This week, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is talking about the chicken or egg phenomenon as it applies to hydrogen cars and the supporting infrastructure. The chicken or the egg argument basically says that no one will want to buy a hydrogen car because there are too few fueling stations built and that no one will want to build hydrogen fueling stations if there are too few H2 cars to use them.
Some how do we overcome the inertia of the chicken or egg phenomenon?
RIT has three bullet points worth noting and I’ll paraphrase here:
1. Urban refueling “clusters” should be developed first, such as in Los Angeles, to support as many drivers as possible
2. Government coordination of supporting in parallel the development of hydrogen cars and fueling stations is a must
3. Home hydrogen refueling stations would be helpful towards rapid market development
Greg Blencoe, CEO of Hydrogen Discoveries is also adding to the chicken or egg discussion. Greg wants to use technology that is available now and develop coops of people interest in owning hydrogen cars and stations in their areas.
This would be a different type of “cluster” than RIT is talking about in that each person in the coop would pay to own part of the hydrogen refueling station. They would also pay a little extra to convert a car such as a Ford Focus to run on hydrogen.
Perhaps ITM Power and Roush Technologies could be part of this scenario as well? The point is that while the chicken or egg scenario is daunting it is not insurmountable. When gasoline-powered cars first starting rolling out there was not a filling station on every corner. Drivers purchased their fuel from the local drug store.
Creative thinking and outside-the-box alternatives will solve the chicken or egg issue regarding hydrogen cars and infrastructure. All it will take is for us to collectively put our heads together and brainstorm a set of solutions that most will come to accept.