Well this kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it.

Since Olympic organizers have shut down London's only hydrogen refueling station, three of London's hydrogen-powered cabs are being shipped – via diesel-powered car transporters – 65 miles away for refueling. Why did they do that, you ask? Because of security concerns, reports UK's Swindon Advertiser.

The cabs, which are owned by HyTEC, are being used in London during the Games, but then have to be shipped to Swindon, the nearest hydrogen filling station, for a three-minute refill. The drive takes quite a bit longer. Given the absurdity, there remains a chance that a hydrogen refueling station at Heathrow Airport might be opened before the end of the Games.

Just prior to the start of the Olympics, five hydrogen-powered buses that were being used to shuttle people between Tower Gateway and Covent Garden were taken out of service and replaced by diesel buses because the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) said hydrogen storage at the station posed a security risk.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The existence of FCV,/Hydrogen buses and taxi's operating in one of the world largest cities without mishaps, would seem to be a bit of a contradiction for those who claim that FCV's have no role in future transport use. The anti-FCV forces seem as strangely silent, as ta hydrogen powered London cab !
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        "The anti-FCV forces seem as strangely silent" Well maybe because this is a silly non issue. I think FCVs are not a good path to follow for economic and technological reasons. But I have no stupid irrational hatred against them that would cause me to use bad arguments against them. FCVs will definitely have many useful niche markets. But for typical passenger automobiles . . . I think PHEVs provide a much more practical and economic alternative.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I noted that no-one here tried to argue that this proved that hydrogen is immensely dangerous because of the London restrictions. This is noted and appreciated. It is unusual to visit sites where any argument which comes to hand is not deployed, however specious they may be. Good on yer!
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Despite your obvious trolling for responses (just like ABG likes to do with a lot of hydrogen articles), I'll humor you ;). The hydrogen buses haven't been running without issue. The availability rate of the hydrogen buses in London have been poor at 50% (on lack of trained personnel). Over here in the fuel cell bus evaluation in my local Bay Area (12 fuel cell buses in total, spanning 5 local transit agencies), it hasn't been significantly better at 56% compared to the 85% target, despite plenty of trained personnel (page 7 in the recent NREL July 2012 report below). http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/55367.pdf The recent hydrogen fuel leak and fire at AC Transit also spooked the local hydrogen station installation at the SFO airport. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_21149278/wrong-valve-cause-fire-at-ac-transit-hydrogen?source=rss You can compare to my local SFMTA fleet which includes 460 diesel/diesel-hybrid buses in 2009 (with daily availability above 400, 400/460 = 87% availability, see page 7-18 below) and 333 electric trolley buses (with daily availability above 260, 260/333 = 78% availability, see page 7-23 below). http://www.sfmta.com/cms/rsrtp/documents/12Chapter7-FleetPlan31accessibleFY08PublicDraftforMTAB10-2fm.pdf I don't know about the London taxis (can't find availability data on it), but the fuel cell buses obviously still need a lot of work.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          JakeY , Thank you for a most interesting reply. I'm just goggling the references you so kindly included.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          @JakeY, Thank you, I shall read after I post my latest indulgence in humour to Peter Scott :).
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          @Marcopolo Here's the article on the 50% availability rate of the London hydrogen buses in case that was what you were looking for: http://www.busandcoach.com/newspage.aspx?id=6945&categoryid=0 It was linked by the recent ABG report on the grounding of those hydrogen buses due to the security measures for the London Olympics: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/25/londons-hydrogen-buses-grounded-during-olympics-due-to-security/ There's still a learning curve in how to deal with hydrogen bus maintenance until it can reach the typical availability of diesel buses.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        @Marco: I like to think in terms of applications, and consider from that what technologies can do the job. Hydrogen may be more competitive for taxis than buses in the short term. In the field of fork lift trucks hydrogen is rapidly moving into a dominant position where emissions are important relative to batteries, as you have to keep the equipment in use and can't be swapping batteries, which of course entails spares, or waiting for a recharge. Providing hydrogen at the factory is relatively straight forward. The same considerations apply to fuel cells for taxis. Their routes are not entirely predictable or limited either, and taxi drivers don't want to turn down a lucrative longer run because their batteries are running low. For buses batteries are more competitive, at least some of the advanced ones such as the Altairnano ones in the Proterra, which can be fast charged at the terminus of the run. On some routes with longer runs or where more flexibility is needed hydrogen would be a better solution, but there is more overlap than in taxis with batteries a better alternative in buses than in taxis. I don't think I am really going to get involved in cost discussions again, as either battery or hydrogen buses and taxis are clearly a lot more expensive than ICE at the moment, and if all the analysis of the DOE and others including definitive information on the rapid reduction in the use of precious metals for instance in fuel cells to date, so greatly reducing costs isn't going to convince people that the costs of fuel cells are falling rapidly and are likely to continue doing so, then presumably they are beyond the reach of mere logic and data. However, it is worth mentioning that the alternative of carrying on with combustion engines is also very costly, it is just that the cost is externalised. Around 24% of the particulate pollution in central London is due to taxis: http://www.westlondonairquality.org.uk/uploads/documents/Projects/Taxi%20Best%20Practice%20Guide.pdf Traffic air pollution causes thousands of deaths a year in the UK, although of course only some of those are due to taxis: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17704116 Not only is the overall health impact and cost much greater than just the death toll, but traffic pollution is now known to be several times as dangerous as previously thought, including in my above link for estimated fatalities: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/science/earth/scientists-find-new-dangers-in-tiny-but-pervasive-particles-in-air-pollution.html?_r=3 In addition to these costs of present practices as the BBC link above indicates very substantial fines are due to be levied on the UK if they continue to fail to meet air pollution targets.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          DaveMart , Ok, thanks ! I''l get to your sources when I've looked up JakeY's ! :) I'll just order another beer first..
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          More information from Lotus on why they chose a fuel cell battery hybrid for the London taxi application here: http://www.lotuscars.com/engineering/case-study-hydrogen-fuel-cell-taxi Note the meaty 14kwh battery pack, and why the varied tasks of a taxi means that just using a bigger pack is not optimal. Either/or between batteries and fuel cells is simplistic and unhelpful. We need both in varying combinations. The size of the London taxi fleet at 21,000 vehicles is also referenced here, which makes it obvious why doing something about their emissions is vital. If we put a nominal $500 million value on the damage from their emissions in deaths, hospitalisations etc that means that we can spend £20,000 extra over an ICE per taxi and still break even against the damage they do.
        pmpjunkie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        ok, since you're asking. I don't consider myself anti FCV, I just find it curious that a supposedly "big" FCV proponent such as Toyota is building an EV compliance car instead of an FCV compliance car for the Californian market. IMHO this would be the golden opportunity for Toyota to run a substantial test fleet to prepare for a successful 2015 launch of FCV's. It doesn't seem like the whole effort is even close to where BMW was a few years ago with the MiniE.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @pmpjunkie
          Toyota *has* built a very successful FCV demonstration fleet - the FCHV-adv. Over the past few years, they've been run all over the place, and have shown that Toyota's FCV technology is road-ready and capable of replacing (not just supplementing) the average American automobile owner's ICE-powered transport. http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf Toyota is now refining that technology to produce the FCVs they will introduce by 2015.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        No fodder for you next report? I'll play. :) Anything can "work" on a small scale, with enough subsidy. Fleet use with central filling is easier to pull off than convincing the public that expensive vehicles with expensive fuel and few fueling locations is something they want to buy into. Even for fleet use, the question is will it work financially on it's own? Canadian taxpayers spent close to 100 million dollars the largest Hydrogen FCV Bus fleet and operations costs, in Whistler BC (used during the winter Olympics). Each Bus cost 4 times the price of a regular bus. There was no Hydrogen sources, so they truck Hydrogen 3000 miles to fuel these buses. Nice greenwashing, but it is financially and environmentally idiotic, when you likely burn just as much diesel trucking the Hydrogen across a continent, and your financial costs are multiples of normal. Do you have the full story on the costs for the taxis?
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          PeterScott Thank you for your excellent return volley ! I'll try to source a study on the economics of the London Taxi's.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          @Marco: I don't have the figures, but obviously what you will find is that the London taxis are hugely expensive. That is what you would expect from a run of half a dozen vehicles using cutting edge technology and needing specialist infrastructure. The details of the cost though will not tell you much about potential costs though. For a start if we were designing a new version today then fuel cells have moved on. Here is Toyota: 'Engineers say they have halved the bulk of the power generation system, compared with 2005 standards, doubled the cruising range to near-normal car levels and found a way to make the system work adequately at any temperature between 30 and 105 degC, when extremes of temperature were previously much more problematic. Durability had improved by a factor of three, as well. The big problem to be faced between now and 2015 is cost reduction, Toyota says. Present cars would cost at least £80,000, and the company knows this must be reduced. But the omens are good. According to estimates, Japan already produces enough hydrogen as the biproduct of steelmaking and chemical processes to fuel a fleet of five million cars. That seems to mean that this small and crowded country, traditionally regarded as fuel-poor, could fuel at least 10 per cent of the cars on its roads from existing sources, provided it can develop foolproof fuel transfer and storage systems.' http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/motor-shows/toyota-closing-fuel-cell-targets On the last point enough hydrogen either goes to waste in plants such as chlor alkali production and is currently flared or can be produced from waste which is currently landfilled to run buses and taxis, although not the general car fleet. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/waste_cox.pdf Fuel cell taxis are not currently economic, just like battery taxis, they do however have the range and refuelling capabilities to do the job, which battery vehicles don't as they can only cover some of the runs. Hydrogen buses and battery buses are also uneconomic at present. What can be done at less increased cost is hybrids, just like the Volt is a good solution at the moment. However hybrids can only do part of the job of cleaning up the air and reducing oil use. You need to use hydrogen or batteries to do the whole job. Therefore it seems sensible to do about what most authorities are doing, and deploy hybrids where they can be financed at the moment, whilst using small fleets of hydrogen and battery buses and taxis to gain practical experience ready for deployment as the economics improve. The reservations about the reliability to date of hydrogen buses are real and substantial. You find that out and can start improving on that by limited deployment. I'd put larger scale deployment of fuel cell taxis at about 2015-17, and buses both battery and FCEV rather later in around 2020.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Well, i am silent for one because autoblog green has already done a fine job of trolling everyone here already.. ;]
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is impossible for us to know whether or not they uncovered intel that pointed to a specific plot or threat that was to target H2 filling stations. Given that fact, this isn't a green issue, this is a National Security issue for England. This is not a green car story anymore than a plot to blow up gas stations would be a story about gas cars, or a plot to blow up electric power plants would be a story about electric cars.
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bureaucracy at it's finest
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey, not my government. They can do whatever silly stuff they like. ;)
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is a fun little story about over-acting government worry-warts, isn't it?
      • 2 Years Ago
      The article's substance from the scope of the London Hydrogen Partnership whose Secretariat based at City Hall [London], chair: Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse. "Hydrogen and fuel cells" "Many consider that hydrogen - coupled with a device called a fuel cell - will increasingly provide us all with clean energy in the future... ...if the hydrogen itself is produced from a carbon-neutral source..., we have the potential for carbon-neutral and emission-free energy. Our cars, buses, mobile phones, laptops, home generators, powerstations and so on could be clean ... and quiet! Other countries such as the United States, Germany and Japan are working seriously towards a 'hydrogen economy', and all major vehicle manufacturers now have hydrogen-powered vehicles in development..." "Safety" "Hydrogen gas is a common industrial gas... Some 35 million tonnes are produced globally every year, about one per cent of the amount of oil produced globally in 2001. Consequently, extensive safety protocols already exist and work is also under way to produce internationally standardised handling procedures for everyday situations... As a fuel, hydrogen gas is energy dense. This means that, as with many commonly used fuels, such as petrol and natural gas, there is a danger to health and property in the event of uncontrolled combustion or explosion. All fuels require the application of fuel-specific safety controls, and hydrogen is no exception. But there is no evidence to suggest that hydrogen is more dangerous than conventional fuels in general, and some evidence that it is safer, for example in a vehicle fire." http://www.london.gov.uk/lhp/hydrogen/index.jsp It also says: "Additional information is available on the London Schools Hydrogen Challenge website." such as: "Learning Outcomes" "London Hydrogen Partnership, the Mayoral programme that works towards developing London’s Hydrogen economy, is... launching an interactive new competition for secondary schools in London. Pupils from Key Stage 3 and 4 (years 7-11) will design, build and test a hydrogen powered model car while learning about the environment.." http://londonschoolshydrogenchallenge.co.uk/learnmore.html And its reason is: "...education and awareness will be essential to build acceptance of the new technology, and overcome any misconceptions." London Hydrogen Action Plan 2010 -2012 http://www.london.gov.uk/lhp/documents/LondonHydrogenActionPlan2010-12.pdf
        • 2 Years Ago
        And some brief excerpts from the: "London Hydrogen Action Plan in context" The Action Plan aims to • Sets out project proposals which meet and support the Mayor of London’s Environment and Economic policy aims and objectives • Move beyond demonstrations and trials and develop actual Hydrogen and Fuel Cell projects Mayoral Priority Programmes  “London has an unrivalled opportunity to benefit from the shift to a low carbon economy. The time for trials and experiments is over; we are putting in place large scale programmes... The Action Plan will be delivered through: 1.The Strategic Infrastructure Plan 2.The Hydrogen Powered Vehicles Deployment Plan 3.The Stationary Fuel Cell Market Development Plan etc. Thus, the time for trials and experiments is over / has come for putting in place large scale programmes.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        krisztiant Interesting information. Thank you.
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      another burro-crat trying to justify his existence. Job applications denoting a high IQ are summarily rejected.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Given the absurdity, there remains a chance that a hydrogen refueling station at Heathrow Airport might be opened before the end of the Games." - ABG 8/4/12 "On Thursday 2nd August Air Products announced the opening of its newest hydrogen station located at Heathrow Airport." - Fuel Cell Today - 8/3/12 http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2012/august/air-products-opens-hydrogen-station-at-heathrow-airport
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        "On Thursday 2nd August Air Products announced the opening of its newest hydrogen station located at Heathrow Airport. The opening was completed with the refuelling of two Intelligent Energy black taxis, being used to transport VIPs during the Olympic and Paralympic games. Earlier this week the taxis had to be transported to Swindon for refuelling at a BOC station in order for them to meet existing Olympic commitments due to restrictions in place at the First Bus hydrogen station close to the Olympic Park. Driver training was also conducted at the Heathrow opening, with representatives of Air Products, Heathrow, Intelligent Energy and the taxi drivers themselves all present. This station fulfils a requirement as part of the HyTEC project for a publicly accessible hydrogen station. No appointments are necessary to use the station once the required training has been completed. With this station now fully open, the black taxis can continue to refuel locally and provide zero emissions transport for London."
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          The Lotus-built taxi gets 250 miles of range, so that 36-mile round trip isn't as much of a problem as you might think. http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2011/october/london%E2%80%99s-fuel-cell-taxi-fleet-confirmed-under-new-hytec-project
          Breconeer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          "With this station now fully open, the black taxis can continue to refuel locally and provide zero emissions transport for London." Except that for a London city taxi, Heathrow and back is a 36 mile trip - presumably using up some of the fuel which is then not available for taxi duties in the city.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          @Breconeer: Since there are only a few fuel cell taxis, they can simply use them for their Heathrow runs.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      My ass... It was laughed right off.
      • 2 Years Ago
      For those who worry about hydrogen prices and the infrastructure: Autos & Trends - "Free Gas From Shell For Southern Calif. Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Drivers" "Massive oil and gas companies don't usually give away free gas, but Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (NYSE: RDS.A) will make some Southern California drivers very happy, at least if they drive hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV). Shell opened a new 24-hour demonstration hydrogen fueling station in Newport Beach, Calif., Thursday, where it will give free hydrogen gas to between 10 and 12 drivers each day... "Demonstration hydrogen filling stations allow us to evaluate a range of different technologies and learn valuable lessons about costs, consumer behavior and how to dispense it efficiently to different vehicles," Shell said. [Thus, for evaluation purposes until the California Division of Measurement Standards regulations for H2 are completed] ...The sale of hydrogen gas should be legal by 2015, by which time regulators will be required to have infrastructure for alternative-fuel vehicles in place." http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/369694/20120802/free-gas-california-royal-dutch-shell-rds.htm I know, presumably after 2015 they won't give away all the hydrogen for completely free, but the news is still interesting and relevant to the topic.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ Peter Scott, Thanks for your reply, I suppose after my last comment, I should post the following. It was really inspired by the woes besetting the US Ethanol industry, but hey, humour should be adaptive. :) Long ago and far away, during the time of the great Electro-Hydrogen wars……. A lonely figure stared out morosely from the deserted office of the old Ethanol Plant. He stared across the vast barren empty plain that had once been filled with corn crops. PR, sniffed the air, winter was coming, and it was a long time since he had received the last supplies from the government. He stared distastefully at his meagre breakfast of corn dross. It seemed a long time had since he and Carney had finished eating Gorr’s goat. ( It was about this time, Carney ‘disappeared’, after a heated exchange withh PR following Carney’s 'accidental' burning of PR’s much prized autographed photo of Pres.Obama!). By climbing the rusted ladder to the top of the deserted Ethanol Plant, he could just see the haze of the city on the hills beyond the vastness of the plain. PR had received little news of the war, since Krisziant’s cavalry had raided the last of the corn and fodder crops, leaving behind Gorr’s goat in exchange for the plant’s remaining pack mules. PR was relieved it wasn't General Dave Mart's more ruthlessly efficient dragoons engaged in hunting down the last of 2WM's 'Internationale' cycle brigade. In the city, the war had reached an uneasy stalemate. The FCV forces occupied the University, and high ground with its Government buildings and leafy suburbs, (and Natural Gas installations), while the anti-FCV coalition was dug in across the river in the industrial area, and crowded tenement suburbs. The coalition also controlled the Electricity supply, and coal fields. Conveniently situated in 'no-man's land' between the opposing forces, was Ezee’s famous tavern. A hotbed of intrigue, where both sides could mingle, socialize and sample the delights upstairs. But out on the lonely barren plains, among the ghosts of the old Ethanol plant, PR was worried. A carrier pigeon had brought a letter informing PR that government auditors had received safe conduct passes from the warring factions, and no intending to inspect the Ethanol Plant’s books and records. (They also wanted to interview Carney!). Dusk found PR still staring at the letter. He wondered if he should eat the pigeon…… But this was all long ago, and far away, in a different multi-verse…...
        PR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Wow, Marco sure does get really pissed off when you point out that he is absolutely provably wrong on the facts, like I did over in the Ethanol RIN fraud story. Tell this guy that the fraud was between two private companies, and didn't involve a single penny of gov't money going to the fraudsters, and this is the looney hit job that comes from it. So instead of simply acknowledging his blatant mistake, marco has to go on the attack in order to hide his failures. And since he doesn't have anything factual to attack on, he resorts to jumping threads to a thread I hadn't posted on yet, and dumping out the twisted fantasies of his sick mind in a 100% purely fact free personal attack. Poor, sad Marco.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PR
          PR, If you had bothered to read the article properly, instead of rushing to the defense of the government, you would have realized that the article highlighted that the DOE is being sued and could potentially be for the forced to pay compensation to the victims of the fraudulent activity. Where do you think the DOE obtains it's funding ? The American taxpayer ! Who is currently paying the bills for the government legal team? The US taxpayer ! Who ends up paying for all government poor planning and ineptitude ? The American Taxpayer. You really must learn to read all the content of articles , not just the bits that suit you! (I wonder if you would employ such bitter invective defending government bureaucrats, and their political masters, if the political masters were of a different political persuasion ?! ) Oh, by the way, I'm not ''pissed off'', the object of the above post is simply an attempt to employ humor to lighten the mood. It's not an 'attack' on anyone. All satire is exaggerated and unfair, that's why it's works, it pricks the balloon of the overly serious, and pompous, ...... um,...of course, it does assume the reader has a sense of humor.......
      Smoking_dude
      • 2 Years Ago
      Are the british afraid of an eco concious terrorist, wo will blow up the DANGEROUS H2 Cab at the hydrogen fuel station? I don't get it. A petrol station burns quite nice too? Did they shut down all LPG refulling stations to´?
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