Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hydrogen Implosion in California

The San Jose Mercury News reports on roadblocks appearing on Schwarzenegger's much ballyhooed Hydrogen Highway. Planned stations aren't opening and existing stations are closing. California utility giant PG&E has turned down $1.5 million in state funds to open a retail hydrogen station in San Carlos.
PG&E officials said they've shifted hydrogen to the back stage and now consider it a distant technology, with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids moving to the front of the line.

"This is a significant change in attitude. People are simply refusing to participate, even if they get money from the state. If state officials don't step in, the hydrogen highway could collapse," said V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies.
This is very good news. The long term gamble on hydrogen and fuel cells made with public money by the Air Resources Board ought finally receive serious scrutiny. The ZEV program became an expensive research project. The ARB ought return the ZEV program to its original mission - commercialization of practical, economic zero emission vehicles. That means battery electric cars.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see some negative assumptions about hydrogen here. I believe hydrogen is the right way to go. I would like to provide some cut-and-paste of some well-known postings of others, on the internet, which counter some of the points against H2:

“Hydrogen beats batteries, biofuel and all other vehicle power solutions:

A. Hydrogen can be made at home and requires NO NEW INFRASTRUCTURE. Anybody who says it can’t be made at home or work is either a shill or completely out of touch with reality and technology. You can make it for free, at home, all day long and all night long. The production can be powered by solar, wind, microbes and other free sources. The volume of H2 produced “IS” enough to charge solid state H2 containers. The metrics quoted by the anti-hydrogen crowd are just lies to protect their competing business interests.

B. It now costs less to make hydrogen from water than any known way to make gasoline and it continues to get cheaper every month: The GE Noryl system, The R4 processor and over a hundred different systems can do this NOW; with many more expected next year. The “battery shill” spin has worn thin and has been supplanted by facts. Hydrogen is made from WATER via solar energy, wind energy, microbes, radio waves, sunlight and salt, and other FREE sources of energy. Hydrogen can also be made from any organic garbage, waste, plants or ANYTHING organic via lasers, plasma beams or dozens of other powered exotics which can be run off of EITHER the grid or the free hydrogen made from solar energy, wind energy, microbes, radio waves, sunlight and salt, and other FREE sources of energy OR the grid. There is no oil that needs to be involved anywhere in the production of hydrogen. These systems trickle charge hydrogen into storage containers, either tanks or solid state cassettes, 24/7.

C. Tens of millions of dollars are being spent by battery companies like A123, Cobasys, AltairNano, etc. in order to discredit hydrogen because hydrogen works better than batteries. A large number of “pundits” who act as “writers”, “bloggers”, “authors” and “non-profit evangelist group founders” are actually supported by financial gain from battery companies who are terrified of hydrogen displacing their revenue streams. They include:

Ulf Bossel of the European Fuel Cell Forum,

Alec Brooks

James Woolsey

EV World

Sam Thurber

Cal Cars

Felix Kramer



Lets go over the battery and bio-fuel shills lies:

Lie # 1:
“But critics say the process of producing hydrogen requires three to four times more energy than the hydrogen later generates in the fuel cell.”
RESPONSE: This is data from the 60’s. It is now more efficient to make hydrogen than it is to make gasoline, build or use batteries or process bio-fuel. The technology has beat everything else.

Lie # 2:
“the cars are too expensive.”
RESPONSE: The production of hydrogen cars is at an early stage while battery cars have been around for almost a hundred years and the battery cars are still expensive for what you get. The Moore’s law on hydrogen cars shows a clear price decline to low cost in market volume. A Fuel Cell car that goes 500 miles without a charge costs half as much TODAY as a battery car that goes 500 miles without a charge.

Lie #3:
“ hydrogen molecules can't be contained easily without energy-consuming compressors or maintaining them in liquid form at extremely low temperatures , and it's extremely difficult to store,"
RESPONSE: This data is also from the 60’s. Hydrogen is stored in chemical powders and muds that easily contain vast amounts of hydrogen. Pressure and liquid tanks to store hydrogen are old school archaic technologies. Hydrogen can be easily stored in over 2800 different solid state compounds.

Lie #4:
"The infrastructure isn't there”
RESPONSE: Solid state hydrogen can be shipped by UPS, Common Carrier and uses all existing infrastructure. DOPT has already licensed and approved such solid state delivery via common EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE. This method can reavch every person on earth TODAY! This requires almost NO NEW INFRASTRUCTURE. NO INFRASTRUCTURE IS NEEDED!!! This is the biggest lie of all. A large number of start-ups have solid state hydrogen solutions that entirely use existing infrastructure.


Lie #5:
“the hydrogen is too expensive”
RESPONSE: Hydrogen can be made at home or office in numerous ways powered by solar or wind or microbes or any number of free power sources. It is always being made by such devices and constantly trickle charged into solid state storage systems all day and night FOR FREE without grid power. Hydrogen processors now make hydrogen with 91% efficiency.


Lie #6:
“Hydrogen is too dangerous”
RESPONSE: If the gasoline in your car blows up it will do a VAST AMOUNT more death and damage than H2 ever will. You are driving a MOLOTOV COCKTAIL. H2 on fire rapidly dissipates up an into the air. Gasoline flows all over people, cars and streets and covers all of the above with flaming death you can’t easily extinguish. In 2030 oil is GONE and there is NO OTHER OPTION that can be delivered world-wide in time but H2! Biofuel only solves 2% of the problem. Batteries have failed. Nuclear is too dangerous.

Lie #7:
“We have enough gasoline to last forever”
RESPONSE: Gasoline/petroleum/petrochemicals have now been shown to be the number one cause of cancer, and maybe the primary cause of cancer, in the world. Besides causing global warming, lung disease and all of the other bad things that it does; the oil industry itself knows that affordable oil is gone around the year 2030. Even if it wasn’t, do you really want the ROOT CAUSE OF CANCER around one day longer than it needs to be? (See the EPA report “EPA/600/S-6-87/001 Sept. 1987” as one of over 16,000 studies validating this.)






A “fuel cell car” and an “electric car” ARE THE SAME THING. The shills want you to think otherwise. The only difference is where the electricity is stored. You can pull the batteries out of every Zenn, Tesla, Zap, EV1, Venture Vehicle, etc. and pop a fuel cell/hydrogen pack in the same hole and go further, more efficiently in EVERY SINGLE CASE.

A modern fuel cell and hydrogen system beats batteries on every front including

FIRE- Batteries catch on fire constantly and have been the result of massively more fires and explosions than hydrogen.

Life Span- Hydrogen power systems run massively longer and provide massively greater range per charge than batteries.

Run Time – The run time of batteries constantly shortens while hydrogen does not.

Memory Effect- This effect is not present in hydrogen systems

Recharge Time- modern hydrogen systems are instant recharge.

Charge life- Modern hydrogen systems can recharge massively longer than batteries before end of life.

Nano powder batteries have cancer causing powder that falls into the pores of the Chinese factory workers skin and gives them potentially fatal diseases

Cost- The cost per 300 mile range for a hydrogen car system is massively lower than a battery system. A hydrogen powered car TODAY that will drive 300 miles without a refill is 50% of the price of a battery car that will drive 300 miles without a refill.

Energy from “sour-grid”- A modern hydrogen system can be charged from a completely clean home energy system.

Can’t make energy at home- Hydrogen can be made at home. Batteries cannot.

Storage Density – Modern hydrogen technology has a massively higher storage density than batteries.

Bulky Size- Hydrogen systems are dramatically less bulky than batteries.

High Weight- The weight of batteries is so great ir reduces the reange of travel of a vehicle which causes the use of wasteful energy just to haul the batteries along with the car. Hydrogen energy systems weigh far less.

Environmental soundness- The disposal of batteries after use presents a deadly environmental issue.

Self Discharge issues- Hydrogen does not self discharge like batteries.

Batteries cause a greater carbon footprint than hydrogen

Battery shills are mostly paid for by military contractors.


The charge-keeping capability of a typical lithium-ion battery degrades steadily over time and with use. After only one or two years of use, the runtime of a laptop or cell phone battery is reduced to the point where the user experience is significantly impacted. For example, the runtime of a typical 4-hour laptop battery drops to only about 2.5 hours after 3,000 hours of use. By contrast, the latest fuel cells continue to deliver nearly their original levels of runtime well past the 2,000 and 3,000 hour marks and are still going strong at 5,000+ hours


The electrical capacity of batteries has not kept up with the increasing power consumption of electronic devices. Features such as W-LAN, higher CPU speed, "always-on", large and bright displays and many others are important for the user but severely limited by today`s battery life. Lithium ion batteries, and lithium-polymer batteries have almost reached fundamental limits. A laptop playing a DVD today has a runtime of just above one hour on one battery pack, which is clearly not acceptable.

Batteries require coal be burned to charge them. One pound of coal has roughly 14,000 Btu of chemical energy in it. Any reference textbook says that. When that pound is burned in an electric powerplant, steam is made, which drives turbines at high speed, alternators are turned, and electricity is made. When everything operates well, all that turns out to be generally around 30% efficient, meaning that 30% of the chemical energy that started out in the coal has become actual electricity.

Reynold said...

Wow.... its nice.

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