Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles no image

Published on July 9th, 2008 | by Andrew Williams

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Company Unveils Home-Based Hydrogen Refueling Station

One of the main barriers to the widespread adoption of fuel cell vehicles has been the lack of an adequate hydrogen-refueling infrastructure. Beyond a handful of hydrogen stations, such as the one near Los Angeles International Airport, there just isn’t anywhere to fill up.

This has resulted in a kind of chicken-and-egg situation, where car companies, such as fuel-cell pioneers Honda, are reluctant to mass-produce hydrogen-powered cars until a comprehensive refueling system is established, and infrastructure providers won’t move until there are enough cars to make stations economically viable.

Step forward ITM Power, a UK company that has developed a hydrogen refueling station that could be installed at home, providing a ready-made solution for fuel-cell car owners.

The station works via an electrolyser, which produces the gas from water and electricity, providing enough hydrogen overnight to fuel a 25 mile journey. If required, the unit, which has been tested on a converted Ford Focus, can also convert the gas back into electricity for use in the home.

According to Chief Executive Jim Heathcote, the unit, which is currently only a prototype, could be produced on a commercial scale by the end of the year, at an initial cost of £2,000 (around $4,000). He also anticipates that home-based systems could eventually be supplemented by more powerful stations in public places, capable of producing enough hydrogen for a 100 mile journey.

Speaking at a showcase launch event in Sheffield he said, “Given the pressing need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil, and to cut CO2 emissions, the future for hydrogen as an alternative means of storing and utilising energy cost-effectively has never been brighter.”

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Image Credit – ITM Power


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About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.



  • Steve

    All interesting BUT, what is the cost per mile or the cost per gallon equivalent of gasoline (I am sure this is a function of electricity cost)?

    The perfect system is to be able to convert PV directly into Hydrogen for the car.

  • Steve

    All interesting BUT, what is the cost per mile or the cost per gallon equivalent of gasoline (I am sure this is a function of electricity cost)?

    The perfect system is to be able to convert PV directly into Hydrogen for the car.

  • Royal Allen

    Why does the machine take overnight to produce enough Hydrogen for 25 miles when people all over the world are making HHO generators that are producing a liter per minute?

    Search HHO generator on YouTube.

  • Royal Allen

    Why does the machine take overnight to produce enough Hydrogen for 25 miles when people all over the world are making HHO generators that are producing a liter per minute?

    Search HHO generator on YouTube.

  • james jones

    The other very cool thing about household hydrogen generation will be for hot water. You could have point of use heaters that use hydrogen, no ignition. The exhaust is water, no CO. So very safe, very efficient.

    you could put one of these babies right in the shower head.

    Also space heating, your only risk would be drowning. :)

    very cool…

  • james jones

    The other very cool thing about household hydrogen generation will be for hot water. You could have point of use heaters that use hydrogen, no ignition. The exhaust is water, no CO. So very safe, very efficient.

    you could put one of these babies right in the shower head.

    Also space heating, your only risk would be drowning. :)

    very cool…

  • Jinny Dipp

    Home based hydrogen! What a concept!

    JT

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • Jinny Dipp

    Home based hydrogen! What a concept!

    JT

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • http://www.allied.org/ Jaboc

    But does it blend?

  • http://www.allied.org/ Jaboc

    But does it blend?

  • http://forums.cozay.com global woman

    great! thanks very much for sharing!

  • http://forums.cozay.com global woman

    great! thanks very much for sharing!

  • http://onenationdivisible.blogspot.com Tom

    Yeah, that’s good. Take perfectly good electricity, split water molecules, and then get what, 65% of that energy back when you recombine the molecules during combustion?

    Why not just put electric batteries and motors in there instead? You’ll get 50% more usable energy when all is said and done.

    Hydrogen fuel cells are as big a scam as corn-based ethanol. Don’t bother. Sure, it’s a great opportunity to profit, I guess that means it’s the American Way! Yay!

  • http://onenationdivisible.blogspot.com Tom

    Yeah, that’s good. Take perfectly good electricity, split water molecules, and then get what, 65% of that energy back when you recombine the molecules during combustion?

    Why not just put electric batteries and motors in there instead? You’ll get 50% more usable energy when all is said and done.

    Hydrogen fuel cells are as big a scam as corn-based ethanol. Don’t bother. Sure, it’s a great opportunity to profit, I guess that means it’s the American Way! Yay!

  • bruce

    Here’s the thing: They want to use electricity to produce hydrogen, which is stored in a vehicle and converted back to electricity using an *expensive* fuel cell stack to power an electric motor. WHY NOT USE BATTERIES?? Modern batteries have a much larger energy density due to the fact that hydrogen is such a light gas. The entire hydrogen process seems very counterproductive. Am I wrong?

  • bruce

    Here’s the thing: They want to use electricity to produce hydrogen, which is stored in a vehicle and converted back to electricity using an *expensive* fuel cell stack to power an electric motor. WHY NOT USE BATTERIES?? Modern batteries have a much larger energy density due to the fact that hydrogen is such a light gas. The entire hydrogen process seems very counterproductive. Am I wrong?

  • nobody really

    But what’s the point if it’s running on electricity made at home???

    Which is made from electricity from burning coal and such?

  • nobody really

    But what’s the point if it’s running on electricity made at home???

    Which is made from electricity from burning coal and such?

  • Alan

    HHO Generators? Shouldn’t that be 2H2-O2 Generators?

  • Alan

    HHO Generators? Shouldn’t that be 2H2-O2 Generators?

  • Lupin

    Sorry, but this way of generating hydrogen is much worse than driving on gas. You get a most 20% of the electric energy back that was put into it. It gets even worse if you consider the losses on the whole path from the primary energy source (still mostly fossil fuels) to the energy put on the road to drive. Every rechargeable battery can give you better efficiency than that.

  • Lupin

    Sorry, but this way of generating hydrogen is much worse than driving on gas. You get a most 20% of the electric energy back that was put into it. It gets even worse if you consider the losses on the whole path from the primary energy source (still mostly fossil fuels) to the energy put on the road to drive. Every rechargeable battery can give you better efficiency than that.

  • Rasta Pasta

    The 25 miles would depend on the weight of the hydrogen car and driving conditions like hills verses flat.

  • Rasta Pasta

    The 25 miles would depend on the weight of the hydrogen car and driving conditions like hills verses flat.

  • Reallynotnick

    Royal, you do realize that one liter of hydrogen at STP (standard temperature and pressure) is really not that much at all. That would never get your car a mile, heck it won’t even get a bike a mile.

    While it is disappointing to see how slow this process is, I hope we see some break throughs soon, or lithium batteries get cheap.

  • Reallynotnick

    Royal, you do realize that one liter of hydrogen at STP (standard temperature and pressure) is really not that much at all. That would never get your car a mile, heck it won’t even get a bike a mile.

    While it is disappointing to see how slow this process is, I hope we see some break throughs soon, or lithium batteries get cheap.

  • rawr

    Too bad you’re getting negative gains, The electricity required to perform electrolysis is more than the amount of energy you’re getting from your vehicle.

  • rawr

    Too bad you’re getting negative gains, The electricity required to perform electrolysis is more than the amount of energy you’re getting from your vehicle.

  • Michael H

    Last time I checked batteries could power a car further and charge in less time. What is so great about hydrogen?? Its very energy inefficient (electrolysis and fuel cell) process. Lithium ion batteries and electric motors don’t waste that much energy during throughout the process of “refueling”.

  • Michael H

    Last time I checked batteries could power a car further and charge in less time. What is so great about hydrogen?? Its very energy inefficient (electrolysis and fuel cell) process. Lithium ion batteries and electric motors don’t waste that much energy during throughout the process of “refueling”.

  • http://fark.my/ oOFooi

    Environment friendly and alternative to fossil fuels but 25 miles is not very good. :(

  • http://fark.my/ oOFooi

    Environment friendly and alternative to fossil fuels but 25 miles is not very good. :(

  • Lee

    Steve. Using off peak electricity in the UK the estimated cost of the H2 GGE will be around the 80p Ltr mark. In other words considerably less than the pump price for gasoline.

    For anyone who already has a Solar PV system man enough to do the job, the power could be directed through to the ITM Green Box. After taking into consideration the initial capital outlay the resulting fuel would be effectively almost free.

    http://WWW.itm-power.com

  • Lee

    Steve. Using off peak electricity in the UK the estimated cost of the H2 GGE will be around the 80p Ltr mark. In other words considerably less than the pump price for gasoline.

    For anyone who already has a Solar PV system man enough to do the job, the power could be directed through to the ITM Green Box. After taking into consideration the initial capital outlay the resulting fuel would be effectively almost free.

    http://WWW.itm-power.com

  • Dog

    This makes no sense. Use the household electricity to charge a battery in the car – after all, the charging process is simply moving hydrogen around in the battery – and then run the car on the battery. 25 mile range is easy with today’s batteries.

    Besides, gaseous hydrogen is harder to handle than you might think.

  • Dog

    This makes no sense. Use the household electricity to charge a battery in the car – after all, the charging process is simply moving hydrogen around in the battery – and then run the car on the battery. 25 mile range is easy with today’s batteries.

    Besides, gaseous hydrogen is harder to handle than you might think.

  • Lupin

    Sorry, but generating hydrogen from electricity is the most idiotic thing you can do, until the main electric power source is a renewable source. Currently it’s much more reasonable to drive on gas. You get at most 20% of the energy back that was put into electrolysis in electric energy, which is a huge waste. And it gets even worse if you consider which proportion of the primary energy (mostly from fossil fuels) gets actually put on the street to move the car.

    And even if you generate electricity from a renewable source, every rechargeable battery car has way better effciency than one with hydrogen as fuel and it doesn’t take a whole night to load for only 25 miles.

  • Lupin

    Sorry, but generating hydrogen from electricity is the most idiotic thing you can do, until the main electric power source is a renewable source. Currently it’s much more reasonable to drive on gas. You get at most 20% of the energy back that was put into electrolysis in electric energy, which is a huge waste. And it gets even worse if you consider which proportion of the primary energy (mostly from fossil fuels) gets actually put on the street to move the car.

    And even if you generate electricity from a renewable source, every rechargeable battery car has way better effciency than one with hydrogen as fuel and it doesn’t take a whole night to load for only 25 miles.

  • BRENT

    ok,folks. you CAN hook up a hydrogen fuel cell in your car that will produce enough gas to run you vehicle exlusively. as far as recharging your battery, thats what the alternator does after the engine turns over. i know this for a fact because im running my 1.5 liter honda civic on HHO, so naysayers step off.

  • BRENT

    ok,folks. you CAN hook up a hydrogen fuel cell in your car that will produce enough gas to run you vehicle exlusively. as far as recharging your battery, thats what the alternator does after the engine turns over. i know this for a fact because im running my 1.5 liter honda civic on HHO, so naysayers step off.

  • http://water4gasscam.bestdealsreviews.com/hydrogen_cars.html Scott

    Aha, so hydrogen CAN be produced from electrolysis of water? What about all those articles that were published saying it cannot happen and all the talk about it was nothing but scam.

    You guys on here look like ‘more than’ ;-) regular tech guys, so I’m gonna ask a question. I’m sure most of you would have heard about water4gas and nobody believes it. Just check out the explanation given on this website below, it referres to a piece of research done at MIT. They say, hydrogen gotten by electrolysis of water cannot be giving the energy, but instead hydrogen combusts easily and quickly and this improves the combustion environment inside the engine so that gasoline burn rate is improved. I don’t know how good I was in explaining that, but this website does a pretty good job, check out http://water4gasscam.bestdealsreviews.com/hydrogen_cars.html and please post what you think about this science here. Cheers!

  • http://water4gasscam.bestdealsreviews.com/hydrogen_cars.html Scott

    Aha, so hydrogen CAN be produced from electrolysis of water? What about all those articles that were published saying it cannot happen and all the talk about it was nothing but scam.

    You guys on here look like ‘more than’ ;-) regular tech guys, so I’m gonna ask a question. I’m sure most of you would have heard about water4gas and nobody believes it. Just check out the explanation given on this website below, it referres to a piece of research done at MIT. They say, hydrogen gotten by electrolysis of water cannot be giving the energy, but instead hydrogen combusts easily and quickly and this improves the combustion environment inside the engine so that gasoline burn rate is improved. I don’t know how good I was in explaining that, but this website does a pretty good job, check out http://water4gasscam.bestdealsreviews.com/hydrogen_cars.html and please post what you think about this science here. Cheers!

  • Peter Cyr

    Theres a guy with a prototype house which uses 10kw of solar panels on a garage that generates 160% more energy than his house needs. He uses the rest to power electrolysers and fills up to 10 massive tanks which can power his house for 3 months. I’m assuming it can also fuel his car up every night. have a look.

  • Peter Cyr

    Theres a guy with a prototype house which uses 10kw of solar panels on a garage that generates 160% more energy than his house needs. He uses the rest to power electrolysers and fills up to 10 massive tanks which can power his house for 3 months. I’m assuming it can also fuel his car up every night. have a look.

  • http://www.find-green.info/search/hydrogen-fuel Kim

    Yeah, really, what is the point…which has already been said, it’s the American way to make profit off of something..kinda like how corporations are already starting to make profit of this whole “Green” movement by commercializing it…so I will ask what has already been asked..WHY NOT USE BATTERIES? unless, of course..someone stands to profit from it…

  • http://www.find-green.info/search/hydrogen-fuel Kim

    Yeah, really, what is the point…which has already been said, it’s the American way to make profit off of something..kinda like how corporations are already starting to make profit of this whole “Green” movement by commercializing it…so I will ask what has already been asked..WHY NOT USE BATTERIES? unless, of course..someone stands to profit from it…

  • jpm100

    The point is that I can pull up to a hydrogen station and have a full tank in minutes. Or, you can have a full electric car and wait hours for a full charge.

    Hydrogen car benefits medium to long range and irregular lifestyle.

    Electric car benefits short range and predictable lifestyle.

  • jpm100

    The point is that I can pull up to a hydrogen station and have a full tank in minutes. Or, you can have a full electric car and wait hours for a full charge.

    Hydrogen car benefits medium to long range and irregular lifestyle.

    Electric car benefits short range and predictable lifestyle.

  • http://www.solreka.com/blog SolReka

    Hydrogen cars. Hmmm

    Certainly a viable alternative, however it won’t become mainstream any time soon. Not until Governments have put in place massive tax levvies for using such technologies.

    The irony, paying for the most abundant material in the Universe.

    Check out the Joe Cell device, now that really is promising.

    Regards

    SolReka

    Brighter Energy Solutions

  • http://www.solreka.com/blog SolReka

    Hydrogen cars. Hmmm

    Certainly a viable alternative, however it won’t become mainstream any time soon. Not until Governments have put in place massive tax levvies for using such technologies.

    The irony, paying for the most abundant material in the Universe.

    Check out the Joe Cell device, now that really is promising.

    Regards

    SolReka

    Brighter Energy Solutions

  • carlos d miranda

    I have been looking for in formation to conver my ford explore but I’m at a dead end. is there any place on south florida?

  • carlos d miranda

    I have been looking for in formation to conver my ford explore but I’m at a dead end. is there any place on south florida?

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  • Ceri

    This is a great start, especially if you use wind or solar power to power it. From reports around the internet this does seem to be the way it is going. All hail green energy I say!

  • Ceri

    This is a great start, especially if you use wind or solar power to power it. From reports around the internet this does seem to be the way it is going. All hail green energy I say!

  • Uncle B

    Storage of H2 is a bugaboo! Creating it using electricity has been resolved by and American girl, who uses urine and iron electrodes, and a very low current for copious amounts of H2 and O2,compared to electrolysis of the ordinary type, both gasses are very valuable as fuels! Storage of practical amounts for more than a day or two, at high pressures, is very difficult and expensive, although they both make ideal fuels for fuel cells, with no chemical degradation, and the same applies to the three moving part electric automotive motor,ideal as opposed to the millions of pieces used in gasoline/hydraulic transmission setups in current use! Recycling of Li batteries make them a contender too!

  • Uncle B

    Storage of H2 is a bugaboo! Creating it using electricity has been resolved by and American girl, who uses urine and iron electrodes, and a very low current for copious amounts of H2 and O2,compared to electrolysis of the ordinary type, both gasses are very valuable as fuels! Storage of practical amounts for more than a day or two, at high pressures, is very difficult and expensive, although they both make ideal fuels for fuel cells, with no chemical degradation, and the same applies to the three moving part electric automotive motor,ideal as opposed to the millions of pieces used in gasoline/hydraulic transmission setups in current use! Recycling of Li batteries make them a contender too!

  • ak

    It is more reasonable to buy a new elecric car or convert the existing car into electric car which may be cheaper than a fuelcell car to run 100 miles per day if your home gets power from a renewable source like hydroelectric power station.

  • ak

    It is more reasonable to buy a new elecric car or convert the existing car into electric car which may be cheaper than a fuelcell car to run 100 miles per day if your home gets power from a renewable source like hydroelectric power station.

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