Larry Burns, GM’s head of R&D and the point person on the hydrogen initiative for the automaker estimated that adding sufficient hydrogen pumps to U.S. gasoline stations for a viable hydrogen fueling infrastructure will cost about $12 billion. (NW Times.)
That amount would support placing pumps at 12,000 stations in U.S. cities and along major highways.
“The investment to get the infrastructure is not insurmountable,” Burns said on a conference call. “That’s half what it would cost today to build the Alaska pipeline.”
$12B works out to an average $1M per station. And that’s the pumps—not the actual supply of hydrogen. Considering the magnitude of the price tag associated with major conventional energy projects, though...not bad.
But that’s also basing a vision of the future refueling model on the present centralized model—i.e., a few (in the hundreds) refineries producing fuels piped and trucked to distribution centers thence to retail outlet or private refueling depots.
The increasing capabilities of smaller biorefineries and the potential for distributed renewable generation of hydrogen (Hydrogenics/Stuart Energy post) could well tweak that model more towards a distributed model supporting a much greater number of smaller, less expensive refueling stations. Think of a hydrogen (or biofuel version) of Honda’s Phill home natural gas refueling pump. (Earlier post.)