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New York Governor Announces Hydropower-to-Hydrogen Project

Hydrogen sources and uses from the NY Hydrogen Roadmap. Click to enlarge.

New York Governor George Pataki announced plans today for a hydropower - to - hydrogen generation project. The project is expected to serve a number of hydrogen-fueled work and passenger vehicles and transit buses and corresponds with the New York State Hydrogen Roadmap.

The New York Power Authority’s Trustees authorized up to $21 million for the hydropower-to-hydrogen initiative, with potential sites at Niagara Falls State Park and at Western New York locations operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). Various other state and federal government organizations and corporations are also expected to partner in the pioneering project, with hydrogen production anticipated by the end of 2007.

The NYPA board’s action followed an engineering feasibility study earlier this year by the Power Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to determine the size of the electrolysis units for producing hydrogen and the possible vehicle demonstration models for the initiative, with fuel cells and other hydrogen engines.

When fully implemented within three years, the demonstration project—consisting of two hydrogen generation stations, plus storage and fueling facilities—will be producing up to 120 kilograms (kg) per day of hydrogen. (One kg of hydrogen has the energy equivalent of approximately one gallon of gasoline.)

The hydrogen generation and fueling stations will use up to 700 kW of hydropower. The Power Authority would provide the hydropower from its Niagara Power Project to the NFTA, which is authorized to receive NYPA allocations under state law. The agency currently receives hydropower allocations for a light-rail system and the Niagara Falls Air Base.

The hydrogen generation stations will cost approximately $7.5 million, including infrastructure upgrades and educational displays. An additional investment of $13.5 million is required for the hydrogen-fueled vehicles.



Harvey D.

$21 million seems to be a lot of money to produce enough hydrogen for about 10 gas or(hydrogen) guzzlers to drive about 100 to 120 Km each per day.

Almost 1000 SUVs or minibuses could be fully electrified with sufficient on-baord Lithium batteries for less.

Joe Hamas

Harvey D, who pissed in your corn flakes? It is a great project and I hope to see more like it.


Its political garbage, an excellent way to waste electricity. As long as theres natural gas burners, hydrogen is more cheaply reformed from natural gas,

David R.

I agree with Harvey D.
Lithium Ion Technolgy is really coming on now.
Joe sounds like a guy who would piss in peoples corn flakes.


Too bad you can't turn "political garbage" into enthanol.
We have an endless supply.

allen Z

That $21 million could be used to boost some/all of the diesel vehicle fleet fuel mileage, by 25% by installing a hydrogen generation system aboard those vehicles. This is what I am talking about:
It would also help reduce diesel emissions of older engines/trucks to Tier2Bin5, or better. Money for 10 vehicles, or money for the entier state fleet (or at least a big chunk of it). This is almost a nobrainer!

Rafael Seidl

Repeat after me: don't use hydrogen in regular cars or trucks.

The primary application for any spare H2 should be in the (petro)chemical industry, e.g. for scrubbing sulphur from all transportation fuels down to single-digit ppm levels. This cuts down on acid rain, sharply reduces the hazard of particulate matter and, enables NOx traps for efficient lean-burn concepts (diesels and stratified GDI) to meet strict emissions regs incl. high life expectancy. Used this way, H2 becomes a powerful force multiplier in the fight for local air quality as well as GHG reductions.

H2 produced using electrolysis could also be used to upgrade the synthesis gas from biomass pyrolysis such that it becomes a suitable feedstock for BTL. The electricity could be derived from any source, including unpredictable renewables (e.g. wind, waves), since hydrogen can be buffered in CH2G tanks. The waste heat of the F-T process may be used to dry the biomass or, to produce additional electricity. Though more expensive than cellulosic ethanol or butanol, BTL is already proven at the industrial scale and can use agricultural and forestry waste.

LH2 might make sense for short-hop aviation based on specially designed aircraft featuring PEFCs and electric motors in the wheels as well as for the props.

LH2 would also permit civilian submarines to perform extended-duration deep-sea research or, to ply North Pole routes between East Asia and Europe/the East Coast of North America. This would fill the gap between surface shipping and air freight, potentially curbing demand for the latter.

CH2G might make sense for equipment used in underground mining and construction operations, where emissions are critical. Safety considerations might preclude the use of fuel cells, in which case ICEs with NOx aftertreatment would have to be used.



$7.5million for a 120kg/day plant puts it well out of the realm of commercially viable.

assuming you'd want a 10% return on your 7.5mil, thats $750,000 dollars a year on the capital investment.

Divide that by the 42,000kg of H2 per year and it'll cost you a mere $17 per Kg in capital return. Plus the small matter of paying for your electricity.

Yup, this looks like a nice little bondoogle for someone.


More evidence that there are people out there that think that if you pore enough money into it even a pig can fly.
I'm still going electric.


I'm sure that the private sector could do it at a cost of 25-50% less. Not that it would be any better as I too am against trying to install a hydrogen infrastructure for the average commuter to use in their vehicles.


I'm not necessarily against a hydrogen infrastructure for public use, I would simply rather it was cost effective.

There's no such thing as a free lunch, if an H2 distribution system is put in place it will either be funded through taxpayers money, or by sales of H2.

I'd rather it was on sales of H2.



Well-stated, Harvey D.

I'm glad to see people are onto the hydrogen scam.  But did you write to the editor of the newspaper?

Blair Anderson

It is arguable that H2 is a vector not a fuel,
Electricity to H2 (in this case) might well be the required experimental investment that could drive development of demand side technology.

Leverage from the hydropower would be more efficiently used if it was rolling steel wheels (with braking regen) on current technology, but if one wants to cut the mustard and move beyond being wired to electricity nets the infrastructure for H2 needs to exist for true trial and assesment. 21 Million is a drop in the bucket when compared to the value of electricity lost by inefficient networks, thermal resistance and to cannabis grow rooms....


Well remember people thats 75bucks for the plant 75000 for the workers to who do actaul ork 750000 for the people who point and stare 7.5 million for the bribes anouther 7.5 or other bribes and a final lump some to the mob....:)


Hydrogen economy is a hoax.


"I'm glad to see people are onto the hydrogen scam. But did you write to the editor of the newspaper?"

I wrote to the Governor

Roger Pham

Everyone has made a good point!
This certainly is not a good use of hydro-electricity. Hydro-electricity is a very reliable and controllable source of electrical generation, and as such, should be strictly reserve for supplementing the grid electricity. Period. No IF and or Buts about it!

Making H2 in this instance is wasteful use of resource.

H2 should be made from less reliable solar or wind energy, and only via the highly-efficient high-temp electrolysis. Waste biomass would be another excellent source of H2. Since the major of cars are running petrol at 20% efficiency, reforming H2 from crude oil to power FCV at 60% efficiency or H2-ICE-electric hybrid at 45% efficiency would be a more efficient use of the dwindling petrol resource.

allen Z

While I didn't write to Gov. Pataki, I did write to Mayor Mike, about another Green option. I also wrote to several NYC gov officials, like the Dept of Sanitation Support Services chief Rocco DiRico, DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, and FDNY chief Nicholas Scoppetta, among others, about Hy-Drives equipment that could help the city save money on fuel, while cleaning up the emissions from diesel engines.
Fellow commenters, write/e-mail your representatives about this site. You can be in the UK, or Austria, US, or Canada. If you live in a democracy, bring to their attention. Some may be less enthusiastic than others about disruptive technologies, but some may be willing to embrace them, granted some for political/bureaucratic purposes.

Cheryl Ho

Check this out! DME developments in China:
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:

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