Getting hydrogen cars on the road in mass quantities has been no easy task. There have been many bumps in the road, so to speak, along the way and this trend will continue.
Even though hydrogen cars have been around for a couple hundred years now, preceding the gasoline engine, people and governments seem to be largely uneducated about how the gas should be handled. And when a government doesn’t know how to handle something “unusual.” like hydrogen they tend to throw out a safety net of “red tape” to surround it.
Mike Strizki got a taste of this when he was trying to build his hydrogen-solar home in New Jersey. The different state agencies had no building or safety codes for handling hydrogen, so they bogged him down in red tape until they could catch up. At one point, Mr. Strizki said about one of the agencies in frustration, “They’re worried about the deer running into the tanks” referring to the 200 psi hydrogen tanks in his backyard.
But, the U. S. isn’t the only place where red tape is holding back hydrogen. In the UK, Revolve Technologies is finding out that current British law blocks the use of “new fuel” vehicles on the road. One branch of the UK government, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has promoted hydrogen vehicles as a clean alternative to those burning fossil fuels.
But, not all of the UK’s government agencies have been brought up to speed. According to Revolve’s technical director, Paul Turner, “We didn’t realise when we began the hydrogen programme that we were pioneering not just a new technology but new legislation too. We have worked closely with a number of government departments to identify key issues and help them to develop a new series of regulations which can accommodate the safe storage, handling, dispensing and use of this exciting new carbon free fuel.”
Well, the “new carbon free fuel” part isn’t exactly accurate as it has been around a couple of centuries as previously pointed out. But, what is new is the renewed interest in this old fuel for powering vehicles and the new rules and regulations that must be created to modernize how we think about alternative fuels.
In some ways, breaking the bureaucratic red tape will be like breaking one of the many finish lines that hydrogen cars have to burst through on the way towards mass commercialization.