On June 3, 2011 I had talked about building a hydrogen car refueling infrastructure that mimics the compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling infrastructure that is already in place in the United States. The idea behind this suggestion is to not reinvent the wheel and to avoid mimicking the gasoline refueling infrastructure (120,000 gasoline stations nationwide).
The point instead for hydrogen refueling is to mimic the less than 1,000 CNG fueling stations from coast to coast. And it looks like Don Sherman from Car and Driver at least somewhat agrees with this assertion.
Sherman states in his article titled Natural Gas: The Next Step on the Road to Hydrogen, “FedEx and UPS are both in the early stages of converting their fleets to run on NG. By the end of this year, everyday consumers will be able to buy not just natural-gas Honda Civics but Chevy, Ford, GMC, and Ram pickups running on NG as well.”
He goes onto say, “These lessons are the next step in mankind’s move from carbon toward hydrogen energy consumption … As cavemen, we began with wood fires 750,000 years ago. The carbon-to-hydrogen ratio in wood is about ten-to-one. Coal, with carbon and hydrogen in a one- or two-to-one ratio (depending on the variety), represented a major step forward when it came into wide use during the 19th century – though we know better today. The 20th century brought petroleum, shifting the balance toward hydrogen in a two- (or so) to-one ratio with carbon. NG, which is mainly methane, continues this trend with four hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom. Extending the path we’ve followed for centuries will eventually take us to a full hydrogen economy where carbon is no longer part of the deal.”
So, there you have it. Another car advocate sees compressed natural gas as stepping stone technology towards hydrogen cars and vehicles. And why not? CNG cars are already commercially available. There is already a nationwide CNG refueling infrastructure. CNG is cleaner burning than gasoline and CNG is cheaper than gasoline. The only downside is that CNG is not zero emissions and this can be solved by transitioning to hydrogen at some point along the future timeline of automotive progression. This sounds like a sensible path to me. What do you think?