The widespread introduction of hydrogen fuel cell cars is a bad idea, writes Zachary Shahan, editor of Cleantechnica.com. According to Shahan, hydrogen fuel cell cars will never be able to compete with battery-electric cars. Policymakers should focus on stimulating electric transportation. Courtesy Cleantechnica.com.
One of Cleantechnica’s regular commenters recently dropped a very interesting link into the comments of an article about Hyundai’s apparent shift in focus to battery-electric cars. As he prefaced it: There’s actually a long list of problems with fuel cell cars. From someone who actually built fuel cell cars: http://ssj3gohan.tweakblogs.net/blog/11470/why-fuel-cell-cars-dont-work-part-1.
This is not our recent piece on hydrogen as fuel/energy carrier. See Jan 11 2019 update here
It is a long piece, and it’s in three parts. Admittedly, it would be nice if the author updated it to match the current market — it was published in February 2015 and is dated in a couple of parts.
But the key points are the same nonetheless, and they aren’t changing. These key points are laid out in bullet points at the beginning of Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3:
First of all, HFC cars are perceived to be a good bridge between fossil fuels and full electric because:
- You can still fill up like you do with a gasoline or diesel powered car
- The mileage you can get out of hydrogen is perceived to be more adequate than what you get from batteries
- Hydrogen fuel cells are thought not to wear out as quickly as batteries (or conversely, batteries are thought to wear out very quickly)
- Hydrogen as a fuel is perceived to be a relatively small infrastructural change from gasoline and diesel
- Hydrogen is perceived as a cleaner solution than gasoline, diesel or natural gas
- You cannot fill up like you do with gasoline or diesel. It is actually pretty ridiculous how hard it is to fill up a HFC powered car
- You won’t even go 100 miles on current tech hydrogen tanks that are still safe to carry around in a car
- Fuel cells wear out crazy fast and are hard to regenerate
- Hydrogen as a fuel is incredibly hard to make and distribute with acceptably low losses
- Hydrogen fuel cells have bad theoretical and practical efficiency
- Hydrogen storage is inefficient, energetically, volumetrically and with respect to weight
- HFCs require a shit ton of supporting systems, making them much more complicated and prone to failure than combustion or electric engines
- There is no infrastructure for distributing or even making hydrogen in large quantities. There won’t be for at least 20 or 30 years, even if we start building it like crazy today.
- Hydrogen is actually pretty hard to make. It has a horrible well-to-wheel efficiency as a result.
- Easy ways to get large quantities of hydrogen are not ‘cleaner’ than gasoline.
- Efficient HFCs have very slow response times, meaning you again need additional systems to store energy for accelerating
- Even though a HFC-powered car is essentially an electric car, you get none of the benefits like filling it up with your own power source, using it as a smart grid buffer, regenerating energy during braking, etc.
- Battery electric cars will always be better in every way given the speed of technological developments past, present and future
I’ve written my own debunking of the legitimacy of hydrogen fuel cell cars. Physicist Joe Romm, PhD, who oversaw $1 billion in R&D, demonstration, and deployment of low-carbon technology in 1997 as acting assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy under President Bill Clinton, has written several articles and an entire book on why hydrogen cars are overly hyped, not competitive with battery-electric cars, incredibly dumb, and (obviously) not a winning strategy.
The author of the piece above was involved in the first international hydrogen racing championship, and as you can see if you read his articles, knows a lot about the technology.
Elon Musk, another vocal HFCV critic, is a physicist by training and was interested since college, at least, in advancing sustainable transport. He specifically went the route of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) rather than HFCVs because of inherent, huge advantages for BEVs.
As he has noted, the theoretical limit for HFCVs isn’t even as good as current-tech BEVs….
As he stated last year:
- Hydrogen fuel cell cars “are extremely silly.”
- “Hydrogen is an incredibly dumb” fuel.
- “Fuel cell is so bullshit, it’s a load of rubbish. The only reason they do fuel cell is because… they don’t really believe it, it’s something that they can… it is like a marketing thing.”
- “There’s no need for us to have this debate. I’ve said my piece on this, it will be super obvious as time goes by.”
EV expert Julian Cox wrote an article for us a couple years ago on why hydrogen cars are simply not green. The article got a lot of attention and was referenced widely (including by Joe Romm and some mainstream media outlets), but the message doesn’t seem to have broken through to many people in the “green” and “cleantech” community. Furthermore, hydrogen fuel cell cars continue to get subsidies from governments … which is both a waste of money and counterproductive.
Sure, keep investing a little bit in R&D, but don’t take away from the cash that should go toward battery-electric vehicles in order to quickly decarbonise transportation and help stop global warming.
This article was first published on Cleantechnica.com and is republished here with permission.
Gary Vermaak says
Seems that Zachary has not had a look at ethanol and diesel powered solid oxide fuel cell vehicles yet?
Matt Karber says
Fuel cells are NOT that hard to re-fuel. Aside from California consumers who are driving fuel cell cars, UPS and Walmart both have warehouses that use fuel cell forklifts, which re-fuel much more quickly than battery-powered versions. This boosts productivity by keeping equipment available for employee use.
HFC cars are on the road today that have a minimum range of 200 miles. Road and Track magazine test drove a Toyota Highlander fuel cell SUV across Alaska, and it had a 400 mile range with the same interior space as the gasoline model.
In part 1 of his article (see link above), Mr. Shahan states that “electric cars have taken off like nobody’s business”. This may be true in other countries, but in the US, electric cars are only 3% of total new car sales.
Hydrogen is actually a HUGE infrastructure change from gasoline or diesel, because it requires so MUCH LESS infrastructure than either one. Hydrogen can be made as needed, where needed by over half a dozen different methods, based on the means which best suits the location. Thus, NO pipelines or tanker trucks are needed. This actually improves the total system efficiency (“well-to-wheels”) for HFC cars.
There are several substantial differences between mass-produced fuel cell cars and the small racing cars which seem to be the bulk of Mr. Shahan’s experience. Amory Lovins, a renowned physicist with the Rocky Mountain Institute, wrote an excellent paper called “Twenty Hydrogen Myths” which explains more of this in great detail, including the true “well-to-wheels” efficiency of HFC cars.
HFC cars are as green as the hydrogen used to fuel them. Many hydrogen experts have stated for decades that renewable energy must be the source of hydrogen for it to be green.
Lithium, the key component in current EV batteries, can be hazardous and must be recycled. We don’t know yet how well this will work on a large scale, since there are not that many battery cars on the road.
Where is UPS using fuel cell fork lifts ? Any details on that ?
I believe it’s a warehouse in North Carolina, if I remember correctly.
Amazon now bought into Plug Power Inc.for using their fuel cells in fork lifts.
Also have a look on http://www.nelhydrogen.com
I may also add that ABB now supply rather big fuel cells to Royal Carebean cruise vessels.
Hydrogen can be produced directly from oil and gas reservoirs with zero CO2. Simulations show less than $1/kg. http://www.proton.energy
In a Toyota Marai, 1kg is more than 100 km range.
“◾You cannot fill up like you do with gasoline or diesel. It is actually pretty ridiculous how hard it is to fill up a HFC powered car
◾You won’t even go 100 miles on current tech hydrogen tanks that are still safe to carry around in a car
◾Fuel cells wear out crazy fast and are hard to regenerate”
What century was this written in.
I just saw a guy fill up his Fuel Cell car with H2, and it didn’t look any more difficult than filling it with gasoline, plus there were no fumes. It only took a few minutes.
Can’t go 100 miles? The new Honda Clarity has an EPA range of 366 miles, further than any battery electric car including a Tesla P100D..
Fuel cells wear out crazy fast? The average is a 10% voltage loss in 60,000 miles. That’s crazy fast? Batteries degrade the day they are manufactured, whether used or not. Take a look at this. It doesn’t look like batteries hold up all that well.
Geoff Budd says
Zachary Shahan a fuel cell expert? Not correct and his poor choice of language is of no absolutely of no value to anyone whatsoever. The negative comments are as far for the truth as any one of us could imagine. I will not go through all the negative incorrect comments. Do some reading! I have personally filled and driven numerous FCEVs over the last 17 years.
Karel Beckman says
It does not say that Shahan is a fuel cell expert – you have not read it carefully
Well this is not a very constructive comment..
Mike Parr says
“Hydrogen as a fuel is incredibly hard to make and distribute with acceptably low losses”.
This is somewhat off-the-mark. Hard to make? electroysers in various forms have been around since the late 19th century. Acceptably low losses? Current electrolysers have efficiencies of circa 80% (based on discussions with a couple of suppliers). In the case of distribution – ITM seem to have cracked that with a combined electrolyser and filling station – thus obviating the need for pipelines. That said, a gas company this week told me they were looking at an H2 network.
Ferdinand Engelbeen says
Overall effeciency of the hydrogen use for transport: indeed 80% for electrolysis, but fuel cells get only ~50%, thus the overall efficiency is ~40%, compared to an overall efficiency of ~85% for Li-ion batteries. More important, H2 production from intermittent sources like wind and solar needs an enormous amount of very high pressure tanks (~700 bar), as hydrogen is very light, to give enough capacity to match supply with demand. For batteries that is currently even impossible. Only pumped water dams may provide the huge capacity needed, but even that is quite limited in Europe…
Hydrogen is a creeping gas, it creeps through the smallest pores, through plastics and even through steel at high temperature. That makes that it is very difficult to maintain leak-free storage and use in moving vehicles. Anyway forbidden in closed parkings.
Las but not least: currently hydrogen is for over 99% made from natural gas. Better use CNG directly for transport than via hydrogen…
In my opinion, hydrogen is one of the worst forms of transport energy…
Fredrik Lundberg says
In a systems perspective hydrogen is not so silly. Hydrogen is needed to replace fossils for e.g. steel production and (bio)refineries.
Assuming a lot of hydrogen will be produced from cheap and variable power for such purposes, the extra cost of supplying hydrogen for transport may be reasonable.
Power-to-gas is a fairly good way to provide peak and reserve power in countries like Germany and the UK. Batteries can not do that.
The jury is still out. Battery cars are technically feasible, but very expensive and heavy. They are still not an alternative to gas and diesel car for the mass market. There are also infrastructure issues.
Infrastructure for hydrogen is somewhat simpler. As a Toyota Mirai has a very long range for a tank, a small number of service stations can serve a large area for the first cars. With more hydrogen cars, you build more service stations. There is less of a hen-egg problem than for battery cars.
Talking of eggs, one should not put all of them into one basket. We will probably need biofuels AND hydrogen AND battery cars.
Conversion efficiency is important, but it is not everything.
Elon Musk is no impartial physicist. In fact, he is both partisan and too charismatic.
Michael E says
Laypeople sometimes speak of electric vehicles like they think electricity is totally green, a power source that flows magically from outlets. Most electricity in the U.S. is still produced by coal burning power plants, so our electric cars are powered primarily by burning coal. Green? I don’t think so. EVs also require a large volume of batteries containing highly toxic materials that become hazardous waste each time a battery must be replaced. Another advantage of fuel cell vehicles over battery vehicles is charging time – you can fill a tank with hydrogen in just a few minutes, whereas charging batteries is a lengthy process. Also, assuming your system doesn’t leak, you can park a FC vehicle indefinitely without losing any potential power from fuel. Batteries, on the other hand, only hold a charge for a limited time. It’s like having a fuel leak in a gasoline vehicle (without the danger of fire).
I not against fuel cell technology and i support it too but electric cars that use battery for energy storage are far better tech right now and probably for the next 30 years or more. That’s simple because FC aren’t overall feasible as a tech, we can’t really use FC cars right now all around the world where as batteries can recharged everywhere in just an hour at almost full capacity with the new fast-chargers even at home. Nobody can produce hydrogen and store it in high-pressure tanks at home i believe! Moreover people forget the fact that with current ICE cars the environmental pollution from it is going to electricity production only because we will go full electric thus we will stop the pollution in the seas from crude oil leaks and more. Plus electricity has so many green ways to produced while hydrogen needs also to be stored in gas stations too.
We will never stop using oil, until of course it runs out. The applications for it are almost limitless. Petroleum is only one out of many.
If refueling and use of fuel cell cars ressembles the experience of refueling and using gas powered cars, and the experience of “refueling” and using battery powered cars ressembles the experience of “refueling” and use of smartphones, fuel cells will win hands down once we have hydrogen “gas pumps” nearby.
The “range” and time to charge smartphones sucks.
Jonas Blomberg says
Zachary Shahan and Cleantechnica are partisan for BEVs, and against FCEVs. [censored – no unsubstantiated accusations allowed]. The arguments against FCEVs are exaggerated.
-It is not hard fill up a HFC powered car.
-According to the EPA cycle you can go 366 miles in a Honda Clarity, for example.
-Fuel cells last at least 10 000 hours of use.
-Hydrogen as a fuel is easy to produce by hydrolysis, losses are 25-30%.
Nicolas Brahy says
This piece of critics of Fuel cells car is mainly based on two arguments (1) the lower energy efficiency of FCEV vs. BEV and (2) the lack of infrastructure.
What is striking is that you could have used exactly the same terms of the discussion one century ago. You should replace Fuel cells and hydrogen by combustion engine and oil.
In 1917, battery were already 4 or more time more efficient that combustion engine. Still oil and combustion engine prevails completely, essentially because it was more convenient (fast refueling, longer range and in the long run it was easier to create an oil refuelling infrastructure).
In 1917 nobody believe that you would have oil station everywhere nor that you would have gas pipes going to virtually any house.
This does not mean that FC car will exclude BEV in 21st century as oil cars excluded BEV in 20th century. It simply means that a higher energy efficiency does not imply BEV will exclude FCEV.
The need to build a new infrastructure is certainly a challenge but (1) it is not much more complicate than it was to build a oil refueling infrastructure and (2) building an electrical infrastructure than can accommodate very fast charging for all the car fleet is even more challenging.
Moreover, the debate is not only about cars, it is also about vans, bus, trucks, trains and even boat and planes. clearly battery will not do all the work. Fuel cells and/or hydrogen are tested in all these applications.
Next, all vehicles including a FC also include a battery. This leads me to the last point.
I do not get the need to believe that there is only one solution that make sense and that the other is necessarily a non sense. There is no need to believe that either Elon Munsk (and others) or Toyota (and others) is stupid. It is possible to agree that both side include smart people developing technologies that make sense and are complementary.
Jonas Blomberg says
I consider Zachary Shahan biassed. He has declared that he has stock in Tesla, and that this affects his judgement.
Some of his statements are ridiculous:
1. You cannot fill up like you do with gasoline or diesel. It is actually pretty ridiculous how hard it is to fill up a HFC powered car.
Answer: It is easy to fill up with hydrogen (3-5 minutes).
2. You won’t even go 100 miles on current tech hydrogen tanks that are still safe to carry around in a car.
Answer: Honda, Toyota and Hyundai have an EPA proven range of 420-590 km (263-366 miles).
3. Fuel cells wear out crazy fast and are hard to regenerate.
Answer: Most current automotive fuel cells have a lifetime of over 10 000 hours. Depending on usage that translates to 5-10 years.
4. Hydrogen as a fuel is incredibly hard to make and distribute with acceptably low losses
Answer: Electrolysis is a standard procedure, with around 70% efficiency.
5. Hydrogen fuel cells have bad theoretical and practical efficiency
Answer: Fuel cells have a 60-70% efficiency in both theory and practice.
6. Hydrogen storage is inefficient, energetically, volumetrically and with respect to weight.
Answer, Yes, it is more bulky than gasoline. But less bulky and heavy than batteries. Gravimetric endergy density is highest of all fuels; 33 kWh/kg, of which around 20 kWh can be utilized.
7. HFCs require a shit ton of supporting systems, making them much more complicated and prone to failure than combustion or electric engines.
Answer, Simply wrong, FC systems are known for reliability and robustness.
8. There is no infrastructure for distributing or even making hydrogen in large quantities. There won’t be for at least 20 or 30 years, even if we start building it like crazy today.
Answer: True, there are too few hydrogen refilling stations. But there are over 700 stations worldwide today. Denmark already has a nation-wide H2 station network.
9. Hydrogen is actually pretty hard to make. It has a horrible well-to-wheel efficiency as a result.
Answer: Well-to wheel efficiencies are 45-49%. Compare with a combustion engine of 20-40% and Battery system of 80-85%. It is not as good as an EV, but not horrible.
10. Easy ways to get large quantities of hydrogen are not ‘cleaner’ than gasoline.
Answer: Electrolytically produced H2 is as fossil free as the electrocity used. It is easy to produce.
11. Efficient HFCs have very slow response times, meaning you again need additional systems to store energy for accelerating
Answer: FCEVs have a decent torque. What is the problem?
12. Even though a HFC-powered car is essentially an electric car, you get none of the benefits like filling it up with your own power source, using it as a smart grid buffer, regenerating energy during braking, etc.
Answer: Some FCEVs have regenerative braking. FCEVs can be used for grid backup. Hydrogen electric plugin hybrids are desirable, though.
13. Battery electric cars will always be better in every way given the speed of technological developments past, present and future.
Answer: Where is the ideal battery? Batteries will continue to be more expensive big and clumsy than hydrogen-FC systems several decades ahead. Stating anything else is simply misinformation.
14. “not competitive with battery-electric cars, incredibly dumb, and (obviously) not a winning strategy”.
Answer: Nobody knows where the balance between BEVs and FCEVs will settle. The most likely scenario is that BEVs will take most of the small and short range traffic, while FCEVs will take bigger and longer range vehicles.
The coming Tesla Semi will not have a chance in this contest. Its batteries will weigh several, maybe 5000, kg.
The Shahan epistle is irresponsible and partisan. I see a not so gallant purpose behind it.
15. Musk says: Hydrogen fuel cell cars “are extremely silly.” “Hydrogen is an incredibly dumb” fuel. “Fuel cell is so bullshit, it’s a load of rubbish.
Answer: This reveals a very partisan and rude person.
Your corrections of those misinformative statements are pretty good, but here are some more things to consider for your rebuttal.
8) Hydrogen is already a $160 billion USD market worldwide. Most of it goes toward upgrading crude oil and creating crop fertilizers. It is certainly made in large quantities and distribution can scale up fast when oil companies notice they can make a lot more money using the carbonless production process described at http://www.proton.energy
10) http://www.proton.energy is much less expensive than electrolysis and SMR, and unlike steam methane reforming has no carbon emissions.
12) FCEV can charge a home or business when plugged in. They make pure clean water while doing so. A FCEV can charge up EV’s parked beside them.
Thanks. Hazer Technology uses SMR to produce hydrogen but captures the resulting CO2 in the form of graphite, which is of battery grade.
Thus reducing the CO2 emissions drastically while at the same time offsetting the cost of production through the sale of two end products – hydrogen & graphite. http://www.hazergroup.com.au/
Jonas Blomberg says
8. Thanks for mentioning HEE.
10. NREL estimates that electrolytically made H2 will cost around 3-4 $ per kg in a not so distant future. HEE sounds a bit dangerous to me, though.
12. Yes, when the hydrogen infrastructure is there, the car may safeguard home electrity.
John C says
Dear Zachary Shahan,
You apparently don’t own an electric car with 70k+ miles. I’ve had one for 5 years now, and trust me – Battery is NOT a reliable and stable form of storing energy. You should take my word for it. On the other hand, hydrocarbons and hydrogens don’t break down or lose energy in a closed system even in extreme temperature. Electric cars is a viable option in major cities, but will never be mainstream in the U.S.
The ONLY thing that electric cars do better at than hydrogen cars is its efficiency, but fuel cell is still better than the most efficient ICE (38% by Toyota) developed today.
If you still think BEV are better than fuel-cell, you clearly don’t own an electric car, and you have no right to argue. Electric cars are like a baby – you can’t charge below 20% or above 80%, can’t DC charge to prevent damaging the battery from heat, can’t park it long period of time because it uses energy to keep the battery at optimal temp, have to wait at least 30 min to refuel. I can go on and on, but to sum up, compressed hydrogen will take over gasoline in the long run.
Ian P says
[…]. Batteries are not perfect, but not what you are saying above. They will also improve greatly. But the efficiency of HFCs are unlikely to change due to physics. Most of what you are saying is just not the case with EVs and certainly not mine. I have a Ford Focus. [comment edited for inappropriate language, please respect our guidelines]
For a start, Elon has to say Hydrogen FCVs are dumb, (not a very intelligent word to use), he’s based his entire venture on making the inconvenience of an over night charge seem like a good alternative to a five minute fill up. If Hydrogen FCVs prove as convenient as petrol and diesel cars are, and just as cost effective (time is money), he stands to lose a lot. Then consider the other problems, such as lack of charging points for those who don’t have a personal charging point because they don’t have a driveway or garage. They will have to rely on company or city provided charging which will come at a price, may not be available, may not be where you need it or may not charge your vehicle fully. Also include the rather fickle nature of the battery which doesn’t like high charge rates – the superchargers aren’t an ideal everyday solution, unless Tesla want to replace the batteries every couple of years. I don’t know if vandalism will be a thing, but I can guarantee that some low life will either vandalise the charging point, the cable or your socket.
BEVs may well be ideal for short range city driving, and for those people I say crack on, but for myself and thousands of others, they’re simply no good. I’m an electrical engineer in the electrical industry and I could get called to a substation 120 miles away, and unless I’ve a fully charged Tesla, I’m not coming back in one day! And I certainly couldn’t respond to a call if I’ve only got a couple of hours charge completed.
Now lets think of one other thing Elon hasn’t thought of; the electricity supply. Ignoring the fossil fuel aspect for the moment, there is a real danger that the distribution transformers (pad mount and pole pigs) will be overloaded by the increase in the numbers of cars charging overnight. Overall the capacity of the national grids will cope but the local networks are a different matter. Rather than install a transformer which will provide each house with 40kW, electricity companies work out a diversity factor which means that transformer will be rated at maybe only 3 kW per house. In reality you and your neighbours will use more than that, but not all at the same time and certainly not for 24 hours, so the 3kW allowance is fine. The transformer will cool down over night and everything is good. If we assume that every house in your street has an electric car each, and consider that the minimum charge for a battery EV (Nissan Leaf) is 3.5kW, and the maximum, 22kW (Tesla high power home charger) those cars will be charging overnight at a power far higher than the transformer was designed for and for a longer period, this will cause the transformer to fail, and we haven’t given the cables to and from the transformer any consideration either.
So there is a possibility that when large scale Battery EV take up is experienced, the power networks will not have enough capacity at a local level. Certainly here in the UK there is a big concern that a third of the distribution networks will be overloaded if just a 40% rise in Battery EV ownership is experienced. One solution would be to smart charge control the cars so that the network isn’t overloaded, but that could mean some cars don’t get a full charge thus limiting their range, certainly not what personal transport is about. Now couple these thoughts, with the advances in FCEVs we have seen in the past 3 years, the commitment that Shell have made towards building more hydrogen fuelling stations (generating hydrogen from wind and solar electricity at the station), plus the promise of a 5 minute fill for 300 miles, then the battery EV is not a step into the future, but a step into the past, like they were before petrol came in, even if Elon’s 120kW superchargers are fast (ish)…
Hydrogen is gone most car manufacturers abandoning it like Mercedes because by the time it will be affordable for the masses like 20 years from now EV cars and battery technology will drive trucks for 500 miles per 10 min charge. Not to mention that fuel cell cars have tons of complex parts plus a bomb tank plus less space for passengers and store room. Hydrogen can be used for other purposes but not in cars.
Nicolas Brahy says
Can I ask on which basis you are asserting that cars OEMs are abandoning the Fuel cell car?
As European association for the fuel cells and hydrogen industry we have as members: Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes, BMW and Audi (VW): none of them is saying this.
Jeffrey Michel says
Amazon will soon be using hydrogen fuel cell forklift trucks in 11 warehouses. https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/07/amazon-fuel-cell-forklifts/
michael donelly says
The truth is stored hydrogen is very heavy because of weight of the bottle. The answer is probably a hybrid vehicle which has some batteries but derives its energy from methanol and produces hydrogen on the go. This is possible if you integrate a steam Reformer with Fuel Cells and batteries. Tank up with methanol, convert it to hydrogen on the go and store surplus by the car is not moving as electrical energy in a battery. See http://fuels.pro for a reformer that can already do this job.
Jonas Blomberg says
No, glass fibre tanks are not heavy but are very strong. Mirai tanks (5 kg H2) weigh 120 kg I think.
Richard Routhier says
Kevlar resin 10% gravimetric capacity, a 5kg reservoir is 50kg in weight https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/review16/st126_bigelow_2016_o.pdf
It will take 100 days to lose 10% of the content at 700bars (higher limit). Of course real system are less
So 100kg is to heavy for you to go 1,000kms a battery is several tons
R. Frank says
There is no doubt that hydrogen is THE fuel for earth and space BUT the answer is the technology to convert water to hydrogen at the location of the device or vehicle NOT having to transport or pipe the hydrogen to the device or vehicle. Piping water is what we do best all over the world ! But to mass produce hydrogen THEN store it THEN pipe it is infeasible! Piping water no problem! The conversion must be done decentralized!! Inside the device or vehicle that uses the hydrogen. IF not viable, then have the unit that converts water to hydrogen at local stations that have the conversion unit on site until the development of one inside the vehicle.
The technology is coming and at the present rate of development we should begin to see it in 7 years.
Ken D says
Having read all posters comments, it’s clear that governments/corporations (mostly the same minds these days) are committed to BEVs regardless of the inherent shortage of electric power infrastructure to cope with such increases. This is certainly the case in UK who have needed China’s investment in a huge nuclear power facility which has been under negotiation for years meanning it’s probably not even taken into account the advent of BEVs.
My simple minded logical interim suggestion (whilst awaiting fuel cell development of cars and local filling stations) would to be replace oil fed or nuclear power stations with hydrogen powered, achieving the green target in the short term and concentrating the complicated handling shortcomings into fewer geographical areas where it can be controlled safely.
Of course as pointed out above there would still be upgrades required re transformers mentioned above to cope with BEV charging but surely it has to be greener immediately.
Can a resident expert please advise whether this theory is correct and also practical to any degree?
Matthew James says
update on hydrogen as fuel and energy carrier