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“It is the fuel of the future—and always will be,” sceptics joke. And in recent years it was hard not to chuckle: fuel cells and other promising hydrogen technologies looked like they would remain little more than science-fair projects. But a series of alliances suggests that things are looking up for the lightest of all elements
Aditya Lakhani's profile photoSeth Leitman's profile photoAdam Sharpe's profile photoGreg Copeland's profile photo
They use the British spelling of sceptic.
Hydrogen is still going to be the fuel of future. Unless will build more nuclear power plants, we would have to burn fossil fuels to produce hydrogen. 
George Bush in the movie Who Killed The Electric Car says the same thing about Hydrogen Fuel Cells. His admin. sued California over their zero emission car mandate and Andrew Card, his chief of staff was a former VP of General Motors. The patent for battery technology for 100 mile range batteries was bought by Chevron and banned from import in America.
So the future is finally here? I've got a question, though: how to produce hydrogen, huh? Windmills, you say? Take a pill.
Where did you dig up this zombie? Nobody. Not a single automaker is selling a mass-market hydrogen vehicle.

Meanwhile production battery-electric-vehicles are daily drivers. My neighbor has a Leaf and he loves it. Virtually no fuel cost for his business car that he has to drive around to do job estimates. 
The article is signed by P.E. | DETROIT
Battery technology is fine if you can plug your car in every night and don't drive far.

Otherwise, they are just not practical and they are struggling to improve the battery technology.
+Adam Steinhart fully agree, a majority of environmentally conscious citizens need to change their mindsets. 
The article suffers under the common mis-perception... Hydrogen is NOT a fuel source, it is an energy storage form!
Most (by a large degree) hydrogen is created by (inefficiently) splitting hydrogen from natural gas. The overall pollution from this is greater than if we just burned the gas instead.
Until hydrogen is created (and this is again pretty inefficient compared to using the electricity generated) from renewable energy, it'll remain a more polluting way of powering our cars.
Hydrogen has so many problems. Including basic necessities such as storage and manufacturing. Right now, most hydrogen comes from fossil fuels. Which is why big oil completely supports the boondoggle hydrogen efforts but poo-poos all over electric efforts.

Hydrogen is an energy storage medium, not an energy source. With modern technology (and what is on the horizon), you spend more energy to make hydrogen than what you get out. Easy to see why big oil fully supports hydrogen.
Ethanol has the same issue, you spend more energy to make it than  you get out of it, and people starve as well~ not good, not sustainable
Common car companies!!!! Fuel cells... Please!! Give me a break. Go electric and stop this madness!!
What's this? Not even parked properly!
I gave presentation on Hydrogen fuel cells @college.. Haha
Look Tesla is doing 300 miles. It's here. The price of the batteries will come down. Until then you have hybrids, plug in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric cars. Hydrogen would be great on stationary power sources maybe. Yet the whole car thing really is divisive. It makes people debate an issue not worth debating. It's completely realistic to get a 300 mile EV. Just costs are the issue. Yet battery prices are dropping like a rock and over time an electric car will be the final goal with pure renewable energy. Now with fast charging stations on tap and charging stations can then get a car to do 300 miles. Everyone on this chatter gets it. So why do car companies peddle something that isn't real. Hmmmmm
To produce the "fuel" you will need a very cost efficient process to undercut current fossil fuel without subsidies in order to succeed. As Bill Gates and Richard Branson both stated alternative energy needs to be viable from an economical and ecological point of view. To create a climate neutral and economic input energy some environmentalist need to rethink their current standpoints.
One of the things which big oil is preying on is a misnomer we all tend to have about electric cars. Big oil is happy to encourage this misnomer. We are all conditioned to constantly think about gas stations because that's the habit we have developed to support the gas infrastructure. It exists because there is otherwise no need to deliver gas to each house. Yet electricity is already delivered to each house.The thing is, for 80% of Americans and 90% of Europeans, we don't need gas stations 95% of the time. Which is a verbose way of saying, most electric car owners will never need a "gas station", nor need to charge anywhere else other than at home and possibly at work.

Most people will simply plug in their vehicle at night, during off peak hours, and their vehicle will be charged and ready for the morning. During winter time, this will also keep the batteries warm. As such, as we know from EV1 drivers, who's vehicles had an even shorter range, the need for a fast charging station is almost irrelevant. In a large way, rapid charging stations serve more to alleviate range anxiety than to serve an actual purpose. The reason being, most people simply don't use their vehicles for those kinds of trips.
+Urs Bolt AFAIK, the best intersection of hydrogen exists using water and nuclear power. The other combinations are bad for the environment and consume more fossil fuels than the end result provides.

Unless nuclear takes off again off in a big way, hydrogen is simply not a benefit to anyone except big oil.
Long run I have always liked the idea of hydrogen fuel cells...but it seems so many other technologies vying for attention, it may take awhile
I reckon that natural gas is the best and most practical short-term fuel of the future. Negligible pollution, cheap, and allot of energy density - meaning pretty good range on a single tank, and good engine power output.

Where I live, you can have a standard gasoline-burning engine converted to a natural gas-burning engine in just a few hours. The only major economic downside is that when you burn natural gas in an engine originally designed to burn gasoline, the engine itself only lasts about half as long (in terms of miles/kilometres) as it would if it were burning the gasoline that it was actually designed for.

With all the natural gas deposits in shale that have recently become available around the world, I think that it makes sense to spend comparatively less time and money than is currently being invested in hydrogen, by creating purpose-built natural-gas burning engines and safe natural gas storage tech for vehicles.

No major scientific breakthroughs required, and you could have one on the market pretty swiftly I think.
+Adam Sharpe I think you are mistaken about the energy density of natural gas. It is a bit lower than gasoline (btu's per gallon) 64% the energy density of gasoline according to Also, since the demand for natural gas as a electricity producer will certainly increase, using LNG for transportation may not be wise 
We can get hydrogen from water ( h 2 o) :)
But its more energy intensive to do so (from water). That's why the preferred method is to crack natural gas. 95% of hydrogen comes from natural gas, which is why big oil supports hydrogen.

NG -> Hydrogen is 80% efficient. Burning that to drive a vehicle is about 18% efficient after mechanical loss. Total efficiency is around 14%, and now you have less energy per volume. Plus, hydrogen attacks metals, causing hydrogen embrittlement. Now you need to periodically replace your gas tank, fuel lines, and possibly even your engine. It won't last as long.

Basically hydrogen is bad every every except big oil.
+Sal Liotta Yes, I agree, its energy density is lower than gasoline, but still better than most electric alternatives at the moment. You also don't have to stand around for hours to recharge your energy supply when using gas.

I don't think that electric alternatives will be very successful until we see all the energy of a present day car battery squeezed in a form factor of something as small as an AA battery (for example).

As for availability of gas, the last estimate I read said that there is enough NG in the world to power the planet for another century at-least, thanks to fraking techniques making previously unusable gas deposits available for extraction. Right now, NG is about to to become very widely available - and subsequently, very cheap as well.

There are still other technical issues like safety, and even others, such as security.

Here in Israel, if you drive a gas-powered car, you aren't allowed to park it in public underground car parks, for example, for security reasons. I'm sure that there are a few other not-so-obvious considerations as well, but I think that legislation and safety and other challenges can be overcome in the long run - at least more easily than those of hydrogen. Gas can make a viable bridging alternative to hydrogen and other options until they mature a bit more.

I would also invest heavily in battery tech, because that is really what's holding back electric cars right now IMHO.
+Adam Sharpe That's a bit misleading there about electric cars. The fact is, with today's cars, you'll rarely need to stand around. As was proven back with the EV1, twenty years ago, with twenty year old battery technology. You almost never charge away from your house. Meaning, the need to even go to a charge station is pretty rare.

For most people who are targeted for an electric vehicle, you will simply plug in at night. Unplug in the morning. That's it.
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