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Hydrogen Power Sneaking Up on the Public

Sometimes when I read the news, I get a “not in my neighborhood” feeling when it comes to hydrogen development. I’m chomping at the bit for hydrogen technology to become normalized to the point where I can have casual discussions about it with my neighbors as I would any other topic such as the price of gasoline going up again and the unrest happening in the Middle East (which of course is connected).

I live in the Inland Empire area of Southern California which is east of both Los Angeles and San Diego. The Inland Empire region is composed of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. San Bernardino County itself is larger than the 9 smallest U. S. states and 4 of the states put together, so it covers a vast territory.

In this vast territory I often wonder how hydrogen will make inroads and be mainstreamed locally. The more local new technology is, the more relevant it is right?

So, when I get discouraged I have to remind myself of several facts. First, I’m not that far from Los Angeles and Orange County which are hotbeds for hydrogen car and fueling infrastructure technology. Second, even though the Inland Empire isn’t a hotbed, it isn’t a cold block of ice, either.

In my region, there are 4 hydrogen fueling stations, at least a several hydrogen powered fleet vehicles being tested, a project underway to turn landfill waste into hydrogen, and now one of the local colleges, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), which is about 10 miles away from me, will be powered by a large stationary fuel cell starting in 2012.

The 1.4 Mw combined heat and power plant will be built by FuelCell Energy Inc. (and the 5th such college installation in the state) and owned by the Southern California Edison utility company.

And what gives me more hope is that according to CSUSB, “In conjunction with the installation of the power plant, the university is expected to incorporate fuel cell technology into its curriculum to teach students and the public about the benefits of fuel cell power generation. The unit is expected to be operational in early 2012.”

And what gives me an additional spark of hope is that inside the local library, which is powered by solar panels on the rooftop, there is a fuel cell bus exhibit for kids. It’s a little rudimentary, but it basically shows children how garbage can be turned into hydrogen which in turn can power a fuel cell bus that one day they could be driving or riding in.

So, even though I get impatient looking at hydrogen development on a national scale, I need not look further than my own backyard, so to speak, to see that hydrogen power is indeed making inroads. The progress may not be as fast as I would like, but then again every time the price of the barrel of oil goes up, there seems to be a public outcry to move a little faster. Now, why do you suppose that is? 🙂

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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11 comments

  1. I have yet to meet anyone in person that can comprehend or has done any reading on the matter,but all will argue.Even when you can show them everything in black and white and explain it until until blue.I try to warn people so that they may understand how this may effect their lives,they just roll their eyes and walk away.If warships in the Suez canal and the overstated Saudi reserverses aren’t warning enough!It is all one big conspiracy to raise fuel prices they think.They don’t realize that this planet is not big enough.

  2. reserves-duh

  3. Hi Hydro Kevin. I think all ‘Hydrogenheads’ world wide are chomping at the bit waiting for HFC’s to become mainstream.We are starting to go electric and by natural progression hydrogen technology will take its rightful place in powering our future vehicles.
    I am so confident I have registered the first fuel cell car plate in the world which reads 1ST HFC with the words HYDROGEN THE NEW GENERATION printed at the top and my website hydrogenheads.org printed at the bottom.
    Mike H. founder HYDROGENHEADS

  4. admin

    Hello Michael, thanks for taking a creative approach to getting the word out about hydrogen cars. I tried going to your website but it’s down right now. When might it be back up so that I can check it out?

  5. I live in the Inland Empire area of Southern California which is east of both Los Angeles and San Diego

  6. Kevin, Michael…

    A word of encouragement. Over the years we’ve been nudged by the mainstream media toward a picture of ubiquitous hydrogen apps, dominated by the H2 car.

    But that idyl is not how change happens.

    What happens is that the public becomes aware that a huge hydrogen infrastructure has been in place for decades to support industrial H2 use and that vehicle requirements at any plausible rate of introduction would hardly make a dent in it.

    Hydrogen will come like the settling of the west. Sure the Iron Horse was a big deal but towns grew up at thousands of off-line points too and their interaction and linkage grew rapidly.

    Involved as I am in hydrogen rail (hydrail) and the hydrolley vision, I’m also delighted that there are (and long have been) two or more hydrogen fork lift manufacturing plants nearby and that the local Charlotte NC Coca-Cola bottler uses forty of them.

    If a major package delivery service wanted to deploy a fleet of H2ICE or fuel cell trucks in Charlotte, they could be powered by an existing zero-carbon source based on recovered chlorate by-product hydrogen already imported regularly from Ontario.

    So could a hydrogen pace car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, or, for that matter, the California Speedway.

    If we “cognoscenti” celebrate and make known all the modest H2 realities right next door, the longed-for ubiquity will take care of itself before we know it.

    Hydrogen arrives not with a startling fanfare but rather with a rising background hum! That’s the nature of change.

    —Stan Thompson

  7. Kevin, an after thought. Why not invite your readers to share info about the H2 apps “next door” to them like our Charlotte Coke bottler? We might surprise each other!

    —Stan

  8. admin

    Wonderful idea Stan! So, if anyone reading this thread would like to join in just let us know where you are geographically located and what hydrogen technology is around you.

  9. admin

    Yes, this is what I believe too. I call it “circling the wagons” where hydrogen technology slowly starts to surround us in our little worlds and before we know it, it’s everywhere we look. It’s happening right now with large, stationary fuel cells, fuel cell batteries for small electronics and hydrogen powered forklifts. The spread will continue until hydrogen cars and other vehicles are a no-brainer.

  10. I am in search of a mechanic who is willing to help me with converting my Toyota pick-up to accept hydrogen fuel. Does anyone know anyone here in Southern California?

    Call me : (714)904-2930

  11. I can’t help but have the feeling that fuel prices are riding high because the heads of these industry see Hydrogen coming and and so is an end to their monopoly.

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