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Former Automotive Engineer Shares Ideas on Hydrogen Fuel Distribution

Over the weekend I received an email from Jack E. where he proposes a unique method of distributing hydrogen fuel along a nationwide hydrogen highway network. I thought I would share his thoughts with you today:

Jack E.: “I really support your effort to get the use of hydrogen going. I am going to be 75 this month and I would like to see hydrogen in use before I depart this life. I started out my work career as a car development engineer at Buick in Flint Mich. I worked in the noise and vibration group then as a senior chassis design engineer. This was in the late 50s and early 60s. I drive a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban. What a great car. I would like to see the day when they offer a Suburban with a hydrogen fuel cell.

“For a split second on Friday I thought that a miracle had happened. But, alas, it was only a joke. But think about this. If hydrogen fueling stations were to be installed at strategic truck stop locations across the nation, maybe it would only require maybe 5000 stations. Your report on the Vision Motor Co Tyrano class 8 heavy duty truck tractor really got me excited. This could be the answer. The money needed to kick start such a program would be much lower than concentrating on automobiles only. By setting up truck stops, cars could also use the stations.

“The truck stops could be setup using a mobile, medium or large 10,000 psi hydrogen tube trailers that could be hauled into location, swapped with an empty trailer and hooked up to a quick connect station installed by Air Products Inc. No large cost to install a storage tank. Rotate tube trailers. This could be done in a much shorter time than constructing permanent tanks. Such tanks could come at a later date.

“Remember how the truck drivers suffered during the time that gas was selling for over $4.00 per gal. Vision Motors reports that the cost per mile for hydrogen would be approximately $0.39 per mil , while diesel costs $0.71 per mile and LNG costs $0.79 per mile. Truck conversion from diesel to hydrogen could be a major business opportunity. T. Boon Pikens wants the truck fleets to go LNG. He has a big investment in natural gas.

“How about locating hydrogen fueling stations at Sam’s Clubs. Delivery trucks for WalMart / Sam’s Club could refuel at these stations and members could also refuel their cars.

“Maybe you could start a new web page that could concentrate on trucks/hydrogen. Every day that I go on line I look for info on Vision Motors project with the California Port Authority.

“The main reason that I like the truck angle is because it demonstrates the fact that hydrogen fuel cells are scalable. They are not only for the small tinker toy cars that are in all of the reports. I drive a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban. I would not trade it for a electric small car. My wife and I spend the winter in Florida for 6 months. We love the Suburban because of the need to carry our needs for the stay in Florida. We pass many truck stops on our trip.”

Many thanks Jack for your thoughts on this subject.

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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  1. Actually Vision has modeled that a truck with a fuel cell range extender up to 1000 miles would allow a Class-8 domestic US network with only 300 stations. This would supply all the major hubs. The question is where can you get the hydrogen density to extend to 1000 miles. Vision is currently watching Asemblon’s organic carrier development in anticipation of that hydrogen density.

  2. HI Jack,

    I thought what this company is doing might interest you. They have a commercial size project already functioning off the Hoover Dam.

    They are the leading edge of DOE research on electrolysis and provide factory training for techs in the field. As wind turbines go up it grates me we are driving around on gas, when most of the energy those turbines produce is never used, they are not as profitable for their owners as they could be. I don’t have to tell you the economic impact of that.

    Why not use ALL of our off peak energy, especially from renewables, to produce hydrogen locally? It wouldn’t require a while lot of ‘new’ infrastructure at all. Just tube trailers for some, some train cars for larger production locations, and pumps at existing gas station minimarts and truck stops.

    I personally think it is NUTS we are trying to drill under oceans, when we have wind and sun all over the place available. Where are our heads? Is cleaning an entire ocean cheaper than wind turbines?

    The insanity of the present situation is getting to the point that NOONE in the general public believes oil companies or the politicians they r cozy with at all anymore. As an engineer it’s nice for me to see the public realize what we’ve known for 20 or 30 years.

    Love to hear your thoughts.

    Trent Portch

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