At the October 2004 photo op of Governor Schwarzenegger refueling his Hummer at the Los Angeles International Airport hydrogen refueling station, there were four major discrepancies. First, there was no hydrogen transferred; the station would not be operational for another month. Second, the Hummer was not Arnold’s but a GM research vehicle. Third, GM had only built it at Arnold’s personal request, and fourth, the station will not be available to the public for another five years. The U. S. Military has no interest in a hydrogen Hummer since Arnold’s will only travel 60 miles on the hydrogen stored in three separate tanks. The Military is focusing on an armored hybrid named the Shadow which can travel 32 miles on batteries alone.
IEEE Spectrum, March, 2005, p. 28
The first main theme discussed an experimental BMW two seater which burns either hydrogen or gasoline. The hydrogen stored on board will allow the vehicle to travel it about 215 miles. With an on board gasoline tank, the BMW can extend its range out to 500 miles. Assumedly, the vehicle normally uses the hydrogen so the burden on the imported oil is greatly reduced. It is significant to note that there is no rocket science needed to get an IC engine to burn hydrogen.
The second and most significant information provided data on projected hydrogen cost.Using electrolysis, hydrogen can be extracted for between $2.00 and $2.50 a gallon. Using biomass, the cost is between $2.60 and $2.90, Extracting the hydrogen from fossil fuels could be as low as $1.50 a gallon.
Business Week, January 24, 2005, pp. 56-57
(Ed. note: The reader is cautioned to understand the difference between production costs and pump price. Presently, a barrel of oil has been trading at about $55.00/bbl. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil so that makes oil cost $1.31/gallon. Since current wholesale prices for oil on the NYMEX have been about $1.50/gallon, the operating costs to refine it to gasoline must be about 19 or 20 cents per gallon. Now taxation, distribution and retailing take over, so that the $2.00 price at the pump must have 50 cents added for those costs. If we make the assumption that the driving distance of 1 kg of hydrogen will be about the same as that of one gallon of gasoline and that the same distribution and retailing costs will be applied to hydrogen, the $1.50/kg level would be on a parity with gasoline. The present $2.00-$3.00/kg production costs would mean hydrogen at the pump would cost $2.50-$3.50/kg. Present reductions in hydrogen production costs may be difficult to project, so the alternative is to plan for oil to get to $73.00/bbl for $2.00 wholesale gasoline to make the hydrogen competitive.)
Three University of California campuses, plus Sandia/Livermore and PolyFuel will share $ 50 million of the DOE $350 million nationwide grant package to do research on making hydrogen fuel available by 2015.
The Desert Sun, Apr 28, 2004, p. A9
(April 2004) Official: ‘Hydrogen Highway’ in sight
California’s Environmental Protection Secretary, Terry Tamminen, told state lawmakers on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 that Governor Schwarzenegger was pledged to build hydrogen fueling stations every 20 miles along major highways by 2010. The purpose of the stations is to provide hydrogen for fuel cell powered vehicles which will replace IC engines. According to Tamminen, the hydrogen fueling stations will not cost the state much money.
California Energy Commissioner, Jim Boyd, said that the cost is too high. Toyota’s Bill Reinert said that any promises of cheaper, more efficient and longer-lasting fuel cells to power autos is premature.
S. David Freeman, a top energy aid for former Governor Davis, said that hydrogen must come from biomass, solar or other renewable energy sources , “otherwise we’re just putting coal in the tank.”
The Desert Sun
February 26, 2004, p. A 11
This story does great service in identifying that “...hydrogen is not a source of energy.” Too many people cannot see that it takes energy stored in another form such as natural gas to provide the hydrogen fuel. Not only is the natural gas a supply of hydrogen, it also contains carbon which if removed in the production of hydrogen, contributes oxides which are detrimental to the environment unless sequestered. Not only does it take energy to strip the hydrogen from the natural gas, it takes more energy to sequester the carbon.
Unfortunately, the author looses credibility when extending the ‘source concept’ to petroleum in saying, “This notion of hydrogen as a storage device is vastly different from petroleum, which is clearly a source of energy. “Whether a liter of petroleum, or a liter of hydrogen, neither is a fundamental source of energy, but rather a transporter of energy. Rather, the position should be that petroleum is an earth-stored resource from which energy can be directly extracted, whereas hydrogen is not found in nature and must be ‘produced’ from other materials such as water using energy from another source. The original earth energy source in the case of petroleum was solar energy which through photosynthesis and biological breakdown created the plants which over millions of years became petroleum, or coal or natural gas. Mankind neither has the technology or the time to replace petroleum, but must look to other ‘sources’ as the petroleum is depleted. Unfortunately stored sources beyond petroleum, natural gas and coal do not exist, requiring future energy to be harvested from sunlight as it arrives on the earth. Renewable resources such as bio fuels are produced from solar energy. Wind, hydro, and tidal ‘sources’ are also the products of solar energy. Of course photovoltaics in either direct or indirect conversion produces hydrogen from the sun. Geothermal and nuclear are non-solar, earth available stores or ‘sources’ of energy which could be converted to hydrogen stored energy.
All-Hydrogen Transportation Eyed by Iceland
The government of Iceland is backing a consortium named New Energy Ltd; which includes DaimlerChrysler, Norsk Hydro, Shell Hydrogen and VistOrka. This consortium seeks to transform Iceland into a hydrogen-based economy by taking advantage of the country’s 200 teraWatt hours (tWh) of geothermal energy and the 30 TWh of hydroelectric potential.(07-02BD76-12)
Logistics Fuel Processor
Air Force requirements for overseas bases for 1,100 Airmen requires 4-750 kW diesel generators and 4,000 gallons of fuel per day. To reduce the mass, a fuel processor has been prototyped which will generate hydrogen from jet fuel to power a fuel cell. The total system is anticipated to reduce the deployment airlift requirements by 16% while reducing emissions, noise levels and the infrared signature. Power generation sustainment costs are anticipated to go down by 50%. The processor uses steam reforming with micro channel technology.(07-02BD76-12)
AFRL Technology Horizons
June 2002, p.31
Quantum’s TriShield10TM receives German TUV regulatory approval for its 10,000 -psi (700) hydrogen storage cylinder. The higher pressure means that the operating time of a fuel cell is increased by 118 percent compared to that with a standard 3,600-psi tank. (See BD issue 69-1 for more detailed information.)(04-02 BD73-6)