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Energy Secretary Stephen Chu Chooses Fuel Cells

In a turnaround from 2009, when Energy Secretary Stephen Chu slashed the Federal Hydrogen budget by 60-percent, he now states his views of fuel cells are evolving. One of the critical pieces of Chu choosing hydrogen fuel cells is the abundance of natural gas.

Most hydrogen produced today is for oil refineries and is made from natural gas. Besides the abundance of homegrown natural gas, Dr. Chu also states the efficiency of fuel cells and the fact that a hydrogen car can be refueled in less than 5 minutes which gives them a big advantage over electric cars as major points to consider.

Dr. Chu also talks about the trigeneration concept, “Trigeneration is a unique benefit to fuel cells that produces pure hydrogen, pure carbon dioxide; and increases fuel efficiency by harnessing the electricity and heat produced. Other current energy technologies primarily cannot utilize the heat energy. He explained that the technology allows for natural gas to burn in ‘a little starved’ partial oxygen atmosphere which results in a pure stream of hydrogen, a pure stream of carbon dioxide and subsequently produces energy.”

In order to get a glimpse in the change of heart from the Energy Secretary, watch this video. The first one to four minutes are the most important to watch.

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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One comment

  1. Secretary Chu’s warming to hydrogen is a welcome course alteration but he still needs to come round a few more degrees.

    First, he’s still not thinking “outside the garage”. Railways, not highways, are the easiest early way to use H2 for moving people and goods. I just got back from the University of Birmingham UK’s International Hydrail Conference where Fellows of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of Chemistry joined other professors and railway industry experts to explore how hydrogen could be used in lieu of carbon-based railway fuels and expensive track electrification. There I learned that the first full-scale hydrail locomotive (an American development) is now being upgrading from a switcher to a road-switcher by BNSF, the largest Class 1 US railroad.

    Second, Secretary Chu needs to think outside the Oil Patch. Reformed H2 is the past, not the future, of hydrogen in transportation. The Savannah River National Hydrogen Lab’s thermochemical water splitting technology could, if commercialized, become a high-volumn, low-cost source of hydrogen for cars and trains with NO carbon involvement at all! The University of Ontario has moved in the same direction.

    Hydrogen street cars are great and will be here sooner than the media concede…but hydrogen streetcars (AKA hydrolleys) can do more to clear the air and calm the climate sooner … by relieving road congestion as well as providing a zero-carbon transit alternative where dedicated wind, solar or hydro produce the H2, as some Europeans are considering.

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