Now, I don’t generally comment on the opinions of what other people write in other online newspapers and magazines, but there is a piece in the Hartford Courant that merits some discussion. The article “A Letter to President Obama: A Technological To-Do List” talks about technology in general and hydrogen in specific.
The article mainly talks about getting America up-to-speed technologically in regard to broadband in remote regions and laptops in the classrooms. Net neutrality and anti-piracy are also big issues.
But what caught my attention is this quote by writer Jonathan Takiff, “BUILDING THE HYDROGEN HIGHWAY: While he later dropped the ball, George W. Bush was right on one thing: Hybrid vehicles are a stopgap measure; hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered cars are the real key to energy independence.
“To realize this dream, America must first create a national network of refueling stations. Petroleum companies (already producing hydrogen to process gasoline) should be convinced to rise to this occasion with all the persuasive abilities in the government’s arsenal.”
Persuasive abilities will indeed be needed but they won’t be enough as we saw yesterday with President Obama’s Stimulus Package passing the House but with zero Republican support. Trying to persuade the oil companies to build this nationwide infrastructure I fear will meet with similar resistance.
Now, there are a number of things that could change this such as incentives to the oil companies too lucrative to pass up. Or smaller players could jump in such as current industrial hydrogen producing companies like Air Products, Praxair, the Linde Group or Air Liquide, chemical companies such as Asemblon or Safe Hydrogen that I’ve already talked about, home hydrogen fueling companies like ITM Power, a patchwork of small entrepreneurs or a even few small entrepreneurs with big dreams from the same molds as Ted Turner or Frederick W. Smith (FedEx).
What is exciting about the building of the hydrogen infrastructure at this point is that nothing is set in stone. There are many opportunities for small companies with big ideas to charge forward and conquer this new territory. The future is wide open so it’s just a matter of those with the desire and resources to start stepping up to the plate.