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H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

Posted August 15, 2014 12:10 PM by Jordan Perch

The fact that the lack of fueling infrastructure is one of the biggest hurdles for hydrogen-powered vehicles is very well known to both the auto industry and the U.S. government, which has been trying to promote them in the past couple of years, with laws and incentives that include alternative fuel tax exemption and fuel cell motor vehicle tax credit. That's why there have been various initiatives in the past for expanding the infrastructure, with automakers collaborating with energy companies and government agencies to fund the construction of more fueling stations across the country, and support the adoption of fuel-cell vehicles.

In 2013, the U.S. Energy Department started the H2USA program, which gathered various car manufacturers, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to create a strategy for resolving the infrastructure issue, and now, the Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which is part of the Energy Department, decided to establish the H2FIRST project, that will build on existing efforts for reducing the costs of construction and installation of fueling stations.

For starters, the H2FIRST project will try to help create affordable materials and components that are needed for the construction of fueling stations, by conducting tests and numerical simulations. Other goals of this program include integration of hydrogen and the power grid, developing more efficient hydrogen fueling stations, and acceleration of hydrogen fueling station deployment.

The Fuel Cell Technologies Office will collaborate Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which will be in charge of creating the designs and producing the materials for the fueling stations. Sandia, which has a lot of experience in developing hydrogen materials and engineering solutions, will develop and test different innovative technologies, and the project will also use NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility and Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility, to analyze hydrogen infrastructure systems and components.

In addition to these organizations, the project will include a few state agencies in California, which has been at the forefront of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles ever since the technology was first introduced, and is bound to be the biggest market for hydrogen cars. Japanese car maker Toyota plans to start selling hydrogen cars within the next year or two. They have developed a fuel cell sedan, and a hydrogen vehicle from their South Korean counterpart, Hyundai, is already available for leasing to California residents. Another Japanese automaker, Honda, is selling the FCX Clarity, a hydrogen-powered sedan, in Southern California. Honda has also partnered up with General Motors to develop new hydrogen vehicle models together.

At the moment, there are 9 public hydrogen fueling stations in the state, and work has already started on additional 18 stations which are supposed to be ready for use within the next 5 years. In the next 10 years, an additional 100 stations are expected to be put in place. The H2FIRST is an important part of the efforts for reducing greenhouse emissions, by contributing to the expansion of a fueling infrastructure, and helping make hydrogen vehicles a more viable alternative to conventional cars.

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#1

Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/15/2014 12:52 PM

Where does all of this H2 come from?

What happens when the greenies finally figure out that reformers generate carbon monoxide in addition to heat and H2?

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#2
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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/15/2014 10:02 PM

"The biological hydrogen production with algae is a method of photobiological water splitting which is done in a closed photobioreactor based on the production of hydrogen as a solar fuel by algae.[1] Algae produce hydrogen under certain conditions. In 2000 it was discovered that if C. reinhardtii algae are deprived of sulfur they will switch from the production of oxygen, as in normal photosynthesis, to the production of hydrogen.[2][3]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_hydrogen_production_(Algae)

Just as hydrogen powered cars are being developed, so are sustainable methods of hydrogen fuel production....Don't confuse now with the future...By the time you get your first hydrogen car, and pull up to the fueling station, then you can ask the question, and probably get a satisfactory answer....

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#3
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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/16/2014 5:28 AM

Let us assume that algae hydrogen production develops to a level where it can produce enough hydrogen to fuel 80% of cars on the road. To achieve that the current algae would have to be changed to become more efficient and more resilient.

This presents two problems.

The petrochemical/chemical/gas industries do not have a great track record of being able to contain their product and prevent them from contaminating the environment. When they get round to spilling their efficient, resilient algae into the rivers it is going to continue to produce hydrogen instead of oxygen and cause an environmental disaster. Unlike oil, chemicals and gas, algae self replicates (look at the current algae blooms on the great lakes) so even a small spill will be difficult if not impossible to contain. Engineering this stuff will be a breeze compared to getting past the environmental lobby.

One of the reasons that fossil fuels are so dominant is that all the fractions of the cracking process have a balanced economic use. There are no residuals that have to be dumped. Substitute hydrogen for petrol and you de-stabilise that balance. You will still need all the other products of the fossil fuels cracking process. Where are you going to get rid of the now redundant petrol?

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#4
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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/16/2014 10:03 AM

Well these blue-green algae already exist, normally they produce CO2 as a byproduct of respiration, they only produce hydrogen when the growing environment they are in is highly manipulated and controlled...not a naturally occurring situation....I'm sure everybody wishes it was that easy to produce hydrogen.....besides this is only one of several possible green production methods being investigated, there is also nuclear cracking, solar power and many others....Besides with forecasted rising seas what better fuel source than splitting excess sea water into hydrogen and oxygen...? If they could just get that yucky tasting salt cleaned up, then it would be a multi-product operation...

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/16/2014 10:54 PM

Read a while back, that most of the Hydrogen being used in commercial and Experimental use, is a by product of the manufacture of Chlorine, for water purification systems around the world. I don't know if this is valid. Any other input on this? Many thanks….Mac

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/17/2014 1:21 AM

"Currently, global hydrogen production is 48% from natural gas, 30% from oil, and 18% from coal; water electrolysis accounts for only 4%.[16

"Hydrogen production is a large and growing industry. Globally, some 57 million metric tons of hydrogen,[13] equal to about 170 million tons of oil equivalent, were produced in 2004. The growth rate is around 10% per year. Within the United States, 2004 production was about 11 million metric tons (MMT), an average power flow of 48 gigawatts. (For comparison, the average electric production in 2003 was some 442 gigawatts.) As of 2005, the economic value of all hydrogen produced worldwide is about $135 billion per year.[14]

There are two primary uses for hydrogen today. About half is used in the Haber processto produce ammonia (NH3), which is then used directly or indirectly as fertilizer. Because both the world population and the intensive agriculture used to support it are growing, ammonia demand is growing. The other half of current hydrogen production is used to convert heavy petroleum sources into lighter fractions suitable for use as fuels. This latter process is known as hydrocracking. Hydrocracking represents an even larger growth area, since rising oil prices encourage oil companies to extract poorer source material, such as tar sands and oil shale. The scale economies inherent in large-scale oil refining and fertilizer manufacture make possible on-site production and "captive" use. Smaller quantities of "merchant" hydrogen are manufactured and delivered to end users as well."...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/17/2014 11:58 AM

Thank you. There are other links to uses Caustic Soda, Sodium Chlorides, and various sources of Hydrogen production that I need to research further, not being a Chemist. There appears to be several methods of hydrogen production, including a portable one , used by the Military, to quickly produce the gas for Balloons. Pretty interesting...

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/17/2014 5:01 AM

Besides with forecasted rising sea levels what better fuel source than splitting excess sea water into hydrogen and oxygen....Which you then combine to produce....Water????

My comment does not relate to the inefficient, expensive current method of producing hydrogen from algae, but to the research into engineered algae that if successful will make the process commercially viable.

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/17/2014 9:08 AM

Yes salt water to fresh water....

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#5
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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/16/2014 8:52 PM

jhhassociates,

Early in the history of the automobile, the refineries considered gasoline/petrol to be an unwanted byproduct that was hard to sell. Since then the technology and chemistry done in refineries has greatly expanded their ability to shift production away from "unwanted" products. Also, the introduction of H2 powered vehicles will be incremental.

You post: Substitute hydrogen for petrol and you de-stabilise that balance. I find your concern to be with little merit.

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/17/2014 5:23 AM

The balance did not just happen by chance. The need for petrol created surpluses that the industry has sought to use economically. Substituting kerosene for whale oil in lighting, and when that market was overtaken by gas and then electricity, diversion into aircraft fuel. The development of macadam, lino and roofing product to consume surpluses of bitumen. The use of hydrogen to re-balance the excess of heavy oils.

Agreed, one sentence when taken out of context has little merit. I am not suggesting that the balance will be destroyed, I am asking how a new surplus will be or should be used.

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Re: H2FIRST Can Enhance Much Needed Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

08/17/2014 7:27 AM

jhhassociates,

Thanks. Perhaps I should have said merit concern. Your question about how a new surplus will be or should be used is good.

JMM

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