Linde, Praxair and General Electric have one thing in common: they’re all full of hot air, or at least moderately temperate hydrogen gas. All three companies are adding to the world’s current production of hydrogen gas, which is necessary for the fueling of hydrogen cars.
Linde, for instance is opening up a hydrogen fueling depot just outside of Munich, Germany, which will dispense both liquid and compressed hydrogen gas. In the town of Lohhof, the Linde Group inaugurated their hydrogen fueling station, from which they expect to service 10 hydrogen vehicles per day.
Praxair, on the other hand, has announced that it is building a new hydrogen production facility in Whiting, Indiana. The 20 million standard cubic feet per day facility will supply BP and other customers in northern Indiana, which use the H2 gas to create ultra-low-sulfur gasoline and diesel fuels. Praxair is the largest gas company in North and South America with sales of over $7.7 billion annually. In addition, Praxair has also been involved in building hydrogen fueling demonstration stations in California, which have been used to gas up fuel cell cars.
General Electric has just won Popular Mechanics magazine’s 2006 Breakthrough Award for innovative and world-changing technology. General Electric earlier this year unveiled its hydrogen electrolysis unit, which creates hydrogen by electrolyzing water and doing so for approximately the price of a gallon of gasoline ($3). Models by other manufacturers currently produce hydrogen in the $8 range, but because GE developed and used a special high-tech plastic coating called Noryl, to replace metal parts, a steep price break in the process could be gained.
Because worldwide demand for hydrogen is increasing it is important not only for companies such as these to scale up to meet that demand, but to keep innovating new ways to make hydrogen a more cost effective alternative to other fuels. It is also important to fuel competition among competitors, which will also ultimately drive prices down as well.