Not only is the hydrogen car industry being pressured by outside competition such as electric cars and those that run on biofuels, but there is competition within the hydrogen car industry itself. Many people are anxious to get going on building a supporting infrastructure to support hydrogen cars.
Yet others balk at the idea, when the hydrogen production and distribution for cars has not been standardized yet. The positive aspect of standardization is that it speeds up the plan of getting from point A to point B more quickly. The negative aspect of standardization is picking technological winners at the expense of retarding growth of competition.
Below is a list of competition within the hydrogen car industry itself at present, which will show why many companies are slow to commit to building out an H2 refueling infrastructure.
• Hydrogen fuel cells versus H2 Internal Combustion Engines (H2ICE)
• Compressed hydrogen gas versus a hydrogen rich chemical compound carrier
• Use of hydrogen pipelines, trucks, tankers for transport versus hydrogen on demand at or near the pump
• Hydrogen on demand inside or outside the vehicle
• Centralized versus decentralized creation of hydrogen and distribution of H2
• Methods for creating mass quantities of hydrogen such as steam reforming natural gas, high temperature cracking of water, electrolysis of water, use of algae or microbes to create H2
• Who will build, distribute and install hydrogen pumps? Government, Big Oil, big chemical companies or specialty gas companies
• Hydrogen fueling stations versus home hydrogen fueling pumps
Standardization versus invention of new technologies is certainly a consideration for upstart companies wanting to join the race for a nationwide rollout of hydrogen cars. Perhaps the transition to hydrogen cars will involve a short evolutionary process of best technologies similar to the transition from Betamax to VHS to DVD’s or records to 8-track tapes to cassette taps to CD’s?
The rapid advancement of technology will by itself create winners and losers in the marketplace. Many companies will adapt to changing market conditions and some won’t. But, the important part is to keep pushing on all hydrogen development fronts and eventually let the market itself decide the shortest path to the commercial rollout of hydrogen cars.