Japan Targets 40,000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars And 160 Stations By 2020

MAY 1 2016 BY MARK KANE 177

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell and Honda Smart Hydrogen Station

Honda Clarity Fuel Cell and Honda Smart Hydrogen Station

Japan, as one of the most bullish countries in the world on hydrogen fuel cell technology, and with two major entries from Toyota (with the Mirai) and Honda (with the Clarity Fuel Cell) announced some ambitious near-term targets for FCVs.

The number of hydrogen fuel cell cars is foretold to expand from 50 on the road today to (cumulatively):

  • 40,000 in 2020
  • 200,000 in 2025
  • 800,000 in 2030

While the number of refueling stations for those cars to increase from 80 today to:

  • 160 in 2020 (250 cars per station)
  • 320 in 2025 (625 cars per station)

The hardest piece of the puzzle (especially in Japan) is obviously the fuel cell infrastructure, and we have to wonder about having a ratio of 800,000 vehicles to 320 stations (2,500-to-1) 9 years from today, as unlike plug-in vehicles, there is no alternate refueling location than these 160 stations.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) also intends to support research and development to make hydrogen fuel cells affordable, halving the costs by 2020 (from todays costs) and to around one-fourth by 2025.

source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry via Green Car Congress, and The Asahi Shimbun

Categories: General, Honda, Toyota

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177 Comments on "Japan Targets 40,000 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars And 160 Stations By 2020"

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Thats some serious money.

I truly cannot believe that there are 40,000 Fools in Japan…..I will shocked if they find 4000 fools that will participate with this inefficient farce .

What clever guy you are! Most intellectual Musk zealot around the world 😉

these cars are too quiet, they are gonna kill a lot of peds.

They’re the most quiet before they explode.

These cars are tooooooooooo Stupid …They may go KA BOOM !

Can someone explain how this is possible? Are the oil giants working directly in the government? This is sad.

Just look at how many of the companies backing the “Hydrogen Highway” in Japan are oil & gas companies:

JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation
Idemitsu Kosan Company
Iwatani Corporation
Osaka Gas Company
Cosmo Oil Company
Saibu Gas Company
Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.
Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation
Tokyo Gas Company
Toho Gas Company

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_highway_%28Japan%29#Supporters

WSJ reported $4.30/mmbtu n gas last week, down from Fukushima, no nuke, prices of ~$14 peak. That’s fo LNG. So, the gas companies can argue feedstock prices are falling, to make hydrogen.

Japan still has electric prices too high for electrolysis to be economic. Hence, making dirty hydrogen with natural gas.

Hydrogen made from fossil gas, so much for the renewable aspect of it.

Doesn’t matter so much to Japan.
Export economy and a dense population dependent on imported resources.

There are more reasons for Japan to want to crack fuel cell than for other countries. I think a lot of the pressure to do so remains top down. But, it looks like overall Japanese manufacturers can see the writing on the wall and are trending to electrification.

Yes, I understand that Japan has more reasons than most regions to promote use of hydrogen fuel. Japan is an oil-poor country, and its lack of energy resources has been compounded by shutting down nearly all their commercial nuclear power stations due to public hysteria over “RADIATION!!”

But Japan’s lack of resources can’t be fixed by using hydrogen as either an energy source or an energy carrier. Using hydrogen for fuel is much too wasteful and much too expensive, and always will be. If Japan’s leaders are not willing to combat the hysteria over the Fukushima accident, then they’d be much better off increasing the amount of imported natural gas, or even petroleum and/or gasoline/diesel.

It was not about “RADIATION!” but about:

Oh My God. We allowed nuclear power plant to be build where? With no protection?

Cynics could say that Japan do not want EVs on its roads, because then for the next Fukushima techs there wont have any small batteries to carry back to power plant to run as back up for all those vital instruments.

(Yes. Smart and brave crew at Fukushima cannibalized some cars for spare parts to power their instrumentation during that crisis)

Hydrogen is made from intermittent wind & solar that costs small fraction of retail electric grid price, but can’t be used for grid at wide scale due to low availability factor.

Low availability of Hydrogen, or surplus intermittent wind and solar?

You can’t finance wind/solar created hydrogen more cheaply than current wholesale power prices. $20-30MWh is a world of pain. Since wind subsidies are still all of $20+ on top of that, you may have a point, but continued subsidy isn’t a perfect world. Pricing CO2 would come a lot closer to giving H2 an honest, if not much weaker level of economic support.

Joe Reuss no longer talks up H2, for GM. On Autoline, he basically implied some utility might be interested in their tech (several months ago).

No, hydrogen COULD be made from wind and solar. But look at that list of oil & gas sponsors upthread. This is a bait & switch. Those companies will never have any wind or solar to supply electricity. And they don’t want anyone else to have it either. They’re trying to force demand to rise so fast that the government will panic and take the dirtiest hydrogen it can find to save face. It’s probably too late for that now, but in the quagmire of policymaking no one will push the utility companies to build more fast charging stations.

zzzzzzzzzz said:

“Hydrogen is made from intermittent wind & solar that costs small fraction of retail electric grid price…”

You mean, the electricity from intermittent wind & solar costs comparatively little.

Producing, compressing, transporting, storing, transporting again, storing again, compressing again, and finally dispensing H2 fuel is still massively expensive and massively wasteful of energy, and still would be even if the electricity used to generate it was absolutely free.

This is something that hydrogen fuel advocates universally ignore. They keep arguing that the cost of generating hydrogen can be brought down, apparently to distract us from the fact that there is no practical way to substantially reduce costs in the rest of the supply chain.

These costs and efficiencies are well researched e.g. by DOE studies and have specific numbers – cost numbers are about at parity with gas cars. You are just throwing some emotional words without substance.

Even if you take old good steam reforming, its efficiency is about 70% – it is more than state of the art combined cycle natural gas power plant that may reach 50% average efficiency in practice when cycling on and off. Plus grid maintenance costs that increase 2.5 cnt/kWh wind energy to 10-30 cnt/kWh for typical household. Yet Musk followers just repeat the some efficiency tale advertising nonsense without critical thinking about whole story and full energy path. As it comes to renewable intermittent energy, you can’t do it at wide scale just with lithium batteries most of the time. It is just impossible, there is nothing to compare, whatever efficiency you will take. Sure you can burn hydrogen resulting from wind -> power-to-gas in natural gas power plant, send energy to electric grid with its losses and charge lithium battery afterwards. It is possible but obviously it isn’t the most efficient way to use it.

Hydrogen folks do two things:

1) the price of hydrogen will come down with “green” electricity, always ignoring that if the electricity is free, the cost is still huge. Always overlooked is that if you just put that electricity in an EV, the problem is solved at 90% efficiency. Yep, over and over, as you state.

2) then, these grid issues pop up, as if it has ANYTHING to do with hydrogen cars.

The elitists can back them all they want , if the people refuse to participate ((unless they brainwash everyone)) it will go nowhere….Hopefully …Because.., IT MAKES N0 SENSE !!

No the oil guys are not working in the government….THEY OWN THE GOVERNMENT !!!

What a great plan… yawn…

As long as Japanese taxpayer dollars are being spent the planning will remain miss top-notch.

In California we have just half of the equation; $100 million of taxpayer money for about 68 stations and maybe a few hundred to a few thousand cars.

Honestly, that’s all I need to earn all the zero emission vehicle credits required to sell hundreds and hundreds of thousands of gasoline and diesel vehicles in California and other CARB-ZEV states.

Toyota, apparently, will meet this mandate by selling almost all their hydrogen vehicles in California without likely producing any EVs. With hydrogen cars conveniently exempt from rules required of EVs, Toyota has a win-win with hydrogen in California.

FACT – hydrogen cars get 9 credits per vehicle, while EVs get 3 or 4

FACT – hydrogen cars are exempt from rules that require EVs to be sold and states outside of California (the “traveling provision”)

I suspect something similar is true in Japan with huge subsidies and promotion by the Japanese government.

It’s obscene all the advantages California is giving hydrogen, but aren’t the unwarranted extra ZEV credits going away in 2017 or 2018?

Or did theu manage to lobby and win even more favorable treatment from CARB?

Fast Refueling is defined as:

1) every car in the fleet must swap the battery at least once, or 4% of the fleet to have 25 maximum swaps, or some value in between (2014)


2) the ability to refuel it 95% of full capacity within 15 minutes or less

Vehicles with 300 miles range AND fast refueling AND hydrogen get 9 credits through 2017 model year. After 2017, it will drop to 7 credits… maybe… if Toyota doesn’t lobby to extend 9 credits (and maybe some other sweetheart deal). You know that hydrogen is “just around the corner”.

I’ve never understood why California values H2 vehicles higher than EVs. They give extra credit for “fast fueling” capability – but this is a feature that directly benefits the end-user and shouldn’t require government support. Government should step in to recognize benefits that are valuable to society as a whole, and that aren’t really a factor that influences most consumer purchases. In this case, ZEV credits should be based on the overall well-to-wheels emissions for each type of vehicle.

If “fast fueling” is so important, consumers will pay for it.

Whether or not taxpayers should be funding H2 stations is a whole other topic.

It’s because FCVs are still in their infancy and need more support to get to the point of an acceptable infrastructure.

Same is true of fusion powered vehicles. Maybe those can get 50 ZEV credits per vehicle.

I’d be all for that. High credits for all vehicles using technology which haven’t been invented.

What? I thought CARB was about clean air, not simply promoting underdog technologies. Credit value should be based on cleanliness of the subject technology.

In California, a Tesla can theoretically receive 129 CARB credits for “fast refueling” by battery swapping. However, there are a few caveats. CARB also gives “fast fueling” credits to Tesla for their battery swapping station, but now Tesla is awarded the extra CARB credits only if it actually documents the fast refueling events to prove that battery swapping occurred. Every Tesla gets 4 CARB credits, but a Tesla that does a battery swap within one year of purchase gets an additional 5 CARB credits. But here is the kicker: “Automakers had to prove that they had performed one fast refueling event per vehicle earning the extra credits, although they were allowed to perform as many as 25 rapid refueling events per vehicle [within one year of purchase] in order to meet the fleet-wide goal.” Theoretically, 4% of Tesla’s sold in California could meet the California fleet-wide goal and receive the maximum credit of 9 CARB credits per vehicle for the entire California fleet, if each of the 4% battery swapped 25 times within one year of purchase. That means that theoretically, one Tesla car can receive 4 CARB credits plus and additional 125 CARB credits for fast refueling events (battery… Read more »

Your math isn’t quite right, but ya, Tesla *could* magically PAY to have 4% of the fleet show up in Harris Ranch at least 25… but, it doesn’t seem likely.

Also in the “highly unlikely” realm… more battery swap stations.

As far as theoretical goes, what part of his math isn’t right?

The fleet would earn the credit. The discriminator for a modern EV to earn “fast refueling” credit for the fleet is as explained above. So, once the fleet is qualified (either every car does one battery swap -or- 4% of the fleet does 25 maximum swaps each -or- some variation of the two methods like 50% of the fleet does 2 swaps each), then, The Tesla fleet earns credit for that model year based on range (all current Tesla cars earn 4 credits each) plus one additional credit for fast refueling per car “Placed In Service” in California (other CARB-ZEV qualifying states are beyond this short overview). Assume 2017 model year qualifies for fast refueling, and the vehicles are all rated at 200 miles range, and 50,000 ZEV (but not hydrogen) passenger cars are sold in ZEV states, then the total earning should be: 50,000 * 5 = 250,000 ZEV credits earned, however the actual credit balance is then factored as units of grams per mile Non-Methane Organic Gases (g/mi NMOG), so it will be yet another value. The g/mi NMOG value is adjusted per model year against the ZEV credits. For model years after 2010, the factor is: Passenger… Read more »

Excellent! So the short answer is that it is theoretically possible to earn 129 ZEV credits per Tesla S, but practically it’s mired in details that makes it not exactly so.

Thanks Tony and Sven.

Using the “per car” method, I get 4 credit per 200 mile Tesla (they are all 200 mile cars) plus 1 additional credit for fast refueling for each of 25 maximum battery swaps.

I get 29 ZEV credits.

29 is far away from 129, though still huge. For limited production cars (ie, 100 miles FFE against Bolt), battery swap might pay off for them.

Well, the company that merely wants to comply with ZEV rules would have to build one or more battery swap stations, then put personal in them, etc.

Then, redesign their compliance offering to utilize battery swapping.

Not a chance will this happen for a teeny 20%-25% increase in ZEV credits. For hydrogen cars, the increase is 300% over a typical 100 mile EV, plus the auto manufacturers can get governments to pay for the hydrogen infrastructure.

Battery swapping is VERY dead.

I had thought/assumed that Teslas get the same 5 extra credits that hydrogen cars gets, with each “fast refueling” (battery swap). I didn’t realize that each battery swap within a year netted only 1 additional credit up to an maximum of 25, depending on what the rest of the fleet did with regards to fast fueling. That’s a big difference!!! So a Tesla can theoretically earn as many extra credits as only 5, not 25, hydrogen FCEVs if it battery swaps 25 times within one year of purchase.

I hate posting wrong/incorrect information. My apologies to all.

Tony, thanks for the correction!!!

It needs to be restated:

1) All the ZEV cars on the market get exactly 3 credits, except Tesla, that gets 4 (because their cars are 200 mile range instead of 100 mile range).

2) All the hydrogen cars get 9 credits until 2017, then 7 credits for “300 mile range”, “fast refueling” (described above) and “hydrogen” powered.

The fact that Tesla Motors has not moved to do this, despite only needing to equip 4% of the fleet for battery swapping (I’m going to assume the figures discussed here are correct), pretty well confirms what (Project) Better Place already showed: That battery swapping is too expensive to be practical for ordinary passenger cars.

Battery swapping for long-distance freight trucking might still be a possibility, IMHO.

They have to equip 100% for “fast refueling”, not 4%.

The 4% is the MINIMUM demonstration at 25 battery swaps for every one of the 4%.


100% of the fleet doing 1 swap


some other combination:

50% doing 2 swaps

25% doing 4 swaps


Rewatch “Who killed the electric car” for your answer. The hydrogen lobby is still alive and well in CA.

Presumably because it’s seen as a solution that could work for all types of vehicles, and the fast refueling ability would allow for rapid deployment.

PEV could have an impact, but doesn’t yet an offer an effective solution for heavy freight emissions.

the reason why the government would care about the wishes of the end uses is because they are the ones who ultimately make automobile purchase decisions. presumably, the reason why the government would provide fast fill incentives is because the ultimate goal is to get people to forgo ICE vehicles and buy low/zero emission vehicles instead. if the buyer finds long fill times unattractive, then they won’t buy low/zero emission vehicles and the government object would not be achieved. so the government is trying to provide incentives to the manufacturers to manufacture cars that are more appealing to consumers.

A big chunk of that money will disappear into Japanese mafia pockets, so I’m guessing they don’t reach half that number. At least that folly is only being repeated in one state here, and probably not for long, as electric cars proliferate and hydrogen ones remain as rare as unicorns. There is no, and won’t be, a Tesla of hydrogen cars, so Japan may be pretty lonely in this endeavor.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Air Liquide recently announced the locations of four hydrogen fueling stations that it is planning to build in the Northeast: two stations in Massachusetts, and one each for New York and Connecticut.


Yeah. Get back to us when they are actually built and functioning.

Will do.

You can count on it. 😉

Yes. Unfortunately, this insane waste of taxpayer dollars is spreading beyond just California.

Every one of those hydrogen stations will be located in in a CARB-ZEV state.

CARB-Zero Emission Vehicle states – California’s ZEV program has now been adopted by the states of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. These states, known as the “Section 177 states,” have chosen to adopt California’s air quality standards in lieu of federal requirements as authorized under Section 177 of the federal Clean Air Act. Additionally, California’s GHG standards are now spelled out federal law. Maine, Washington DC and New Jersey are participating with ZEV initiatives, but are not signatory CARB-ZEV states.

Japan could probably actually pull this off if they wanted to. Their main advantage is their small size and population density. They would need far fewer filling stations than a country like the USA would need. Don’t get me wrong, I still dislike fuel cells. But from an infrastructure perspective, Japan is one of the few countries that could pull it off.

And of course, that’s also why they don’t need it, and why they’re well-served by EVs, even without the range extensions coming soon.

Exactly. They have CHAdeMO stations practically everywhere and EVs are extremely practical there because they don’t need the range.

Somebody who knows very little about Japan may assume it. But if you do a bit of reading and thinking, you will find out that there are no some cheap fracking or coal in Japan that can power battery cars. Electric grid capacity is limited there, it relies on nuclear power to meet all demand, or very expensive liquefied natural gas delivered by tankers. Nuclear power never was popular among people there because of scarce land and high population density – everybody remembers how nuclear explosion looks like since World War 2, too much is at stake. Fukushima I disaster was the last drop, and earthquakes/cunamies are not going away from Japan. So who is going to charge all these battery cars in Japan, pink unicorns from silly Musk advertising? Somebody must be complete idiot to suggest that solar/wind with 20-40% availability can increase electric grid power and reliability in Japan. It can generate hydrogen as it can be stored, but not power 100% available electric grid, especially in earthquake prone island country.

Add a production step from the generation of hydrogen and you can create methane. Trade an efficiency loss for being _much_ cheaper to use and store.

How exactly methane is cheaper to use? For electricity generation you need to burn it at relatively low efficiency power plant. Or steam-reform it and use hydrogen in more efficient stationary fuel cell generators – that is what it is done in practice now in industrial backup energy solutions that are getting cheaper and taking over diesel generators. Obviously skipping double methane conversion is cheaper and more efficient. If you inject hydrogen into existing natural gas network, you don’t need to convert it to methane, up to certain percentage it works just fine and it is already done in Germany.

The same underground storage that was used for methane can be used for hydrogen – loss from smaller molecule size is negligible. Methane residue from previous storage may be extra trouble initially, but it goes away after few cycles.

As recently as a year ago, fuel cell boosters (and nuke cultists) were claiming that hydrogen was the way to go BECAUSE of nuclear reactors producing hydrogen cheaply. Now it’s supposed to be because Japan won’t build more nuclear reactors?

Hmmm, no, if you go back and look, I think you’ll find it’s always been the “hydrogen economy” advocates who were inventing fantasies about nuclear power producing “too cheap to meter” electricity.

Well, I’m old enough to remember talk about electricity “too cheap to meter” from nuclear power back in the sixties. Didn’t work out then, and it won’t now.

But that said, advanced Generation IV nuclear reactors using thorium will be much safer. And despite Japan being highly prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, it is possible to build fairly safe nuclear reactors, if properly protected by anti-earthquake rollers, and high walls to protect from tsunamis. (I say “fairly safe” because no industrial installation producing power will ever be 100% safe.)

The public hysteria over “RADIATION!!” is a formidable barrier to new nuclear power stations, but perhaps naively I think it’s possible to educate the public about the reality. Even in Japan, I think if it’s pointed out that the pollution from coal-fired power plants has killed far more people in a single year, worldwide, than all the nuclear power plants in history, perhaps public opinion could be swayed in favor of building a new series of better-designed, safer nuclear power plants.

Dude, your logic needs work. Yeah, Japan doesn’t have great electricity sources. But hydrogen is more scarce. The cheapest way to make H2 is from methane. But they have that. It is FAR more efficient to put electricity into batteries than to do electrolysis of water. But you say ‘hey, we can store the hydrogen!’ Uh, you realize the EV batteries are storing electricity! And far more efficiently! Cars spend most of their time idle. . . When they can be plugged in.

They *don’t* have methane.

I think its more determined by natural resources, than island size and limited need for expensive stations. Places with geothermal, or heavy over-night nuclear surplus energy make more sense for a storage medium, like hydrogen. Japan hasn’t got, what, say, Iceland has.

I should add it will be to their disadvantage, to import LNG at the ~$2/mmbtu premium it costs to package and ship it from where it was in the ground.

What we are forgetting is that the Japanese government has always used its auto exports as a strategic economic weapon. That means gambling that the outside world also adopts the complete hydrogen paradigm. How far does Japan go down this road before it realizes – as Germans are beginning to – that EVs are taking over the popular narrative?

It’s no wonder that Honda announced a back door by having BEV and hybrid versions of the Clarity. All the PR was about the fuel cell version, until recently. The expense of making fuel cells just for Japan-market cars and having flexible platforms to accommodate this really matters when the market finally gets down to cheaper, space-constrained compact sedans.

China is absolutely willing to subsidize the car technology that represents the least crowded road to export success. It’s sitting where Japan was in the early 1960s.

To be fair to Honda, I haven’t noticed that company dissing battery-electric vehicles, claiming they are not the future of transportation, the way Toyota was and still is. At Honda, there does not appear to be corporate groupthink firmly denying reality, as there is at Toyota.

At least that’s my view of the situation, based on various public statements from corporate spokesmen and press releases.

Oh, Honda was a huge backer of fuel cells. Only in the last few years have they flip-flopped.

Nobody is denying this “secret” that battery cars are easier to make short term and are more popular and will get more market share short term. This exactly what the same Toyota is saying.

If you ever done any engineering, you should know that there is big difference between making quick semi-working demo and complete production-ready solution that works in all possible cases. You can have perfect technology for demo but would go with slower and more complicated technology if you want complete solution, not just limited use demo.

So the Mirai has a 5kg tank, and according to this site touting the new hydrogen fueling tech, a fourth-generation site can dispense 100kg of fuel. The Mirai has a 5kg tank, so it could only serve 20 cars per day. I just can’t see this technology working out on a large scale.


It would also require a tanker to deliver the hydrogen on a daily basis, destroying any efficiencies the cars might provide.

I’m mostly mad at California, which is giving extra ZEV credits to hydrogen, on the premise that it can refuel the car I under 3 minutes and go over 300 miles. So far, neither of those statements is completely true, but merely theoretical.

Your information is out of date. The current supply capacity of the UC Irvine Hydrogen Station is 180 kg/day, which would fill up 36 Mirais with a completely empty 5 gallon tank. But most Mirais won’t drive in with a completely empty tank. If the average Mirai pulled into the station with 1 gallon or 20% remaining capacity in the tank, then the station could fill up 45 Mirais with 4 gallons of hydrogen. The link you provided states that the UC Irvine H2 station is “supplied via a 250 kg gaseous hydrogen tube trailer,” and has the “capability of accepting 500 kg tube trailers.” Thus, even when dispensing hydrogen at full capacity, the station would not require a tanker to deliver the hydrogen on a daily basis. Likewise, if the hydrogen production plant or electrolyzer is located nearby, then the efficiencies would not be destroyed. Other hydrogen stations in California have a even greater hydrogen supply capacity than the UC Irvine H2 station. For instance, the San Juan Capistrano hydrogen station has a 240 kg/day hydrogen supply capacity, which would provide 48 fills of 5 gallons and 60 fills of 4 gallons. Click on the UC Irvine and San… Read more »

sven said:

“Your information is out of date.”

No, it’s just that “fool cell” advocates like you don’t like the fact that he’s pointing out the reality.

“The current supply capacity of the UC Irvine Hydrogen Station is 180 kg/day, which would fill up 36 Mirais with a completely empty 5 gallon tank.”

So, they’re going from H2 fueling stations which can (very optimistically, altho not really) fuel about 24 cars per day, at a construction cost of $2 million; to H2 fueling stations which can (very optimistically, altho probably not really) fuel about 36 cars per day, at a construction cost of $3 million.

It’s the same insanely high cost per car, and still wildly non-competitive with either gasoline/diesel or charging with electricity.

We can only presume you have some financial interest in “fool cell” cars, sven, or a financial interes in Big Oil & Gas. Otherwise you would stop advocating for this insanity.

Bite me. You’re a old fool and a troll, and also a cyber bully. You don’t even own or drive an EV. What’s your financial interest in attacking hydrogen FCEVs? Who or which company/organization is paying you to astroturf every single article about hydrogen fuel cells?

As stated in my comment above, H2 Logic’s new H2 fueling station has a fueling capacity of up to 100kg in 3 hours on one fueling hose, which is similar to that at conventional gas stations, and it will be mass produced in a factory which will lower it’s cost.


So, then only 20 cars in 3 hours, each consuming 5kg.

Please check my math, but thats:

3 * 60 = 180 minutes

180 / 20 cars = 9 minutes each at maximum speed

I think your math is correct. I came up with the same 9 minute figure a few comments above this one.

NINE MINUTES. Well, that blows up the 3-5 minute fillup BS that hydrogen clones have been spewing the whole time.

Nope, it can do multiple back-to-back fills in 3-5 minutes with virtually no recovery time required, but after an certain number of fills a short recovery time will be required. It shouldn’t be too inconvenient, when you factor in the time between one driver removing the nozzle, getting back in the car, and finally driving away, and then the other driver pulling up, getting out of the car, putting his payment/fueling card into the machine and inserting the nozzle. That can take from one to two minutes, turning 5 minutes of actual filling into a 6 or 7 minute process.

My Tesla can add about 4-5 miles per minute at a Tesla Supercharger when the battery is nearly depleted, so a 9 minute charge can provide 35-45 miles for a WHOLE lot less money (orders of magnitude).

I’m going to guess that 300kW charging that is already on the horizon will provide over 100 miles in that same 9 minutes, and that’s going to get me just about anywhere I want to go on a day to day basis.

For a trip, yes, it will still be 15 minutes to get 150 miles, which is plenty of range to hit the next Supercharger.

Free forever
Very soon to be ubiquitous fast charging
Superior performing cars
Really green and sustainable with solar / wind / hydro

I just don’t see it happening with hydrogen, WITHOUT any real competition, but in the next 3-5 years, “sorry Charlie”.

Would you actually get 15 minutes for 150 miles? From severe charge taper with Tesla that I see in forum, it would seem higher power supercharger won’t be much better, still taking over 30 min for 150 miles.

FYI, SparkEV charges without taper to 80% in 20 minutes. Going by EPA 82 miles range,

82 miles * 0.8 / 20 = 3.28 mi/min
9 min => ~30 miles.

Not too bad to get to another charger, or even to the other side of the city to plug in at home, and this is with $16K “compliance car”, not top of the line Tesla. I just don’t see a reason for FCEV.

Tesla, or ANY battery, must reduce the charge power as it fills up.

Charging a Tesla at 120kW (370a * 325v or 330a * 365v) is an entirely different situation that a Spark at closer to ⅓ that rate.

The Spark can handle 120a (about ⅓ the amperage) at roughly the same typical voltages. The battery is ⅓ to ¼ the size (about 20-22kWh).

Not rocket science. GM is somewhat more aggressive with C rate, but not remarkably so.

300kW (lets say 750a * 400v) into a 150kW battery is a somewhat tame 2C rate. Very doable.

I’m not so sure whether humans will be plugging in a 750a cable with all that copper, so lets go the other way; 800v * 375a is almost exactly what Tesla has for amperage now.

Ok, so now with some super duper insulation to handle 800v, let’s plug in.

300kW / 60 minutes = 5kWh per minute into a car that consumes 3 miles per kWh is 150 miles in 15 minutes, factoring in the expected taper.

That’s also going to require one heck of a cooling system!!!

From forum posts, I see that Tesla starts to taper as low as 30%. By the time it gets to 80%, it’s close to 50 kW, roughly the same as SparkEV at 80%! If the car was S70, that’s only 0.7C at 80%.

I hope future Tesla will charge 2C to 80% instead of tapering so quickly. SparkEV = 2.5C without taper to 80%.

sven decided to make another personal attack on me:

“You don’t even own or drive an EV.

I’m no longer driving any car. Oddly enough, I do still care about the future of our species, as well as what happens to Mother Earth. I also don’t like people repeatedly posting B.S. to a website I read almost every day. I realize that idealism as a motive, a lack of any financial motive, is beyond the comprehension of a Big Oil shill like you.

“What’s your financial interest in attacking hydrogen FCEVs? Who or which company/ organization is paying you to astroturf every single article about hydrogen fuel cells?”

I suppose it’s normal for a shill to try to convince himself that anyone debunking his propaganda and FUD must also be a shill. No doubt that helps you sleep at night.

Trolls who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and then try to play the victim. 🙁

If he’s not driving a car at all, he’s not living in a glass house. Mass transit is still our best current solution. As the anti-EV trolls of the past pointed out, there’s still an energy cost to build new cars to replace other cars, but he’s not replacing.

The “glass house” was a metaphor for not wanting to be personally attacked in the comments section, and “throwing stones” are a metaphor for personal attacks.

And I’ve always commuted by subway and bus, and sometimes by bike, and walking when I lived nearby work.

Do these hypothetical rates of car refueled per hour fake into account station recooling periods between cars?

The experience with some hydrogen stations is that they cannot take continous use.

Yes they do for the UC Irvine Hydrogen Station and the H2 Logic C-200 fueling station. Per the link in James’ comment:

“Fourth Generation Hydrogen Fueling Station”
“Robust cooling system to accommodate multiple back-to-back fills with virtually no recovery time required”


Likewise, the H2 Logic C-200 fueling station can take continuous use dispensing a maximum of 100 kg of hydrogen in 3 hours, but it appears that it would require some recovery time to chill the hydrogen before being able to dispense more after reaching the max rate over three hours.

Well that certainly helps explain why these very slightly more capable H2 dispensing stations cost about $3 million apiece instead of “only” about $2 million.

But at approximately 50 cars per day, that’s still $6000 per “fool cell” car just to build the fueling station… not counting the cost of the H2 itself.

Gee, I wonder why more of these things aren’t being built? [/sarcasm]

Your logic and reasoning is just as flawed as your attempt at simple arithmetic (perhaps due to a lack of formal education): $3,000,000 ÷ 50 cars per day = $60,000, not the $6,000 you erroneously calculated. But as I said, your logic and reasoning is flawed. FCEVs would fill up once a week, so other FCEVs could fill up on the other 6 days of the week. That would be 50 cars X 7 days = 350 cars. Since FCEVs aren’t tied or obligated to use a particular H2 station, any FCEV can use the station whether they are local to Los Angeles or just passing though on a trip from San Francisco or Sacramento. So the per car cost of the H2 station is $3,000,0000 ÷ (350 cars + plus all other FCEVs sold).

sven, just curious as to why you like FCVs so much? You do realize you cannot refuel them at home right? You do realize you will have to pay at the pump a lot more then what it costs to refuel a BEV at home? Is rapid refueling that important to you? If it is then don’t PHEVS make a lot more sense then FCVs? I guess I fail to see why you think FCVs are a superior technology given that they are basically no better then an ICE vehicle.

I never said HFCVs were a superior technology, but EV advocates do have a tendency to trash it and vilify it. I just don’t think EVs and HFCVs are mutually exclusive technologies, and both can co-exist in the future. It’s not one size fits all. We also shouldn’t stop R&D and subsudies on HFCVs just yet. HFCs are a more nascent technology than EVs. I’d like give HFCVs a chance to see what the landscape looks like in 2020 in Japan after the Tokyo Olympics, in Germany with their H2 infrastruture and greater percentage of electricity from wind and solar renewable power, and in Denmark and Norway which currently both use hydrogen made from 100% renewable sources. By 2020, CAFE MPG requirements and CARB ZEV requirements will be in full swing. Hydrogen FC tech is also growing by leaps and bounds for distributed electricity generation, and finding niches in the warehouse forklifts, aerial drones, etc. I’ve lived in and around NYC my entire life. As bicyclist, runner, pedestrian, and rollerblader what I care about the most is air quality, not CO2 emissions. Therefore, I’m ZEV agnostic. I don’t care if an EV runs on batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, methanol fuel… Read more »

I too don’t personally have a problem with both technologies existing. I don’t see that happening as the powers that be want EVERYONE to stay tied to the gas station. So if you’re not buying gas then you’re buying hydrogen, that’s what big oil wants. If BEVs go mainstream think of how much that cuts into their profits if people aren’t buying gas or hydrogen anymore. If HFCVs take off, BEVs will just remain a niche market at best. I want to see BEV technology advance as I find BEVs more convenient, they offer better performance, are more efficient and generally have a lower cost of ownership. The only way they will continue to advance is if they become mainstream, I personally feel like HFCVs are an attempt to stop this from happening.

A $200k 2-3 stall Tesla Supercharger could probably handle the same amount (~50 charges per day) at the cost of $4k per car. So maybe 2/3rds less cost per station than hydrogen. You might say tho: “O but it takes longer for the EV to “fill” than the FCV”. True, but a Tesla is using a Supercharger only about 5% of its “filling up”, the rest being mostly at home, whereas Hydrogen and gas cars are filling up at a station for all their fuel.
Figuring 12,000 miles a year, at 5% a Tesla may do about 600 of those miles by Supercharger, taking 2 hours total charging a year (figuring 20 minutes charging to go 100 miles). A gas or hydrogen car will take around 20-30 minutes of filling a month, which comes to a total of 4-6 hours a year filling the car with fuel.

Actually, the cost of a fast charging station versus a hydrogen fueling station that both can handle 50 cars per day might be 10x less, not 2/3rds less as I previously said. For hydrogen, 2 million divided by 50 = $40,000 per car. For fast charger, 200k divided by 50 = $4,000 per car.

50 cars per day at a single Supercharger stall is overly optimistic. According to what I’ve read, the average charge time is about 30 minutes. Even if you assume the supercharger stall never sits empty, 24/7, 24 hours a day only yields 48 charging sessions, and that leaves no margin for changing from one car to the next; for driving into and out of the stall, for plugging in and unplugging, and for the driver to notice his car is charged up.

You are right, one stall would not handle 50 cars a day. If you look again I said a 2-3 stall Supercharger, thereby making the comparison similar to the H2 station at number of cars per day, and then compared the cost of each station, 200k to 2 million. I think the comparison is a good one to show the cost difference.

My 5 cents worth. I spend $1200 dollars on a L2 EVSE. And start my day with a full tank each and every day. I will buy a Fool Cell when I can buy a H2 station for under $2000 (giving some room for inflation here) and fill my car up every night.

You are looking at pilot stations and making far going conclusions. By the same logic electric cars are not possible because regular US outlet can’t output more than 15 A or so. You can make more powerful outlet and you can make much higher capacity station when there is demand. There are extensive DOE funded studies on the subject, just read them. You don’t need to deliver hydrogen by tankers when there is enough demand, there are pipelines for it. You can even use existing natural gas network:

And yes, even current stations do refuel in 3-5 minutes. Situation when a dozen of fuel cell cars come to the station at the same time and station’s pressure tank gets empty is highly unlikely now.

Claiming that prices can be brought down on hydrogen fuel is like claiming that evolution is bogus, or that global warming isn’t happening. In fact, it’s as bad as claiming that perpetual motion is possible. For example: No, we can’t use existing pipelines for moving compressed hydrogen. They are not built to withstand 5000-10,000 PSI. Furthermore, hydrogen tanks and even short supply pipes requires special seals, hydrogen embrittles metal pipes over time, and even with the special seals, there is some leakage. H2 can even slowly leak thru the solid metal of a storage tank or pipe! Here’s the reality: The impracticality of using hydrogen as a fuel is all due to the physical properties of the element hydrogen. That can’t ever be changed; it’s just as impossible as perpetual motion. Contrariwise, batteries are improving every year; increasing energy density and lowering cost. Batteries with the ability to charge 5x or 10x faster than current commercially made batteries have been demonstrated in several laboratories, and it’s reasonable to presume that tech will be commercialized sooner or later. Now, why is it necessary to keep repeating this over and over? I think everyone who posts regularly to InsideEvs should have gotten… Read more »

Clarification (and how I wish we could edit posts here!): I should have written “Claiming that prices can be brought down substantially on hydrogen fuel…”

Sure, they can be brought down somewhat. But not that much, again due to the physical properties of H2 itself making it impractical for widespread use.

You making disservice for Musk zealots. It sounds like they can’t read any more complex writing like DOE study on these costs and technicalities.

Hydrogen was used in German gas pipelines since a century ago. It works fine when you know what you are doing. And even now when natural gas has taken over some German regions have 10% hydrogen in gas pipelines. You should really stop writing these weird claims and start reading about factual information – and I don’t mean Musk advertising. Next time you may claim the Earth is flat because Musk said so.

All i can figure is that Japan thinks they can economically harvest methane hydrates. Otherwise this makes no sense.

Natural gas is mostly methane, and if my understanding is correct, pure methane could be substituted for natural gas with no problems.

So if Japan was pushing CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) cars, that might make sense.

Pushing hydrogen fuel still makes no sense, not even if methane clathrates were free.

A CNG ICE vehicle produces more well-to-wheels CO2 emissions than a hydrogen FCEV when the same natural gas is used to make hydrogen for fuel, because a hydrogen FCEV is more efficient than a CNG ICE vehicle.


That may be true, but unlike H2, CNG can actually compete successfully with gasoline. That is, CNG is a practical fuel. H2 isn’t, and never will be.

“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future… and always will be!”

Perhaps it would be interesting to check the real numbers because CNG used directly in an efficient engine without passing through the transformation to Hydrogen yield and compression of Hydrogen yield, plus worse than LNG transport yield, could well compensate for the somewhat better following Fuel cell yield.For sure a CNG car and infrastructure is far cheaper.

Anyway that is all not natural but dirty fossil things we are talking about here so why persist in that error since it turns our planet into a dangerous experiment and at some point we will need to get to renewable anyway.

Priusmaniac said:
“Perhaps it would be interesting to check the real numbers. . .”

What “real numbers” are you referring to? I gave a link to the “GREET 1 2014” well-to-wheels analysis of CO2 emissions conducted by the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. It’s the most comprehensive well-to-wheel CO2 analysis that I am aware of, and it is reviewed, updated, and tweaked on an annual basis.

The GREET CO2 well-to-wheels analysis clearly shows that a CNG ICE vehicle emits about 100 grams MORE CO2eq/mile than a comparable hydrogen FCEV running on steam-reformed natural gas. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Do you have any sources to back up your assertion that a CNG ICE vehicle emits less well-to-wheels CO2 than a hydrogen FCEV running on steam-reformed natural gas?

Currently, 46% of the hydrogen used as transportation fuel in California comes from renewable sources, exceeding the 33% renewable requirement embodied in California law. This dramatically lowers the well-to-wheels CO2 emissions of hydrogen FCEVs in California.



sven said:

“The GREET CO2 well-to-wheels analysis clearly shows that a CNG ICE vehicle emits about 100 grams MORE CO2eq/mile than a comparable hydrogen FCEV running on steam-reformed natural gas. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.”

Here’s something else that is equally clear:

A BEV running on renewable electricity is a heck of a lot less polluting, on a well-to-wheel basis, than running a car on either natural gas or hydrogen fuel.

It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper than H2 on a per-mile basis.

Yes, you are correct * ** *** ****.
Extra conditions apply:
*It can’t run on renewable energy most of the time because you can’t store significant amount of solar/wind energy with 20%-40% availability in car battery.
**You can’t go more than 100-300 miles from home without using slow “fast” chargers that realistically will cost more to use than gasoline when you account for everything. ***This distance gets up to 2 times shorter in winter.
****It will not work in long distance trucks that well.

Pushmi-Pullyu said:
“A BEV running on renewable electricity is a heck of a lot less polluting, on a well-to-wheel basis, than running a car on either natural gas or hydrogen fuel”

What about a running a car on renewable natural gas or renewable hydrogen fuel? I’d bet it wouldn’t be any more polluting on a well-to-wheels basis than a BEV running on renewable electricity.

Did you see what I did there?

Well, 98% of H2 is made by steam-reforming methane. And if they had a nearly-free source of methane from the methane hydrates, they could make a lot of H2. (Of course it wouldn’t be green because they would be venting a lot of CO2.)

But Japan imports natural gas which is used to make the hydrogen . . . and the prices are pretty expensive (although kinda cheap right now).

It makes no financial sense to do fuel cells without some cheap way of making hydrogen and they don’t have one!

In the past they could have maybe cranked up the nukes to make H2 at night with electrolysis but since they closed down the nukes they can’t do that.

So even if one loves fuel cells cars, I don’t see how it makes any sense in Japan where they have no cheap source of hydrogen. (The USA has lots of cheap fracked gas.)

This is so crazy . . . EVs are fine for Japan since it is a small country and they already have a zillion Chademo chargers.

They have just perfect way to produce hydrogen for cheap. No they can’t push it to electric grid.

Well that was a blatant lie. That article says nothing about price. It just says to use wind to make hydrogen. Anyone who does the engineering knows that it is FAR more efficient to use the wind to charge batteries. You keep citing the capacity factor as a big deal. But it really isn’t. The wind is always blowing somewhere. You use the grid to move it around as neede. And you use time-of-use rstes to get people to charge when electricity is abundant. And the batteries ARE storage!

Dudes from Japan… Just walk away from the Hydrogen Bong! I know you can do this!!!

That’s a lot of HFCVs that Japan sees in its future but…who is going to buy them?

Maybe things are different in Japan but generally people are not inclined a to pay a premium for a product that has loads of downsides and zero or limited upsides compared to alternatives, in this case gasoline and battery electrics.

Looks like the Japanese government will have to shell out a lot of subsidies to move the HFCV metal and once the subsidies stop the whole thing will just fall apart and go into the history books as Japans great folly that sidetracked its car industry.

Playing devil’s advocate — it does offer the combination of fast refueling and minimized local (albeit not total) pollution. So, like, if you were a global warming denier but really wanted to cut down on smog in your town, it’d be a winner? 😉

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles do cut down on total pollution and CO2 emissions. Unlike burning natural gas to make electricity in a power plant, which releases smog-producing Nitrous Oxides (NOx), and acid-rain producing Sulfer Oxides (SOx), steam reforming methane to make hydrogen does not produce any NOx or SOx. Californian requires a minimum of 33% of the hydrogen used for transportation fuel to be made from renewable sources, and currently a whopping 46% is made from renewable sources. A hydrogen fuel cell car produces significantly less CO2 well-to-wheels than an a comparable ICE car when the H2 is made solely from natural gas, and dramatically less when 33% and 46% of the natural gas comes from renewable sources. The Union of Concerned Scientist calculated the following well-to-wheels CO2 emissions for the ICE and FCEV versions of the Hyundai Tuscon: ICE Hyundai Tuscon – gasoline: 436 grams CO2 eq/mile FCEV Tuscon – H2 from 0% renewable natural gas: 286 grams CO2 eq/mile (34% less than ICE Tuscon) FCEV Tuscon – H2 from 33% renewable natural gas: 202 grams eq/mile (54% less than ICE Tuscon) FCEV Tuscon – H2 from 46% renewable natural gas: 173 grams eq/mile (60% less than ICE Tuscon)… Read more »

I cannot find my links, but isn’t Japan planning on wind/electrolysis as well, Sven?

Japan has a couple of pilot projects to make H2 from renewable sources. I know that Toyota is making H2 from a wind turbine in Yokohama harbor, and Fukishima is using wind power and geothermal power to make H2. But Japan is planning to import liquid hydrogen from abroad on tankers. The front runner is H2 made from cheap Australian brown coal with the CO2 sequestered in depleted oil and gas wells. Japan is also studying whether is will be feasible to import liquid hydrogen on tankers from Quebec with the H2 made from excess renewable hydro-power, from Saudi Arabia with the H2 made from excess solar electricity, and from Russia from a carbon-free or low carbon source, but I can’t remember what the source is.



CCS…LOL. That ain’t happening.

Interesting point about NOx, SOx. But steam has to be made from some energy source. Don’t they produce NOx/SOx?

I don’t care about green house gases, but I do care about SMOG. However, it would seem that containing them at generator (and reform plant to make heat) as well as 60%+ efficient combined cycle power plant would make those emission quite low as to not matter much. There really is no concern for acid raid.

Then there’s the fuel of the future, fusion (proabably also Hydrogen), which FCEV would be worse compared to BEV.

Having the convenience of plug-in and not having to go to fuel station on regular basis as well as cheap, I don’t think people will switch from BEV to FCEV. I’m more likely to switch to gas car than FCEV unless H comes down massively in price. I don’t see that happening any time soon, but we’ll see if there’s SparkFC that has SparkEV performance and cost.

I wondering if methanol fuel cells will be a better choice than hydrogen fuel cells. Methanol is liquid at room temperature and therefore easier to handle, and a Methanol fuel cell emits only CO2 and water. I don’t know about the efficiency of methanol fuel cells.

Here is a video of a Europe’s first methanol fueling station that opened in Denmark last year with a prototype methanol fuel cell car:


Burning fossil fracking gas to make electricity! What a silly idea when you can make electricity with wind, solar, hydro, wave, geothermal and biomass energy. And you can store it in pump storage http://www.hydro.org/tech-and-policy/technology/pumped-storage/ for very large quantities, Advanced Rail Energy Storage http://www.aresnorthamerica.com/ares-performance for large quantities and battery storage for average to small quantities.

These storage methods and dozen of others are well analyzed. None of them can reach costs as low than peak/off-peak daily price differential in electric grid. It is the reason nobody is building them at mass scale. At best you can use existing hydro capacity. But as you know, hydro is not available in every region and is also subject to dry year availability limitations. Then you are left with old good natural gas storage. It has some 4,000 bcf capacity in the US, that is enough storage for whole winter use.

And that is true for the hydrogen storage you are advocating.

Do you see anyone storing electricity by using it to create hydrogen and then putting the electricity back onto the grid by running the hydrogen through a fuel cell?

Nope. Because the economics of it sucks.

The fact that no one does that should make you seriously question the things that you are saying.

“Unlike burning natural gas to make electricity in a power plant, which releases smog-producing Nitrous Oxides (NOx), and acid-rain producing Sulfer Oxides (SOx), steam reforming methane to make hydrogen does not produce any NOx or SOx.”

Explain this. Pure methane doesn’t have any sulfur or Nitrogen in it. It may be present in natural gas and thus releases some NOx and SOx when burned but it is generally not a large amount. But that same natural gas would be used to make H2 so what do they do with the Sulfur and Nitrogen compounds from the raw natural gas? Get them out and put them in some solid form? Or do they just separate them and then vent them which means the fuel cells would be no better than just burning the natural gas!

The source of the NOx in the emissions of a natural gas plant is the nitrogen in the air that is used in burning the natural gas, which turns into NOx as a byproduct of combustion. The source of the SOx in the emissions of a natural gas plant is the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the natural gas, which is either naturally occurring (known as sour gas in the industry if the natural gas contain significant amounts of hydrogen sulfide), or artificially added to pure natural gas (methane) to give it that rotten egg smell as a safety precaution to detect leaks. When natural gas containing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is burned in a power plant, SOx is a byproduct of combustion. However, if the natural gas containing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is instead steam reformed into hydrogen, the two hydrogen molecules are stripped from the hydrogen sulfide, and the byproduct is sulfur, a yellow powder or crystal chunks, and not SOx in the emissions. Natural gas burns much cleaner than other fuels, producing much less NOx and very small to trace amounts of SOx, which varies depending on how sour the natural gas is (how much hydrogen sulfide it contains). Steam… Read more »

How small is that small amount of heat to form steam? I read something like 20% (80% efficient).

H also has to be compressed. From UCD—ITS—RR—05—01 (sorry, no link, just PDF),

“Compressing the hydrogen to 5kpsi (34.5 MPa) requires about 8.5% of the
energy content of the hydrogen being compressed.”

Let’s assume compression to 10 kpsi is about double (~17%) and that compression is using FC stack (~60%) rather than combined cycle nat gas burning generator (~60%).

Assuming ~60% efficient in FCEV vs ~90% with BEV to motor, overall isn’t whole lot different. If you take into account leakage and transport (both nebulous atm), BEV is probably better.

More complete analyses of all the energy-losing steps between generating hydrogen, and putting it into a FCEV, show that H2 loses about 70-80% of the energy, on a well-to-wheel basis. It’s not necessarily the energy loss at any individual step which dooms hydrogen; it’s the fact that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (“No process or reaction is 100% efficient”) that makes H2 fuel wholly impractical.

One estimate I’ve seen is that H2 loses about 10% of its energy due to leakage at various stages of storage, transport, and dispensing.

BEVs have a great advantage in the overall chain of supply, because transmitting electricity over power lines is on average only 7% inefficient, and batteries themselves are about 98% efficient at charging (not counting charger losses). When going from power plant to a BEV’s electric motor, the energy from electricity goes through far fewer steps, and far fewer chances to lose energy, than the energy contained in hydrogen fuel goes through between H2 generation and actually powering the electric motor in a FCEV.


To be honest with you, I don’t know how small is small, as I was wanted to give a quick response and didn’t really research it. This area is not my forte, and truth be told, I’ve already spent way too much time in the comments to this story.

I do know that the Linde Ionic compressors are proving to be quite popular, due to their higher energy efficiency.

“Because the hydrogen is compressed at an almost isothermal temperature, ionic compressors are considerably more efficient than conventional compressors; energy consumption compared to a conventional piston compressor is reduced by about 25%, according to Linde.”



Hydrogen is DOA and going nowhere

and for physics-deniers:


“The Union of Concerned Scientist calculated the following well-to-wheels CO2 emissions for the ICE and FCEV versions”

UCS, emphasis on the “S”, is not a policy organization. And WTF is “renewable natural gas”? This is so cocked. That stuff still releases CO2, and we’re supposed to feel good because of some creative exemption, like it came from human sh!t. Not scalable, but what does UCS care? They don’t have to add up the CO2 that needs to be avoided by nuclear, etc. They just play around in the “S” lab, ignoring practical realities. It’s how one makes hydrogen work.

pjwood1 asked: “WTF is ‘renewable natural gas’?” I think they mean methane from non-fossil sources, such as gas emitted by landfills and piles of manure. Obviously that is a rather limited supply, and I seriously doubt that would provide a significant fraction of the energy needed for the world’s transportation fleets. One could also label it “renewable natural gas” if you used large scale chemical processes to create methane and other carbohydrates from air and water, or other sources of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Of course, it’s massively wasteful and inefficient — and therefore expensive — to use electricity to generate methane so you can burn it in a fuel cell and make electricity! But don’t mention “efficiency” or “cost” to a hydrogen fuel advocate. They want to handwave away such “trivial details”! ::rolling eyes:: BTW, pjwood1, I think you’re doing an injustice to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Just because “hydrogen economy” shills like sven use cherry-picked figures from the UCS doesn’t mean their figures are biased. As they say: “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” In fact, I think the UCS’s figures for well-to-wheel emissions are overall the most reliable of any publicly available source I’ve seen. It’s… Read more »

Cherry-picked figures?

Those CO2 figures were the only figures in the UCCS report. The report’s title is “How Clean Are Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles?” and those CO2 figures answer the question asked in the report’s title!!! Those CO2 figures are the report’s conclusion!

Those CO2 figures are boldly listed in Table 1 on page 2 of the 3-page report.

Cherry picked, indeed!


I think this will be like Japan’s analog HDTV system. They want to leap ahead with new technology so they can be a market leader. But if no one else adopts their technology choice it just ends up being an albatross.

The Japanese likes to go their own way. Too bad they are going in the wrong direction!

This only makes their carbon emissions worse.
Then how are they going to cut carbon for their Global Warming commitment?

Not possible.
Especially with the leakage from fracking sites.

There must be a lot of money corrupting their politicians there, or they’re being extorted.

well we know tepco is crooked as a stick in the water…….

For just a minute, let’s pretend that the Laws of Physics are not set in stone, so that somehow there might someday be a way to magically transform hydrogen from a hopelessly impractical, far too expensive fuel, into something which might actually be able to compete with gasoline, diesel, and other liquid fuels.

Setting all that aside, just how is Japan’s big push to get people to adopt “fool cell” cars going? According to the article:

“The number of hydrogen fuel cell cars is foretold to expand from 50 on the road today…”

You know, I’d think that even in Japan, with its traditions of conformity and not questioning decisions made by those in authority, I think that at some point they’ll realize they’re beating their collective heads against a stone wall by promoting the “Hydrogen Highway”.

This might be the ‘miracle’ you’re looking for: http://www.nature.com/news/solar-energy-springtime-for-the-artificial-leaf-1.15341

It doesn’t violate any laws of physics, but there are challenges. Let’s face it: ALL new technologies have to overcome hurdles before they can become mainstream. Nothing new here.

In the case of hydrogen cars, the question is whether these challenges will be overcome fast enough to beat battery electric. I don’t think so, but otoh I’d like to keep an open mind. I don’t consider H2 out of the race just yet.

Except when the challenger is a clear identified oilies Trojan horse which is exactly the case for Hydrogen.

arne-nl said:

“This might be the ‘miracle’ you’re looking for: http://www.nature.com/news/solar-energy-springtime-for-the-artificial-leaf-1.15341

“It doesn’t violate any laws of physics…”

There have been a very large number of proposals for how to generate hydrogen cheaply. Every one of them ignores the reality that most of the well-to-wheel energy losses for hydrogen fuel aren’t in the generating processes, but all the steps in the supply chain after that.

The article you linked to doesn’t point out the very slow generation you get by using artificial photosynthesis for generating hydrogen. And the last I looked, such generation required an expensive catalyst which breaks down over time and has to be replaced. But even if that problem can be solved, there’s no way to solve the basic problem that sunlight doesn’t provide that much energy per square foot, so putting in sufficient area of artificial photosynthesis “leaves” to generate huge amounts of hydrogen would be enormously expensive and require (to quote Monty Python) huge tracts of land.

Lots of people have been trying for centuries to figure out a clever way around the Laws of Thermodynamics. There have been lots of claims for perpetual motion. Sadly, it will always remain impossible. “You can’t fool Mother Nature!”

The point is they don’t need to beat battery cars at all. It all comes from insecurity of battery car fans when realizing that they take only tiny amount of 70 million/year world wide car/truck market. This share will increase from 0.1% to 1%, to 10%, maybe 20%. And I will applaud it as after all they don’t have tailpipe emissions. But you will still have 80% of car market left for fuel cells to take over.

Honda is showing another attitude already by unveiling the BEV version of their Fuel Cell vehicle. Just in case, just in case…

Japanese consumers are very loyal to their country and buy almost exclusively “made in Japan”. For those who want BEVs that means LEAFs and I believe Nissan will be bringing out more models. Hopefully Nissan will prevail, but I wonder how many are loyal to Honda and Toyota and will just buy what they offer.

The Japanese are loyal to their country, but also slaves to foreign fashion. Recall how Lexus and Infiniti tried to be so German at first? What happens when all the foreign luxury brands they admire – the Germans plus Tesla – are selling EVs there but not FCVs?

625 cars/station is easily doable given fast refills and multiple dispensers per station. After all, we had around 121,500 gas stations in the U.S. last July: http://www.statisticbrain.com/gas-station-statistics/

to service about 250 million LDVs: 250m/ 121,500 = 2,057 LDVs/station, so given enough dispensers per H2 station, 625 each isn’t an issue.

It would be “easily doable” if pressurized hydrogen was as easy to transport, store, and dispense as liquid fuels like gasoline and diesel.

Unfortunately for advocates of hydrogen fuel, that is very far indeed from the reality. The reality is that it costs $2 million for a H2 dispensing station which can, very optimistically, supply about 24 cars per day. Or $3 million for a station supplying about 36 cars per day.

You will notice that H2 benefits little, if any at all, from the economy of scale. That is one of several reasons it will never be a practical fuel.

While I agree H as vehicle fuel is lousy, you don’t have to transport in pressurized form. You can transport lots of it with tanker in liquid form instead. Natual boil off would pressurize it at service point and relif tanks for periods of null. Currently, this is not practical due to low demand, but high enough demand to sell out in a day or two could make this practical.

But of course, there’s a giant caveat in that this is chicken and egg problem with no way to solve it any time soon, if ever.

Linde does liquefied hydrogen deliveries now and it is perfectly practical for them. Obviously liquefied H2 costs 20% or around that more than compressed, but I guess they recoup costs in other areas.

All these truck deliveries are not needed when higher volume is reached and minimal pipeline building costs start making economical sense. Natural gas pipelines can be used for mixed H2 transport too.

Liquid H must be done so that it gets used up soon. Otherwise, on-going refrigeration cost would make it impractical. That’s what I’m referring to in that there has to be enough demand for entire tanker-full to be used up without having any (or much) refrigeration. Since there’s no compression and volume-carry as well as leakage used to power the tanker truck, that 20% differential won’t be true with volume.

But for that, there must be demand, which doesn’t exist and seems unlikely to exist any time soon.

Meanwhile, battery tech is expanding rapidly. Some have discovered a method to have battery cycle over 100,000 times without much degradation, though expensive for now. If such things come to pass in near future where batteries are longest lasting thing in a car, FCEV won’t make much sense and even less demand.

SparkEV said:

“Since there’s no compression and volume-carry as well as leakage used to power the tanker truck, that 20% differential won’t be true with volume.”

My understanding is that cryogenic storage, which is what you’re referring to with liquid hydrogen, does not benefit much from the economy of scale. It takes a lot of energy to cool down massive amounts of hydrogen, and there’s no way around that reality. And if your dispensing station storage isn’t cryogenic, then you lose all that energy for only a short-term benefit. Again, there is no “clever way” around the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Liquid hydrogen is a good fuel for the booster stage of rocketships. Otherwise… not so much.

When you make liquid H, there is no need to compress, so energy differential isn’t as high, ~25% for cooling vs ~17% for compress. But carrying capacity for tankers would be far higher, surpassing gasoline tankers in terms of energy per tanker.

Service stations would not cool liquid H, but merely keep it in thermal isolation. Then imperfect isolation would boil the liquid. Excess H gas would be put to high pressure tanks to be used to fill cars. If there aren’t enough customers, excess would have to be vented.

This is why demand to use up entire tankerful in a day or two is needed for this scheme to work. Otherwise, much of it would get vented as waste. Or maybe they could use FC to generate electricity to put back to grid instead of venting?

In any case, demand could make H “plausible” by using various other methods different from what’s being done now, but I just don’t see the demand when BEV is doing so well. No chicken, no egg.

Via GCC: “Hydrogenious Technologies partners with United Hydrogen Group (UHG) to bring novel LOHC H2 storage system to US market”

“Instead of storing hydrogen either under high pressure of up to 700 bar or in liquid form at –253 °C, Hydrogenious’ technology catalytically binds and releases the hydrogen molecules to liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs).” http://www.greencarcongress.com/2016/05/20160504-hydrogenious.html

Which is of course why so much effort is being put into adsorbtion/nanotube storage of H2, to make it easier to transport and store (and reduce energy costs of compression). There’s already one company saying they can transport 950 kg./trailer vs, the 150-250kg typical of high pressure tanks, and the intention/hope is that this will sort of tech can be transferred to the cars themselves in a few years. There’s also pipeline transport, either pure or mixed with NG, or on-site generation. The last is still far too expensive most places. OTOH, if you’re a country like Denmark with excess wind electricity up the wazoo that you have to sell at a loss, the economics are different.

Once again, thanks for reminding me of the “four miracles” stated by then US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu required for a hydrogen (not taxpayer funded) future:

1) better production
2) better distribution
3) better storage
4) cheaper hydrogen

“If you need four miracles, that’s unlikely; saints only need three miracles”

In 2009, chairman of California Air Resources Board replied then that:

1) we would have “50,000 (hydrogen) vehicles in California by 2017”

2) “hydrogen and fuel cells (this is before they adopted Fuel Cell “Electric” Vehicle) show great potential and have met or exceeded nearly all of the technical milestones set out by US Department of Energy”

Does anybody see something odd here?

Not miracles, Tony, just continued R&D combined with economies of scale. No guarantee that it will succeed, of course, any more than there is with batteries. But we can certainly hope for at least one tech to do so.

Have any of you been to an actual hydrogen station? There’s no such thing! It’s a hydrogen pump at a gas station. I’ve been to the new hydrogen “pump” in Hayward California. What a joke! Honestly when I think of the words “hydrogen station” I expected more than one pump. There is no way 68 hydrogen pumps scattered around California will be able to handle several hundred let alone several thousand fuel cell vehicles.

If you fuel once or twice a week, 68 would be enough for about 1000 cars. Of course, that assumes even geographical distribution and good timing. More would mean some waiting, especially at “rush” hour.

Indeed. CARB and the CEC, in conjunction with the manufacturers, have calculated the station needs as far as both density and coverage given sales projections. Details can be found in CARB’s 2015 Annual report (page 26 et. seq.): http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/ab8/ab8_report_2015.pdf

I imagine Japan’s done the same.

And for R&D on production and storage, see the DoE’s 2015 Annual report: https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/annual_progress15.html

There was one south of Brussels but they removed the Hydrogen tank since no Hydrogen car was using it. So now, you have an empty skeleton with a bank terminal, a hose and a fenced space left without the Hydrogen tank. In the mean time 3 Tesla superchargers have been opened with one of them just 20 km south from the former Hydrogen station. Kind of telling the future isn’t it.

Betamax is still popular there as well I’ve heard.

When production of fuel is included, FCVs are a complicated and expensive Rube Goldberg machine where fracked natural gas goes in one end and water vapor comes out the other.

The amount of water vapor coming out of the tail pipes, how does that compare to the amount of water used to extract, by fracking, the input fuels for the steam reformation and creation of H2?

Just curious!

I think this may answer your question: https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/progress15/i_0_satyapal_2015.pdf

See the chart on page I-13 of gallons of water use per 100 miles, all techs (2013 tech. level). This is well to wheels, apparently.

LOL. No chance of happening. Hydrogen for transportation defies logic and physics.
There will be a shortage of fools willing to buy hydrogen.


The fast fuelling argument (1 of the 2 argument pro H2, the other one being that you cab stock H2) seems not to work. As I understand from Sven, it will take 9 minutes to fuel up. I guess that’s only the time the fuelling pistol is connected. Probably not included is the time for paying and peeing.

If you charge an EV, both are included. The difference in fuelling time is therefore neglectable, since most of my long distance charges are done in between 15 minutes (half empty) and 25 minutes (empty).

Those charging times are only for SparkEV. It’s double that for Tesla and Leaf, and even longer for Bolt.

H stations are far fewer at the moment, so the drive time to them are much longer than BEV, not to mention you need to do that few times a week. Compare that to home charging BEV, FCEV is too inconvenient and expensive. As a consumer, SparkEV is far better.

The only real metric that consumers care about is how many miles can be added in X time. Fill up metrics are a carryover from gasoline days, not EV people.

Certainly, 35-50 miles is possible in 10 -15 minutes in a Tesla, and about 100 miles added in 30 minutes. Tesla says 150 miles in 30 minutes (but my experience is closer to 100 than 150).

The “100 mile” cars (LEAF w/30kWh, BMW i3 w/33kWh, Kia Soul EV, 2012-2014 Toyota Rav4 EV, Mercedes B-Class ED w/31.5kWh usable) don’t charge any faster in terms of miles per minute added… it’s significantly slower.

The sub 100 mile cars (all the others) don’t go 100 miles, nor do they add 100 miles in any time. Yes, the Spark EV charges fast for a sub-100 mile car, which is a product of being an extremely small and light car and a fast charge rate.

He was talking about half charge (50%), so SparkEV does better than Tesla in that regard, and times he listed reflect SparkEV. But for miles per time (far more useful metric), obviously Tesla is far better.

Yeah, we gotta admit it Elon got EVs right. They need big batteries. Only partially for the range. The charge rate and performance are also very important.

A lot us said we only needed a solid 100 miles. Or a solid 150 miles. I’m sure i said those things many times. I was wrong! Those amounts might be ok for the hardcore EV fans (like us) but it never would have moved people to evs on a mainstream scale.

Tesla was right. You need big batteries for range AND charging speed. (And performance helps. 🙂 )

Here’s what I say, if the big fossil fool companies that are pushing hydrogen the most want to make this work then they should be paying for the building of the stations and distribution systems that will sell their product.

NOT the taxpayers who are being fleeced by a very politically corrupted and incredibly inefficient process from a physics/economics POV:



In any case, no amount of shilling/carpet bombing by sven and zzzzzzzz is going to change the physics and economics. When Tesla is delivering hundreds of thousands of compelling BEVs in 3-4 years from now it will be major game-over for the hydrogen-pushers.

Japan, which has had the reputation of forcing stupid public policies for decades now
might sink their own auto industry with this costly and stupid move.

One reason I thought of that people may buy a FCV like the Mirai is that its something different and rare. Some people just like to have something that’s different.

sven said: “There is no way in hell that NYC will put public chargers on sidewalks so that the 3,000,000 cars that street park in the city will be able to charge up.” I suppose back in the horse-and-buggy days, people said the same things about parking stalls on public streets and parking lots in New York City. Yet according to what I’ve read recently, it took only 10 years from NYC to go from almost entirely horse-drawn vehicle traffic to almost entirely motor vehicle traffic. Claiming that large cities will “never” install curbside EV chargers in residential areas with no off-street charging is rather myopic. Better for discussion would be to ask: when will that start? In some cities in California it has already started, but admittedly only in upscale neighborhoods. “I guarantee they would be vandalized by cooper [sic] thieves and other miscreants. Also, the cost of residential electricity in NYC is $0.31/kWh, so that’s the starting point for tacking on an additional charge to pay for maintaining sidewalk public chargers.” The issue of the high cost of electricity in certain areas of New York State is not one which engineering and selling PEVs can solve. Fortunately, most… Read more »

“Installers of curbside EV chargers in “the bad parts of town” would be well advised to use aluminum wiring instead of copper.”

Why don’t the J1772 EVSEs merely have a socket like on the vehicle side and each vehicle carry their own cord? That way when there is no vehicle charging there is no plug and cord to be vandalized.

What would stop someone from vandalizing or stealing the cord when the car is charging?

Do you know how easy it is to rip a locked charging cord out of the car’s socket. If brute force doesn’t work, you’re not using enough of it!

Bike thieves use cordless angle grinders to cut through the toughest bike locks to steal bicycles in NYC. The flimsy locking mechanism on a charging socket ain’t gonna stop even an amateur thief in NYC.

Well sven, you have certainly become creative in schilling for hydrogen now that you are flipping the script that we can’t make EVs work because of thieves stealing the charging cables in NYC.

I’m sure The Donald has a plan to maintain law and order!