Power from Hydrogen – Will it be the fuel of the future?

Most China watchers know China’s central government plans years ahead, which is why empty cities are being built across China to be ready and waiting when hundreds of millions more rural Chinese migrate to urban China where higher-paying jobs in addition to a better, more modern lifestyle may be found.

In addition, when China decides to move, it moves fast, which is witnessed by China leading the world in solar and wind generated energy manufacturing. China also has about half the world’s hydroelectric power plants and is building safer Thorium and uranium pebble-bed reactors besides replacing old-coal burning power plants with new, modern facilities that reduce carbon emissions dramatically. I wrote about this in Doing Mankind a Favor.


1958 film of the test fuel-cell tractor designed and tested by Allis-Chalmers

In 2001, we saw the beginning of the evolution of hydrogen fuel use in China when the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) announced it intends to make China globally competitive in the field of hydrogen technology.

In 2004, The International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (iphe) said, “Promoted and funded by China MOST and Beijing Municipal Government, the construction of Beijing Hydrogen Park was initiated.”

By 2005, Tongji University and SFCV had successfully developed three generations of fuel cell power train-system platforms and 13 prototype fuel cell passenger cars.


December 2007, the Science Channel reports on the Hydrogen Fuel Cell electric bike

Then in 2006, People.com reported, China opened its first hydrogen fueling station, which was operated in a joint venture with British Petroleum (BP). The Chinese partner, SinoHytec, is an enterprise linked to Tsinghua University—which is considered the MIT of China.

In addition, in 2006, three Daimler-Chrysler made fuel cell buses went into trial operation in Beijing and five vehicles made by Tsinghua University were tested.

In 2007, the Anting Hydrogen Refueling Station was co-built by Tongji University, Shanghai Aerospace Energy Co., and Shanghai Sunwise Energy System Co. and the station will be used as part of the Global Environment Facility/United Nations Development Programme Fuel Cell Bus Demonstration Program Phase II.


February 2010, CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout talks to Taras Wankewycz about a new hydrogen fuel cell refueling station for the home.

In 2008, twenty Lingyu fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) were successfully demonstrated at the Beijing Olympic Games.

In 2010, a fleet of more than 50 hydrogen fuel cell shuttle vehicles transported athletes and government officials at the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in Guangzhou City, China.

In fact, May 2011, TechCrunch.com reported America’s first pipeline-fed, retail hydrogen fueling station opened in Torrance, California, within Los Angeles to provide hydrogen for fuel cell and hybrid vehicles in the area.

A handful of hydrogen fuel cell black cabs have already hit the streets in London. Hydrogen fuel cell forklifts are already widely available, and used in warehouse fleets from Wal-Mart to Whole Foods. Fuel cell cars — promised by manufacturers including Toyota, Daimler, GM, Honda, and Hyundai — not slated for mass-market availability until 2015, though.


April 2011, China welcomes the Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell World Drive

Supergen Fuel Cells Consortium says by 2015, production from top automakers will likely reach just under 58,000 units in that year and accelerate rapidly from there. Early sales will be focused on areas where infrastructure investments have been or are being made, such as the United States (primarily California and the New York City region); Germany; Scandinavia; Japan (mainly Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka); South Korea (primarily around Seoul); and Shanghai, China.

According to a report from Pike Research, more than 5,200 hydrogen-fueling stations will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 in 2010, and estimates the market for fuel-cell technology in the Asia-Pacific region will reach $6.7 billion by 2017. Japan, South Korea and China are quickly becoming leaders in the fuel cell industry through their investments in and adoption of the technology.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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4 Responses to Power from Hydrogen – Will it be the fuel of the future?

  1. Sajawal Gulzar says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am Sajawal from Pakistan.Please let me know, is Hydrogen can be used as a fuel in Boiler for Power Generation.We are thinking to use hydrogen as a fuel in Boiler.

    Waiting for your reply.

    With best regards,

    Sajawal Gulzar

    • Sajawal,

      http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/hydrogen.html

      This is a link to a report published at Sanford University on the subject of using hydrogen as a fuel. I’m sure you will find your answer in this report.

      Stanford says, “Hydrogen is often advocated as an energy medium. Here are some relevant facts.”

      “Hydrogen is the lightest of the elements with an atomic weight of 1.0. Liquid hydrogen has a density of 0.07 grams per cubic centimeter, whereas water has a density of 1.0 g/cc and gasoline about 0.75 g/cc. These facts give hydrogen both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it stores approximately 2.6 times the energy per unit mass as gasoline, and the disadvantage is that it needs about 4 times the volume for a given amount of energy. A 15 gallon automobile gasoline tank contains 90 pounds of gasoline. The corresponding hydrogen tank would be 60 gallons, but the hydrogen would weigh only 34 pounds.”

      “Hydrogen can be used as a motor fuel, whereas neither nuclear nor solar energy can be used directly.”

      • Sajawal Gulzar says:

        Dear Sir,
        Is it possible that we can use hydrogen as a fuel for boiler ? We are establishing a 4MW Co-generation Power Plant in Pakistan.We want to use Hydrogen as a fuel for Boiler.Waiting for your reply.

        Regards,

        Sajawal

      • Sajawal,

        http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/hydrogen.html

        This is a link to a report published at Sanford University on the subject of using hydrogen as a fuel. I’m sure you will find your answer in this report.

        Stanford says, “Hydrogen is often advocated as an energy medium. Here are some relevant facts.”

        “Hydrogen is the lightest of the elements with an atomic weight of 1.0. Liquid hydrogen has a density of 0.07 grams per cubic centimeter, whereas water has a density of 1.0 g/cc and gasoline about 0.75 g/cc. These facts give hydrogen both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it stores approximately 2.6 times the energy per unit mass as gasoline, and the disadvantage is that it needs about 4 times the volume for a given amount of energy. A 15 gallon automobile gasoline tank contains 90 pounds of gasoline. The corresponding hydrogen tank would be 60 gallons, but the hydrogen would weigh only 34 pounds.”

        “Hydrogen can be used as a motor fuel, whereas neither nuclear nor solar energy can be used directly.”

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