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California H2 Highway Infrastructure Is Contracting

Mercury News. Instead of expanding, California’s Hydrogen Highway fueling infrastructure is contracting. Three hydrogen stations have recently closed, including one in Richmond that served county buses. Each of the last three agencies that received state funding to build a fueling station decided not to pursue the project.

That means the state is now down to 23 stations amid concerns that the technology is not viable in the near future and that it might be many more years before consumers have any real access to the vehicles that are now used mostly by government agencies in demonstration projects.

PG&E’s decision to turn down $1.5 million in state funds to build a large-scale, retail hydrogen station in San Carlos is especially noteworthy. The site was supposed to serve as a hub for hundreds of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles that were going to be leased next year in Northern California—the first significant effort to make the vehicles available to the public. Instead, PG&E officials said they’ve shifted hydrogen to the back stage and now consider it a distant technology, with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids moving to the front of the line.

“Things have changed,” said Jill Egbert, manager of PG&E’s Clean Air Transportation division. “We feel hydrogen is a long-term solution, but there is no one technology that will be the silver bullet to meet transportation needs. From a resource standpoint, we feel a more pressing need to see how electric vehicles will affect our grid.”



The jump from liquid fuels to a hydrogen infrastructure is going to cost billions of dollars. Putting in stations for cars which don't yet exist is going to cost someone somewhere.

What else do you use the hydrogen in the fill station for? Hydrogen has useful industrial properties but for the ordinary consumer, it isn't going to be useful. Propane fill stations also are used to fill barbecue tanks as well as cars. The hydrogen at the fill stations can't even be used for that.

BEVs and PHEVs have the advantage here because the grid is already in place although I believe that an extensive upgrade would be necessary if all vehicles would be electric, but that is years away if ever. They leverage the existing infrastructure.


The indication is that Hydrogen is proving to be as unsuitable for consumer operated vehicles as most of us have been saying for years.

I am beginning to accept that electric powered vehicles are the wave of the future.

Jim G.


I actually was thinking in a different direction. If, in several years' time, thin film solar starts rolling off of printers in factories worldwide in search of markets, solar hydrogen, however inefficient people complain it will be, suddenly becomes far less expensive. Maybe not cheap enough for vehicles, but to replace propane stoves? Why not. Natural gas must also contend with Hubbert's curve.


Cobcidering cal has both the highest electric rates and the gighest nat gad rates... DDDDDDUUUUHHHH!!!!!

Its like setting up a spam factory in isreal....

What next? santas workshop moving to iran?

The only way cal will see wide spread hydrogen energy before hell feeezes over is in a nuke war breaks out and someone nukes it.


Seems the hype of the hydrogen technology is finally coming to an end. PG&E knows the plug-in car is a more natural play for their own company. They are not going to mess around with their meal ticket.


Free-market economics are a beautiful thing.


Hydrogen is probably viable in the next 20 years, either as fuel cell to electric or perhaps combustion. New storage methods are being developed and H2 can be made using biomass see: NNLX
The next step is PHEV but the combustion engine should be changed to external combustion see: CYPW


It is possible to release hydrogen in the fuel by
associating a readily available metal with the acidic moisture in the fuel.
No storage - increased power and mpg, also applicable to
burners - tried and tested with patent on the way.

More to follow soon





atnri@btinternet.com January 10 2008


Sounds like the Volvo ReCharge is scaring the H2 folks. Most likely the shakeout of H2 FC buses will help prove the viability of the "Highway." But PG&E don't seem like the right people to be building H2 fuel stations in the first place. How about Air Products?


Looking at the well-to-wheel efficiency, hydrogen will never get any significant market share. Even if solar cells as roofs are dead-cheap, charging a PHEV / BEV with the generated electricity directy will always yield twice the range (per invested power) over hydrogen. With current progress in energy storage technology (Ultracaps, LiIon) compared to the enormous amounts of public money sunk in hydrogen research (where not even theoretical possibilities exist, to make "hydrogen" more efficient by one order of magnitude, opposed to storing electricity directly, where theoretical models of modern nano-materials promise a 5 to 10 fold increase in storage density compared to current production (! another thing hydrogen can NOT demonstrate) storage systems, I bet on BEV / PHEV for the coming 30-40 years - until the technological singularity at least (and thereafter we might no longer have any need for personal transport in the way we do now).


5 years out its likely still 90% non hybrids in the us and lower elsewhere. A few plug ins will exist and a few bevs but every plug in will kill 6 hybrids and every bev 15 or more.

10 years from now we MIGHT reach 25% hybrid... mostly mild and small bat versions as china and india and ithers condome more of the battery supply.

By then an h2 car should be able to go over 110 miles on a kilo of fuel even in a car like the volt and 65 miles per in a compact suv.. And with h2 costs going down not yp h2 shoul;d be cheaper then the curreent 5 and change a kilo and with current tank tech they should be able to create quite a range on em too.

As for infrasreucture.. due to property taxes and wildly advancing and changing tech the oil companies will wait for the very kast year and then do exactly what they did when they had to replace all thier gas statiob tanks with new ones at a HUGE cost... hire everyone on the planet abd rguwe grabdma and charge it against thier earnings... fir awhile...

See rgwt dont have to compete vs batteries.. they just have to be cheaper then gas and ecavtly how hard will that be in 10 years?

And the only question that mattered to the car makers oil companies and crats... what will fuel the 2020 hummer, highlander,bmw,f series,mustang,lamborgini,limo,lux thing, or crossover? Not bev... not diesel, not even mild hybrid or full...

Also remember a battery is only 85% eff and current h2 in total varies from about 25 to 55% whell to wheels.. in 10 years....

Stan Peterson

The true-believers CARBidiots must be chewing steel auto bodies, in their frustration. Betrayed, even with their pet subsidized fools, who won't erect the facilities, to promote their pied piper lead into their envisioned Fuel Cell nirvana.

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