No vehicles? No problem.

That's what one builder of a hydrogen-fueling station slated for Carson City, NV, is saying.

H2 Technologies, which is looking to break ground on the station by July and open the station within a year, says the operation could be profitable even without any revenue from vehicles filling up. That's because the company will be able to sell the oxygen that's created when the station's electrolyzer extracts hydrogen and oxygen from water, according to the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

In order to create demand, H2 is buying four Toyota Prius hybrids and two Ford Focus cars that will be converted into hydrogen-powered vehicles that will demonstrate the value of hydrogen powertrains. But H2 Technologies' principal, Gary Lord, says his company will have a contract to sell the oxygen to a supplier of industrial gases.

Either way, H2 is set to receive a $1.1 million loan from the state of Nevada for the station. While the per-gallon price hasn't been set, Lord estimates that his company will sell hydrogen at about $10 per kilogram, which will be similar to the per-mile price of gasoline, only without the emissions. The station will create enough hydrogen supply for about 80 vehicles a day.

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said it would fund as much as $2 million worth of research towards hydrogen refueling stations, specifically to find out what kind of components need to be invented or developed to accelerate the build-out of such stations.

Last year, green-technology research firm Pike Research forecast that there would be more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations in operation by the end of the decade, up from 200 stations in 2010. In the U.S., there are about 60 hydrogen fueling stations, compared to about 1,000 compressed natural gas stations and more than 7,000 electric-charging stations, according to the DOE.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 170 Comments
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      The attempted argument may be the same. But if you look at the actual numbers only one of them is true. EVs are unquestionably more inexpensive to run (only purchase is an issue). EVs are cleaner and more efficient. Only in the absolute best case use of petroleum (Prius) do you get essentially in the same ballpark, where EVs will still have a tiny edge. Only in the contrived case of a Prius vs the states with very dirty electricity can you make a case for cleaner petrol car. Using H2 Electrolysis OTOH is completely and drastically inferior. The H2 Electrolysis cycle is between 3X and 4X less energy efficient than an EV. Therefore it creates between 3X and 4X times the WTW CO2 of an EV (and of a Prius), this pushes it to being far worse than the average car. Closer to Hummer WTW. Bottom line on H2 vs EV, is that with at least 3 Times better efficiency, EVs are going to have 3 Times better operating expenses and 3 Times better WTW CO2 profiles. That pretty much kill H2 vehicles dead, outside of lobbyists.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Science? No one hear has the foggiest clue on any of this. We rant, we rave, we hope...but to suggest we have a clue? We rail against cars and SUV's, call the population dumb who likes them, yet they continue to buy them. We look upon ourselves as superior in knowledge and intellect, but do did the people of the 70's, so dd the people of the 50's, as they did in the 20's. In our arrogance then, we thought that eugenics seemed a good idea. When the break through occurs, it will occur. Maybe the solid state, maybe the lithium air, maybe the cyclone, and who knows, maybe it will all be light weight and aero, and Dan will have been the wise person who saw it coming. There is a lesson though....why is it we always have to feel superior to our peers, and those of the past? Why is it people have to think they know what is best? There is a definitive reason...
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like I said, people don't see the inherent shortcomings of their chosen energy source. Oil lovers refuse to admit that pollution and trade deficits are problematic. Electricity lovers don't realize that hydrogen exists b/c batteries have storage issues (density and recharge) that liquid fuels do not. If the entire world moves toward solar, wind, and hydro the supply of energy will not be as regular as it is with fossil fuel. If someone wanted to store a few TW/h of energy to smooth supply/demand, they wouldn't use a battery the size of the empire state building. The world will need a storage device, and hydrogen is an attractive option even if it isn't as efficient as li-ion batteries. Furthermore, hydrogen can be shipped around the world, unlike solar or wind electricity. Clean hydrogen energy can be used to clean up industries that electricity cannot. Trucking, heavy equipment, aeronautics, etc can be cleaned up with hydrogen, and if the hydrogen is created with energy that otherwise would have gone to waste as part of natural operations surplus, I don't see any efficiency problem. If people on ABG can't think hydrogen through, I don't see why anyone should listen to them regarding electrification.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not really a believer in the efficacy of Hydrogen as an automotive fuel. But, neither do I automatically dismiss the possibility of hydrogen technology improving to become viable. Certainly, R&D should continue, as should all scientific research. But is this sort of commercialisation, the best and most appropriate use of the taxpayers money. Acedemic research is one thing, but government funding for commercialisation should be reserved for proven technologies.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Yeah, who knows . . . someone may come up with a breakthrough. If they could build cheap fuel cells, a cheap HFC car does solve the range and refuel time issues. But right now the H2 technology does not seem ready for market. It struggles on economics and requires a big infrastructure build-out. No one is going to do a big build-out to support a tiny niche market. That's the nice thing about EVs . . . no big build-out is needed . . . just a ~$1K 240V Level-2 charger in the home garage. And the PHEVs like the Volt don't even need that. (Actually, the Mitsubish-i is so small that it can probably do fine with a 120V charger as well.)
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        "But is this sort of commercialisation, the best and most appropriate use of the taxpayers money?" That is up to the state of Nevada to decide. Personally, I think that the government can only speed up or slow down the inevitable by a year or two. "Either way, H2 is set to receive a $1.1 million LOAN from the state of Nevada for the station" [emphasis added]
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Who do you think pays that loan when the station fails? How much of it will go to inflated salaries of "H2 technologies Inc"? They are also using that loan as a hook to pull in other investors. Exactly how many millions does it take to build a H2 fueling station that uses only 100 Gallons of water per day (claimed in original article)? AFAIK that is only 42KG of H2 produced. Gross daily Gross revenues 42*$12(including oxygen) = $504 Net operating margin of what $100/day? $Million[s] invested to make under $40K/year??? I would really, REALLY LOVE to see the business plan on this one.
          Chris M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          And you haven't even added in the cost of electricity, Peter. Yep, the economics look extremely dubious, even with sales of oxygen as a sideline.
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      The arguments are the same. Hydrogen isn't cost effective. It isn't clean. It isn't as efficient as it looks. All arguments are a sample of truth in a population of counterpoint. B/c people cannot see the inherent problems with the energy source they like, they cannot understand how facile their arguments are.
      Tysto
      • 2 Years Ago
      $1.1 million. What is that, about 50 level 3 chargers, installed? And the chargers wouldn't need land because you could put them in parking lots and highway oases like pop machines. Put them 50 miles apart, and you could equip 2500 miles of highway.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      massive mistake
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Happy Earthday All On this day I would like to give a shout out to a great peace activist and environmental fighter, Helen Maddux. MSNBC has a good profile on her: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42711922/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/earth-day-co-founder-killed-composted-girlfriend/#.T5Qq0xB5mSM
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        @joe.... I will forget, when her parents and family forget, and when the left stops screaming, 'McCarthyism!'
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @Ezee " the left screams 'nazi' (wonder why they never use the real name, 'national socialism' "! Touché, nicely skewered ! @Joeviocoe "Guerrilla tactics are a natural manifestation of being an underdog", )r a delusional little group of misanthropes.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          When the extreme fringe of a movement turns to violence... that does NOT disqualify the movement itself. **but is a symptom of being 'the powerless vs. the powerful'. See explanation above** The original Boston Tea Party was essentially the same principled movement of the modern Tea Party. But the guys in Boston were criminals. Trespassing and destruction of property. And also degraded into declared treason (independence) and a full scale insurgency. The Civil Rights movement had some peaceful members (MLK) but also had it's radicals (Malcom X) and some very violent components (Black Panthers)...... .... DOES THAT VIOLENCE INVALIDATE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT??? NO! It certainly doesn't help, but it does not mean blacks should not have equal rights... or that Martin Luther King Jr. was a "delusional misanthrope". ------------ The problem is that people don't/can't argue the merits of the philosophy without getting caught up in the circus. Most conservatives actually agree that corporate money should not buy political influence they way it currently does. But they see a rally of liberals... and automatically they hate them. Political partisan ideology trumps the substance of the debate.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          And, as the left had taught us, it is the symbolism that is important. And, even if the right does scream that, who is doing the screaming? 5 of the NY times columnists have called the tea party 'terroroists' while saying nothing when the occupy crowd burns buildings, takes people hostage, rapes women, and throws feces at police and businesses.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          The left screams "McCarthyism" as much as the right screams "Nazism" at Obama. It is a fringe/extremism that is a small percent.. on both sides. Not worthy of your notice. Unless you knew her personally, it is a useless gesture to act sympathetic 40 years later on a personal basis like you suggest. It is being rehashed because it hurts the green movement, not because it was a senseless waste of life.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          "or a delusional little group of misanthropes" No, when the powerless go against the powerful... guerrilla (and violence) tactics are inevitable. The Tea Party was originally traitors and criminals against the Crown of England. They were the underdogs. Hating taxes then, as the new Tea Party does now. But now, they have neo-conservatives in Congress, and a major voice in the media (Newscorp). They are the powerful, and hence, will not be forced to violence. Do you call the original Boston Tea Party "a delusional little group of misanthropes". No! They hate taxes, not human nature. Similarly, the Occupy Wall Street protesters hate corporate influence in politics, not human nature. The "delusion" is thinking that one side is somehow noble and the other side is evil. They are just different aspects of the same human nature offset in phase. When Liberals are in power, Conservatives go on the attack.. and when Conservatives are in power, Liberals go on the attack. OWS was a decade of pent up frustration unleashed. And if taxes get too high, we will see violence from the Tea Party fringe as well.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Jeez EZEE... get off the extreme fringe. NYT is biased. Fox News is biased. You shouldn't be getting news from either. Preach Moderation. Occupy Wall street has certain percent of lunatics. So does the Tea Party. **The Tea Party has congressional and corporate backing... so they have no need to resort to violence** "Guerrilla tactics are a natural manifestation of being an underdog"
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          And the left screams 'nazi' (wonder why they never use the real name, 'national socialism'....oh yea...right) any time a person on the right disagrees on a spending bill for a new bridge.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        ^-- great job discrediting environmentalism!
          Danaon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          You say this like environmentalists care about humanity at all. You're very misinformed if you honestly believe that.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Rehashing a 40 year old story to discredit environmentalism? Grasping at geriatric straws are we?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          :D
      mylexicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      You guys still don't seem to understand that hydrogen is considered to be a foregone conclusion. When we move to solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear we can't simply shovel more coal into the generator at peak time and shovel less at low demand. The sun shines when/where it shines. The wind blows when/where it blows. The water flows when/where it flows. Nuclear is not easily adjustable. We will have huge amounts of electric capacity we don't need at certain times in certain places, and massive shortages of electricity at certain times and certain places. We need an energy storage medium. Many people believe that hydrogen will be that storage medium b/c it is plentiful, simple, and clean. Everything in the "hydrogen economy" is predicated on the idea that hydrogen will necessarily be created to capture surplus electricity production. The decision is how to use it, trade it, transport it, and smooth energy supply over time and distribute it across geography. If hydrogen will never work or some massively scalable energy storage method, we might as well just give up on the green grid now, or accept that it will be wildly inefficient (though clean) compared to the grid we have now. If hydrogen will be created, how do we burn it? I agree that cars are not a terribly good place, but BEVs are not going to vanquish liquid fuels (hydrogen, gasoline, bio) until they can rapidly recharge and cycle for a quarter-million miles. The car market demands it.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      These two statements, from the original article, don't seem to agree. "...developer H2 Technologies Group Inc. of Sparks thinks the station can be profitable even if it never delivers a bit of hydrogen for vehicle fuel." "The cost structure is simple, Lord says. The capital cost of a small station with its electolyzers and compressors, the purchase of about 100 gallons of water a day and the big expense of electricity to drive the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen.....At that, along with the appropriate state and federal taxes, hydrogen from the plant likely would sell at about $10 a kilogram, Lord says." The first claims that the hydrogen is basically a free byproduct of oxygen production and any income from hydrogen sales would be profit. The second seems to say that there is a cost (besides the compressor and fueling nozzle which is obviously not necessary to oxygen production)
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        This is just more BS to rope in "investors". From what I can see Wholesale Oxygen goes for about 20 cents/KG. Yes, pennies/KG. Producing Hydrogen and Oxygen for industrial use via Electrolysis is not a profitable venture. Hydrogen is much more economically produced from Steam Reformation, Oxygen from Nitrogen absorption, or Cryo-separation of air. So an electrolysis filling station would not be profitable selling oxygen for industrial use. It is unlikely to be profitable selling all it's Oxygen for industrial use and all its Electrolysis H2 at $10/KG. The oxygen contribution to the bottom line is negligible. This is pure boondoggle BS. Analysis I have seen on Electrolysis fueling stations put break even well above $10/KG.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Thinking about it further, it seems that the first quote is meant to reflect what they are actually doing with their own business plan: "...H2 Technologies is contracting with a supplier of industrial gases to sell oxygen — the waste product — at wholesale for medical and industrial uses. “That secondary market makes the station profitable from day one,” says Gary Lord, a principal in H2 Technologies. “We create copious amounts of oxygen.” And the second comment is referring to the more general business plan for a hypothetical hydrogen station that *isn't* selling by-product hydrogen. It is a bit confusing, and perhaps we'll get a follow-up article with clarification after the station is up and running.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        It might be a bit extreme to claim that the station would be profitable without ever selling any hydrogen as fuel, but we don't know what price they're getting for the oxygen. This article from a few years back looks into the potential markets for by-product oxygen from hydrogen production. "In this study, we discussed the potential demand of by-product oxygen and its contribution to energy saving. Because there are the large quantities of potential oxygen demand, the by-product oxygen of electrolysis hydrogen production could be fully utilized, which would contribute to the improvement of various energy efficiency of industrial processes and electric power production, the reduction of CO2 emission. Even if the large quantities of by-product oxygen are wasted, the use of by-product oxygen in hospital would be economic merit." http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/ECS/IEW2003/Papers/2003P_kato.pdf
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        This is how companies fudge the numbers to fool investors. They would have to sell Oxygen at 1000% of the normal price to make a profit. In reality, nobody, not even hospitals, is going to buy Oxygen from these guys. It was a pointless gesture.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Most of the people here can convert their actual car to run with this fuel. it is not necessarily just advanced fuelcell cars. It will push instantly gasoline price down so a 2x advantage and also it will depollute the air so a saving on general tax on epa and other state researchs related to pollution. Also it will ease traffic because petrol have to be transported on roads by trucks contrary to this fuel that is made onsite with only simple machineries so it will eradicate unnessary unproductive jobs. Hydrogen is 3 x more efficient then exxon gasoline so at 10$ a kg it's already a saving of ( 4.80$ x 3=13.40/10$ ) so 34% plus access to some subsidies like hov access. Selling the oxygen is another benefit on top of that, maybe it can be added in tanks put in upcoming hydrogen fuelcell for added power densities and reduced weight. This is just a first step and eventually they can produce the stuff at 2$ a kilogram or if you prefer a gallon equivalent. Also you can scale down this same technology and put this electrolyzer inside the car and you refill your tank while driving or parked at home while blogging on your computer, no need to waist time and money at a refueling station or hours and hours at a charging station.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        The numbers just don't make sense.
          Chris M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Oh, that's just Gorr being Gorr, he lives in his own little perfect world where real-life issues of efficiency and economics do not intrude, so it's not surprising that his figures don't jibe with reality. He didn't notice the $10 per Kg price quoted in the article, so he made up his own figures.
          Peter
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Nothing makes sense here...
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      They need to setup an oxygen bar so while your car gets refilled, you can breathe in some high quality air.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        First time A girlfriend saw an oxygen bar: 'Whats that?" (me) 'oh, that's an Oxygen Bar.' "an oxygen bar? What are those people doing?' (me) 'breathing." (girlfriend - looks at me like 'you must be joking')
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Actually, you can get a bit high off of pure oxygen.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I've never used one, but I have been to places where the air is much cleaner, and other places where they have a lot of air pollution. There is a big difference, and part of that is the amount of oxygen you are able to get from breathing is higher. Also, Nike did a worldwide 10k race a few years ago (they might still do it in August...), but the average times from 'cleaner' cities were better than the times from the cities with brown clouds over them.
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