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California-to-Canada Hydrogen Road Rally Starts 26 May

The 2009 Hydrogen Road Tour, an annual road rally to demonstrate the advancements in fuel-cell technology, will begin May 26 in San Diego, California and end June 3 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Organized by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), California Fuel Cell Partnership, National Hydrogen Association and US Fuel Cell Council, the tour will travel more than 1,700 miles and have 28 stops. The public will be invited to test drive the vehicles and experience first hand their range, performance and road readiness.

Fuel cell technology is on the verge of becoming a practical alternative to burning gasoline. This year’s road tour demonstrates how far the industry has come and how near we are to putting these cars in the public’s hands.

—Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols

Currently, 300 fuel-cell vehicles have been placed on California roads and manufacturers expect to increase that to 4,300 by 2014. Fuel cell technology is also being used to power transit buses and forklifts, and to produce electricity for industrial uses. Examples of these will be showcased at some of the tour’s stops.

California is a proponent of diversifying the fuels used to power transportation. As part of ARB’s 2006-2007 budget, the California legislature allotted $25 million for the purposes of encouraging the use of biofuels and high efficiency, low-emitting vehicle technologies. These funds were used to support projects that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by using alternative fuels.

In April 2009, ARB adopted a low carbon fuel standard aimed at driving down greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for 40% of the state’s total emissions of climate changing gases. To achieve this goal, 20% of petroleum used in California cars will be replaced with clean alternatives, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen and other options by 2020.

Recently, the Air Resources Board awarded Mebtahi Station Services, San Francisco Airport, Shell Hydrogen and UCLA $1.7 million each to supplement the construction of hydrogen refueling stations. When these stations are constructed the amount of hydrogen available to the public will be double.



I can not thank you President Obama, I would rather drive a hydrogen car than a Plug in Hybrid. No comparison of a Toyota Prius and Hydrogen Chevrolet Equinox. Cutting the funding was a bad choice!


That is ridiculous, the small reduction in funding for long term fuel cell development will not affect the GM Equinox program. However, GM going bankrupt WILL.

Honda and others have made good incremental advancements in fuel cells. It may still be a form of GM that emerges and competes in that market. One policy change that was long overdue does not end the world as we know it.


What this country needs is a good $25,000 Hydrogen car. What you say?...they still cost hundreds of thousands? Well! when can John Q drive one?...twenty years? OMG!

And by the way Mary, it's OK to make these wild accusations. We know Arnold make you do it"


Why not end this road show in Victoria, BC? They're far more hospitable and full of gaseous fun there. And you get a more picturesque background of the Olympic mountains.


IMO, it was the intent of the previous administration to put off real advances when they renamed the hybrid PNGV program the Freedom Car and went for hydrogen. They knew it would be 20 years before anything came of it. Just long enough for Exxon and others to pile up HUGE profits over decades.

Henry Gibson

Synthetic hydrocarbon fuels made from captured CO2 and water with nuclear energy are the answer to automotive fuels with no net CO2 release. Ordinary electricity can do this more cheaply than $150 oil. NOX can be controlled and loss of efficiency for lower NOX is of less concern. Series hybrids with small free piston Stirling engines release little NOX. Plug in hybrids are a more efficient use of renewable energy instead of converting it into hydrogen.

Fuel cells for cars or most other purposes have and will have too high of a cost, and storing and providing hydrogen for and in cars will always have a high cost. None would exist except for massive direct subsidies.

Very high compression engines can have efficiencies equal to those of many operating fuel cells. Instead of destroying NOX produced by such stationary engines it should be captured and used as a source of nitrogen for plant growth. The experimental engine of NOAX could operate in diesel, compression ignition, mode alone on natural gas or even hydrogen. Some diesel engines operating in Australia run on natural gas with only one percent of diesel ignition fuel from a special injector, but a standard injector can be turned on instantly for full diesel operation. Adding a steam boiler and turbine would give such engines even more efficiency. The turbine could be coupled directly to the engine shaft through gears so no additional generator is needed. The steam would be totally recycled. UTC makes such systems with extra generators and recycled hydrocarbon fluids.

The early version of such a system used pistons and was called the Still system. The single Kitson-Still locomotive built had no electric generators or motors and used one/eighth the fuel of a steam locomotive for the same work, but it had the starting traction of a steam locomotive. Such locomotives could save on energy on our railroads today because there was no electrical loss.

Combined-heat-power-cooling is the fastest and most effective way, per dollars spent, to reduce CO2 release. Honda, Capstone and UTC seem to be volume leaders in this field. Every commercial building in California, especially, but also elsewhere should be required to have such units. A HONDA unit could supply power to charge a PHEV and heat a house with little extra fuel cost over just heating the house. The extra capital required to install such units can be repaid in a few years at most and sometimes in a few months with subsisdies and a large existing need for heat. No ordinary furnace or boiler should be allowed to be sold in the future.

Compressed natural gas is a good fuel, and people could make their own natural gas in the back yard from food wastes or even potatoes or flour or sugar bought new from the store. How about corn natural gas made at home?

In India some people make enough gas to cook supper with the breakfast food wastes and other collected rotten fruits and vegetables. ..HG..


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems running on renewable methane could be very good, in addition to solar thermal and PV. You could generate electricity with CHP as well as heat and cool your house more efficiently than now. That electricity could charge your BEV or PHEV and reduce imported oil. There are lots of things we COULD do, but I see very little actually being done about DOING it.


At least there seems to be a consensus on the conversion to CCHP. Yes. Now, to build several escalating scale pilot programs. A commercial building. An industrial park. A small home. A larger home. A neighborhood. CCHP will put us on a path to energy independence. A path both greens and conservatives can agree on.


I consider CHP and solar thermal to be very cost effective. Will we ever do either of them in a widespread way? I doubt it, people are more into talking than doing.

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