• May 7th 2010 at 12:35PM
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Gov. Schwarzenegger speaks at hydrogen conference – Click above to watch video after the jump

Speaking at the National Hydrogen Association Conference and Expo this week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed that the state's "Hydrogen Highway" would continue to expand after his time in office comes to an end next year. If you can bear to watch the entire speech (it's 13 minutes long), the key points are that the governator admits that the highway is not going quite as planned, but he stops short of declaring defeat.

Back in 2004, the governor signed California's Hydrogen Blueprint Plan. The aim was to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations operating throughout the state by the end 2010, a goal that is not even close to being met. Right now, the state has 31 stations either completed or in the works and reaching the 100 mark is likely years away. Still, Schwarzenegger promises that he will continue the push for H2 even when the Governor title is no longer attached to his name. Follow us after the jump to watch the speech.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Give it up governator. You bet on the wrong horse and lost. Tear up your ticket and place your bets for the next race.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, you're right. Politics and reality are not the same thing.

        The sad part is that I think his heart was in the right place, but his advisors were mostly made up of people with ties to the oil industry so he had no idea what he was getting into. Think what he could have done by this time by spending that money on an EV charging infrastructure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why would he tear up a ticket that keeps paying dividends? Betting on hydrogen has been a winning strategy as far as his campaign fund goes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I promise to help my friends in the oil industry even though I just said I was against increased offshore drilling.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm NOT applauding!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dear Arnold,

      Pursuing this hydrogen BS makes you less and less compelling. You are flat out wrong about this one. Yes, clear vision is important but knowing the laws of physics are even more important. And don't forget: hydrogen is NOT body-building. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Arnie has his attention is on the laws of politics, not the laws of physics (or, for that matter, the laws of economics). It pays political dividends to make vaguely hopeful platitudes to whatever audience he is speaking to, it doesn't necessarily mean that much will be done.

        No doubt if he was speaking at a "Plug-in America" event or the opening of a Tesla store the speech would be quite different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When are they going to allow retails sales then? I though there was already a handful of retail stations in California? I think hydrogen would be better starting out with something where it does things that EV can't yet do. Would it be possible for a trucking company to power their trucks like this - using shifts so that the trucks are moving pretty much 24/7 and actually save money over diesel if they made their own hydrogen?

      To be honest I think the existing and alternative liquid fuels will supplement plug-in drive and I'm not sure where hydrogen fits in with this, economically speaking.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are already such niches for an expensive fuel with no tailpipe emission that's not readily available.
        * Hydrogen fuel cell forklifts (operate indoors and faster refueling and less space than swapping batteries)
        * Hydrogen fuel cell buses and trucks in urban areas (no tailpipe pollution, refuel at central depot)

        No one makes the hydrogen from water, but if you can use the heat from making hydrogen from gas to heat the building (cogeneration), the economics and carbon footprint improve. (The Honda Home Energy Station does this, but it hasn't progressed since 2007.)

        It's in a private car that hydrogen is most dubious. An electric car with an expensive range-extender that's fueled by an inconvenient gas with no infrastructure is a really tough sell. Here's the ONLY group it makes sense for:
        * People with limited access to a plug who regularly drive long distances near hydrogen stations.

        But *everyone* else is better off with a BEV or plug-in hybrid with an ICE range extender.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "When are they going to allow retails sales then?"

        Good news: today they talked a little more about working out the details to allow retail sales:

        "Complete codes and standards for retail sales of hydrogen – The Division of Measurement Standards will develop the tools and methods for measuring hydrogen dispensed and fuel quality, so that hydrogen can be sold as a retail transportation fuel."


        Seriously people. The single biggest reason we don't see more investment in building the infrastructure is because we're still waiting on the government to tell us that we are allowed to build the infrastructure...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Coming back from Newport Beach, CA at 9 AM this morning, going North
      on Jamboree Rd., I was eyeing a convertible Maserati on my left. When
      I turned my gaze forward, I noticed a blue square on the car's bumper
      directly in front of me. It read 'Hydrogen'. I crept up eo see it
      was an FCX Clarity. I forgot all about the other car. When I told my
      wife next to me that the car ahead of us cost over $100,000, but only
      a few people could lease it, she said, "Huh? That Honda?!"
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have faith that as FCVs become more visible in the public eye, there will be more private investment in the infrastructure.

      SunHydro is a good example.

      "Only California has fuel-cell cars in any abundance, and there we're talking a few hundred at most. And Connecticut (home to several fuel-cell companies) has a virtual abundance of them compared to other East Coast metropolises. Nonetheless, this ambitious highway is rolling out. Ten to 15 stations will be built by SunHydro along the East Coast corridor, approximately 300 miles apart. Within two years, the companies plan to install them in such cities as Portland, Maine, Braintree, Massachusetts, Hackensack, New Jersey, Claymont, Delaware, Richmond Virginia, Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Orlando and Miami in Florida."


      Then there's also the issue of actually getting the government to allow retail sales of H2. Until there is a clearly defined regulation of what an H2 stations is actually supposed to be/do, there will be hesitancy on the part of private investors. Once regulations and codes are standardized federally (globally), then I would anticipate seeing a faster growth rate.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "And once they've paid off the solar PVs - it's free. Gotta love that profit margin... and profit margins are what attract investors.
        ... Once the windmill or solar PV is paid for, who really cares what you use the energy it produces for?"

        For a self-proclaimed investor, you are quite unthinking on economics.

        The up-front costs of renewables are daunting and the payback time is very long (and I say as a fan of the technology with solar PV and heating on my roof). We''ll know when the situation changes because companies will be renting flat warehouse roofs from third parties to make money, every gas station will have solar panels on its forecourt, and solar companies won''t bother selling panels, they'll cover their own roofs. Until then "We'll have free energy in 7-12 years after these systems are paid off" is demonstrably an unappealing story for investors.

        So to think a for-profit company will generate all its electricity renewably in-house is pretty much a fantasy. They'll be undercut by everyone who doesn't, and investors will take a dim view of giving their money to a company that's spitting its attention between whatever it's trying to do (make hydrogen refueling stations) and screwing around with renewable power. Now there are definitely green consumers and investors who will favor a company that uses 100% renewable energy, but competitors can step in, buy renewable electricity from a third party, and grab that market niche without locking up $millions in capital to set up their own renewable infrastructure. Furthermore, judging your electricity needs is hard. A SunPower station can use every kW it generates to make H2, but what if that results in more H2 than it can sell? So a sensible company will underinvest in renewable generation... but how much underinvestment? It'll wind up putting a solar PV awning on the entrance just for the greenwashing.

        "We have investment money to open 200 stations, instead we'll open 120 and power them from the sun!" Uhhh, sure. I'll believe it when Sun Hydro does it in volume.

        I'm no economist so I may be missing something. I've been waiting decades for companies with warehouses to print money and save the world from all the wasted solar energy incident on their roofs... still waiting.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I agree with you that as long as they pay for their own PV and produce Hydrogen from Solar Energy, why not?

        But even in the face of that claim, I remain pessimistic. How can they realistically produce enough Hydrogen using PV electricity in a city? Production would require a HUGE surface of PV panels to produce a decent amount of Hydrogen (enough to fill 100+ cars every day). Or are they buying "green power" through their local utility (which is more or less a scam set up by utilities to make customers pay for their mandated increases in green energy production)?
        • 5 Years Ago
        How is Hydrogen Still Viable?

        Natural Gas companies are DYING to get into the US Auto Fuel Market,
        where they can see the demand dry up Natural Gas Surplus's, raising the PRICE for All User of Natural Gas. [ HOME Heat ].

        This is just Capitalism [ Corporate Conspiracy ] at it's best.

        YOU WILL BE BANKRUPTED by the Super Rich and their Millions in Lobbying.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LetsTakeAWalk loves to stir the pot!

        Hydrogen is BAD.
        Most H2 comes from the reformation of hydrocarbons (natural gas).
        Hydrogen from electrolysis is a scam to get you thinking that hydrogen is clean.
        Electrolysis is a highly inefficient way to produce hydrogen, it uses massive amounts of electricity.
        Lastly fuel cells are expensive and unrealistic.
        So in conclusion the cheapest way to produce Hydrogen is from oil, thus the big push from Shell BP (chief gulf pollutant) and Exxon to shove hydrogen down your throat.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If all hydrogen could be produced by the sun, I have no problems with it. How the hell are BP, Exxon and the rest going to make money off of it. After the oil corps purchased much of the natural gas reserves in this country, I do not think they will stand for it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And the hydrogen made from solar panels at a filling station will be enough to fill what 10-20 cars per day? How do you pay for construction costs + interest with such a low volume of sales? Solar hydrogen will never be economically viable unless it costs much more than gas - but then people wont buy it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "SunHydro, as if all of their hydrogen came from the sun..."

        If you read the link, you'd see that's the plan. I accept electrolysis is the least efficient way to make H2, but if they're paying for their own solar PVs, then it's kind of a moot point. They can waste as much electricity as they want making H2 - because the electricity is renewable. And once they've paid off the solar PVs - it's free. Gotta love that profit margin... and profit margins are what attract investors.

        "Mike Grey, president of SunHydro, envisions a motorist, just a few years hence, driving from Maine to Miami on hydrogen. He said the stations will be entirely environmentally friendly, using his company's solar panels to power electrolysis technology from Proton Energy. The result: very low-emission hydrogen made from water."
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Rob Friedland, president of Proton, said his company has reached break-even status selling 1,200 electolyzers for commercial applications since 1996. It will shortly release its first small hydrogen re-fueler, a scaled-down $250,000 version of the Wallingford station that can produce two kilograms of hydrogen daily. Fuel-cell cars are "full" with four kilos on board, so that's enough to top off maybe two to three fuel-cell cars weekly, Friedland said.

        Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/cars-transportation/hydrogen-highway-460410#ixzz0nLvjPgeS"

        There's gotta be a lot of profit in that! Anybody know what 4kg of H2 sells for? $40? times 3/week * 52 wks/year = $6240 per year. At $250k = 40 years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Honey, I'm going to be late for dinner tonight. I have to drive to Atlanta to fill up the car."

        Building stations 300 miles apart along a highway is useless if you have to drive over 10 miles from your home to the nearest station. Most people only need to drive a couple of miles to buy gasoline. And you won't need to drive anywhere to recharge an EV, you can do that in your own garage.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Perhaps you missed the part of the quote that mentions the 2kg/day unit is "...a scaled-down $250,000 version of the Wallingford station..." It's not the full-size unit that will be installed at the stations.

        The systems that Proton makes come in a variety of sizes, including this one that makes 13kg a day, and integrates the compressor so that it can fuel a typical 350 bar H2 tank. 13kg would serve 4-6 cars a day, but you can add more units as needed as demand grows. Undoubtedly, electrolizers will also improve, so older units can be sold to industrial facilities (which are currently already the primary market for these), while new more efficient electrolizers can be quickly delivered and set up. The link I have is a product that's already two years old, so they likely have a better one coming online soon.


        Again, they already own the land, and they already make the electrolizers. Much of their capital investment is already done. There are huge tax-breaks for solar PVs, and the costs for them are also continually falling.

        I know solar H2 won't work at all latitudes, but it could work very well in many locations. If private enterprise want to give it a shot, I'm happy to read about it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Spaced approx. 300 miles apart? Hmm, the FCX Clarity has a mere 270 mile range, so that isn't very useful, but maybe they'll put in even bigger tanks and give up more trunk space.

        H2 from renewables won't be economically competitive, considering that H2 from steam reforming is less expensive, and EVs and PHEVs are far less expensive as they use just 1/3 as much renewables.

        A $250,000 H2 refueler that produces 2 Kg per day? Hmm, currently the price of H2 is in the $8 to $13 range, and at $10 per Kg, that's just $20 per day, which means 12,500 days or nearly 35 years to pay off - but wait, that doesn't take into account the maintenance costs, or labor costs, or the interest costs for that $250,000. Heck, the interest on that loan at a favorable 4% rate would be $27 per day! So, unless the owners jacked up prices to absurd levels it could never make a profit, but of course no one would buy at absurd prices. Especially when electricity is sooo much cheaper!

        But of course H2 promoters are promising H2 prices below $2.50 per Kg. Dream on.

        Replacing gasoline with natural gas will reduce CO2 production, mainly because natural gas has a more favorable Hydrogen to Carbon ratio (4:1) compared to gasoline (2.25:1). But even better than using natural gas to make H2 for a H2FCV would be to use natural gas directly in a solid oxide fuel cell like the Bloom Box - 30% more efficient, less expensive fuel, and 3x greater range per tank of fuel (assuming the same size of pressure tank).
        • 5 Years Ago
        SunHydro, as if all of their hydrogen came from the sun instead of stripping natural gas. Almost as green as BP.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "...but what if that results in more H2 than it can sell?"

        Now there's an interesting problem. If your supply is too big for your demand, what do you do?

        Lower your price - typically. Then there's always the merchant H2 market. Having too much H2 is not going to be an issue. Demand for H2 is growing.

        "I've been waiting decades for companies with warehouses to print money and save the world from all the wasted solar energy incident on their roofs... still waiting."

        The problem is you're looking at payback in terms of electricity from PVs versus H2 from PVs. Electricity is dirt cheap, so trying to sell it in order to recoup an incestment will take quite a long time. Although I do hear plenty of PV supporters on this forum who claim very short payoff periods... But if you convert that electricity into a far more valuable commodity like H2, the payoff comes much more quickly.

        The fellow behind SunHydro is the owner of Lumber Liquidators, Tom Sullivan. It's my understanding that he's planning on using the land he already owns, in the light industrial zoned areas outside of metropolitan areas. Already owning the land means his capital costs will be substantially lower than someone looking for a greenfield site.

        The same fellow also owns Proton Energy Systems, which makes the electrolizers, so again, he has access to the technology at a substantially lower cost than someone who would have to buy the equipment retail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chris M

        Again, you are ignoring the fact the SunHydro is owned by the same guy who owns the electrolizer manufacturer.

        1. They'll be using an industrial scale electrolizer purchased in all likely hood at a substantial discount, not a small-scale unit purchased at full retail.

        2. The electrolizers are already competing in the hydrogen generation market, which would indicate that they do indeed produce H2 at an affordable price.

        I do have to laugh at the keyboard jockeys here who don't have access to a company's business plan, and then dismiss it out of hand as impossible, based on an incomplete analysis. I'm only taking the position that it *could* work, if they've got everything worked out properly. They own the land (typically in light-industrial areas outside of major market cities), and they own the electrolizer technology (proven through prifitable commercial sales). We know that they can get solar PVs with a huge tax discount, and that solar PVs are dropping very quickly.

        Their cost estimate for the whole station is around $2 million - I'm sure profitability won't happen overnight, but they won't be selling just H2. Remember, even your typical gas station wouldn't make a profit if it weren't for the retail operation selling food and other products. I know exactly where the Lumber Liquidators is in my area, and that part of town would certainly benefit from a convenience store/small marketplace.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Natural Gas companies are DYING to get into the US Auto Fuel Market,
        where they can see the demand dry up Natural Gas Surplus's, raising the PRICE for All User of Natural Gas."

        You are seriously overestimating the demand that HFCVs will place on the natural gas markets.

        "Using natural gas to make hydrogen and using the hydrogen to drive a fuel cell vehicle reduces greenhouse gas emissions at least 50% compared to a gasoline vehicle. Just a 2% increase in U.S. natural gas supply would support 10 million FCVs. The commercial market can get started with hydrogen from natural gas and still significantly cut GHGs."


        Likewise, much of the hydrogen that is *already produced* goes into the transportation sector as it is. As fewer vehicles burn refine petroleum products, the H2 that would otherwise have been used in the refining process can then be redirected into the H2 fueling infrastructure.

        "53% of the hydrogen produced in North America is already dedicated to transportation, enough to fuel 21 million FCEVs. It's used to make gasoline cleaner by removing sulfur from petroleum at refineries."

        • 5 Years Ago
        "Hydrogen from electrolysis is a scam..."

        No it's not. It's not the most efficient way to make H2, but it works. Once the windmill or solar PV is paid for, who really cares what you use the energy it produces for? Some people will undoubtedly use theirs to play video games, while others will likely watch porn. Who cares? If they want to use their free electricity to make H2, and then put that H2 into an FCV (whether their own or someone else's) that's their business.

        H2 from solar and wind might not be cheap, but it is clean and renewable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I bet they could build 100 gas stations or battery chargers in way less time with way less money.

      "Only 100?" Is the thing that boggles my mind, really. That they still haven't even come close to that number boggles it even more.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is the governator being paid to say these things? I think so! I wonder if he (or the other Kennedys) has any investments in hydrogen?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, the Kennedy family is very seriously opposed to wind power...

        "WASHINGTON -- As record oil prices turn attention to the need for renewable fuels, momentum is building in Congress to buck Senator Edward M. Kennedy's bid to block the proposed Cape Cod wind energy project, potentially reviving efforts to construct the sprawling windmill farm in Nantucket Sound."


        "The opponents have formed an organization called Save Our Sound, which benefits from financial support from Ted Kennedy and a handful of other wealthy people in the area. The organization's Director, Audra Parker, hopes that in the end, with luck, they will be able to block the project."


        "The four-year-old battle started heating up last summer when Greenpeace USA staged a demonstration against well-known eco-activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who's been an outspoken opponent of the proposal for a 130-turbine wind-power project in Horseshoe Shoal..."

        • 5 Years Ago

        Nah, they're not against wind farms. That's just a NIMBY situation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, unfortunately, that's a NIMBY thing.

        It's going to happen now. I think it was a headline here on ABG (or maybe NY Times) that stated that the Cape Cod wind farm has been approved. I do not know when it will be started or when it will be online.
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