A recent article in the MIT Technology Review "Assessing GM's Fuel Cell Strategy" supports The Energy Blog's view that GM's plans to introduce a test fleet of 100 fuel cell vehicles is a mistake. Plug-in hybrids are suggested as a more viable alternative. The most critical was Joseph Romm, executive director of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, and formerly in charge of energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy:
Hydrogen fuel must be extracted from fossil fuels or water--both energy-consuming processes. Once produced, the gas must be compressed or liquefied for distribution, and this process and the distribution itself take yet more energy. By the time the hydrogen has been delivered to the fuel cell for conversion to electricity, then, a significant amount of energy has been lost to these processes.
"Along the way, you've thrown away nearly three-quarters of the electricity. No one in their right mind would do that--if your alternative is to just string a power line from zero-carbon electricity and charge a battery onboard a car,"
Romm goes on to say: "Money for research and development of fuel-cell vehicles and their related infrastructure is going to waste and the GM approach is "insane." He adds: "Hydrogen is the last thing you would do, only if everything else has failed."