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California Air Resources Board Pushes for Restoration of DOE Funding for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles; Tackles the “Four Miracles”

California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols met with US Energy Secretary Steven Chu in May and followed up that meeting with a letter, urging the continuation of funding to support research, development and deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Nichols is also requesting a follow-on meeting between ARB technical staff, DOE technical staff and the several automakers pursuing fuel cell vehicles to continue the “dialog and investigation”.

The Obama Administration’s 2010 Department of Energy (DOE) budget proposes cutting the federal hydrogen fuel cell research and deployment budget by more than two-thirds ($130 million), eliminating funds for the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle program and market transformation programs. (Earlier post.)

In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Secretary Chu made what has become known as the “Four Miracles” comment—essentially that issues with fuel cell durability and cost; hydrogen production; hydrogen storage; and hydrogen distribution infrastructure all required significant development, resulting in “four miracles” that needed to occur before hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would be viable in transportation. This assessment was the basis for his decision to apply the funding in that area elsewhere.

In ARB’s analysis, most vehicles on the road in 2050 will need to be electric drive, or ultra low-carbon fuel vehicles—i.e., electricity or hydrogen—by 2050 in order to achieve the required 80% reduction in greenhouse gases. Commercialization of those technologies must start in the next decade, noted ARB Executive Officer Tom Cackette in a presentation at the recent Advanced Automotive Battery Conference. (Earlier post.)

In her letter to Secretary Chu, Nichols attached a summary response from ARB technical staff responding to each of the Four Miracles.

All promising low-carbon non-petroleum transportation options, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and advanced liquid biofuels in combustion engines, face significant technical, resource, and market challenges. Hydrogen and fuel cells show great potential and have met or exceeded nearly all of the technical milestones set out by US DOE. Several major automakers are pursuing early market testing with consumers beginning this year and are expected to ramp up production to nearly 50,000 vehicles in california by 2017. Ultimately the market will decide which technologies are the winners, but given the critical importance to our long term climate and energy security goals, the best approach is to pursue and invest in a portfolio of the most promising options.

—Letter to Secretary Chu

Fuel cell system costs. Source: DOE Hydrogen Program & Vehicle Technologies Program, 2009 Merit Review. Click to enlarge.

Cost. Fuel cell system durability has improved and costs have been reduced through R&D, the ARB staff noted. In volume production, FCVs are expected to be cost competitive with other advanced vehicles, and are approaching the cost of advanced hybrid system even with current designs and high costs of materials.

Recent Department of Energy-sponsored cost analyses have estimated an automotive fuel cell system based on today’s design, including balance of plant, will cost $73/kW at high volume ($6,400 for an 80 kW system). Improvements in system design, including lower catalyst loadings in the fuel cell, are expected to reduce this number further, according to ARB. DOE’s targets are $45/kW by 2010 and $30/kW by 2015.

ARB staff cited a 2007 study by Kromer and Heywood at MIT that found that with minor improvements in system cost, a series-production fuel cell vehicle with a 350-mile all-electric range would cost $3,600 more than a conventional car and $700 more than an advanced hybrid—a lower incremental cost than a plug-in hybrid with 30-mile all-electric range ($4,300 more) and a full battery-electric vehicle (more than $10,000 more).

ARB staff also noted that fuel cell durability has improved dramatically, including free-capable system lasting 1,900 hours in the field in 2008 (up from 950 hours in 2006) and 7,300 hours in the lab.

Well-to-wheels greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.

Production. A well-to-wheels analysis by DOE found that using hydrogen from natural gas—currently the primary production pathway—fuel cell vehicles emit 63% fewer GHGs than today’s gasoline vehicles, and 37% fewer GHGs than natural gas vehicles. FCVs using hydrogen from biomass emit 90% fewer GHGs than current gasoline vehicles, and 63% fewer GHGs than a plug-in hybrid running on cellulosic ethanol, with charging based on the national grid mix.

Storage. While research work continues on developing storage materials with greater capacity, there are already 140 fuel cell vehicles which have accumulated more than 85,000 hours of operation and 1.9 million miles in real-world testing, ARB staff noted. Honda’s Clarity, with 350 bar compressed gas storage is achieving a 280-mile range, and the 2009 Toyota FCHV using 700 bar storage has a state range of 480 miles (on the 10-15 cycle).

A TIAX analysis of system cost presented at the DOE 2009 Merit Reviews earlier this year estimated a cost of $23/kWh (700 bar, down 13% form 2008) and $15.5/kWh (350 bar, down 9% from 2008) for hydrogen storage. Current estimates of Li-ion storage cost are $1,000/kWh, with DOE targeting a cost of $300/kWh by 2014.

Infrastructure. The main question for hydrogen supply and refueling is how much public or private investment will be needed to achieve profitability, ARB staff noted.

When produced and distributed in high volume, hydrogen can be made efficiently from a variety of feedstocks including natural gas, biomass, and coal with sequestration at levelized costs of $3-6/kg, which, when adjusted for the efficiency of the FCV, is comparable to $1.50-%3.00/gallon of gasoline in today’s vehicles.

In assessing a transition to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the National Research council estimated it would cost $2.2 million to build a hydrogen fueling station that could support 1,500 FCVs, or $1,500 per vehicle. ARB staff cited an Idaho national Laboratory estimate that the average cost of adding a home 120V, 20A circuit to charge one PHEV would be $878/vehicle, and a 240V circuit needed for a PHEV-30 or PHEV-40 would costs $1,500-$2,100 per vehicle.

The NRC estimated that it will cost less than $600 million per year for all public and private R&D costs plus total vehicle and hydrogen supply costs to sustain hydrogen and fuel cells as a viable option through 2014, ARB staff noted.

Separately, three organizations representing health, environmental and energy policy interests joined four national trade associations in calling on the US Congress to restore funding for the federal hydrogen and fuel cell research and deployment program to FY 2009 levels. The seven groups are the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM); American Lung Association (ALA); Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA); Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS); The Stella Group, Ltd; the National Hydrogen Association (NHA); and the US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC). (Earlier post.)


Henry Gibson

It is unfortunate that the CARB wants to hide its error of killing the requirement for electric cars and there by killing the electric car as well. The technology for electric cars was well advanced and will remain competitive to any fuel cells.

CARB is ignoring the fact that hydrogen fuel is a myth; but they try to make it less so by saying that it can be obtained from natural gas. There is a significant energy loss in making hydrogen from natural gas, and CO2 is still released. There is also a significant energy loss in compressing or other wise storing hydrogen.

Nickel Sodium chloride batteries have advanced to a mature technology over the past twenty years and are now being used in hybrid locomotives and trucks. There is far less loss in using natural gas in combined cycle power plants and using the electricity to operate electric cars rather than using hydrogen in fuel cells. Fuel cells are no more efficient than some diesel engines and these can be made more efficient by using the still cycle.

Requiring all buildings to get all of their heat and air conditioning from burning natural gas in turbines or other combustion devices and putting the excess power on the grid for electric cars is a far more efficient use of natural gas or any other fuel.

Spending any more money on automotive fuel cells or hydrogen cars would be a waste of it. California already wastes a lot money on solar and wind projects when combined heating power and cooling systems should be required for all buildings like insulation is.

Nuclear energy is almost CO2 free and nuclear energy can also reduce the CO2 used in mining fuel and manufacturing nuclear power plants. They could also make the fuel out of waste CO2 for vehicles or operations that need liquid fuel.

There is in operation a facility for storing nuclear wastes that can meet the requirments for all types of wastes and it need merely to be enlarged or duplicated to provide for the nuclear power plants that California should build. Look up WIPP.

In spite of the fact that the earth is covered with naturally radio active materials and all live creatures have always been radioactive, there will always be people who will ignore the fact that there are SAFE ENOUGH ways preventing damage from radiation and insist upon their own unsupported and un-informed views as did Gynneth Cravens who had to experience the difference between coal-fired power plants and nuclear ones to see that she had un-informed un-tested views. See POWER TO SAVE THE WORLD.

California must face the truth. Life is not completely safe nor is renewable power available in large enough quantities at low enough prices to support a State of Hummers or their equivalents. ..HG..


I wish a lawyer like Mary Nichols was smart enough to realize that one cannot appeal the laws of physics, but apparently that's not the case.

If fuel-cells were so inexpensive and nearly ready for the market, then what is the Federal money needed for anyway?

It should also be noted that the 4 Miracles are all easily solved by simply using renewable methane, which is not only a denser fuel readily used by existing IC engine technology (as well as future SOFC technology) but enjoys an existing infrastructure in the form of our natural gas pipeline network.


I wonder where Nichols gets HER funding.


Please remember this lady serves at the pleasure of the Governor and when she attempts to change Federal policy and funding allocations, it is with the approval of the governor. Just like the past governor, Pete Wilson, stuffed out the ZEV requirements by playing up to the fossil fuel companies, so it is with the present governor. It's all about who has the economic juice to support(read campaign funding and favors here!) politicians for office and gain. The term is "pay to play." The DOE has been funding H2 for many years and it's still really in the lab phase, no matter the smoke screen set up by the so called Hydrogen Highway. H2 is an attempt by the fossil fuel companies to continue to control the energy market because they produce the H2 by reforming fossil fuels.


Arnold has been pushing the Hydrogen Highway idea for about 5 years now. He asked about converting one of his Hummers to H2 and when he heard the price, said no.

It is one thing to promote what the previous President wants to promote, but if it is at the expense of more immediate benefits like PHEV, they are not doing anyone any favors.

Account Deleted

The public R&D money should foremost be spent on the most promising technologies. Within the last few years almost every car producer on the planet has announced plans to produce battery powered EV or PHEVs before 2013 without any important public support and Tesla is doing it already. See for the list of announced or produced EVs and PHEVs. This has happened quite suddenly because of breakthroughs in lithium battery technology in terms of safety, cycle durability and power density.

Fuel cell cars have received billions in public support but they are still not ready to be sold and no years for public sale have been announced yet because they still are not confident that they are doable at competitive prices.

It is only logical that battery powered EVs should now get some of the public funds that used to be spent on fuel cell EVs.


Toyota gets their batteries from Panasonic, Honda and Ford get them from Sanyo. Panasonic has announced expansion to provide more batteries to Toyota. Ford claimed that they could not get enough batteries from Sanyo, but that might have been remedied.

Running HEVs with small battery packs at an optimal state of charge is one thing, but running PHEVs and BEVs on lithium ion is another. They deep cycle on BEVs and that can shorten the life of the batteries.

We are at a point where all the car makers and all the battery makers could use a real push to get the state of BEVs where we need it to be. If that takes a bit of government help for manufacturing plants, then we should seriously consider doing that.

Roger Pham

Look at the cost numbers, Folks:

FC at $45/kw x 75kw= $3375
H2 storage at 350 bar: $15/kwh x 132 kwh= $1980
Combined FC + H2 storage: $5355

Lithium batteries: $1000/kwh now x 33kwh=$33,000
$300/kwh projected x 33kwh= $9900C

Clearly, BEV's energy storage costs 2 to 6 times higher than FCV's energy storage.

Why does H2 needs INCREASING PUBLIC Support?
It's the Chicken or the Egg problem. We need to get INITIAL PUBLIC FUNDED H2 infrastructure running before we reasonably can expect Private Investment to take over the rest. This is what the Economic Stimulus Money needs to be spent INVEST in America's Future. Do we want to fall behind Europe and Asia again, with H2 infrastructure sprouting elsewhere in the world, especially Northern Europe, while America just sits complacently and losing out on the potentially biggest economic boom of the 21st Century?

Whereas, BEV's infrastructure is already in place. It's the 220-V household electrical plug.

Will S

Let's not also forget that cracking H2 out of water and recombining it in a FC is only about a 50% efficient process in the best of real world situations now, so FCs pale in comparison to the efficiency of the LiON 95+% charge/discharge cycle.


A lot of overstatements and inaccuracies have been written both for and against hydrogen. Here are some of the more popular myths and misconceptions, along with some information that gives a better sense of the reality.

Misconception #1:
We're still light years away from a commercially viable hydrogen-powered car.

The basic science of fuel cells is well understood and major companies around the world have already built many fuel cell cars. There is still a lot of engineering to be done to make these cars affordable and durable enough to be commercially viable. In fact, every major car company has detailed confidential estimates of how long it will take and how much it will cost to bring these cars to market.

Misconception #2:
Hydrogen is not an abundant fuel because there are no vast reservoirs of hydrogen under the ground, like there is oil.

Even though people tend to talk about cars running on oil, they actually run on gasoline which is manufactured, not found. To make gasoline we use oil as a feedstock, which we get out of the ground. Hydrogen is also a manufactured fuel. To make hydrogen - or at least 95% of the hydrogen we use today - we use natural gas as a feedstock, which we also get out of the ground. Not so different.

The difference, though, is that gasoline can only be made from oil, but hydrogen can be made from almost any source of energy. Oil, coal, hydro power, solar power, nuclear power, geothermal power and other energy sources can all be transformed into electricity and then, by electrolysis, into hydrogen. When we can no longer find oil at a reasonable cost, we can still make hydrogen.

Misconception #3:
It doesn’t make sense to use hydrogen because we won't be able to get more energy out of it than what we put into it.

Hydrogen is a lot like electricity: we make it in one place, transmit to another, and then transform into something we need, like heat or light or mechanical power. It doesn't matter that we never get more electricity out of the wire than we put in at the other end. What does matter is that we can do things that we couldn't otherwise do.

Hydrogen allows us to eliminate automobile air pollution from the tail pipes of millions of individual vehicles where it can't be scrubbed and in turn concentrate it at a small number of generating plants where emissions can be scrubbed. It also gives us the choice of making our fuel in ways that don't pollute, in particular by using alternate energy sources such as sun and wind to produce hydrogen.

Misconception #4:
Hydrogen fuel cells will not end global warming because we will still have to burn fossil fuels to make the hydrogen.

If we continue to drive vehicles running on fossil fuels, we will have no choice but to continue spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at an ever growing rate. But if we drive vehicles running on hydrogen, and burn fossil fuels to make that hydrogen, we will have a choice about whether to scrub the emissions or spew them into the atmosphere.

Will we scrub? Scrubbing costs money, and producers of electricity will only spend this money if it is required by law. If we scrub, or if we choose to produce hydrogen from non-polluting sources of energy, we will decrease the amount of global air pollution we create.

Misconception #5:
Using nuclear energy to make hydrogen doesn't make sense because nuclear power costs more than other sources of power.

When we start using electrical power to generate large amounts of hydrogen, the cost of electricity from every source of energy will change because the fundamental economics will change. Generating plants, particularly nuclear plants, will no longer follow moment-by-moment demand of producing a little power at night and a lot during the day. Instead they will be able to run at a constant daytime high and use their excess night-time capacity to generate hydrogen. This will allow them to spread their fixed costs over a much larger amount of power generated, lowering the cost of every unit of power.

Misconception #6:
Renewable sources can provide only a small fraction of the energy that will be required for a full-fledged hydrogen economy.

While it’s true that we only produce a small amount of energy from renewables, eventually non-renewable resources (oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear) will run out and we will need to replace them with renewable resources. .If we can't make renewables work for us, there simply won't be enough energy to run any kind of economy at the level of per capita energy consumption we enjoy today. On the positive side, the production of renewable power is growing much faster than other forms of power, and the forces driving this growth are increasingly economic ones. This suggests that renewable technologies are becoming more efficient and less expensive.

Misconception #7:
Hydrogen leaks could lead to more water in the atmosphere, which could accelerate global warming.

If we continue burning fossil fuels at a rapid rate, we will accelerate global warming and create more air pollution . If we move towards using hydrogen we have a choice about global warming. For example if we choose to use liquid hydrogen in our cars, we can expect to vent hydrogen into the atmosphere because we can’t fully insulate liquid hydrogen containers. But if we choose to use compressed hydrogen gas instead, we can expect only a miniscule amount of hydrogen to leak into the atmosphere because our compressed hydrogen storage technologies leak much less.

Misconception #8:
Fuel cell cars won't be able to drive hundreds of miles on a single tank of hydrogen because the hydrogen tanks will be too large.

General Motors unveiled a new fuel cell vehicle prototype at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2005 with a stated range of 300 miles on a single tank - roughly the range required to meet consumer expectations. The storage system in the General Motors prototype is a version of the long-expected high-pressure hydrogen tank that almost every car company in the world has been working on. It's bigger than an equivalent gas tank, but automakers expect it to be small enough to fit in a car.

Information provided by General Hydrogen. For more information, please visit:

Roger Pham

@Will S

Please look at the bigger picture:

--Steam reformation of methane, coal or waste biomass into H2 has ~70% efficiency, or even higher if electrical co-generation of the waste heat is allowed to take place.
--Electrical generation from methane is 40% efficiency, 35% for coal and biomass to electricity.
Please re-do the Math!

The only time that BEV has higher efficiency than H2FCV is when solar or wind electricity is used to directly charge the battery. But, due to the intermittency nature of solar and wind, that does not happen all the time. There is a huge SEASONAL mismatch between solar, wind, and even nuclear, hydro and geothermal energy potential vs. energy consumption. Winter requires a lot more energy for heating and lighting but solar production is dismal. Summer requires a lot of AC cooling but wind energy is dismal. Nuclear energy production is constant year-round, but electricity consumption is not. Therefore, it will be necessary to store excess solar, wind and even nuclear energy in the form of H2 to be used later.
In this case, the direct use of H2 in a FCV will be far more efficient than the use of H2 to generate electricity in a power plant AND THEN use this to recharge your BEV.

If you would even out the efficiency advantages of BEV vs the efficiency advantage of FCV, then you'll see that BEV and FCV are quite comparable in energy efficiency.


Range may not be the big deal if fueling stations can produce H2 from natural gas and electrolysis. The first cars also had to have fueling stations and worked with oil companies to make sure they were there. If they were not there, the number of cars sold would be limited.


@ai_vin |
you forgot some reality in your list of Misconceptions.

Reality 1: they are expensive. like at least 10X an ICE.
Reality 2: their throttle response is measured in minutes. therefore they require almost as much battery as a BEV.
there's nothing that a fool-cell car does that can't be done cheaper and sooner with a combination of battery and combustion engine.


Calling a fuel cell a "fool cell" may seem hip and cool to some immature people, but it is disrespectful to those that have worked to hard to make progress.

To say that an ICE can do a better job is like saying horses can do a better job than cars. I would say there are those that believed that back in 1910 and those that will believe in ICEs forever in 2010.



You've convinced me that H2 is so close to market that no further federal funds are required.


Federal funds can reduce private funds. Why should they invest in it when the public picks up the tab and they can cash in on it.

Will S

Roger said;

"--Steam reformation of methane, coal or waste biomass into H2 has ~70% efficiency, "

Methane and coal are depleting fossil fuel sources, and coal surface mining is destroying the Blue Ridge Mountains, so I don't see these as mainstay energy sources.

"--Electrical generation from methane is 40% efficiency"

Combined cycle is over 60%

But you read my mind with wind and solar, though you left out hydro and geothermal. All of these, long with natural gas combined cycle plants and nuclear plants, is where the BEV at 95% efficiency far surpasses the 50% efficiency of FC. So the only advantage comes with coal, which would be an oxymoronic use for generating 'clean' hydrogen.


I noticed some wildly unrealistic numbers quoted. DOE cost analysis for an automotive fuel cell plus "balance of plant" was estimated at $75 per Kw at high volume production, but the actual current retail cost of H2 fuel cells is about $4,000 per Kw, and most of that cost is for materials, not labor! Mass production cannot bring the cost down below the cost of materials, so the "$75/Kw" figure is bogus! In short, the DOE bureucrats are making up figures to support continuing the H2 boondoggle. Curiously, the figures just happened to match the Government target goals, set when the Bush administration started their hydrogen hype. Hmm, they could never admit to falling behind schedule, even after repeated delays, so...

Of course, by using bogus figures, the H2 promoters could then come up with unrealistically low figures for the cost of H2FC vehicles, and use exaggeratedly high figures for batteries, making H2FCVs magically "cheaper" than BEVs or PHEVs and only slightly more expensive than regular hybrids.

So lets use that "magic of mass production" the same way the government H2 promoters do! The $75,000 Altairnano battery packs, if mass produced the DOE way, would only cost $1,368.75. the GM Volt could be magically mass produced for a mere $821.25! The $30K replacement battery pack for the Tesla Roadster, if magically mass produced, would only cost $547.50 Hey, if the $103K Tesla Roadster were only "mass produced" in the same magical way as those H2 fuel cells, it would only cost $1,879.75!

Of course, when you realize how much they fudged the fuel cell cost figure, then all of the figures they used to promote H2 become highly suspect, including their estimates for infrastructure costs, and their estimated cost for rival technologies.

As for storing renewable energy, the combination of water electrolysis and compression for storage and H2 fuel cell is only 24% efficient. The combination of charger and batteries is 85% efficient. Even if we went for stationary batteries for storage, then transferring the energy to a plug-in, that two step process is still 72% efficient! Going the H2 route takes 3x more of our limited supply of renewable source electricity, leaving less to displace fossil fuel use elsewhere.


Interesting that li-ion battery prices get quoted at $1000 kWh when I can go out and buy them for $300.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not a supporter of hydrogen...but I'm not a against it either. It has it's strengths and weaknesses, just like everything else, so the trick will be fitting it into the right application.


It really is difficult to believe that FCV technology can catch and overtake batteries.

Maybe the future costs and performance of batteries and FCV are predictable and the FCV is the answer.
Maybe chemistry and physics makes this likely.

I hope so. But;

I don’t believe it costs $1,800 to add a 240V 20 A circuit to a home.
I don’t believe a home needs 48 KWH when a Volt requires only 16KWH.
I don't believe CARB's undying ideology, is to hide its 10 year old error.
I don't believe in 4 miracles (or 5?).
I don't believe light years is a time duration.
I don’t believe oil and coal into hydrogen solves the carbon problem any better than “into electricity” will.
I don’t believe people believe hydrogen puts out more energy than put in nor that hydrogen is a good source of energy because it is the most abundant element in the universe.
I don’t believe an H2 economy reduces CO2 more than BEVs.
I don’t believe nuclear power is better converted into H2 than electricity.
Same for renewable sources.
I don’t believe leaking hydrogen makes water but the fuel cell does not, or that the oceans don’t already “leak” unimaginable amounts of water vapor.
I don’t believe that an H2 tank need only be small enough to fit.
I don’t believe that horses are better than cars and FCV are better than horses.
I do believe that FCV development can consume all the money provided.
I don’t believe that the magic of mass production is all it takes to make H2FCVs (or HEVs) magically cheaper. If GM had funded the EV1 like the Manhattan project they would have gotten the same thing - .

Andrey Levin

If FC are 45& per KW, why anyone in the world builds gas turbine electric generators for 1000& per KW? Or coal boilers for 2000$ per KW? Or nuclear reactors for 5000$ per KW?

P.S. SJC, Panasonic bought out Sanyo in December 2008.


Thanks Andrey, I did not know that. So that makes Panasonic/Sanyo strapped for battery production that needs to be ramped up when everyone wants to build PHEVs. This ought to be interesting.


As I pointed out to a freind awhile back what realy matters is the mid term and long term.

When fuel cells do start to go mass production and wind up in power tools and lawn mowers and bikes and such we will KNOW how cheap they realy likely will become. ESTIMATES are they will be darn cheap at that point.

On energy costs... even with elctrolysis in the end what are your realy likely to be dealing with?

What sort of extra energy cost are we likely to wind up with in 2025-2040? 2x? 1.5x? 1.2x? Remember h2 can use energy sources battery cars cant.. energy sources that are both much more plentiful and CHEAP. wet ethanol..biomass...biogas...stranded wind wave and geo and hydro... Plunk a wave/wind farm ANYWHERE on the planet and its the same as having an ever refilling well. Plunk in some hydro dams where there are no people far from civ.. and pipe the h2 away or tanker it out.

How many volcanic islands could become eternal( well until they blow up of course) sources of massive geo energy?

H2 is valuable because a car can go far on it. That value means alot of things can make money off it.

Oh and realy who else is gona pay the taxes? bio? Heck no. Bev.. fat chance. In 2040 where will the tax REVENUE be comming from? What will the turists and vacationers california so depends on be powering thier cars with? How will most people go to disneyland?

Roger Pham

@Will S,

Combined-cycle power plants can get to 55-60% efficiency, but due to the high cost and complexity and lower reliability, they exist in only limited numbers.

In the future when fossil fuels will run out, society must have ways to store excess non-fossil energy such as wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, and geothermal. Due to the high cost of a nuclear power plant, it is not cost-effective to throttle it down during seasons of low energy consumption like in Springs and Falls.

Any physical means of energy storage such as compressed air, hydrostatic, etc. will be very bulky and expensive. The high cost and bulk of batteries preclude their use for long-term seasonal bulk energy storage.

Only chemical energy storage such as synthetic fuels can be considered practical for long-term seasonal bulk energy storage. H2 is the cheapest and most efficient form of synthetic fuel for long-term chemical energy storage.

So, if you have a BEV and you need to charge it in a calm and cloudy winter day in locations not served by nuclear power plant, you will obtain electricity either from fossil fuel at the present, or in the long future, the electricity will likely be produced from solar or wind derived H2. In that scenario, the efficiency of your BEV will fall way short of the FCV.

In short, near-term H2 can be made partly from fossil fuel and waste biomass as well as wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear energy. Long-term, far into the future, H2 will be the energy carrier for renewable energy.

Once the switch is made to H2 infrastructure and BEV infrastructure, it will be forever useful, no matter whatever source of primary energy will be. Your FCV or BEV will always be at your service and there will no longer be a petroleum shortage crisis.

@Andrey et al,

The following pdf report is an exhaustive compilation hundreds of pages long as to how they have come up with the projected price of FC system. Like a bad gossip that perpetuated indefinitely, we have all been brainwashed about the $1 million price tag of FCV decades ago. Wake up...modern reality is surprisingly good. Who could have imagined the price of a 50-inch plasma TV have dropped from $15,000 to $1,500 in under ten years?

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