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Energy Secretary Chu Disses Money for Hydrogen Car Research

The U. S. Congress once again wants to give U. S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu millions of dollars for hydrogen car research and development and the former Nobel Prize winner doesn’t want any of it. Energy Secretary Chu calls hydrogen fuel cell cars impractical.

I had talked about a similar debate between the U. S. House, U. S. Senate and Mr. Chu in November 2009. Secretary Chu wants to spend the money on other resources, which is fine, but the word “impractical” keeps resonating in my head.

For instance, Europe and Japan are now kicking the butts of the U. S. citizens in development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure, going full steam ahead in anticipation of a massive rollout of H2 cars in a few years. They are not calling hydrogen cars impractical.

The eight largest automakers in the world including GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford, BMW and Daimler are not calling hydrogen cars impractical because not only have they spent billions of dollars in development already but they have committed to having production H2 cars in the showrooms by 2015.

Who else is not calling hydrogen fuel cell cars and infrastructure impractical? Hydrogen fueling station vendors such as Air Products, Praxair, Linde and even ITM Power (who is developing a home hydrogen fueling station) are not calling H2 impractical.

SunHydro who is developing an East Coast Hydrogen Highway system is not calling hydrogen cars and fueling station impractical. Entrepreneurs, small companies, universities, large companies and other governments worldwide are not calling hydrogen impractical.

So, why does DOE Secretary Chu continue to do so? Some may call it a lack of vision while others call it a different vision of the future of energy in the U. S. Whatever the motive, it is important that the collective cooler heads in Congress are prevailing on this issue and forcing Mr. Chu to take money he doesn’t what for projects he doesn’t want to do. Sometimes the common good for all depends upon this.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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10 comments

  1. You have to realize that H2 is almost untaxable in its sustainable wind and solar generated form.

    Chu/Obama want to enslave us with gas taxes, or, barring that, make us drive unworkable battery cars that have to be plugged into the utility grid for 8 hours a night.

  2. The Administration must go.Not because of Hydrogen all though they are all about oil.I really hope the next President will get a Secretary who See’s that we put multi-billions of American money into this product.to create fuel. It is time to tell Chu as brilliant as he is stop this mightier than thou come out with Obama and say look water is not cleaner than the Grid. Lets Make It Clear Where your lobby is?

  3. Sec. Chu just doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to hydrogen. He is listening to people who are vested in the “battery only” and “plug-in” scenarios for transportation, like Joe Romm. Just follow the money, and everything makes sense.

    Also, Obama’s advisors are really doing a disservice to the country, and the world, by thinking that because Bush pushed for hydrogen that it must be “bad”. They don’t realize that the hydrogen program grew under Clinton, and for all the right reasons.

    It just goes to show you that you can’t know everything.

    The truth will reign, and people in a couple of years will see the light, and hydrogen will be back in full swing. I guess we just have to go through another round of trying to market something that people really don’t want or that doesn’t really make too much sense (that would be battery-electric vehicles).

    The only thing that really gets me steamed is thinking of what the hydrogen community could do with the billions that are now going into batteries. Maybe in some ironic way, this will benefit hydrogen-hybrids in the near future, as they too can make use of better batteries.

    Thanks for your dedicated site and perseverance.

  4. Secretary Chu, if I recall correctly, calls hydrogen impractical because hydrogen doesn’t generate itself. I read somewhere once that you get about 1/4 of the energy back out of hydrogen that you put in to separating hydrogen from other atoms. Right now most of our energy comes from non-renewable resources. Secretary Chu probably wants to concentrate on developing the renewable energy sources before worrying about how to have a liquid energy carrier (hydrogen) in a vehicle.

    Of course, I could be wrong about Secretary Chu’s reasons for dissing hydrogen.

    I’m also tired of grants for research when we need grants and loans for production. Production of hydrogen generating equipment, loans to buy said equipment; same thing for small solar, small wind, micro-hydro power generation, building efficiency improvements (for existing structures), and hydrogen and electric vehicles.

  5. What is impractical is an Energy Secretary without foresight.Things have been advancing at such a rapid rate that by the time f/c cars hit the showroom in a little more than a couple years that they will already have surpassed the practicalities of our present autos and energy system.They only thing that could make them more practical would be if they fly.Ah-Chu!I got some beach front property for sale in LA Louisiana that is

  6. What if we wait until every other industrialized nation develop the patents and ifrastructor first to see if it works?

  7. I am going to buy a fuel cell suv in ten years that plugs into a receptecle in my garage at night using only off peak juice that gets me up to 100 mper range and for the fishing trips and Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house. I will tell the tom tom to follow a trail of renewable certified refueling stations every 400 hundred miles along the way.Where the electric that goes to my garage comes from is also a matter of choice.Even a fricken caveman can do it but Chu?

  8. Free the Market. End the Moratorium on SELLING H2 vehicles.
    No need for more research.

  9. I would guess that Secretary Chu is extremely aware of the benefits from Hydrogen vehicles, but he cannot risk breaking any of the strategic agreements the government has with the oil/gas- and car industry interests. Remember, a H2-car has 90% less spare-parts than a diesel car, and the auto manufacturers makes their profits on spares. We do not really need to build a widespread H2-infrastructure similar to what we have for gas/diesel, refuling can actually be done from your own garage. The problem boils down to give the oil/gas and auto industry a lot of time to develop new business models, and technologies to support those new models. If not, the threat is mass layoffs and a deepening of the recession. So, what we see is a classic delay process, allowing the industry to continue to sell their old products for 10-20 years more, before they reluctently change. It has nothing to do with current technologies or if hydrogen is practical or not.

  10. admin

    The wrinkle in this argument is that it also can be made about battery electric cars as well. And it is common knowledge that President Obama and Secretary Chu have chosen gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles over hydrogen vehicles as the future car of choice. Hydrogen cars are electric cars. Both vehicles will put a dent in the Oil companies, auto mechanics, auto parts suppliers and refueling stations. The good news is more jobs in other sectors, so many people will need to retrain and switch their lines of work to keep up with the times. This was also the case when gasoline because popular in the early 1900’s.

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