There is an excellent webcast by Mr. Robert Walker, a retired Pennsylvania Congressman of 20 years and Vice Chairman of the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee that gives an overview of hydrogen cars and the building of the supporting infrastructure and economy. Many of the ideas he speaks about I’ve also talked about on this blog and website.
One new idea that I haven’t heard anyone speak of yet is the idea for the Federal Government to encourage the rollout of the hydrogen infrastructure by offering free H2 to everyone who buys a car. This idea may sound a little farfetched at first, but here’s the point that Walker makes.
He says that based on the rollout of hybrid vehicles over a six year period, which accounts for 250,000 vehicles, the federal government could offer free hydrogen gas to the same number of H2 vehicles over the same time period. This would cost the U. S. government $700 million during this time.
By comparison, we will be spending $16 billion on ethanol subsidies instead of hydrogen cars. The free H2 for consumers who buy hydrogen cars would not only encourage buyers to purchase these vehicles, but the suppliers of hydrogen as well.
In order to get in on this $700 million, the oil and energy companies would need to supply hydrogen to consumers and build the needed infrastructure. The supply channel can be started through car dealerships, gasoline service stations and other locations.
The suppliers who resist will miss out on this financing. Those who conform will help with the rapid transition to hydrogen vehicles. This win-win for business and consumers is an idea that has merit and will aid the rollout of hydrogen cars and fueling stations within a shortened time period.
I contacted Mr. Walker yesterday praising his innovative idea. Here is what Bob Walker told me, “Thank you. Your advocacy will help us frame the issue more clearly.”
So, there you have it. This idea will compress the timeframe in rolling out the needed hydrogen infrastructure and move from an oil-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy without decades of painful transitional technology to digest.