A publication called Seeking Alpha released an online article called “Global Warming Up to a Hydrogen Economy” that takes an interesting peek into what the future may look like for hydrogen cars and the economy. For instance, they predict that one day, fuel cells will rely heavily on rare earth metals and that a metal such as Lanthanum may become the standard.
They are also predicting that Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) motors, currently used in some HEV’s may also become the norm. Besides manufacturing hydrogen from natural gas, coal and by means of nuclear power, another method that caught my eye was to use microwave technology to create the H2 gas.
Microwaves may one day be used on a variety of hydrocarbon sources to separate the hydrogen from the carbon atoms. Microwaves may be used on other hydrogen-rich compounds as well. In fact, there is now a patent pending on a plasma reactor that will use microwaves on ammonia to extract hydrogen from the chemical substance.
Once the hydrogen production riddle is worked out, then distribution may take on non-conventional forms. For instance, the upcoming hydrogen infrastructure may not mimic the current oil infrastructure at all.
Instead, hydrogen may be dispensed at one’s home, business and through third party, non-oil company vendors such as Air Products or others who wish to put up stations along the highways and byways of the nation competing with gasoline dispensing stations.
Hydrogen fueling pumps could be found at large wholesale warehouse vendors such as Costco, Sam’s Club or Price Club. Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart could also decide to pump H2 as well. Car washes, automotive dealerships, convenience stores and many other venues where large amounts of people gather could dispense hydrogen.
In addition, the mobile dispensing of hydrogen could come into vogue. For those who work 8 hours a day at an office building, the mobile dispensers could wash one’s car and fill it up with hydrogen. Mobile dispensers could be contracted to work other places as well such as airport long-term parking, sports stadiums or any facility with a large parking lot and significant number of vehicles.
Fortunately, the future is not set into stone. There are many options when thinking about how we want to build the infrastructure. In regard to building the upcoming hydrogen infrastructure a little bit of outside-the-box contemplation will inevitably go a long way.