and it stabilizes by combining with itself to form H2.

        A fuel cell vehicle is just an electric vehicle with a fuel cell for a battery. For all practical purposes, a fuel cell is a battery. The one and only advantage of a fuel cell is that you can "recharge" is in a minute or two. That's it.

        When you say things like "only 2 solutions to cover all needs: pure EVs and hydrogen based PHEVs " you clearly don't realise that they are the same thing! The only difference is that we took the coal/solar/wind or whatever our energy source was and made it into H2, instead of putting it into the grid to charge a battery.

        Given the efficiencies of the various systems available, and what may be likely in the future, it seems that H2 is fighting an up-hill battle. The infrastructure problem for H2 is enormous, and the way the efficiencies work against it, it just doesn't seem a rational way to spend the available research resources, thus the US position on the issue.

        I understand charging times are a problem for batteries, as is the colder parts of the world, but both seem like far easier hurdles than the H2 projects face.

        Let me say it again - the only thing H2 solves is faster fill-up times. It's less practical in every other way.

        Can anyone here prove me wrong?
        • 5 Years Ago
        European Dude,

        With a fast charge infrastructure being built now, BEV's will be able to satisfy almost all needs fairly soon.

        Even though electricity is produced from mainly fossil fuel sources, it's still way more efficient to drive an EV than it is to continue using gasoline and the like. This is because gasoline has to be made from crude oil or tar sand, and this requires a lot of additional energy that coal fired electricity plants do not have to worry about.

        I am of the opinion that we will have no energy shortage in the future, there is so much available. The problem is that we have so far been pursuing unsustainable sources of energy which keep running out, which gives the impression of limited energy supplies.

        With thorium nuclear and solar we could produce as much energy as we wanted, cheaply, for a long long time and not have to worry about energy supply ever again, essentially. But it will require that we get off fossil fuels.

        Hydrogen has to be produced, and this requires energy. It can either come from stripping it from natural gas or by electrolysis of water. In the case of natural gas, it's better to instead just run the natural gas through an ICE. In the case of electrolysis, it's better to instead use that electricity to charge an EV. This is the problem with hydrogen, which will never go away. While it does indeed work in a laboratory or experimental setting, the alternatives will always be better and cheaper. In this sense, it will never be more than a science experiment for the rich (and the unfortunate taxpayers who fund it) who want to appear like they are being green.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mark-BC: "In the case of natural gas, it's better to instead just run the natural gas through an ICE. In the case of electrolysis, it's better to instead use that electricity to charge an EV."

        In both cases the issue is range and for the EV you also have refueling time.
        For the ICE on natural gas the tank needs to be huge and the range is very limited (same issues with h2 ICEs). For EVs, fast charging will destroy your battery.

      • 5 Years Ago
      The Hydrogen Highway was yet ANOTHER in a long string of misguided central planning screwups. Hell, we already have an electric infrasturcture!

      But politicians love to spend other people's money while their corporate masters (public-private partnership) LOVE to addict us to yet another one of their products. So we will continue to see a push for H2 as long as corporate welfare and too big to fail exists.

      This is change... got any to spare? Hope so!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Blown Tranny

        The Constellation program was more than just going to the Moon.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation_program

        IMHO, the Obama administration is making short-sighted cuts in programs that have long-term payoffs.

        OTOH, I'm sure that Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson are very excited about the profits they'll make ferrying our astronauts to the ISS.

        http://www.spacex.com/press.php?page=20100209-iss

        The United States will always have a manned presence in outer space (and eventually the Moon), it's just a matter of who owns the technology to take them there. The US public, or private for-profit corporations.

        I do like NASA's "smaller, faster, cheaper" philosophy regarding unmanned missions. They have been quite productive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        letstakeawalk
        Obama ended the plan to return to the moon by 2020.
        Many people would say the most important science and technology that comes out of NASA is from the unmanned program. A return to the moon would be a huge money sink for many years with an end result of unknown value.
        • 5 Years Ago
        At least Chus is onboard with FC for stationary power generation.

        “The investments we’re making today will help us build a robust fuel cell manufacturing industry in the United States,” said Secretary Chu. “Developing and deploying the next generation of fuel cells will not only create jobs – it will help our businesses become more energy efficient and productive. We are laying the foundation for a green energy economy.”

        Of course, once we bring down the costs of building fuel cells, and have a manufacturing capability here in the US, coupled with the ongoing development of the Hydrogen Highway...

        It's easy to see where we're going... Very sneaky, Obama! Bush for FCVs = bad, so we kill that program off, but increase funding to the other side, and accomplish the same goal in the long run.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with you boyprodigy, but your statements are not unamerican at all.

        With all of the money we spend playing world police and occupying other countries, we could be using the world's highest GDP ever to develop technology that would put us at the top again. Instead we put the money into our military. It's a pretty hopeless way to stay on top.

        We are so far behind in green development for our size and level of advancement. China will be ahead of us soon and we'll be the #1 polluter again.

        Other than getting Saddam Hussein out of office, i'm not sure what we achieved exactly in the last what.. 7 years?

        Still pissed at Bush for throwing money at hydrogen and calling it a day, as far as our environmental policy went. We are the only country that has not signed the Kyoto protocol and finally acknowledged greenhouse gases are bad late last year... wtf?

        A real patriot sees problems with his country and tries to fix them........ not fix other countries for personal gain... you're as American as everyone else.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Obama administration actually denounced hydrogen fuel cells as viable for transportation. Steven Chu (energy secretary) can be quoted saying that EV's are the most viable path towards energy independence in the future. Congress, however, did not listen. Buts its not like it really matters. None of this talks about government funding, but it would be incorrect for me to say it doesn't exist. What i can say is that it is a lot less than EV's are getting right now.

        On a side note, it shouldn't be a political issue to be pushing the developments of new technologies. As a country, it should be our goal to have the best scientific technologies and development programs. Otherwise, our education systems will falter, our productivity will shrink, and our overall quality of life will ultimately reduce. Funding for research is something that I personally gladly pay taxes for, and I feel that my priorities are perfectly in line. IMHO: R&D should be > DOD. Oops, I've gone and said something unamerican...
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The Obama administration actually denounced hydrogen fuel cells as viable for transportation."

        They also killed off the US manned space-flight program.

        Something tells me they're only worried about next year - not next decade.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ugh. stop with the hydrogen. It is just too impractical and to inefficient.

      We are not just trying to get off oil . . . we are trying to use less energy. Hydrogen requires energy to produce. And every time you convert from one energy form to another, you lose energy . . . and a lot is lost making hydrogen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Jackie76: Natural gas has three times the energy content at the same pressure as H2. The only reason that people think natural gas requires a huge tank is because nobody is crazy enough to want to compress it to 10,000psi as you HAVE TO DO with H2 to get any range. If you did compress NG to 10,000psi, you could get one hell of a range on your car...a lot more than H2.

      @european dude: Do you realize that their is no "supply" of H2? It doesn't occur on this planet as a gas at all. You have to get it by steam reforming natural gas or electrolysis of water. Both of which have serious drawbacks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dave, it is illogical to compare the cost of batteries (energy storage) to hydrogen (synthetic fuel). The correct comparison would be to compare the cost of batteries to the cost of H2 storage tanks, (both energy storage) and to compare the cost of electricity to the cost of hydrogen (both synthetic fuels).

        The H2 storage and H2 fuel are more expensive than their EV alternatives.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The energy density of hydrogen is absolutely pathetic. And the cost of hydrogen storage is atrocious.

        But its still far better than the energy density of batteries. And far cheaper.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Chris,
        Good points, and I think it should be extended further. The fuel cell in an H2 vehicle should be compared to an ICE engine used as a range extender.

        The fuel cell has the advantage of being clean at the tail pipe (but not where the H2 is produced because that process is not clean). I've never seen a fuel cell that could power a car available for less than $500,000. If someone can show me a pointer to where I could go buy one, then please share it.

        On the other hand, I can go buy a 2 or 3 cylinder ICE engine as a range extender for around $1,000 and deal with the fact that it's going to have some emissions at the tail pipe when it runs...but it won't run all the time if I can keep my daily driving down to the 40 miles all electric range that covers ~80% of all daily commuting.

        The other option is to buy a larger battery pack that will give me around a 150-200 mile range which would be about $20-25,000 (if you're a manufacturer at today's prices, based on statements of cost per kWh from GM and others). That's expensive, but a lot less than the half million dollars the fuel cell costs today.

        I can't wait to see the Leaf's final pricing.
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fuel cells have their place, but not in cars.

      No to impractical fuel cell vehicles (although the governments may compell the taxpayers to fund them anyway).

      Yes to:
      Hybrids,

      Modern gas and diesel technologies with hybrids,

      EVs,

      Cutting edge new battery and ultracapacitor technologies,

      Any new technologies that have a possibility of better, more efficient, less polluting, reasonably priced vehicles that can that common people can afford, (and that dismisses fuel cells for all but the rich who want to make a "green statement").
      "The Tom" is right again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "With all of the money we spend playing world police and occupying other countries, we could be using the world's highest GDP ever to develop technology that would put us at the top again. Instead we put the money into our military. It's a pretty hopeless way to stay on top."

      What money?
      I guess it's pretty smart to deplete first foreign countries and pay them with green printed paper or just bits and bytes. To do so America has to be the superpower and world police. Very tricky. The good ole empire gig.

      What was the threa(t)d again? Ah, hydrogen as "fuel" for cars. Sure...
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