Nissan Develops New-Generation V6 Engines; 10% Improvement in Fuel Efficiency
GM to Introduce New Light-Duty T2B5 Diesel for North America After 2009

Shell Awards $1M to OSU for Hydrogen Technology Research

Shell is awarding $1 million to the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department of Ohio State University to support a research project into the use of membranes for CO2-Hydrogen separation.

The research examines a novel approach to membrane separation technology used in production of hydrogen from fossil fuels. One benefit of this particular technology is that—unlike more conventional methods—this process allows separation of pure CO2 at a lower cost.

This is essential for economical carbon capture and sequestration. In addition, the technology may lower the cost of producing hydrogen, bringing it closer to commercialization.

This current project is preceded by two years of preliminary studies conducted by Ohio State University for Shell. The new investment is part of a broader Shell strategy to invest and develop technologies that would benefit the commercialization of hydrogen.

Shell believes that by funding the efforts of Ohio State’s professor Winston Ho’s team, we can potentially realize a new and viable technology in the hydrogen field which could accelerate the arrival of hydrogen-based power and transportation solutions.

—Duncan Macleod, Vice President of Shell Hydrogen

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister made the announcement today during a visit to the university.



allen Z

H2 from hydrocarbons, great idea for the fossil energy idustry. However, how do we store the CO2? Perhaps algae will come in here. We can then use the algae for biodiesel, or biomass fuels or many other uses. On the other hand, we could just dump them in deep offshore sedimentation fields to sequester the CO2, and possibly make hydrocarbons for whoever is around 60-100 million years from now.


Yes!!! A way to NEVER STOP our dependency on fossil fuels?!! Wait- what's that? AND we taxpayers get to enjoy funding the $3 Trillion hydrogen infrastructure change while providing money for $900,000 rebates for million-dollar hydrogen vehicles? Oh, and don't forget, after spending nearly $10,000,000,000,000 on the H2 economy just to keep the oil industry in business, we can enjoy every major city covered in fog from the water vapor emitted by hydrogen vehicles... and all that water has to go somewhere... to raise ocean levels! Sweet! HYDROGEN ECONOMY HERE WE COME!!

... and someone said electric vehicles were impractical. really.

Sid Hoffman

Uh, dp? Gasoline produces water vapor. That's how combustion works. There will be no fog because on a per-mile basis, gasoline produces far more water vapor than an H2 fuel cell car does. Thanks for trying though, it's good to know you have zero understanding of chemistry but aren't shy to post anyway.


Ok... I understand that combustion produces water vapor (hydrocarbon + oxygen = water + carbon product, thank you high school chem). But that does not change the fact that hydrogen as a plan for our nations future simply sucks, especially from an economic standpoint. Even if all CO2 is sequestered, etc, this still keeps us dependent on non-renewable fuel because the H2 is derived from fossil fuels. That is, if we ever build an entire H2 infrastructure and add 150 million hydrogen cars to the road.

Sumyung Guy


Check out some posts by Engineer-Poet, or else his website at
to see some math behind why hydrogen, especially from fossil fuels, is a huge waste. The short of it: we'd be much better off if we just burned the fossil fuels in modern combined-cycle power plants then used the electricity to run electric cars. By the time that we actually have to worry about that (no, I'm not a Peak Oil Cassandra, 'tho I realize that Peak Oil will occur at some point sooner than Exxon-Mobile would like you to think) we'll also have the battery technology we need. Check out some articles on this very website about A123 and Altairnano about new nano-based tech that's already a big improvement over the Li-ion batteries common now.

And the cost of a "hydrogen economy" infrastructure is a good point. We're all already in debt for trillions of dollars, I see no reason to pay a couple of trillion more for something that we can almost accomplish with electric cars *now* rather than 20 years down the line with hydrogen fuel cells.


It's not my place to speak for Sid...but I think his point was more about the silly hyperbole of fog blanketing the cities and the oceans rising than it was about the genuine merits and demerits of the hydrogen economy.

If you don't like hydrogen, that's fine. But don't make stuff up about it - there are plenty of legitimate issues to examine.

Sumyung Guy

Matthew I'm sure you're right, a bit "sorry about that" goes out to you and Sid. For me, I personally think that some combination of electric cars combined with alternative electrical sources like Wind and Concentrating Solar Power with thermal storage would be a lot more practical than building a hydrogen economy, at least here in the US.

Sid Hoffman

Thank you Matthew, you are correct, I was just addressing the water vapor issue in specific. I personally don't believe we can transition to H2 in our current state. I think it will be more like:

Oil -> Biofuels -> Bio-hybrid EV -> EV -> H2 EV

Hybrid electric vehicles are the stepping stone to BOTH electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cel vehicles, since when it comes down to it, all the fuel cell does it make electricity anyway, and all that you need H2 for is long range and high-speed fueling. It's actually possible H2's day will never come and we'll stop once we have long EV range from biofuel hybrid EV's. I just wanted to point out the water vapor issue is more a non-issue, that's all.


Sid brings up a good point: we may never actually see the day of the hydrogen vehicle. I feel that right now, there is a race between hydrogen storage developers and battery developers (hence the subject of this article) to see whose technology will win out first and forever once consumers have adopted it. On the ev side, Elon Musk, Paypal co-founder and Tesla motors guy, has invested a ton into (i think) EEstor's ultracapacitor technology. This will be an interesting race.


Sid, you're making the same mistake as Vinod Khosla.  Why would you build a bio-fuels infrastructure just to abandon it?  These things have their own inertia (just look at what we have with petroleum!) and it makes no sense to speed the ocean liner up if it's going to have to turn 90° in a quarter mile.

We have hybrids now.  The combustion engines in hybrids can run on pretty much anything combustible, which bifurcates the energy path:

                                   (wind, coal, nuclear, biofuel powerplants)
Oil -> hybrid -> PHEV
                                  \-> biofuel mixes -> pure biofuels

Eventually the batteries of PHEV's will grow to push out more and more liquid fuels, but I expect that some classes of vehicles will still run as hybrids consuming some kind of liquid for a long, long time.

Cheryl Ho

Hey to share:
Since DME has an advantage of decomposition at lower temperature than methane and LPG, R&D for hydrogen source for fuel cell has been carried out. DME has a potential of feedstock for chemicals. DME to olefins is under development in Japan.

If you would like to know more on the latest DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information:

The comments to this entry are closed.