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February 26, 2008



"By 2050"

How can we take anything like that seriously?


GE has been the most successful company in the world in its creation of electrical energy through the use of heat and friction. Hydrogen power is a radical change in that it is based on the ionization of pure hydrogen. this radical change will outdate the entire structure of G E. For this reason its development is not in the best interest of G E. Also oil interests will be at risk in the development of fuel cells. We are on the verge of a revolution in the creation of energy. We no longer rub sticks together to create fire. We are able to create power without friction. We don't have to burn oil to create heat to generate friction. Other countries ( Russia , and China) are not encumbered by dinosaurs (GE and exon) .They are very much interested in fuel cell energy and may very well use it to their advantage. Our very success in the past might very well hamper our future unless we embrace chan

david foster

sh...How do you think "friction" is used in the creation of electrical energy?

Al Fin

They take this one apart fairly well in the comments at GreenCarCongress. The EU is apparently not a meritocracy.

The EU is very big on predictions that could only come true (or not) after everyone now alive is dead. That may be one reason so many elite professionals, scientists, and technologists are leaving Europe for the rougher frontier countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.

George Bruce

If we could harness the energy expended on mindless conspiracy theories.......


I would like to see the G-8 countries come up with a NASA style agency to pursue the energy problems.

For one thing, I believe that oil and natural gas got too cheap in the 1990's. Based on what I know, I would like to see a $40 floor for a barrel of oil, and $5 for the million BTU unit of natural gas.

The floor would go up a dollar per year for the barrel of oil and 10 cents for the unit of natural gas.

In this way, producers would have some certainty about things. During the 1990's, many small drilling firms and geology companies went broke on $10 oil.

Also, fuel users would know that--long term--price would never come down, but at the very least, would go up slightly every year.

This would also provide certainty for companies trying to come up with alternative energy sources. I don't think that this is burdensome, considering that oil iscurrently over $100 and natural gas is just under 9 dollars.

The NASA style agency would be there to assess what is going on with the myriad of windimills, wave energy generators, and solar power sources out there. It would also provide funding for the most promising of the technologies. I have heard it said that $25 of the current price of oil is speculative. If the actions of the agency could reduce this speculative demand by just one dollar, I estimate that it would save net oil importers 18 billion dollars a year.

The real NASA did things like this during the 1950's and 60's to develope the technologies necessary to get to the moon.

David B. Benson

Al Fin --- You would have to document that migration. What I have seen indicates that Belgium is the best country in which to do science. The funds available for research in the U.S. have been steady or in decline in all research fields except health.

TheSunHarvest.com --- Have you heard of Peak Oil? Happening now.

Mike Hall

As the press release says this report comes from an 'industry led' programme. Sounds like this is an 'industry' that still wants to be in the fuel distribution business regardless of the the merits of this compared to an approach like battery electric vehicles which will likely be recharged at home.
It also sounds like the solution of an 'industry' still thinking 'business as usual' in modes of transport.
Small battery electric vehicles, with short to medium range, suitable for the short, low speed journey needs of 90% of our populations - city dwellers - are already showing promise several times better than the meagre '40% oil savings' of this hydrogen nonsense. There is no need for most of us to own the larger, long distance capable, inefficient vehicles we have now when the average daily travel is less than 30 miles. Such could be hired for the occasional motorway family + baggage trip as required.
Last year, an engineer from the research department of a major car manufacturer told me unequivocally that small battery electric was a clear winner technically. There is also a clear synergy into the future with renewable electricity generation.
However, whilst politics is still also 'led' by an industry ('business') resistant to change & greenhouse gases a mere 'externality', we will likely remain as far away as ever from a solution based on 'merit'.
So called 'clean coal', similarly 'manyana' is also the same 'industry led' (business as usual) BS.
Not much time left to act according to James Hansen's most recent assessment...

Kit P

Funding for US energy R&D: http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2008/02/bush-administration-has-increased.html

Some of funding has been for high temperature chemical processes for producing H2. If H2 is going to be a viable transportation fuel, production efficiencies must be increased.

Don B.

Nobody mentioned Hydrogen-on-Demand technology for IC motors of compression or spark ignition. Units are being developed and marketed that create Browns gas at a rate much more efficient than Farraday's constant for electrolysis. The more efficient ones use a pulsed frequency generator and an electrolyte to help "dis-associate" the Hydrogen from the water....producing HO. The better units are also made from stainless steel.
This gas is piped to the intake manifold of the engine. The fuel injected engine's computer takes care of the stoichometric changes and a O2 sensor override is also needed to ensure that full system benefits are acheived. Fuel savings and emissions reductions are main benefits. Fuel economy increases of 15% - 40% and major reductions of NOx, CO, aldehydes, etc.
But without a revolutionary storage system (high density-high safety cells) or "alien" technology distribution piping. A hydrogen transportation economy (hydrogen as direct means of locomotion) is still way down the road.

Don B.

Mark C.

There are certainly things about the "hydrogen economy" that I don't like. However, the thing that I do like about hydrogen is the ability to more fully decouple the production of the energy from the point of ultimate use.

As one example, you could make hydrogen from a solar field in the desert and pipe/ship it for use in the Midwest. There are certainly losses in moving that energy, but it is probably less lossy to move it as hydrogen than to try to transmit it electrically over long distances.

The end result is that the production of hydrogen can be optimized completely separate from where/how that hydrogen is used. With batteries, you must produce the electricity closer to the point of end-use. That means that things like coal/oil/nuclear must be used in some locations.


Planning on hydrogen to solve our energy and GHG problems makes as much sense as planning for retirement by buying lotto tickets.

The Santa Clara Valley (California) Transportation Authority (VTA) recently published a memorandum indicating the their hydrogen fuel cell buses cost 32 (thirty two) times as much to operate as their diesel buses.

See Green Car Congress

Advances in energy technology don’t happen like advances in computer technology. Reducing cost by a factor of 32 in any reasonable timeframe isn’t going to happen. And even if it did, we would still have the problem of finding an energy supply to make hydrogen.


David Walters

I think the H economy is pretty bogus. There is NO inrastructure for H at all. Zero. From production to distribution, it would have to be built from scratch.

I think the best thing are these EVs...as in ALL electric. Nuclear is the best way to go...from atom to auto. It would be the cheapest.


Kit P

David, you may want to move to France where EV could be a good idea. If you live in the US, your idea is not so good.

France has a national policy of using nuclear power. Not so clever really considering they have no coal or oil. France also has a national policy of telling other counties not to use coal.

The company that build nuclear power plants for France also can supply the infrastructure for fueling H2 POVs.

France, the US and many other countries are also partnering to build the next generation of modular reactor (HTGCR) that will efficiently produce both H2 and electricity. In the US, the most likely application would be to provide H2 for refineries and fertilizer factories. This will not be a commercial reality before 2025.


David Walters writes:
There is NO inrastructure for H at all. Zero. From production to distribution, it would have to be built from scratch.

Absolute statements like this just bug me. Of course we have an infrastructure to produce and distribute hydrogen. Hydrogen currently is almost entirely produced from natural gas. Back when I was a graduate student, I used to receive regular deliveries of hydrogen cylinders for the lab. Sure the infrastructure for distribution was cylinders in trucks on highways, and that wouldn't scale well if all cars were to be powered by hydrogen, but there is an infrastructure.


*Kit P: Funding for US energy R&D:*

Yes, about that.

Less than 1% of the DOE budget goes to Solar/GeoThermal/Hydro/Wind combined

Another 1% goes to biomass

Another 1% goes to hydrogen

And 64% of it goes to nuclear activities


Sounds balanced, eh?

Kit P

Clee is correct. There is a very large H2 infrastructure already existing in the US. Last year a truck driver delivering H2 to a coal plant was killed in an explosion that also sent 5 of the utility workers to the hospital.

H2 will never be safe enough to be used as a transportation fuel. As a result of Bhopal, process safety analysis would be required. While it is possible to make H2 safe enough, the cost is enormous compared to say synthetic diesel.


We are, indeed, encumbered by dinosaurs who don't want us to change where and how we get our energy, and it may stop us from being in the forefront of whatever is next.
When you editorialize about how bad hydrogen is, you persist in assuming that it will be derived from non-renewable sources and manufactured and distributed by large facilities, rather than renewable sources decentralized in production. I hope the rest of the world is not as limited in vision as you are.


Oh come on. Hydrogen is not anywhere near as explosive or dangerous as gasoline or diesel. Yes, it burns, but it is lighter than air and disperses easily, whereas gasoline vapor is heavier then air and makes flammable puddles. The problem with hydrogen as a fuel is it has to be pressurized, rather like some other fuels commonly used in taxis in Japan....


Hydrogen as a fuel has to be pressurized? I thought storage as metal hydrates was at ambient temperature and pressure. I haven't followed it closely, so I don't know how close to feasible it is, but for someone who thinks we're assuming that hydrogen wouldn't be derived from renewable resources, it seems odd that you'd assume that hydrogen has to be pressurized.

I've been waiting for Hy-Nor to open one of their promised hydrogen-from-renewables fueling station. They say Autumn 2008. So far they've only opened ones that depend on fossil fuels.


Oops, typo. I mean metal hydrides.

Kit P

“Oh come on. Hydrogen is not anywhere near as explosive or dangerous as gasoline or diesel.”

Kim you are sadly mistaken. Does you vision include a complete disregard for human life?

At the end of the day, you have to hire some old dinosaurs like Jim or I do a hazard analysis. It is not that old people lack vision but we also have gained wisdom.

So here is the deal, yes 'lighter than air and disperses easily.' Now promise to only drive your POV outside. If you take it inside someplace like a garage, it must be ventilated and have a H2 detection system at the high point. In a confined space, H2 detonated. This a special word for a very violent reaction. There is one event where a welder struck an arc near roof of the generator building. He woke up in the hospital and no one else was hurt because because the neighboring building was unoccupied when the roof landed on it. Whoever signed the burn permit forgot H2 'lighter than air and disperses easily' to places it can collect.

It is very difficult to get diesel and gasoline to explode and there is a distinctive odor warning you. Cars blowing up on TV are special effects.


The following document shows the DOE budget for 2006-2008.


The energy research budgets are shown in the 2nd "paragraph" titled "Energy and Environment". The tables show that nuclear power now (2008) gets about the same as fossil energy, whereas conservation and renewable energy gets about 50% more. In 2006, nuclear got measurably less than the other two (and it got MUCH less under Clinton).

I don't know where Greyflcn could possibly be getting his/her numbers from, but one should note that the entire nuclear weapons complex is run by DOE, and appears under DOE's "nuclear" funding titles. I've seen the entire weapons cleanup budget euphemistically placed under a budget title called "Nuclear Energy R&D". Funding levels for these cleanup activities are an order of magnitude higher than what DOE spends on energy R&D.

Anti-nukes have often gleefully referred to these massive budgets as nuclear subsidies and R&D spending even though they have absolutely nothing to do with modern, commercial nuclear power. Cleanup of nuclear weapons sites (that were contaminated long before the first nuclear power plant opened) has nothing to do with nuclear power. Nuclear fusion research has nothing to do with nuclear power.


Kit P is correct that H2 generation (using an HTGR, solar thermal, geothermal or some other source) has some future, but only as a feedstock for making some liquid fuel, or for some other use. Using H2 to power (fuel cell) cars directly simply does not make sense, and probably never will.

The main reason for this is that the overall (well-to-wheel) efficiency of the H2/fuel cell approach is ~1/2 to 1/3 that of using the electricity directly. On top of this, we would have to spend massive amounts (trillions) on an H2 handling and distribution and fueling infrastructure, whereas the plug-in hybrid and/or electric car approach requires little infrastructure investment (since we already have the electricity and liquid fuel distribution infrastructure).

It doesn't matter what the initial input energy source is (e.g., nuclear or renewable), it will take almost three times as much of that energy source to power our transportation needs using H2 and fuel cells, versus the electric approach. And that (using three times as much primary energy) doesn't make any sense. The market would soon ferret that fact out.

The factor of three difference in well-to-wheel efficiency doesn't even consider the energy losses involved with compressing and shipping/distributing hydrogen. Studies show that these losses are enormous for H2. Mark C is almost certainly wrong about the relative energy losses of H2 shipping vs. electricity. The losses for H2 will be much larger.

The only way H2 could be even marginally competative would be if shipping losses are avoided by generating the H2 (via electrolysis) right at the point of demand (e.g., at the "gas station"). But this requires the electricity to be transmitted anyway, and it gives up the greater efficiency of thermochemical H2 production (versus electrolysis). Thermo-chemical H2 production (e.g., from an HTGR or whatever) will only be practical if there is a nearby large H2 demand center, such as an oil refinery (that is trying to make a light fuel out of heavy-sour crude).

I'm afraid that the laws of economics and efficiency (and thermodynamics) are conspiring to make Mark C's dream of "decoupling" a pipe dream. We will not be shipping H2 thousands of miles to be used in fuel cell cars. Don't dispair though, long distance power transmission is not as bad as you think. Solar thermal plants or wind farms could be used to charge up plug-ins or electric cars throughout the region (up to ~1000 miles, probably).


To ionize (remove) a hydrogen atom from a water molecule, it takes 13.6 eV (electron volts), or a photon of wavelength 91.2nm (nanometers). (Note: Visible light is roughly 380nm starting ultraviolet, to 750nm starting into infrared. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy level.) Some interesting research has been conducted that would seem to modify this rule, and sees results at 250nm. Using sun light to split hydrogen from water. Using this hydrogen for energy storage and use when needed or wanted. Replace addiction for fossil fuels.
Solar concintrater.

Hydrogen is the simplest and most common element in the universe. It is 14.5 times lighter than air and does not naturally exist as hydrogen gas but rather as part of a compound where it is bonded to other elements. For example, it is found in water (H2O) and in hydrocarbons such as natural gas (CH4). To produce pure hydrogen we have to ‘unlock’ the chemical bonds in the molecules that form these substances

Hydrogen is an excellent fuel for several reasons. Hydrogen contains more energy than any other fuel on an equal mass basis – in other words, one kilogram of hydrogen contains more releasable energy than one kilogram of any other fuel. For example, one kilogram of hydrogen has very close to the same energy content as one gallon of gasoline. In addition to being clear and odorless, it is non-toxic, non-corrosive and non-carcinogenic, therefore it doesn't have any adverse effects on the environment

implement the National Hydrogen Energy Vision for America.

I poke lava with sticks :)

I think hydrogen only becomes feasible if on site generation can become affordable. This eliminates the need for infrastructure, which is my mind the biggest obstacle. I realize that generation is also a large obstacle but I get the feeling that it will be easier to come up with clean and cheap ways of producing hydrogen than it will to develop any sort of nationwide infrastructure


Is the Hydrogen Age Just Around the Corner?
By Jerry Brown and Rinaldo Brutoco and James Cusumano, Ode. Posted December 28, 2007.

Hydrogen fuel cells will never be a practical source of power, right? Wrong. The technology is set to take off sooner than you think.

You may think hydrogen power is some futuristic fantasy, fit only for science-fiction writers. Or, at best, you might consider it a promising technology that won't be ready for prime time for another 40 to 50 years. If so, think again. In a special edition on "Best Inventions 2006," Time magazine praises the decision by Shanghai-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies "to design and market the H-racer, a 6-inch-long toy car that does what Detroit still can't. It runs on hydrogen extracted from plain tap water, using the solar-powered hydrogen station."
Hydrogen vehicles are not mere toys. More than 500 are on the road today. A BMW prototype with a hydrogen internal-combustion engine attained a top speed of 186 miles an hour. Mazda, Ford, Honda and GM are developing a variety of hydrogen-powered engines. Perhaps most exciting, Honda is now powering zero-emission vehicles with hydrogen derived from tap water in small stationary units that drivers can keep in their garages.
We believe the rapid pace of invention, testing and commercialization of fuel-cell technologies is a strong sign that we are entering the early stages of a hydrogen revolution. Instead of waiting half a century as critics suggest, the large-scale production of hydrogen fuel-cell cars could begin very soon. We have come to a crossroads where a single, courageous decision by a few world leaders could launch a new era of progress. That decision is, of course, to shift from our dependence on environmentally damaging fossil fuels to plentiful, renewable and clean-burning hydrogen fuel.
Not everyone sees the bright future of the hydrogen age. Some well-informed energy experts contend hydrogen will be viable only after 20 to 30 years of development. The respected environmental think tank Worldwatch Institute, cautions, "Despite recent public attention about the potential for a hydrogen economy, it could take decades to develop the infrastructure and vehicles required for a hydrogen-powered system." Joseph Romm, author of The Hype About Hydrogen, states that, "Hydrogen vehicles are unlikely to achieve even a 5 percent market share by 2030."
These predictions are needlessly pessimistic, based on common misconceptions about the cost, efficiency and technology of hydrogen. If we make hydrogen a national and international priority, as outlined below in a strategy for launching the hydrogen economy, we foresee the first affordable hydrogen fuel-cell cars coming to market starting between 2010 and 2012, and achieving 5 percent of the new car market share by 2020 or sooner.
Let's examine the critics' misconceptions about hydrogen.
Myth No. 1: A hydrogen industry needs to be built from scratch The production of hydrogen is already a large, mature industry, and the global hydrogen industry annually produces 50 million metric tons (50 billion kilograms) of hydrogen, worth about $150 billion. To put that into perspective, the current global output of pure hydrogen has the energy equivalence of 1.2 billion barrels of oil, or about a quarter of U.S. petroleum imports. The hydrogen industry is growing at 6 percent a year, thus doubling every 12 years. All this is happening without the incentives that would be provided by a growing fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in need of fuel. If the hydrogen industry can expand so quickly "below the radar," it will have no problem expanding quickly enough to fuel the needs of hydrogen fuel-cell cars in the future.
Myth No. 2: Hydrogen is too dangerous for common use This myth begins with the hydrogen-filled German zeppelin, the Hindenburg, which blew up at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937. Recently that event was revisited in a detailed analysis by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientist Addison Bain. He found that it was not the hydrogen that originally combusted, but the dirigible's outer coating, a highly flammable material similar to that used in rocket propellants. In reality, the hydrogen industry has had an excellent safety record for decades. In 30 years, liquefied hydrogen shipments have logged 33 billion miles. During all this time, no product losses or fires were reported. Gasoline, our automotive fuel of choice, is 22 times more explosive and has a dismal safety record in comparison.
Hydrogen, while flammable, is generally more easily managed than hydrocarbon fuels. If hydrogen is ignited, it burns with a clear flame and only one-tenth the radiant heat of a hydrocarbon fire. The heat that is produced tends to dissipate much more rapidly than heat from gasoline or oil fires. The bottom line is that hydrogen-safety critics should turn their fire against gasoline, and agitate for the rapid adoption of hydrogen on safety grounds alone! Myth No. 3: Hydrogen can't be distributed via existing pipelines The transportation of hydrogen, one of the most frequently mentioned concerns of critics, is easily accomplished through pipelines. Creating a new pipeline network to move hydrogen is unnecessary; we can use the one already in existence. Some existing pipelines are already hydrogen-ready. The others can easily be modified with existing technologies by adding polymer-composite liners, similar to the process used to renovate old sewer pipes. Using existing pipelines creates no additional safety concerns. Already, hydrogen-refueling stations are appearing in California, Florida and British Columbia. Other regions are sure to follow.
Myth No. 4: There is no practical way to run cars on hydrogen Hydrogen fuel cells have been used for space flights since 1965 and they were used in a passenger vehicle as early as 1966 (GM's Electrovan). Today, fuel-cell vehicles are undergoing rigorous testing and are far advanced. As of mid-2003, manufacturers had dozens of fuel-cell buses and upwards of 100 fuel-cell cars on the road. Fuel cells are being tested for military vehicles on land and sea; submarines have used them for years. Heavy trucks, which spend up to half their engine run time idling because they have no auxiliary power source, are also beginning to use fuel cells. FedEx and UPS plan to introduce fuel-cell trucks by next year.
With such a massive wave of research and trial, fuel cells are sure to advance quickly, as each successful application benefits from its predecessors' experiences. As a whole, mass production will drive down the price of fuel cells.

Myth No. 5: Hydrogen is too expensive to compete with gasoline Despite decades of U.S. policies favouring the use of petroleum, hydrogen technologies are already close to economic viability. When we consider system-wide life-cycle costs, hydrogen is already a desirable alternative to fossil fuel. The factor of greenhouse gas emissions makes hydrogen overwhelmingly preferable to gasoline. Even when hydrogen fuel is produced from natural gas, on a per-mile-driven basis, fuel-cell cars generate as little as 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by gasoline-powered cars.
Cost is the bottom-line factor for many consumers contemplating the adoption of new technologies. Research shows that small hydrogen generators could be manufactured by the hundreds and installed at service stations supporting a few hundred fuel-cell-powered cars using natural gas as a raw material at a cost of $6 per million British thermal units (BTUs). These would deliver hydrogen to cars at $2.50 per kilogram, since one gallon of gas is the energy equivalent of one kilogram of hydrogen. That is equivalent to $2.50 per gallon gasoline, less than we are paying now. Moreover, as current trends continue, we believe the days of $2.50 per gallon gasoline will be very fond memories.
Once these myths are dispelled, we can clearly see the environmental advantages of hydrogen power as well as the promising economic benefits. "Hydrogen could become a strategic business sector and an engine of global economic growth within the decade and for the remainder of the 21st century." That's the assessment of Julian Gresser and James Cusumano (one of this article's co-authors) in a 2005 report, "Hydrogen and the New Energy Economy," published in The Futurist.
It is well known that at critical times in history, certain industries have made key technological breakthroughs that have become dynamic engines of broader economic growth. Famous examples of the convergence of critical technologies and rapid growth include: the canals and railroads of 18th- and 19th-century England and, more recently, the convergence of computer hardware, software and Internet technology in late-20th-century America. Due to the tremendous public benefits realized through the success of strategic technologies and industries, governments have usually played a pivotal role in accelerating these technologies' development. California has already taken the national lead in implementing a "Hydrogen Highway Network Action Plan" to build 150 to 200 hydrogen-refueling stations, approximately one every 20 miles on California's major highways.
Similarly, Florida's state government has launched an innovative program to promote hydrogen as a strategic growth sector. Working within a broad alliance among private companies, state and local governments, universities and environmental groups, the Florida Hydrogen Strategy initially focuses on fuels cells, hydrogen storage and power-grid optimization. The strategy offers tax refunds, investment tax credits, performance incentives and enterprise-bond financing. Internationally, Japan, Germany, Canada and Iceland have major hydrogen programs underway. Leaders of these nations understand that, in addition to laying the foundation for independence from oil and creating a key industrial sector, the rapid development of hydrogen will accelerate innovation in related sectors, such as biotechnology, solar photovoltaics, ultra-light materials and nano-materials.
Given the urgency of the energy and climate crises, we urge development of a broad political consensus around a strategy for transitioning to a hydrogen economy. This strategy would apply regulatory, financial and other market-driven incentives while drawing on the best available technology and talent. Under the leadership of a non-partisan National Hydrogen Task Force, political leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere should convene the nation's leading hydrogen scientists, engineers and inventors, along with top environmental lawyers, finance experts and specialists in public/private enterprises.
Their mission should be the development of a draft "Strategic Hydrogen Alliance Reform and Enterprise Act" (SHARE) that would create the statutory framework for accelerating the development of the hydrogen economy as quickly as possible, on par with the urgency that accompanies a state of war or a natural disaster.
The main stages of this transition plan for the U.S. are outlined below and include the following milestones:

Phase I (2007-2010): Deploy existing technologies and capabilities to expedite fuel-cell research and development and vigorously market smaller fuel cells to homes and businesses, while the hydrogen car runs on a modified internal-combustion engine that is cost-effective today.
Phase II (2010-2015): Introduce multiple varieties of fuel-cell cars that run on hydrogen generated from natural gas or electrolyzed from water.
Phase III (2015-2020): Embrace widespread commercialization of fuel-cell vehicles that operate on hydrogen generated by renewable energy sources such as solar- and wind-powered electrolysis.

Work would also begin on a national hydrogen infrastructure, including production facilities, pipelines and fueling stations built in metropolitan areas. The ultimate goal by 2020 would be the broad transition to clean and green hydrogen generated from non-fossil fuels -- wind, solar and possibly biological systems -- and minimum sales of a million hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, equal to a 6 percent new-car market penetration. In parallel to these hydrogen milestones, the plan would require development of automobile engines that could function on a mix of plug-in technologies, renewable fuels such as ethanol or biodiesel and hydrogen fuel cells powered by electricity from the utility grid.
The path toward the hydrogen future is already being paved by private initiatives and government support in the U.S., the European Union and Japan. Like Gresser and Cusumano point out, "As hydrogen becomes a strategic economic driver for the United States and the major industrialized nations, it can serve this same function for many other countries, rich and poor." The size and risks of some hydrogen projects make it well-suited for international collaborations that can be pursued on the same grand scale as the Apollo Man-to-the-Moon Project in the U.S., the Marshall Plan in Europe and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control projects.
As new countries enter the hydrogen consortium, each one can develop a special expertise and role based on its unique resources and skills. The financial foundation of the Hydrogen Plan could be an International Hydrogen Innovation Fund, initially capitalized with $5 billion provided by national and international entities. The fund would be managed by an international team of successful technology, business and social entrepreneurs, with the goal of achieving superior rates of return for shareholders within five years for funding early-, middle- and late-stage projects.
The hydrogen economy is the only reliable long-term solution to the energy and climate crises confronting civilization. No other known technology option can safely produce clean energy to power transportation systems and other infrastructure at levels that can sustain current levels of global prosperity, let alone increase these levels to improve the lot of the world's poor. This great transition will be profitable and beneficial for all stakeholders. The hydrogen revolution is one of the greatest legacies our generation could pass on to our children and children's children.
Horace Mann, a pioneering 19th-century advocate of free public education in the U.S., said, "Be ashamed to die until you've won some great victory for humanity." All who join in this grand enterprise to bring about the birth of the hydrogen age will participate in one of humanity's greatest victories: the creation of a safe, clean and sustainable future.
This article is adapted from Freedom from Mid-East Oil, written by Jerry Brown (a founding professor at Florida International University), Rinaldo Brutoco (founder and president of the World Business Academy) and James Cusumano (former director of research and development at Exxon). Find out more: http://www.worldbusiness.org/freedom-from-mid-east-oil


John Lennon comes to mind here... "There are no problems, only Solutions"

We are foolish to try and get every bit of energy from one source (this would be the pro-nuke argument -not mine)... Our best bet is T.A.Edisons original plan: distributed generation = Solar Panel on Roof, a few windmills where the Santa Anna winds blow so hard, Biofuels, Hydrogen (which doesn't have to be provided as H2 to be fuel... look a Borohydrides, H2 on Demand), and probably some other sources that one of the earths 4 year olds will dream up when they are a teenager.

Until presented a better alternative, H2 FC are safe, reliable, and effective (this is why NASA sends them into space with our astronauts)... and most of all they are here now.

HYGS problems are not the technology... it is the poisened political climate in the US and those who profit from the status quo.

I'm gettin off the soapbox now... snow to be shoveled


I tend to agree the with Worldwatch Institute on this one. I think it's decades away. No one is selling hydrogen cars to average drivers. The World Business Academy thinks they can start selling in 2010 and reach 5% of the new market share in 10 years? The Prius has been sold since 1997 in Japan and 10 years later in 2007 hybrids didn't have 5% of the new market share. They had 3.4% in the US.
I think hydrogen will be a tougher sell than hybrids. Maybe hydrogen can get a 5% market share by then in Iceland, but I doubt it in Europe and America. 40% by 2050 might be theoretically or technically possible, but as a former co-worker used to say, if it requires 3 miracles in a row to happen, don't expect it to.

I'm more inclined to let EV battery technology battle it out with hydrogen at this point rather than politically chose a winner.


My mind is like a drum stick beating a rythem of what is possible.
When the power of love is stronger then the love of power we will have a powerful peace
When your one step ahead of the crowd you’re a genius. When your two steps ahead of the crowd you’re a fool. Till necessity makes you right. I would like to think that we as humans have some forsight and are willing to prepair ourselves in advance for our children so we can have a more balanced energy policy and not end up in a scramble. What is the true cost of our energy?
Be ashamed to die until you've won some great victory for humanity." All who join in this grand enterprise to bring about the birth of the hydrogen age will participate in one of humanity's greatest victories: the creation of a safe, clean and sustainable world.


The Hydrogen economy may come, but I think we will sooner see the Electric economy. PHEV are soon coming in large numbers. The Smart Grid is in it's early stages. It will be built before Hydrogen and fuel cells, in part because it is more important. The Smart Grid enables distributed resources and a multi technological framework. It is does not support one fuel or storage system but instead enables them and is compatible to the Hydrogen economy. The Smart Grid should come first in my opinion.

I would use Hydrogen only as an on site battery at first. Crack water when you have excess juice on the grid, save it is hydrogen, then use a stationary fuel cell to put the electricity back to the grid when needed. Stationary high temperature fuel cells are highly efficient. Energy storage is a primary issue for the smart grid and hydrogen is a great solution for mid and long term grid energy storage. No need to move it around.

Transmit smart energy through the smart grid, rather than haul gas of any type around, liquid or gaseous. Use it where you make it.

Nanaotech and lithium batteries, super and ultra capacitors are soon going to start seriously replacing the storage of any liquid or gas like NG, propane or Hydrogen.

The HEV are paving the way for a range of PHEV and EV vehicles of all types from trucks and buses and taxis in this next decade. Electric storage is way ahead of hydrogen storage already. It is a certainty. Hydrogen on a large scale is not.

Kit P

“Electric storage is way ahead of hydrogen storage already. It is a certainty.”

No Benny, it is not. Both are pixie dust and really stupid ideas. The electricity generating industry is always trying new things. We are always issuing press releases to show clever and innovative we are. We do not issue press releases documenting politically correct stupid ideas are stupid ideas.

It is extremely that electricity storage will be used for anything but emergency backup.


Airbus tested the hydrogen and oxygen based fuel cell system in a test flight of its A320 aircraft. The company claimed that the cell generated up to 20kW of electrical power during the flight and produced just 10 litres of pure water as the only waste product.

The cell successfully powered the aircraft's test aircraft’s back-up, hydraulic and electric power systems, and also operated the plane's ailerons, the hinged surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing to help control the aircraft in a roll.

High gravity loads or “g” loads confirmed the system’s robustness as the aircraft performed turns and zero-gravity manoeuvres.

Airbus vice president of engineering Patrick Gavin welcomed the successful test flight, adding that the technology offered "tremendous potential environmental benefits and operational savings".


You do realize that the fuel cell was not used for propulsion to fly the A320. It was used only for the aircraft's internal electric systems. What small percentage of jet fuel did it save?

Kit P

There are many great applications for fuels cells and many applications for hydrogen. Combining both for POV has used up billions of research dollars. So why would we want HFCV?

A technological idiot with the initials Al Gore demonized the ICE for political purposes. The basic problems is too many people live in cities driving too many cars too many miles. Technology will not solve this problem. Once upon a time, car pooling was socially acceptable.


Affordable clean on board generation hydrogen the holy grail

Cyril R.

On board hydrogen generation? What, plutonium transportation?

Or just plain ol' violation of the second law?

I would like to have a wallet that affordably regenerates the money spent from it. Where can I buy one?


Nah, you just add another carrier in the chain, like aluminum. Add water to make hydrogen. Then replace the rusted aluminum with fresh stuff at the station. The aluminum can be reprocessed using more energy at a stationary site. Someone's been doing this already. I think the antarctic expedition uses is.

Cyril R.

Clee, the process you describe is far more lossy than storing hydrogen on board directly even though compression/liquefaction losses are high.

All of the aluminum reduction processes currently available are just not efficient enough. The process efficiencies must be improved radically.

The antarctic expedition doesn't really care about horrible efficiencies. But it's a real non-starter if you're talking about 40% of transportation covered by hydrogen.

40%? Using a smaller amount of energy (and thus, environmental impact) to power plugin hybrids and electric trains would cover a far greater percentage of transportation.

Less environmental impact, more environmental gains. And much more practical both in terms of infrastructure and the vehicles themselves. Aluminum would alleviate infrastructure needs (still not as practical as plugin hydrids) but with a trade off on efficiency. This implies more environmental impact with a lesser reduction in oil use.

Hydrogen is backwards because it will lock us into a paradigm that doesn't work on a large enough scale to matter.

Batteries have more potential. With developments over the last decade in the field of battery chemistry and technology, it isn't too difficult to see. This isn't about politics, it's about physics. New technology may make a hydrogen economy more efficient, but as defined by physics it will never be as efficient as battery-electrics are right now.

Cyril R.

Another downside of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is that they are not suitable for V2G. They simply waste too much energy to be economical and practical for this purpose.


Ford and UCLA Develop Hydrides for Hydrogen Fueling
Posted on January 2nd, 2008 by admin
I’ve talked many times in the past about chemical storage of hydrogen. On December 5 I had talked about a group of ESRF researchers developing lithium borohydride as a storage solution for hydrogen cars using hydrogen-on-demand technology.

Now, Ford and UCLA have teamed up to develop lithium borohydride (LiBH4), magnesium hydride (MgH2) and lithium amide (LiNH2) that, in combination, will release hydrogen at lower temperatures than will any one compound alone. The research was published in the Angewandte Chemie journal by project leader Jun Yang.

Yang described the process as an autocatalytic reaction among the three hydrogen-rich compounds. This means that once the temperature of 150 C is reached, this starts a chain reaction that releases the ultra-pure hydrogen.

No dangerous byproducts are created with this process and the chemicals may easily be recharged back into their original states, which makes them ideal for hydrogen-on-demand refueling.

Cyril R.

That is a very poor allocation of valuable lithium.

Use it to make batteries instead. Makes more sense than your rediculous hydrogen propaganda. No offense THS.


A system of hydrogen fueling stations may not be as expensive as you think. A $10 - $15 billion investment would put you within two miles of the nearest hydrogen station in the top 100 metro areas (where 70% of the population lives). This is one-half the cost of the Alaskan pipeline in today's dollars.
This infrastructure could support 1 million FCEVs, assuming there are 240 stations in L.A. and 240 in New York City. By comparison, in 2007, 324,318 gasoline electric hybrid vehicles were sold in the U.S.

Cyril R.

It's not really the cost of the infrastructure that is bothering me, it's the low efficiency of the entire process compared to battery electric plugin hybrids.

The same amount of electricity that powers 40% of road travel by means of FCEVs could, alternatively, power more than 80% of road travel with SPHEVs.

One million FCEVs is a drop in the bucket anyways. A hundred million sounds more like it. If we are going to invest more than a trillion dollars in new infrastructure, it'd better be worth it. It doesn't look like this will ever be the case as the constraint is about physics more than it is about technology.

Not only would you have to invest in infrastructure, but in electrical generation capacity as well. A LOT of it to make up for the low overall efficiency. Several trillions extra would be a conservative estimate with current state of the art technology (which is itself totally unaffordable to the consumer).

You haven't really thought this through have you? Perhaps you would consider reading the link in the other thread:

Hydrogen's death knell

Kent B

A lot of the problems discussed here could be solved with Hydrogen On Demand, as mentioned by other post here.
Water is split in an Electrolyzer in the car and immediately piped into the engine, for a more efficient and cleaner combustion, accomplishing the fuel saving mentioned in the original post.
If this was used by enough people the powers to be would have to take notice.
Kent B.

Bob Wallace

So we're going to carry around large amounts of water and big battery banks in order to crack out hydrogen?

That doesn't make sense to me.

We're rapidly developing PHEVs and BEVs and a green grid. Just for reasons of moving to non-polluting electricity generation we are prefecting wind/solar/etc. and most likely soon to build an efficient smart grid.

Those sources can provide vehicle power and the grid will transport power much more efficiently than trucks or pipes can move hydrogen.

Unless hydrogen can deliver some huge yet to be discovered advantage there's little likelihood that we'd ditch our electric rides and create the infrastructure to switch to hydrogen storage.

Hydrogen fuel cell

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I can't wait to have my own hydrogen cell! I'm trying to make one right now with videos from http://hfcv.com as reference.


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