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Plug Power to develop H2 fuel cell range extenders for FedEx Express electric delivery trucks

9 January 2014

Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen fuel cell technology to the materials handling market, will develop hydrogen fuel cell range extenders for 20 FedEx Express electric delivery trucks, allowing FedEx Express to nearly double the amount of territory the vehicles can cover with one charge. (Earlier post.)

This $3-million project is funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes project partners FedEx Express, Plug Power and Smith Electric Vehicles. The resulting hybrid vehicles will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and a 10 kW Plug Power hydrogen fuel cell system. The fuel cell solution is based on Plug Power’s GenDrive Series 1000 product architecture.

The GenDrive product series normally targets 3-wheel and 4-wheel sit-down counterbalanced materials-handling trucks. (Sit-down counterbalanced trucks are most commonly used in high-volume manufacturing and high-throughput warehousing and distribution operations. Counterbalanced trucks serve general purpose and carry the heaviest loads.) GenDrive has accumulated more than five million operating hours at customer sites across North America.

Currently, electric delivery trucks are limited to traveling about 80 miles per charge. By doubling the vehicle range, Plug Power’s range extender makes battery-based electric vehicles feasible for nearly all delivery routes. It is an enabling technology that makes electric-powered delivery vehicles a viable solution for a wide range of applications, including parcel delivery trucks, taxis, post office trucks and port vehicles, the company suggested.

Through the trials with FedEx Express, Plug Power expects to display how its range extender solution increases delivery fleet efficiency to more than 50% coupled with an approximately 35 to 40% decrease in fuel expenses, when compared to diesel trucks.

Customer interest in this technology provides Plug Power with a market expansion opportunity that leverages its existing technology-set and hydrogen fuel cell experience with development funds provided by the DOE, the company noted.

Early customer experiences with electric delivery vehicles have been overwhelmingly positive. But only 1% of these vehicles are electric today; we think that this range extender provides the added distance and quick refueling capabilities needed to really grow this market. Plug Power’s expertise in the materials handling market—where we have more than 90% market share—is an ideal base on which to build this technology.

—Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO

In his December 2013 business update, Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh noted that, in addition to the range extender opportunity, the company was also eyeing Transportation Refrigeration Units (TRUs) as well as airport ground support equipment (GSE) as potential areas for expansion. Plug Power is working with Sysco Long Island on the TRUs, and with FedEx Express on GSEs. The latter project also has support from the DOE, with $2.5 million in funding.

As of October 2013, Plug Power has delivered more than 4,000 fuel cell units to 44 total site deployments with 24 different customers. Daily hydrogen dispensing is more than 4,600 kg.

Marsh also noted that the company has been averaging approximately 10% year-over year cost reductions ($/unit) in its products from 2010 to 2014.

January 9, 2014 in Electric (Battery), Fleets, Fuel Cells | Permalink | Comments (102) | TrackBack (0)

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@ electric-car-insider.....Sorry but I did not underestimate of the average H2 station. Your $1M estimate may be too low but since you suggest it I accept it as a starter.

One or 2 or even 3 billion $/yr for 1000 H2 stations/year would be pocket money for USA.

A small country like Canada is spending $50B to buy 60 American made fighter jets over the next 10 years or so. That's $5B/year down the drain. The same small country is spending another $5B/year the build war ships.

Wouldn't all those $$B (and many others) be better spent installing Ultra quick charge EV and H2 stations?

Another alternative to batteries and FCs would be Hybrids with compressed Air range extender. Citroen-Peugeot will demo such a vehicle this spring.

Air is free and a small electric compressor (on-board or at home) or very low cost public compressed air stations could refill such vehicle within 3 minutes or so. A small high pressure tank at home would not cost that much.

I'd be interested to see your figures for wiring up every roadside so that the ~50% of cars that are not parked in garages can be charged. Clue:Its not cheap.

What are the figures for charging the 50% of cars that ARE parked in garages?  How long is it going to take for FCEVs to achieve 50% penetration... or even 50% proximity to hydrogen stations?  I haven't spent a cent on charging infrastructure, and I'm doing more than 2/3 of my mileage on grid power.  Advantage:  plug-ins.

With universal battery electric cars, Labour day should be interesting, as millions try to charge up simultaneously on route for longer drives.

It's an American holiday, so the limp-wristed superfluous "u" is inappropriate.  And the answer is "the emergency peaking generators will get one of their seasonal tests that weekend."  They'll fire up Thursday night and not cut the pace until early Monday morning, giving them a good solid workout.  This is in addition to the generator trailers and other devices, with fuel purchased weeks or months in advance.

I agree that in the context of almost 700 billion in US military spending, 1 billion for H2 stations seems like chump change. But it's enormously more than what it would cost to field an equivalent EV charging infrastructure.

As EP just pointed out, most of the EV charging infrastructure is already in place or nearly so - in garages overnight. People with short commutes can even get by with the 120v EVSE supplied with their car. Those who need 240v can usually get it for $500 -$1,500. Even really fast 240v can be had for less than $2,500 generally.

Workplace charging, with the ability to roughly double commute range in current EVs could be installed for just a few hundred dollars per parking spot if a few dozen are done at one time.

Even 20-50kW fast chargers are only $20-$50k each.

So where's the equivalent head start for hydrogen?

@davemart, your question about the cost and grid impact of a public charge infrastructure is fair. Are you willing to spend an equivalent amount of effort producing a financial model for nationwide H2 infrastructure? I'd be willing to produce one for EVs if you can show one for H2.

My model would start with a few notable advantages:

There is currently no hydrogen pipeline network, H2 is delivered in tanker trucks.
The electricity grid needs only a safety cord - EVSE - and a car can be fueled at any building that has electric service. The distribution network already exists.

There are numerous zoning and regulatory limitations on the siting of hydrogen stations.
There are none for EVSE. Just a simple $10-$100 over the counter building permit.

There are only a few expensive ways to produce hydrogen. Currently it is much more expensive than gasoline. There's no demonstrable path to producing cheap hydrogen in the near term.
Electricity can be produced locally with solar and sourced from the grid. Wind, solar, hydro and other renewables are quickly reaching price parity with fossil fuels.

You commented on peak demand, like popular travel days. But ignored the fact that Tesla has already demonstrated the solution - storage prior to travel in the vehicle, and also at the refueling station. Supercharger stations have large battery systems to level out peak demand. And this is just the beginning demo from one small startup company. It can and will be done at a much larger scale.

Where are the equivalent advantages for hydrogen?

The only "advantage" I can think of is that Toyota is claiming a 300 mile range for their $50k-$100k car. Hmmm, kind of like a Tesla!

If 5-5-5 batteries were here, there would be no need for light duty FCEVs. We would all have 800+ Km BEVs and would recharge overnight ONLY, at home or at roadside hotels/motels.

That may very well progressively happen by 2020+.

However, future long range intercity large buses and heavy cargo trucks will still need appropriate size FCs and reduced H2 station network, specially alone major highways and at truck/bus depots.

That could very well start to happen by 2020+

Let's say a quick charger costs $30,000 and takes 30 minutes to charge a car. Now let's say a hydrogen pump cost $200,000 but refills in 5 minutes. On a throughput basis, they are cost equivalent.

If those were the only relevant costs, I'd agree with you SJC. But the network for electricity is already in place. Where's the network for hydrogen?

It's already been pointed out by A.C.R. That hydrogen is very difficult and expensive to put through a pipeline. (Hydrogen makes steel pipelines brittle, among other difficulties).

This is one of those really tough problems for H2 that nobody has a good cost competitive solution to, which is why we use natural gas and other hydrocarbons instead.

@E.C. Insider,
H2 filling networks are currently being built in Europe and Asia, where oil and gas have to be imported at high prices and subjected to flow interruption. The USA has recently found plentiful of oil and gas, hence no hurry to build an H2 infrastructure yet.

The advantage of H2-FCV is simple, upon exhaustion of oil and gas, since there will need be a substitute fuel for those exhausting fossil fuel sources. H2 is the easiest, cheapest, and most-efficient synthetic fuel that can be produced from Renewable Energy (RE) and Nuclear Energy (NE). Seasonal-scale energy storage is of strategic importance if a society is able to survive a cold winter or a long string of rainy cloudy days with little wind. The issue will no longer be cost. The issue will be future survival of a country, a culture, or a civilization, all will need plenty of stored energy to survive and to thrive.

Once H2 will be used as seasonal-scale energy storage medium for universal home and industrial use, and will be available everywhere, then H2-FCV and any other use for quick-fill portable electricity will obviously be in great demand.

Also, electricity will be around, so any form of Plugged-in EV (PEV) will also be in great demand.

The most important thing to realize is that solar and wind energy is now at cost-parity with fossil fuels. This means that countries w/out oil and gas reserves will be among the first to develop RE, NE with H2 infrastructure to substitute for oil and gas. This is better economically and politically than continue to import oil and gas and being at the mercy of oil and gas exporters. Countries with large oil and gas reserves like USA, Russia, Middle East, etc. will likely be among the last to develop the H2 infrastructure.

Can you be a little more specific than Asia and Europe? What is the time frame for the rollout? What are the number of pops, and where will they be deployed? I see that Germany has plans for 400 H2 stations over the next 10 years. That's a relatively small number a very long time from now. To put that number in perspective, there are over 120,000 gas stations in the US.

There are already - right now today - well over 500 quick charge stations in the US, and as I mentioned earlier, over 20,000 Level 2 240v charge points. This has been accomplished in the past three years.

I don't dispute that by 2030 hydrogen might be viable. But by then, very energy dense solid state storage will likely have been so widely deployed, it will be irrelevant.

Seasonal scale storage? That's the hydrogen advantage? Hydrogen is hard to store for more than a few weeks, let alone months. (Liquid hydrogen in dewar containers vents to the atmosphere. In pressure vessels it leaks).

Japan, China, and Korea are heavily dependent on oil and gas for transportation, power generation and industrial use. The Chinese are moving away from coal due to heavy pollution. Yet, they have insufficient oil and gas reserves. Can you see now why RE, NE and H2 are so important for them? Their industrial machines consume vast amount of energy. The same is true for Germany, France and Britain, etc. It takes many decades to complete the transition from fossil fuel to RE, NE and H2, so it is very important to start now, or else, it will be too late!

400 stations will be plenty for Germany. I've posted here many times, calculation that showed that 500 H2 stations is sufficient for Continental USA to have a H2 station within 7-10 miles in urban areas and 30 miles in rural areas, at an initial cost of 500 million dollars to 1 billion dollars. WE do not need 120,000 gas stations here in the USA. These just came about due to free-market supply and demand.

Let me update you re-H2 long-term storage. The petroleum refining industry uses a lot of H2 for petroleum refining, and they are able to store the H2 in underground caverns for years and transport the H2 via pipelines for hundreds of miles. In Germany, high H2 concentration of "Town Gas" circulated and stored in pipeline systems for decades for home use and for street lamps, until replaced by NG. Certainly the technology has been available perhaps almost a century ago.

500 fuelling stations, at 5 minutes/car, means you can fuel 6000 cars per hour. Assuming you average that 12 hours a day (not much happening at night), 72,000 vehicles fuelled per day.

The USA has 250 million passenger vehicles.

Dividing the two means that these 500 stations can refuel a vehicle once every 3472 days.

Gee whiz, we can do this, if only we go to the fuelling station once every 10 years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States

If 500 fuelling stations were enough, the gasoline stations would all be out of business expect for 500 (or a small multiple of that).

That's not just disingenious, it willfully stupid. Its probably the worst argument I've heard in some time.

Affordable 100, 200, and 300+ miles range BEVs may reach the market place by 2010 (for 100 miles units), 2020 (for 200+ miles units) and probably 2030 for 300 to 400 miles units. Its all a question of lower cost, higher performance batteries availability.

Meanwhile, competing affordable 300 to 400 miles FCEVs may reach the market by 2020 or up to 10 years before equivalent BEVs.

It looks like both technologies may exist for restricted range (200 miles) light weight vehicles from 2020 to 2030 and for longer range (300 to 400 miles) light weight vehicles after 2030.

Heavier vehicles (intercity buses and heavy cargo trucks etc) are candidates for FC technology.

Short range city buses and delivery vehicles could use either technology or combined technologies (FCEVs) for more flexibility.

@ACR,

Please kindly re read my posting, as quoted down below:

"...calculation that showed that 500 H2 stations is sufficient for Continental USA to have a H2 station within 7-10 miles in urban areas and 30 miles in rural areas..."

I simply stated the # of stations required to have them within reasonable driving distance. More FCV's will require more stations later, and in a free-market system, it will happen automatically due to profit motive. Furthermore, each station may have more than one filling device and can serve more than one vehicle at a time. Perhaps 10-20 filling nozzles that can service 20 cars at the same time! Remember at the initial roll-out of FCV's, there won't be many, perhaps a few hundreds to few thousands in the entire USA.

Most gasoline stations are not servicing to their capacity, perhaps 10-20% of capacity. This would means that the # of stations can be reduced to 10-20% and still be able to serve the public. Remember the law of supply and demand in a free-market economy.

It seems to me that hydrogen supporters, if they do not already have an economic conflict of interest, make the assumption that hydrogen has/will have the kind of advantages that natural gas, propane or even gasoline have now; energy density and ease of handling. But without the emissions problems.

And also that solid state energy storage technologies (batteries) could not match gaseous or liquid fuel energy densities (or the "good enough" densities that would make them viable on a mass scale).

But the physics do support energy densities of 2x - 4x (and beyond) of current commercial lithium ion batteries, and several of these chemistries/configurations are moving rapidly toward commercialization. When available, these will be "drop-in" replacements for EVs. The existing (and growing) charging infrastructure will service them.

Even at a rather modest 2x increase, any of the current 80 mile EVs satisfies all typical use cases except treks into the wilderness. We'll be there in just a few years. It's more a matter of production cost reduction than new physics or chemistry. The Tesla Model S does this today and works quite well even for road trips.

This is not just speculation, I've driven from Seattle to San Diego (1,260 miles) and from San Diego to Mt Shasta and back (1,460 miles). Never had a more enjoyable road trip experience. Normal length breaks every few hours for refueling and meals. Car is finished charging before the meal is finished.

How long until I can do the same in a hydrogen powered car?

I'll be doing a series of road trips on the west coast this spring and the east coast this summer. Anyone interested in riding along a leg to see for themselves how viable this is is welcome to drop me a note. Contact info on web page. You can drive too.

Harvey, I've often wondered whether you were a bot. But with the post above, I'm convinced you're not.

> Affordable 100, 200, and 300+ miles range BEVs may reach the market place by 2010 (for 100 miles units)

Do you get paid by the word? ;-)

Of course, PHEV is already proven to be practical.

BEV is also practical when driven within the range of the battery, like fleet vehicle, or taxis that can be fast charged partially between pickups, or for owners who do not plan to make long trips beyond the range of the battery. For occasional long trips, car rental is usually available, especially if reserved ahead of time.

FCV is a BEV with a high-energy-density battery pack that can be quickly refilled in 3 minutes. Someday, Lithium battery technology will be able to do that. However, being able to consume the H2 directly from long-term energy storage will simplify the charging process. One large high-pressure tank at the H2 station can serve a great number of FCV's at the same time very fast, only limited by the space available at the station.

Since Lithium battery is too expensive for use as seasonal energy storage medium, in the winters, BEV must be charged from the energy provided by H2 in future times, after the exhaustion of fossil fuel. Thus, H2 to stationary FC or gas turbines generator to produce electricity with associated loss, cost and depreciation of the FC or gas turbines, then to the grid with associated losses and distribution cost of the H2-generated electricity, then 15% loss in the charging system...vs. FCV that can use the H2 directly on board, including the use of waste heat for cabin heating and defrosting. In cold climates with long winters, you will see that BEV in that situation will be less efficient than FCV that can use the H2 directly on board include the use of waste heat, for nearly 100% efficiency when waste heat is used.

For the above reasons, I've stated here many years ago that FCV and BEV have comparable overall efficiencies and comparable energy costs, when all factors are considered in an all-R-E economy.

Roger, I understand your position, but do you care to name or link to any commercially available products that actually accomplish this?

500 H2 stations is sufficient for Continental USA to have a H2 station within 7-10 miles in urban areas and 30 miles in rural areas

10 miles in an urban area can take an hour or more to get to and return.  A 30-mile trip, doubled, is 20% of your vehicle's 300-mile range.  And with all the safety considerations of high-pressure gas storage, you can forget having your own tank on the farm to fill your vehicles.

Electrowinning zinc hydroxide back to metal to run ZAFCs is not as energy-efficient as H2, but overall far more practical.  Nobody's ever going to get killed by a pile of exploding zinc pellets.

If the iron-molten salt-air batteries ever hit the market, they'll upset a bunch of applecarts.  Even 10 kWh/liter is enough to run heavy trucks and equipment for hours and hours, and swappable packs can keep machines running all day.

The real "reason" for hydrogen is because it can be made from instantaneous excesses of electric generation and stored for long periods to handle periods of deficit.  This only makes sense if the excesses are both chronic and substantial (otherwise they'd just be dumped) and the deficits are frequent.  If your generators run more or less continuously, your excesses are proportionately smaller and your deficits ditto.  "Hydrogen" is the answer because "what can possibly let an economy run on wind and solar exclusively?" is the question.  It's the wrong question.

@E-P,
Why can't farmers use local wind and solar energy to make H2 to power their farm machinery?

Remember that modern electrolyzers can produced H2 at pressures as high as thousands of psi, perhaps 3-5000 psi. This is not quite as high as 10,000, but can power a car 100-150 miles per fill-up. This means that even a home solar panel feeding into a high-pressure electrolyzer can produce ready-to-use H2 to be dispensed to a FCV for local commute for up to one week per home fillup. Only for long trips does one need 10,000-psi pressure fillup at a filling station. No separate mechanical compressor required means low cost and high reliability and low maintenance. Lower-pressure fillup means less energy wasted in compressing the H2. The gradual and low-rate of pressurization by the electrolyzer means isothermal compression which requires the least amount of energy for compression work.

The intermittency of solar and wind energy is now solved, and transportation fuel can be produced right by the point of consumption, without requiring RE to go to the grid, with associated efficiency loss and distribution cost and additional grid infrastructure to maintain. If this is not the answer for future transportation fuel, I don't know what would be more qualified?

Of course, one can install a home battery to store home-based solar panel energy to charge a BEV, but here it is illustrated that FCV and BEV is now on par with each other WRT convenience and efficiency.

Of course, an electrolyzer is not as efficient as a battery, but the waste heat can be used to heat up hot water for consumption later in the day. Likewise, the waste heat for a home-based FC can also be recycled effectively, hence raising the efficiency of H2 production and consumption on par with battery charging and discharging.

Roger Pham: sadly, it's you who has not done the reading. You've completely missed the point. 500 stations can service less than 1% of the current US vehicle fleet. There are 120,000 gasoline/diesel stations for 250 million vehicles in the USA. 500 stations will not kickstart a hydrogen economy.

The point I made is very simple. Its not about distance its about the maximum number of vehicles you can service per station. This number is significantly smaller than gasoline stations, due to longer refuelling for hydrogen, and smaller tanks. It takes about 1 minute to fuel a gasoline vehicle with a 500 mile charge. It takes at least 3 minutes to fuel a hydrogen vehicle with a 300 mile charge. That simple.

Realistically, the implication is that if we have 120,000 gasoline/diesel stations, then we need >>300,000 hydrogen fuelling stations for the same fleet. Not only that, they need to be supplied with hydrogen. High pressure pipelines all over the continent isn't realistic, you want what gasoline stations have: delivery trucks. That then must be liquid hydrogen, since high pressure trucks are not feasible and dangerous too. Liquefaction of hydrogen which guzzles 10 kWh of electricity to transport 33.3 kWh of hydrogen. If that comes from a hydrogen fuel cell of 50% efficiency, it means you must spent 20 kWh of hydrogen to liquefy 33.3 kWh of hydrogen. So out of (20+33.3) 53.3 kWh we've lost 20 already, 37.5%. And we still have other losses such as the trucks fuel consumption itself. You need to ship 3x as much volume,

http://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-6192/10184_read-252/

so 3x the delivery trucks. The costs and logistics and fuel consumption of that.

Hydrogen performs badly when all things are considered. Individually some of the issues seem tolereable, it is on balance that the total cost and efficiency comes out so poorly.

The fundamental problem of a hydrogen FCV is that is worse than plugin hybrids in almost every respect (cost, range, infrastructure, efficiency). Plugin hybrids offer a transitional technology path that doesn't have chicken and egg problems that hydrogen does.

Apart from that, your calculation is also incorrect; the contiguous USA is 3 million square miles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contiguous_United_States

A 30 mile diameter circle occupies 700 square miles. Equals over 4000 stations, not 500. That is with the 30 mile circle, as EP pointed out is too far away. Realistically you want a servicing area of 100 square miles at maximum, equals 30,000 stations to start with. That's very poor servicing; people are used to 120,000 gasoline stations so no matter what hydrogen advocates think, any reduction in that number for hydrogen vehicles will be rightfully perceived by potential customers as a great reduction in service quality. 120,000 gasoline stations over 3 million square miles is 1 station per 25 square miles on average. 1 per 50 might squeek by, anything less is already a perception of poor refuelling options.

"Remember that modern electrolyzers can produced H2 at pressures as high as thousands of psi, perhaps 3-5000 psi. This is not quite as high as 10,000, but can power a car 100-150 miles per fill-up. This means that even a home solar panel feeding into a high-pressure electrolyzer can produce ready-to-use H2 to be dispensed to a FCV for local commute for up to one week per home fillup"

To generate half a kg of hydrogen per day for your commuting driving needs, requires about 25 kWh of electrolyser input. So you need about 1 kWe of average power to charge it. That's 6 kWe of solar panels in a sunny farmland area, or 10 kWe of solar in a not so sunny farmland area. At $2/Watt, this costs 12,000 to 20,000 dollars. You have to add that to the sticker price of your car. Then comes the electrolyser. A small (5 kWe-peak) high pressure electrolyser would cost over $1000/kWe, that's $5000 more.

We have an additional sticker price cost of 17,000 to 25,000 dollars just to provide fuel for your car.

It is not better for wind because small wind turbines are inefficient and expensive (10 kWe wind turbines are even worse than solar panels, surprisingly).

Thanks, A.C.R, for your continual interest in this topic.

Let's re-do the math regarding how many H2 stations will be needed at the INITIAL roll out of FCV's to serve 80% of US population who lives in urban/suburban areas. For a driving distance of 10 miles to a station, let's imagine a circle of 8-mile radius (due to some zig-zagging) with a central H2 filling station. This 8-mile-radius circle will have an area of 200 sq miles. Let's pick a weighted average population density of urban/suburban in the US to be 4000 people/sq mile. So, one H2 station can service 200 sq mi x 4000 = 800,000 people, having the longest driving distance of 10 miles to the station. The weighted average driving distance will likely be around ~7 miles, because many people will live much closer to the station. Total urban/suburban population is 81% of total US population, or around 250 millions, so dividing 250,000,000 by 800,000 = 312 stations.

The rest, or around 200 stations, can be located at 30-50 mile distances along major highways and interstates. Please note that for a few years after the initial roll out of FCV's, there will be at most a few thousands of FCV's, due to the vast number of skeptics out there, like you, so the 500 stations should have no problem servicing a few thousands FCV's. Of course, my job is to convince as many people to consider FCV's as possible, but it looks like it is not going anywhere!

Rural folks will likely hang on to their F-150 or Chevy pickups or Suburban for a while, so no great disservice there. A few hardcore rural Greenies will invest in having their solar PV-H2 electrolyzers-FC in their farms to address all their farm's electrical needs.

Initial H2 stations will use electricity to produce H2 on the spot, so no need for any transportation. The houses around the H2 stations can host the PV panels, while off-peak grid electricity can be used in winters to supplement, due to low solar output in the winter.

The electrolyzer can produce already high pressure, so to generate above 10,000 psi will require only another single stage compressor to boost the electrolyzer's pressure, no problem there.

The home owners do not have to own any H2 because he/she can fill up the H2 from a local station. However, it can be an option to have their own H2 filler at home using off-peak electricity or home solar PV.

In sunny areas with 2200 kWh/kW of solar output yearly, if $2/W PV installation is used and amortized over 30 years, the cost per kWh is only 3 cents, vs. 10-13 cents regular grid electricity. At 50 kWh/kg of H2, 1 kg of H2 will have only $1.50 of raw electricity cost. Local entrepreneur will see this opportunity to build solar PV -H2 stations to supplement the initial 500 stations or so, because even when sold at $7/kg, the energy cost per mile for a FCV will still be less than that of a comparable ICEV! Small-time H2-station entrepreneurs who want to keep it cheap can sell H2 at lower pressures (3000-5000 psi) and keep it cheap by avoiding additional mechanical compressors, while selling coffee and donuts etc on the side to encourage folks to keep stopping by more often.

So, no, a FCV owner will not have to install his/her own home H2 filler to enjoy their FCV's. I can imagine a vibrant small-business economy developing after the initial roll out of FCV's.

I hope that the above will address most of your concerns.

Another point to consider is with increasing grid penetration of RE, the grid will be increasingly stressed due to the high degree of power fluctuation and additional loads on the grid during RE peak power production that can sometimes be hard to predict. In Hawaii, new home solar PV installations must seek approval from utility companies before permits be given, due to the heavily-stressed grid there due to new solar PV sprouting out.

The obvious solution for this is to channel new PV installation to produce H2 solely, thereby avoiding permitting problem and overstressing the grid. Same can be done for new wind installation as well, once the H2 economy will be underway. H2 production for FCV and other industrial uses to limit having to use NG for making H2 for production of fertilizer and for petroleum refining.

I appreciate your taking the time to further explain your position Roger.

You had me seriously considering your position until you mentioned supplementing the H2 vendor income with donuts. :-)

Local production using RE, eliminating the need for reforming natural gas and pipelining or trucking, solves some of the problems, in theory. But I think the cost per kg might be optimistic. I'll double check my numbers before posting. I think that you might also be overlooking regulatory restrictions on producing and storing hydrogen locally. I understand that that might be a solvable problem but I do not believe it has been solved now.

Perhaps the most significant difference in our viewpoint is that I believe that the price point of solid state (batteries) will be far less than hydrogen over the next 10 years, and the likely for the next 10 years after that (as batteries continue advantageous price point curve).

But I believe when Daniel Nocera's Sun Catalytix gave up on locally sourced solar hydrogen production, and went into the battery business, it confirmed that the decisive price advantage was in favor of batteries. (as one example).

Tesla/Solar City are delivering a battery solution today, with prices on steady downslope. How long until I can buy the solution you are describing, and from what vendors?

Good point, e-c-insider, I really appreciate and applaud what Tesla/Solar City/Space X are doing to spur technological development and to promote Green Energy. The business acumen of Tesla/Solar city is excellent.

Here is the advantage of the Tesla Model S over FCV: The small format of NCA 18650 cells allow thin battery pack under the car that promotes a more streamline shape and elegant design with more contigous luggage space. A FCV with a large and bulky H2 tank must assume a taller profile of a SUV or CUV in order to accomodate the tank and having any contigous luggage space left. This may turn off some people.

Furthermore, with increasingly available Tesla Supercharging stations in major interstates Hwys, long-distance travel between major cities using Tesla Model S is possible, and rich folks don't go to small towns, only poor folks do.

However, I do hope that in time, Tesla will offer a PHEV version having a 20-kWh battery pack and a high-output small engine of 2 cylinder with 600-900-cc displacement for folks who wants to go cross country sight-seeing in small villages etc., to complete the range of offering. The addition of a small ICE will be more than paid for by reduction in size of the battery pack. The reduction in size of the battery pack to a 1/4 of original size means that Tesla can produce 4x more cars for a given number of battery cell available. No FCV can compete with a future Tesla PHEV on any aspect!

"Tesla/Solar City are delivering a battery solution today," which is great for limited solar PV penetration of today and in the near future. However, full penetration of RE and NE in all seasons and at all time, 24/7, will require the cooperation of a H2-FC system. This will be many decades into the future, so it is difficult to speculate as to who will be the vendors.

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