Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Hydrogen highway hits roadblock

with 7 comments

San Jose Mercury News

Four years ago this piece of nonsense started. Gordo tried to climb on board with his own Olympic Highway to Heaven – or Whistler anyway. And in all that time not one hydrogen fuelling station has opened. Which is just as well as there are not too many hydrogen cars either.

In February, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, a non-partisan agency, recommended the Legislature not fund the program this year because “the administration has little visible progress to show.”

Of course the BC Liberals kept very quiet about that. Or perhaps Arnold forgot to tell them.

There are just 175 vehicles in California running on hydrogen, nearly all of them experimental and in government fleets. Retail sales are about 10 years away by most expectations.

And if you had the misfortune to jump on to any of the earlier alt-transportation-fuel programs, you might have noticed that there are fewer CNG, Propane and Methanol pumps at gas station these days. Indeed, the poor folks in Creston who bought Ford single fuel CNG cars have been without refuelling facilities for some years now. That is because in the tight margin gas station business you really want to be able to sell Mars bars and car washes to make some profits – and there really is no commercial justification for pumps that no-one is going to use very much.

What I find really interesting is the size of the story. It would appear that there are some new sources in North America that do not have to boil things down to a couple of slugs. I wish we had more like that here.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Add diesel to that list.

    Ron C.

    April 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm

  2. Some years ago, European light rail companies stopped experimenting with both ‘Ballard’ fuel cells and Hydrogen power for rail-cars. One correspondent in the UK stated in an Email to me, that the Hydrogen highway was not a complete waste of money, but a complete fraud. Only Iceland, the wee island nation could produce Hydrogen cost effectively because the island is powered mostly by thermal generated electricity and there is an almost unlimited supply.

    Malcolm J.

    April 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm

  3. Is the link broken, or is it just me?


    April 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm

  4. can you say——-CON-ARTIST —-fibster–magician-…………………………………………….and for gordo (THE GARGLER) campbells next trick————watch him make all the wild salmon and herring disappear …………………..ken dobell- john les-virk-basi-fraser- and how about campbells appointees to top positions at ICBC— big saleries,with big bonuses,aren`t enough lets scam the public and flip cars on a rigged auction site! I will re-iterate that these bc libs are criminals and everything every thought every idea is a scam to steal ,and to line the pockets of gordos freinds! signed…………………………….when you live in the swamp, occasionaly you get slimed

    grant g

    April 1, 2008 at 8:50 pm

  5. It works for me

    Try cut and paste on

    Stephen Rees

    April 2, 2008 at 6:53 am

  6. All this Poo Poo about a truely great idea! Instead of knocking a potentially earth changing emerging technology, some prefer to bash it. Suggestion: Try supporting the new programs and usher them along, so we all can benefit from the programs. One constant remains; In order for new technology to take hold, it will take mass acceptance. Otherwise, no new technology will be introduced to the public unless the companies are forced to by Government – and frankly do we really want ‘Government’ involved?


    September 24, 2008 at 11:49 am

  7. I am not bashing the idea – if hydrogen can be made to work it will be great. But, just like ethanol from wood waste, it is nowhere near “ready for prime time”. Given the pressing need to reduce emissions from transportation now – not in twenty years time – we need solutions that we know will work. So transit, cycling and walking come top of any list of what to do first. And of course government will be involved. Government is driving the hydrogen initiative and has funded a lot of the research. BUT given the current need, that money would have been better spent actually delivering real alternatives to the single occupant gasoline powered automobile which is still the dominant form of transport here – and there too

    Stephen Rees

    September 24, 2008 at 12:04 pm

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