Batteries Real World Comparison of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Environmental Performance

Published on June 4th, 2014 | by Julian Cox


Time To Come Clean About Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

June 4th, 2014 by  

Critical. Re: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles/Environment.

This letter deals with the three fundamental flaws in the promotion of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles that seeks to exploit public concern for the environment and to trigger a profoundly counterproductive use of public funds in paving the way for carbon-intensive fossil fuels to enter the market for renewable energy: 

  1. That there may be some environmental benefit in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (tackling green house gas emissions) regardless of the use of natural gas.
  2. That the short term use of natural gas to produce hydrogen may be a bridge to the emergence of economically viable renewable hydrogen production to displace natural gas long term.
  3. That hydrogen for fuel cells in transportation is a relatively benign and economically constructive use of US natural gas that serves the interests of US energy independence from foreign oil.
Real World Comparison of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Environmental Performance

Real World Comparison of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Environmental Performance. Click to see a large, clear image.

A crash course in self-defense for the environmentally conscious. 

If you have not yet been exposed to authoritative-looking green marketing for hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles, you will be.

Here is a heads-up on some representative samples:

California Fuel Cell Partnership.  

“The well-to-wheels reports show that hydrogen made from natural gas and used in a fuel cell vehicle reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 55%-65% compared to gasoline used in a conventional vehicle, and by about 40% compared to gasoline in a hybrid engine.”

California Air Resources Board

“As zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), hydrogen fuel cells play a significant role in reducing California’s greenhouse gas and smog emissions. The California Air Resources Board’s most recent Advanced Clean Cars Program builds upon the ZEV Regulation in place since 1990, and rapidly increases numbers of ZEV technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric vehicles. By mid-century, 87% of cars on the road will need to be full ZEVs. This will place California on a path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, a goal adopted by many nations and believed necessary to stabilize climate temperature.”

US Environmental Protection Agency

“Producing the hydrogen to power FCVs can generate GHGs, depending on the production method, but much less than that emitted by conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles.”

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, Inc.

“Be a part of the next revolution in sustainable mobility: The Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV). A driving experience that’s on par with a gasoline engine, but without any CO2 emissions.”

Hyundai Motor America, marketers of the Tucson Fuel Cell 

Well-to-wheel emissions for hydrogen vehicles sourced from natural gas are lower than battery electric vehicles, and less than half of equivalent gasoline vehicle emissions.”

Mercedes Benz, marketers of the B-Class F-Cell

“Mercedes-Benz is working hard to harness the power of the most abundant element in the known universe. In other words, zero-emission hydrogen power.”

“0.0 emissions that means it is invisible to the environment.”

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. 

And make no mistake—the FCX Clarity FCEV is an electric car. The fuel cell combines hydrogen with oxygen to make electricity. The electricity then powers the electric motor, which in turn propels the vehicle. Water is the only byproduct the FCX Clarity FCEV leaves behind.”

Any problem with these statements?


They are categorically and unequivocally false.

There are no such environmental benefits attributable to hydrogen either now or in any foreseeable future economic reality. On the contrary, hydrogen is a gross threat to efforts to tackle emissions as a result of public policies based on a false environmental premise and by grossly misleading advertising combined with incentives targeting consumers most at risk of deception by messaging citing the alleviation of environmental concerns as a value proposition. 

It would be wrong to proceed without acknowledging the following exceptions to the rule:

The Ford Motor Company Inc. 

Currently, the most state-of-the-art procedure is a distributed [on-site] natural gas steam reforming process. However, when FCVs are run on hydrogen reformed from natural gas using this process, they do not provide significant environmental benefits on a well-to-wheels basis (due to GHG emissions from the natural gas reformation process).”

Tesla Motors Inc, Elon Musk. Transcript from minute 29:20: “Fuel Cell is so bullshit, it’s a load of rubbish. The only reason they do fuel cell is because…, they don’t really believe it, it’s something that they can…, it is like a marketing thing – but the reality is that if you took a fuel cell vehicle and you take the best case for a fuel cell vehicle in terms of the mass and volume required to go a particular range as well as the cost of the fuel cell system, and then you know, if you took the best case of that, it does not even equal the current state of the art of lithium ion batteries and so there is no way for it to become a workable technology.”

Technically and despite the unguarded language, Musk is correct. FCVs cannot be expected to offer compelling cost or performance benefits to consumers. Nevertheless Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are without equal when it comes to misdirection and as a tool for extracting public funds from officials only too ready to be blind-sided by pseudo-science and the lobbying of vested interests in a nation struggling to triage the cost of foreign oil and consumer environmental concerns while newly awash with abundant cheap Natural Gas from hydraulic fracturing of shales. It is just that the false promise of hydrogen is such a dangerous deception in environmental terms that it cannot be allowed to go undetected at the eleventh hour for the environment and on the eve of genuine progress with simultaneous break throughs in solar energy costs and Electric Vehicles capable of addressing the mid market.

An Environmental, Media and Public Policy Wake Up Call

If it were not for the considerable efforts to point to a water vapor exhaust instead of the data, the following would be common knowledge already:

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles are marketed as green to environmentalists and policy makers by comparison to a 23 mpg gasoline vehicle. A 23 mpg gasoline vehicle is the 2014 EPA average gas milage across all new vehicles. A 23 mpg is also a ‘GREET 1b’ definition of a ‘mid sized family car [of average age of fleet]’. What a 23 mpg vehicle is assuredly not is a reasonable benchmark to compare with a 2014 / 2015 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle. Toyota for example produces a 23 mpg 2014 mid sized family vehicle: The Lexus GS 350 a 3.5 liter V6 at 306 bhp . There is no example of a 23 mpg Toyota branded sedan, for example the 3.5 liter Toyota Camry only gets 268 hp and as a result has an EPA combined gas milage figure of 25 mpg.

The following chart therefore references the 23 mpg EPA Lexus and compares it to variety of modern technology choices from Fuel Cell Vehicles, Diesel, Gasoline and Gasoline-Hybrids to Plug-in Hybrids and pure Battery Electric Vehicles. Horsepower is shown in red and WTW mpg equivalent emissions is shown in blue. The green bars are emissions reduction and purple is performance reduction vs the 23 mpg gasoline vehicle. Negative performance reduction denotes performance increase compared to the 23 mpg vehicle. The Y axis gives the correct number for all bars be it a percentage or a number in MPGp (miles per gasoline gallon equivalent well to wheel pollution) or vehicle power in bhp.


Click to enlarge.


A Closer Look at Directly Comparable Vehicle Technologies without the reference to either the arbitrary US fleet average or very old or very high power vehicle technologies. This graph references the Toyota Prius as an example of a current low-emissions technology vehicle of similar fossil fuel / hybrid architecture to every FCV and the same power output except for the Toyota 2015 FCV which at 90KW (120.6hp) is ten percent less powerful.


Click to enlarge.

Fact: The EPA tested 2014 134hp Toyota Prius Gasoline Hybrid offers a 60% GHG WTW emissions reduction verses the Average Fuel Cell Vehicle tested by the definitive DOE NREL long term study.

Clearly the ‘about 40% WTW emissions reduction apparently claimed for Hydrogen FCV technology vs Gasoline Hybrid Vehicle technology statement made by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (and mirrored in marketing materials) is unequivocally at odds with official real-world data. One of the sleights of hand used in generating false comparisons is to include an exaggerated figure for carbon footprint of making propulsion batteries derived from an out-dated (2006) Argonne National Labs report. EV batteries on any significant scale are now known to be produced and planned for production without a significant carbon footprint and with very considerable cycle life, second use in storage and end of life recyclability.

Will hydrogen also become cleaner over time? No. EVs and FCVs are a fork in the road. One leads to renewables owing to direct compatibility and the other leads to natural gas. Natural gas is a cheap and abundant resource that comes out of the ground with energy potential for self-disassembly into hydrogen and CO2. Steam methane reforming is economically unassailable as a method of hydrogen production by clean but more complex methods.

Hydrogen is a fossil fuel. 95% of US production is from natural gas, most of the remainder from the gasification of coal and it will not change for the better.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, Inc. Quote: “A cleaner, Renewable Fuel Source. It’s simple science. Our fuel cells generate electricity from hydrogen, a fuel that can be produced from a variety of renewable sources like solar and wind power.”

Technically so can gasoline. However as a society we do not use renewable energy to chemically re-assemble gasoline from the exhaust fumes of gasoline vehicles (nor would we even if we had a convenient and abundant resource of concentrated fumes). It is for exactly the same reason that we will not as a society electrolyze H2o (the exhaust of fuel cells) even though abundant water is often available. The energy efficiency barrier is too high and electricity is too valuable to waste on essentially the un-burning the oxidation products of other fuels. Hence on any meaningful scale the production of hydrogen from water cannot ever compete in the open market with an abundance of energetic fuels direct from the ground. The larger the scale, the greater the percentage of fossil fuel use in the production of hydrogen.

It is simple economics as illustrated in the following chart.

The heavy conversion loss from electricity to chemical fuels drastically impacts the distance that can be travelled per unit of energy depending on source. The least cost pathway per mile for FCVs is so pronounced in favor of natural gas versus electricity from any source as to guarantee steam reforming trumps electrolysis, without CO2 sequestering and with no reason for the natural gas industry to fear cost per mile competition from renewables. Accordingly should FCVs be adopted, natural gas will prevail economically long into the future, and long after the date by which EVs could be operated economically on 100% clean renewables on a large scale to the exclusion of fossil fuels.

This is everything the reader needs to know about why the fossil fuel and auto industries are pushing so hard for hydrogen despite, no in fact because it makes no environmental sense.

Hydrogen merely represents an economic moat for the fossil fuel status quo versus renewables:


Click to enlarge.

To conclude and to summarise

It is important for any person concerned with environmental protection or simply wishing to avoid being mislead as a consumer, an investor, an editor or a public servant, to be mindful of well funded and extremely widespread misuse of publicly available data regarding Hydrogen production and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles. Misrepresentation exists across vested interests and government agencies to paint a picture of this technology as an asset to global efforts to reduce green house gas emissions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hydrogen is locked by the force of economics to natural gas and natural gas is increasingly locked by the same force to the practice of on-shore hydraulic fracturing of shales. Hydrogen is the Hydro in fossil HydroCarbons and hence hydrogen cannot be extracted from the ground without simultaneously extracting and disposing of carbon as CO2. Re-Capturing the carbon (sequestering CO2) costs about the same as the resulting hydrogen fuel and hence it is simply released to the atmosphere.

Hydrogen represents the limit of fossil fuel refining which results in the maximum hidden well to tank emissions of any fossil fuel and the maximum overall GHG emissions per unit of useful energy. The process is significantly more carbon intensive per unit of energy than coal. Mistaking fossil hydrogen from the hydraulic fracturing of shales for an environmentally sustainable energy pathway threatens to encourage energy policies that will dilute and potentially derail global efforts to head-off climate change due to the risk of diverting investment and focus from vehicle technologies that are economically compatible with renewable energy. Toyota for example, currently the world’s largest auto maker is the most active supporter of lobby groups in the US and world-wide in pushing for hydrogen while it has tragically sidelined its own efforts to produce EVs.

In California, the CARB ZEV mandate permits fossil fuel vehicles (if the fossil fuel is hydrogen) to qualify instead of EVs while the copious green house gas emissions to produce hydrogen for them are released in California just down the road at Air Products Inc., or at the gas station instead of on the street. It is therefore urgent from an environmental perspective that confusion on this topic is brought rapidly to a full stop. There is no reason to imagine that a future 306hp FCV will not pollute far more than the current 306hp gasoline V6 Lexus when the average FCV tested by NREL already produces 73.5% of the emissions with less than half of the power.

This document contains minimal interpretation (the data is derived wherever available directly from official EPA and NREL records). It is intended to provide a clear and directly accessible view of that data to serve a public right to know it (and to understand it) unmasked from false comparisons and pseudo-science and from political or marketing spin intent on forcing natural gas into the green energy economy.

The data demonstrates that unless a consumer wishes to purchase a low performance vehicle to replace a very old, a very large or very a high performance vehicle, Hydrogen FCVs offer no net Green House Gas reductions versus any other low performance vehicle. In fact the worst environmental performance of any low performance vehicle under 200 hp discussed here was and is the average official Fuel Cell Vehicle NREL test subject at 356g CO2e/mile. Replacing an EV, PHEV, HEV (or even a small-engined diesel or gasoline vehicle) with this FCV will represent an environmental set-back. This is a fact that cannot have escaped either Mercedes (Daimler) and Hyundai-Kia who were both NREL test subjects alongside Ford and GM, BP, Shell and Chevron. Of this group, only Ford, to their credit, has publicly stated that there is no significant environmental benefit to Fuel Cell Vehicle Technology – all be it at the bottom of a web page discussing the merits of tackling climate change.

The economically inescapable reason why hydrogen is of no benefit in tackling GHG emissions is that Hydrogen produced by the most efficient commercial route emits a minimum of 14.34Kg CO2e versus 11.13Kg CO2e for a US gallon of Gasoline (of which 13.2Kg is actual CO2 gas in the case of Hydrogen). This best case is not even the typical case owing to difficulties in transporting hydrogen in bulk. Hence the on-site (distributed) production from natural gas at fueling stations that suffers lowered efficiencies of scale. The real-world data attests to the fact that when installed in a hybrid electric vehicle the real-world energy conversion efficiency is insufficient to overcome the added GHG emission intensity of hydrogen production.

Unlike the optimal economic synergy of plug-in EVs and Renewables, the economics of hydrogen strongly prevents renewables from competing to power an FCV fleet either now or in the future. Natural gas is no bridge to a better future. In the case of FCVs it is an economic barrier to renewables.

Hydrogen from Natural Gas is currently posing a considerable threat in terms of diverting State and Federal budgets ostensibly intended for environmental improvement to fossil fuel based hydrogen infrastructure where at best very large amounts of public funds are at risk of going to waste assuming consumers do reject low-performance FCVs. At worst public funds will embolden the Natural Gas industry and Auto Industry to press for far-reaching delays in EV developments and even lobby for effectively the society-wide derailment of progress towards renewable energy in transportation. 90% of the Californian Energy Commission hydrogen infrastructure budget has been earmarked for non-sequestered fossil fuel production of Hydrogen in return for lip service of future environmental benefits that can never be forthcoming. Meanwhile marketers of FCVs actively and openly target Electric Vehicles (not gasoline or diesel vehicles) with claims of convenient access to lowered green house gas emissions similar to a pure Electric Vehicle. Claims that are simply not true.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles and their infrastructure are a case in which the cost to the many should perhaps be considered to outweigh the benefit to the few. With some considerable urgency.

Naturally there is unlikely to be a market for Fuel Cell Vehicles outside the demographic of environmentally conscious consumers targeted and duped by false advertising. In that regard I trust this document comes to the defence of the widest possible audience as it contains vital consumer education.

Of course the most decisive action environmentally concerned consumers can and must take in order to prevent the displacement of solar and wind energy in transportation by fracked natural gas is simply to refuse to lease or to buy a Fuel Cell Vehicle regardless of incentives or public funds wasted on hydrogen infrastructure. Naturally it would be preferable for CARB to anticipate such a response and to resume the role of forcing the focus of auto makers in the direction of more constructive instead of destructive approaches to the environment.


Julian Cox.

For details of public participation and input into California Energy Commission programs including the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) Investment Plan, a contact is Alana Mathews, Public Advisor, at 916-654-4489.


To dig deeper or if the reader is technically minded and inclined to double check the logic, there are some open source details of the calculations and accompanying notes and references that resulted in the information above.


For those unfamiliar with hydrogen production, here is a highly recommended brief and accessible click-through animation.

These are the step by step well to wheel calculations for steam methane reforming: Wellhead emissions: (2.450Kg) SMR furnace: (3.704Kg) SMR process: (5.072) Grid emission for compression: (1.175Kg). Subtotal 12.401 Kg CO2 per Kg of Hydrogen, transportation (0.8Kg). Subtotal 13.2Kg CO2.

This is cross checked with total Natural Gas inputs of 3.629 Kg CH4 per Kg Hydrogen representing a 66% rate of well to product energy efficiency (using a standard 50MJ/Kg figure for NG and a standard 120 MJ/Kg figure for H2, both LHV numbers). To complete the picture requires an acceptable estimated figure for transport. Figures originating at Argonne National Laboratory and republished in graphical form by hydrogen fuel cell lobby group Californian Fuel Cell Partnership arrive at 62% efficiency inclusive of transportation. Hence 0.66/0.62 * 12.4 = 13.2Kg CO2 / Kg Hydrogen.

EPA estimated CH4 emissions: 1.5% = 0.054435 Kg * GWP (21) = 1.1431Kg CO2e

Key Number: Production of Hydrogen = 14.34 Kg CO2e Green House Gas Emissions.

This number takes into consideration only actual CO2 gas and EPA estimated CH4 emissions and EPA estimated GHG potency of CH4.

Note also, this is a best case figure from large-scale industrial SMR (steam methane reforming) which benefits from efficiencies of scale. According to the NREL long term fuel cell vehicle study on-site production (at the refueling station) is often deployed. Ford, a participant in the NREL study refers to it as distributed natural gas steam reforming. The NREL figures are included in the comparisons above.

As an authoritative external frame of reference this is the NREL well to wheel calculation. Note for this analysis I will stick with my more generous 14.34 Kg CO2e/ Kg for Hydrogen in order to invalidate any possible criticism on account of bias.

NREL Well to Wheel Hydrogen Green House Gas Emissions

For Gasoline equivalence the same NREL study gives us a figure of 484g CO2 /mile for a 23 mpg vehicle. 23*484 = 11,132g We can cross check this figure with a DOE study which shows 450g CO2 per mile for a 25mpg gasoline vehicle. 25/23 * 450 = 489g. The figures are in excellent agreement (within 1%). 484g CO2e / mile = 23 mpg for gasoline.

Well To Wheel Gasoline emissions are 11.132 Kg CO2 for the production and burning of 1 Gallon of Gasoline.

The EPA standard figure for CO2e tailpipe emissions per gallon of gasoline is 8.887Kg CO2. 25.26% of the GHG emissions are hidden in refinery and transport processes for a total of 11.132 Kg. The 14.34 Kg CO2e for Hydrogen emissions are 100% hidden.

Key numbers: For the same energy (1 gal gas : 1 Kg H2) Total Hydrogen CO2e emissions are 28.8% more polluting than gasoline fuel (in reverse the math is 77.6% as clean as gasoline fuel).

Key number: Because Hydrogen pollutes more than gasoline for the same energy it is only possible to go 0.776 (77.6%) of the distance shown in Miles per Kg Hydrogen compared with miles per US gallon. 

To compare Diesel vehicles with gasoline, it is possible to locate figures of 14.2g well to tank : 74.1g combustion totaling 88.3g (per MJ of energy content). The hidden CO2 emissions for Diesel are an extra 19% on top of tailpipe CO2 emissions.

For electric equivalence to produce the same 11.132Kg CO2 as a gallon of gasoline there are published figures available for CO2 per KWh.

US Average Grid (IPCC) is 0.610 Kg CO2e per KWh. 11.132/0.610 = 18.249 KWh.

PG&E in California is 0.524lb = 0.238 Kg CO2e per KWh. 11.132/0.238 = 46.773 KWh.

Norway’s National Grid (IPCC): 0.003Kg CO2e per KWh. 11.132/0.003 = 3710.67 KWh.

Now we can take a hard look at a sample of similarly performing vehicles including Fuel Cell Vehicle and also look at both similar and very much more powerful PHEVs and EVs.

MPGp defined as miles per gasoline gallon equivalent well to wheel CO2e pollution.

Hyundai ix35 Tucson FCV 134hp (265mi/5.64Kg) 47 miles per Kg H2    = 36.48 MPGp

Hyundai ix35 Tucson 1.6 135hp 35mpg   (11132g / 318.51 g/mi wtw )     = 34.95 MPGp

Cross check  158 g/km / 0.621371 mi / Km = 254.28 g/mi * 1.2526 = 318.51g  wtw

Hyundai ix35 Tucson 2.0 CRDi 148hp Diesel ww 293.41g/mi wtw           = 37.93 MPGp

Hyundai ix35 Tucson 1.7 CRDi 117hp Diesel EU 266.56 g/mi wtw            = 41.76 MPGp

Mercedes B Class 134hp F-Cell FCV 52 miles per Kg H2  EPA                   = 40.36 MPGp

Mercedes B Class 120hp B180 1.6 gasoline 269.47 g/mi wtw                     = 38.44 MPGp

Mercedes B Class 136hp B-200 Diesel 64.2mpg  220.54 g/mi wtw          = 50.47 MPGp

Honda FCX Clarity 134hp FCV 60 miles per Kg H2   EPA                         = 46.58 MPGp

Honda Accord Gasoline Hybrid 196hp 47mpg  EPA                                   = 47.00 MPGp

Honda Civic 1.6-litre i-DTEC Diesel 118hp  180.26 g/mi wtw                  = 61.75 MPGp

Toyota 2015 90KW/120.6 hp FCV 312.5 miles/5Kg H2 (best estimate from Toyota PR material)   = 48.51 MPGp

Toyota Prius gasoline Hybrid 1.8 134hp 50mpg EPA                                 = 50.00 MPGp

Toyota Avensis Tourer 2.0 D-4D 124hp Diesel 230.13 g/mi wtw            = 48.37 MPGp

Tesla Model S P85+ 416hp 38 KWh / 100 mile EPA (Note: The EPA figure of 380Wh/mile includes an aggressive estimate for charging losses based on a small relatively low-efficiency 3.3KW charger). From the site: Battery and battery charger efficiency are assumed to total 81% (roughly 90% each) based in part on estimates from published studies (Chae et. al., 2011; Gautam et. al., 2011).

Tesla Model S P85    US Grid Average 18.249 / 0.380                           = 48.02 MPGp

Tesla Model S P85   California PG&E 46.773 / 0.380                           = 123.09 MPGp

Tesla Model S P85   Norway Grid       3710.67 / 0.380                          = 9,764.92 MPGp

Chevrolet Spark EV 28 KWh / 100 mile EPA. (Incorporates EPA standard charging losses). This is a 100KW (134hp) EV, which provides direct comparison with typically 100KW (134hp) FCVs.

Chevrolet Spark EV US Grid Average   18.249 / 0.280                        = 65.18 MPGp

Chevrolet Spark EV California PG&E   46.773 / 0.280                 = 167.05 MPGp

Chevrolet Spark EV Norway Grid         3710.67 / 0.280                        = *13,252.39 MPGp

Honda Accord Plug In Hybrid195hp EPA          = 115 MPGp

“The average WTW greenhouse gas emissions estimate for the Learning Demonstration fleet operating on hydrogen produced from on-site natural gas reformation was 356 g CO2-eq/mile, and the lowest WTW GHG emissions estimate for on-site natural gas reformation was 237 g CO2-eq/mile.”

51% is arrived as as follows:  237/484 = 49%  hence 51% less emissions than 100%.

100% of what exactly?

A 23 mpg gasoline vehicle.   (11132g / 484 = 23 MPGp )

The Economic Determinacy of Natural Gas. Where does the hydrogen highway lead?

While direct compatibility with renewable electricity strongly favors a continuing trend towards an emissions-free transportation in the case of Electric Vehicles, chemical energy for transportation, hydrogen included, inevitably favors the economics of chemical feedstocks. According to H2USA ‘Recent development of the United States’ tremendous shale gas resources [is] helping to reduce the costs of producing hydrogen and operating hydrogen fuel cells’. Methane from natural gas contains the energy potential for self-disassembly into Hydrogen and CO2 via the process of steam methane reforming and as a result it is the simplest, cheapest and most economically unassailable source of hydrogen, that is best equipped to see off meaningful competition from electrolysis, biofuels and waste-stream reformation – so long as vehicles are chemically and not electrically powered.

Some calculations to illustrate the economic specifics of FCV vs EV energy costs via renewable vs fossil fuel pathways.

Miles travelled on 1KWh Electricity:

Using the EPA figures of 380 Wh/mile and 280 Wh/mile respectively, renewable energy offers 1/.38 or 2.63 miles for every 1 KWh of electricity in Tesla Model S P85 after an aggressive EPA estimate of charging and battery efficiency losses, and 1/.28 or 3.57 miles for an FCV-equivalent (100KW) EV. This should be reduced to 92.5%  to account for a fair 7.5% estimate of grid loss in the case of electricity from a remote renewable utility-scale source. Tesla Model S P85 2.43 miles per KWh. Chevy Spark EV 3.30 miles per KWh.

The same 1 KW of renewable energy (at 120 MJ = 54.65 KWh/Kg for hydrogen) after 39% conversion losses in electrolysis and compression would carry a 100KW (134hp) FCV 0.86 miles (47mpKg Hyundai Tucson FCV) or 1.25 miles (68.3 mpKg 90KW Toyota 2015 FCV).

Miles travelled on 1KWh Natural gas (LHV).

1 KWh of natural gas heating energy (1/13.1KWh/Kg LHV energy/3.629 Kg Ch4 per Kg Hydrogen) produces 0.021Kg of Hydrogen. This will take a hydrogen FCV between 0.987 miles (Hyundai) and 1.428 miles (Toyota).

The same 1 KWh of natural gas heating energy after a typical 50% conversion loss in natural gas electricity generation and distribution will take an EV, counting EPA charging loss, 1.32 miles (Tesla Model S P85 at 380Wh/mile) and 1.79 miles (100KW Chevy Spark EV at 280Wh/mile).

From these figures it is possible to calculate fundamental cost per mile economic break-even in either direction in three different hypothetical scenarios comparing a 100KW Chevy Spark EV to a 90KW 2015 Toyota FCV.

  1. EV only transport system.  Renewable energy hits break even per mile vs Natural Gas electricity generation at 3.30/1.25 = 264%  of the cost of natural gas. For example if natural gas costs $5 per 293 KWh (true on average) Solar can compete in terms of cost per mile at $13.20 per 293KWh or 4.50 US Cents / KWh.
  2. If EVs and FCVs co-exist in transportation allowing FCVs to take least-cost route (natural gas). Renewable energy hits break even vs fossil fuel powered FCVs at 3.30/1.428 = 231% of the cost of natural gas. (3.94 US Cents / KWh).
  3. FCV only transport system. Renewable energy must be converted to hydrogen to access transportation and hence hits break even with fossil fuel powered FCVs at  1.25/1.428 = 87.5% of the cost of natural gas. This is a potential disaster for renewable energy in transportation and for the environment that PON-13-607 and initiatives like it encourage at the public expense assuming consumers cooperate in the purchase of FCVs. The answer is 1.49 US Cents per KWh to be competitive with natural gas or more than double the cost reduction to be competitive in an EV system.

These numbers represent the threat posed by hydrogen to our generation’s bid for emissions free and renewable powered transportation. 

We are within three to six years of it being cheaper to run an EV fleet on utility scale solar than it is to power an EV fleet via natural gas. But with an artificially imposed societal choice of FCVs, that goal is at risk of being pushed out by approximately 12 years of additional entrenchment in a fossil fuel transportation economy.

There are two economic conditions for these cost comparison scenarios to remain true:

  1. The cost of hydrogen infrastructure must be free of charge to the fossil fuel industry (paid for by public funds). Amortizing that cost and risk of consumer rejection of FCV technology is never accounted for in the cost of Hydrogen.
  2. There must be no accounting for the cost of CO2 sequestration during the production of hydrogen – instead there must be a carte blanche license to pollute. At an incremental $3.50 per Kg H2, 90% clean hydrogen as a result of sequestering the CO2 outputs of SMR cost between 50% and 100% more than the $7.00 to $3.50 figures typically cited.

These choices are of course within the remit of the California Energy Commission and similar bodies Nation wide and World wide at this moment. Whether or not to defray the cost of entry for natural gas to enter the green energy sector, and whether or not to impose or to waive the mandatory sequestration of CO2 during SMR as a gatekeeper to entry. 

Ultimately, the defining advantage for hydrogen produced by natural gas for Fuel Cell Vehicles is the ability to pollute while claiming to be green. It is not good enough that images of celebrities drinking distilled exhaust emissions sets the standard of public education on such a pivotal societal choice.

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About the Author

has had career-long vocation focussed on the positive convergence of economics, energy, transportation, and care for the environment.

  • LJLekkerkerk

    Where is the driver in this story? Would (s)he want a vehicle that can do maybe 300 km/200 mile and then has to be loaded either by a fastcharger ruining the battery-life or via a slower overnight way of loading? Eg going to wintersport areas from the Netherlands or Northern Germany takes a 800-1000 km drive (and the same back).

    Interestingly, during the 1910’s the electric car (or the 1917 Woods-dual power hybrid) lost to the petrolcar due to radius, cost, availability of fuel, speed of energy intake as soon as the combination of electric starter and improved reliability made the petrol car as easy to drive as the electric one.
    I really wonder what will happen the coming decade(s). Electric cars may lose again, probably to liquid energy user, or some (systemic) innovation will replace the private car altogether (which would remind us of the motor car solving the huge menure-problem all big cities were facing around 1900.

  • Bob_Wallace

    FCEVs could be cleaner than ICEVs. If the H2 was clean.

    California requires 33% from clean sources – later. If usage grows enough.

    There are two problems with H2 FCEVs. The first is the source of the H2, almost none is now clean. Almost all comes from reformed methane. H2 could be clean but that would make the other problem even greater.

    Hydrogen is too expensive. Made the cheapest way by steam reforming methane hydrogen is too expensive. Made cleanly, hydrogen is even more expensive.

    Hydrogen FCEVs would be the best way to replace FCEVs. If there wasn’t a better way.

    Don’t let the good enough get in the way of the even better….

    • EricR

      The California mandate is contained in the California Health and Safety Code, Section 43869(a)(1)(B) (which applies now to any station receiving state support and they all do) and (a)(2)(B) (which kicks in after 3500 metric tons of hydrogen is dispensed in a given year (approximately 15,000 vehicles), and applies across the board).

      The studies I cited all assume SMR only as a worst case as well as the California mandate which reflects the current reality. I agree that FCEVs using SMR sourced H2 is not as clean as a comparable BEV, but contrary to the conclusion of the article, it is not dirtier than a comparable ICE vehicle.

      Yes, I agree that hydrogen is not currently cost competitive, particularly because of the current oil price depression. This fact will also hinder BEV/EREV adoption and be a boon to SUV sales. However, that was not the point of my comment- I was merely arguing one of the main points of the article. This article comes up in Google searches on the topic of hydrogen, and I have seen people quoting it as if it is authoritative. Unless the author posts his actual credentials, I can only surmise that it is an amateur analysis rather than an authoritative study.

      I don’t think FCEVs will replace ICEVs to the exclusion of BEVs. For that matter, as long as gas prices remain this low, I fear the BEV market will remain moribund. If (and that is a big question) FCEVs are priced competitively and the fueling is convenient and competitively priced as compared to gasoline, I think there is a market niche for FCEVs along with pure BEVs.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Sure, there’s a niche. There are a few people driving around in horse drawn waggons. There will be a few H2 diehards who will pay more to drive fuel cell cars simply because they want to.

        How about you get real about the physical laws that mean that it will take more kWh of clean electricity to drive a mile with energy stored as hydrogen compared to energy stored in batteries?

        Battery prices are rapidly dropping. We should see EV reach purchase price parity with ICEVs in the next few years and then go longer. Even if gas locked in at $2 and all ICEVs got 50 MPG the market will shift.

        To get in the game H2 FCEVs have multiple problems to solve.

        1) Build in high enough volume to drop prices. Toyota says (IIRC) 50,000 units. Where are the buyers? Need 50,000 people willing to pay Tesla prices for a Camry quality ride.

        2) Build enough infrastructure so that people can drive more than 100 miles from a hydrogen station. Who’s going to pay for that infrastructure? You expect taxpayers to carry that load?

        3) The cost of fuel.

        • EricR

          We’ve discussed these issues previously, so I don’t want to rehash them suffice to say that the automakers and industrial gas companies believe they can deliver consumer acceptable vehicles and infrastructure. Whether they can or not remains to be seen. I am more concerned with the premise of the main article which seems at odds with the more recent studies from UCI and the Union of Concerned Scientists which I cited above.

  • Leroy Essek

    Joi Scientific produces hydrogen and oxygen gas on demand. Wherever and whenever you need h2 & o2 made from water is available from what the video states on their website. Currently no patent on said technology but the CEO has some serious credibility. Trevor Kennedy will soon disclose the transformational technology very soon. All the funding is set in place to launch a major breakthrough that will solve the issues dealing with a fuel made from water. This technology will be perfect for the Hydrogen Technologies zero emission boiler located in Stockton California. The boiler using both h2 & o2 gas will generate 580 PSI steam on demand. Great for steam turbine, heat, cooling, steam distillation of ocean water (Sephton Water Technologies) and atmospheric water generation.

  • Griswold27

    This article is close minded junk. Because both electricity and hydrogen production are currently produced through methods that aren’t clean. We have the potential to make elecricity and hydrogen with renewable solar energy. Since the only difference for making the two is water, it is idiotic to say that one of the two will never work, because the only thing stopping either of these becoming entirely renewable right now is money and politics, and let me just say that none of us is helping either of those problems by wasting time on here. This is idiotic.

    • Bob_Wallace

      What many would think idiotic is have read the article and still not realize that hydrogen is such a lossy method for energy storage that, while it would work, it is simply too expensive.

      We could wipe our butts with fine French silk, but the marketplace prefers toilet paper based on cost.

  • Dave C.

    Nice info Julian. I found this article because I could not imagine how running on hydrogen fuels could be as sytemically efficient as electric vehicles, and was doing some web research. However, I think that one major argument in favor of FVCs versus gas vehicles is that they limit the sources of pollution. The pollution would be coming from a limited number of hydrogen production plants, which can be regulated. Accordingly, these hydrogen plant emissions could be controlled more effectively than gas powered vehicles. Even though your gas powered pollution numbers look better than hydrogen, I suspect in real life that the emissions performance of all gas vehicles is worse than advertised. Plus, the emissions problem grows with the age and disrepair of the vehicles. I once had a friend in the auto industry tell me that the best way to reduce auto pollution is to force all older vehicles off the road. We would not have that problem with Hydrogen FCVs.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Yes, it might be possible to sequester the carbon coming from methane reforming plants. But capturing the carbon and storing it safely underground would increase the cost of fuel.

      Hydrogen from reformed natural gas is already more expensive than gasoline on a mile by mile basis. If we want people to move away from gasoline powered vehicles the option either has to be cheaper. Far too many people will keep burning gasoline if hydrogen is more expensive per mile.

      • Pat

        Mr Wallace. Do you get paid to argue against hydrogen and/or fuel cell technologies?

        • Bob_Wallace

          No, but if you’d like to give me a gratuity just mail the check to Zack and he’ll forward it on….

    • Julian Cox

      Dave. Thanks for the nice words. One of the most under-declared pollutants (and probably the world record holder for under-reporting) is Natural Gas. Specifically the GHG leakage during production. The figures in this article contain a generous best case scenario for Natural Gas derived Hydrogen using official industry-reported data (as collated by the EPA). Independent surveys of CH4 emissions surrounding American fracking fields shows CO2-equivalence levels of emissions that exceed the totals for the entire mine and burn cycle for coal. In Japan, the dreams of a hydrogen economy rest on the deliberate disturbance of offshore Methane Hydrates as an SMR feedstock. These are unstable pressurised semi-solids lying generally at the edge of continental shelves under silts. Drilling and dredging these will result in gigaton plumes of CH4 emissions ending all hope of controlling global emissions. It is reasonable to suppose that if this is not stopped with urgency this will trigger a man-made repeat of the Permian extinction. Japan is commencing that practice THIS YEAR.

      As you can see the undeniable case for Hydrogen production and consumption is appalling. The reality is staggeringly, staggeringly, staggeringly worse, triple underlined with bells on. This is not an interesting intellectual chatting point, the pursuit of hydrogen absolutely must stop or else.

      You make a reasonable-sounding point regards clean vehicles and centralized production of pollutants where those pollutants would be regulated. Unfortunately in the real world economics trumps regulation or evades it with corruption. The cost of cleaning up an SMR refinery essentially cost doubles its output. That additional cost can be mitigated by sending the CO2 to pressurise oil wells in a process called EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery). So the public is told the CO2 is sequestered (yay!) and the reality is that somewhere a stripper oil well is brought back to life (duh!). This is 100% the case for joint Japanese / Saudi proposals for hydrogen production with sequestering and it is true of government funded sequestering of Air Products Inc SMR in Texas. Environmental breakthrough? I don’t think so.

      Just to cap it off, in relation to energy markets there is no point discussing Hydrogen produced electrically (from any source of electricity) unless the objective is deception – i.e. a PR veneer on an economic but dirty process. This especially true when contemplating hydrogen on a scale that would be of any interest to power society. The hydrogen produced is always worth less than the electricity required, hence the economics add negative value. This is why society does not use bread on an industrial scale as a feedstock to make flour. A company whose job was to buy electricity and sell hydrogen can never make any money. A company that makes electricity will always be better off selling the electricity than downgrading it to hydrogen. That is the end of the discussion about clean hydrogen without trailing off into nonsense.

  • Bob Saget

    This article is great, but that graph showing fuel cell cars vs electric cars at various electricity and natural gas prices is terribly designed. I can’t even figure out what it’s supposed to be showing.

  • Bob_Wallace

    You link isn’t working.

    And when you post a link would you please post a description of what you are linking? Most people don’t want to click to a new site just to find something that doesn’t interest them.

  • billsimpson

    Batteries and electric motors are simple. Hydrogen and fuel cells are complex, with unknown reliability in everyday automobile use. Ultra high pressure hydrogen tanks are dangerous, storing a vast mount of energy just with the pressure of the gas, not to mention the flammability of the stuff. Stay at least a couple of hundred feet away from a burning vehicle containing a tank of H2 pressurized to 10,000 pounds per square inch. If it blows, it will be like a bomb detonating, not like the 0 pressure Hindenburg burning as the air got to the hydrogen inside the bags full of hydrogen gas. If one springs a leak inside your garage, and the gas mixture explodes, you’ll need a new house. I wouldn’t drive one if I got it for free.

  • Brandon

    You have to admit, there are a LOT of assumptions based on generating hydrogen from fossil fuels. That might be the way it’s currently done in the US but it doesn’t make it right. The article assumes that U.S. hydrogen production is geared towards fueling vehicles. It isn’t. The hydrogen produced from hydrocarbons is used to produce other petroleum products in oil refineries.

    I challenge the author to re-run his numbers based upon a renewable electrolysis model or from a nuclear power plant.

    Unfortunately for the electric battery vehicle, the energy density of batteries just isn’t there. For commuters, the solution makes sense. However, not everyone commutes. Paul Staples, while crass in his approach is right. Modifications can be made to our current fueling infrastructure to support hydrogen.

    I see a lot of making the numbers look good for an argument in the article, but they do not convey the truth; they convey an opinion. Most likely the author has a vested interest with the Tesla company. I see these arguments on a daily basis by authors with no scientific or engineering background. Tesla is good at marketing.

    Note: I work for the DOE in energy research in R&D.

    • Bob_Wallace

      ” I work for the DOE in energy research in R&D.”


      Please update this chart for us. I’m pretty sure that fuel cell efficiency has improved during the years since it was created.

      Best case, back then, using hydrogen from electrolysis took 3x as much electricity as using an EV to go the same distance. What’s the ratio now?

      (Do remember, there are significant infrastructure costs in addition to electricity costs for H2 FCEV. But working in energy research, I’m sure you know that.)

  • Pogo

    Thank you for a clear (if at times not unemotive) discussion of the facts. Now I understand what game is being played.

  • Could be a little less biased. How does hydrogen compare with natural gas, gasoline, and electrons on power, speed, and emissions? Assume sustainable sources and electric motors. I know batteries are twice as efficient, but read comments about people not being able to haul their huge loads for long distances without worrying about range.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Range is solvable. In the short term by stopping for fast recharges. Over time battery capacity will almost certainly increase which will allow for more range.

      The key is not power, speed or emissions when it comes to what the market will choose. Cost is the controlling factor. People will purchase based on cost to operate with a secondary factor being convenience and/or quality of ride.

      Hydrogen, using Toyota’s numbers, will cost about 17 cents per mile and might come down to 10 cents after a few years. (Toyota, remember, is marketing a H2 FVEC car.)

      A 50 MPG hybrid burning $3/gallon gas costs 6 cents per mile.

      An EV using 0.3 kWh/mile and $0.10/kWh costs 3 cents per mile.

      The EV is the most convenient. Just plug in when you park and never go to a filling station. You will have to stop a few minutes more on a long trip but that won’t be real problem for most people. (They will be smiling about how much money they are saving. ;o)

      The EV and FCEV will offer better rides than ICEVs. Less noise and vibration.

      EVs win in terms of emissions. FCEVs may or may not be better than ICEVs if the H2 comes from reformed methane. Better if it comes from electrolysis but that drives the per mile cost a lot higher.

      EVs are simply quick off the line. FCEVs are also EVs, but with smaller battery packs.

      • The environmental costs should be factored into everything, making PBEVs the best. Maybe PHEVS for places without proper parking plugs.

        • Shane 2

          Wow, I made it to the end of this thread. Giggle 🙂

  • Chauncey

    Wrong. WTW hydrogen releases 356 g CO2e / mile versus gasoline releases 484 g CO2e / mile. That’s 12.8 kg CO2e / 100 miles LESS than gasoline ! Gasoline is 35.9 % MORE polluting than hydrogen!

    Quoted from the reference material, NREL, provide by and used to calculate the incorrect conclusions in this article.
    (pg 40 of 115) section 2.2.2 GHG emissions clearly states:

    “Greenhouse gas emissions from the Learning Demonstration fleet have been assessed and compared to greenhouse gas emission estimates of conventional gasoline vehicles. The results indicate that when using hydrogen produced on-site via either natural gas reformation or water electrolysis, Learning Demonstration hydrogen FCEVs offer significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional gasoline vehicles (Figure76,CDP62). Conventional gasoline mid-sized passenger vehicles emit 484 g CO2-eq/mile (grams CO2 equivalent per mile) on a well-to-wheels (WTW) basis, and conventional mid-size SUVs emit 612 g CO2-eq/mile on a WTW basis. WTW greenhouse gas emissions for the Learning Demonstration FCEV fleet, which includes both passenger cars and SUVs, were analyzed based on the window sticker fuel economy of the Learning Demonstration fleet and the actual distribution of hydrogen production conversion efficiencies from on-site hydrogen production. The average WTW greenhouse gas emissions estimate for the Learning Demonstration fleet operating on hydrogen produced from on-site natural gas reformation was 356 g CO2-eq/mile, and the lowest WTW GHG emissions estimate for on-site natural gas reformation was 237 g CO2-eq/mile. For the Learning Demonstration fleet operating
    on hydrogen produced from on-site water electrolysis (including some renewable sources of electricity), the average WTW GHG emissions estimate was 380 g CO2-eq/mile, and the lowest emissions estimate was 222 g CO2-eq/mile for the month with the best electrolysis production conversion efficiency.”

    • Julian Cox

      Chauncey. The EPA has started to publish upstream emissions for gasoline which puts the Prius officially at 218g CO2e / mile.

      Hence one of the conclusions brought to light in this article is that a 484 g CO2e / mile vehicle like a Porsche 911 or a V6 Lexus 350 is a false comparison.

      Almost anything exhibiting the poor driving performance of an FCV or a Prius is very considerably less polluting than a sports car or a powerful sedan, except of course a powerful EV – which has very low emissions per Hp and unlike an FCV can already be fuelled far more cheaply per mile with renewables than with gasoline making it economically and environmentally viable at scale.

      The trouble with promoting FCVs as a way to reduce emissions is that the worst emissions performance per Hp belongs to the FCV drive train. It is the wrong technology to tackle the issue and marketing claims to the contrary are strictly dishonest.

      • Chauncey

        Julian. You want to use a different average figure instead of 23 mpg? Let’s use 25 mpg or 30 mpg. It doesn’t matter. The CO2e / mile is higher than it is for hydrogen.

        You would like more horsepower? I’m more than positive that is possible. Sure the first few FCEVs are modest, but that doesn’t mean future FCEVs will be.

        ICEs have over 100 years of horsepower improvements. Hence a false comparison with the very first FCEVs.

        Some of the facts and figures provided in this article are misleading and incorrect. In your article, please correct the following mentioned fact:

        Comparing 14.34Kg CO2e for a Kg of Hydrogen versus 11.13Kg CO2e for a US gallon of Gasoline is pointless without including the traveling distance. You’re concluding hydrogen pollutes more for having a higher carbon emission per kilogram versus per gallon of gasoline, while ignoring the fact that a kilogram of hydrogen will provide higher traveling distances than a gallon of gasoline. Therefore, hydrogen pollutes less than gasoline and all of your WTW hydrogen calculations are incorrect.

        If the Prius has 218 g CO2e / mile, than Toyota is making two of the most environmentally friendly vehicles. Using the unofficial range of 300 miles, the Mirai would have 239 g CO2e / mile and has the potential to be much less using renewable energy and methods. Also if Mirai’s range is higher, than the CO2e / mile will decrease.

        • Julian Cox


          FCVs were promoted to offer a 40% reduction in emissions from a gasoline hybrid to justify favourable ZEV policy for FCVs and taxpayer funding for H2 filling stations – and a free pass for

          Does 239g per mile (Mirai FCV) seem like 40% less than 218 g per mile (Prius Gasoline Hybrid) to you?

          Does comparison to a 3.5 Litre V6 Highlander SUV gasoline hybrid actually sound like a reasonable way to assess the relative merits of a drivetrain technology with a Mirai FCV that is based on swapping out the gasoline engine in a Prius for a fuel cell and slightly uprated motor – to deliver performance like a Prius and nothing at all like a powerful SUV.

          Considering CARB and the Californian taxpayer have been subjected to blatant environmental subsidy fraud, I think it is time for a hard rethink on this FCV deal now that the Toyota Mirai has conclusively failed to deliver on the promises of Toyota’s lobbyists.

          As for your statement that some of the figures are misleading and incorrect, I am afraid to say that this is your confusion. There is no such error. All of the calculations presented translate directly to pollution in g per mile travelled using the conversion factors presented (14.34 and 11.13 Kg CO2e respectively). The only valid criticism shared by academics both shilling for and defending the public interest against hydrogen respectively concurs on one thing: The 14.34 Kg CO2e per Kg for hydrogen is too conservative with respect to debatable fugitive CH4 and NOX emissions (and intentionally so on my part in order to defeat accusations of bias).

          The NREL official figure for hydrogen is 16.51Kg CO2e per Kg. The Argonne National Labs GREET 1b definition (according to prominent hydrogen industry advocate Dr C.E. Sandy Thomas) is 16.58 Kg CO2e per Kg H2 (vs 11.3 Kg for gasoline). This does not assist in the case for hydrogen one little bit,

          • Chauncey

            I am definitely not confused. Kilograms are a measurement of weight and gallons are a measurement of volume. Kilograms do not equal gallons. Recognizing the importance of this fundamental fact reveals the truth of hydrogen’s minimal pollution versus gasoline and exposes the fallacy of your argument. The gasoline figure is 11.3 Kg CO2e per gallon, not kilogram as it is for Hydrogen. One Kilogram of hydrogen provides more miles than one gallon of gasoline, therefore fewer CO2e. The amount of the CO2e depends on the fuel efficiency of each vehicle. I will provide the formula through two examples that will clearly compare hydrogen and gasoline.

            For each vehicle, we have to find how many units of fuel are used to travel 1 mile. Then, multiply the fuel amount by the number of kg CO2e per the same unit of the fuel. That will give us the Kg CO2e per mile. If one prefers g CO2e per mile, then multiply by 1000.

            Example 1. Toyota Camary (4 cylinder) has EPA rating of 28 MPG. To find the number of gallons per mile: 1 Gal/ 28 Miles = n Gal/ 1 Miles.
            1 Gal * 1 Miles/ 28 Miles = n Gal = 0.0357 Gallons of gasoline.
            0.0357 Gal / mile * 11.3 Kg CO2e per Gal = 0.4034 Kg CO2e / mile
            Multiply by 1000 and the Camary pollutes 403 g CO2e per mile.

            Example 2. Toyota Mirai gets 60 MPKg
            1 Kg/ 60 Miles = n Kg / 1 Miles.
            1 Kg * 1 Miles / 60 miles = n Kg = 0.0167 Kg
            Using your more liberal figure of 16.58 Kg CO2e per Kg
            0.0167 Kg / Mile *16.58 Kg CO2e per Kg = 0.2763 Kg CO2e / Mile
            Mutiply by 1000 and the Mirai pollutes 276 g CO2e per mile.

            Clearly hydrogen pollutes less than gasoline.

            Please feel free to re-calculate the rest of the vehicles listed in your article.

          • Hering Cheng

            Thanks, Chauncey, for the clarification.

            What I do not see addressed in Julian’s write-up nor in other anti-HFCV articles is the reason why Toyota is betting on HFCV. Toyota is doing well selling its hybrids. It also has more experience on battery technology than many, including Tesla. I am not asking this rhetorically, but the “marketing” reason that some people cite does not seem to make sense to me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            A lot of us are wondering what Toyota is thinking.

            Best guess(es), they know of some incredible breakthrough that is still under wraps which will make driving a FCEV cheaper than driving an EV.
            Or (and more reality based) they started down the H2 FCEV path as did several other car manufacturers back when battery tech didn’t look promising and someone up at the top has frozen out any information that they might be on the wrong track.

            As for having more battery experience, they do. With NiMH batteries but not lithium-ion. Tesla did the battery/electronics/motor work for Toyota on their Rav4 EV.

          • Julian Cox

            In the immediate term, HFCVs enable Toyota’s lobbyists such as the California Fuel Cell Partnership and similar around the US and the world to present a false alternative to electrification of transport. Notice that ALL of Toyota’s marketing efforts for HFCVs are aimed at attacking EVs, none of them are aimed at attacking gasoline or diesel emissions.

            This helps to divide and derail cogent energy and environmental policies to tackle emissions and to usurp subsidies that could end up in the hands of Toyota’s renewable and EV competition. It also serves to present a false alternative to consumers and if sold these vehicles often earn ZEV credits permitting Toyota to sell additional ICE vehicles in emissions regulated areas.

            In the bigger picture Toyota is responding to a Japanese national push for energy independence based on what they consider to be a hundred years worth of Methane Hydrates located in Japan’s territorial waters. These are notoriously unstable deposits at low temperature and high pressure lying under silts on the sea bed. Efforts to disturb these deposits are underway this year, 2016. If it proceeds at scale all of mankind’s efforts to control GHG emissions are at an end. In the meantime the economic lure is there to bring up what is essentially a water + methane mix at pressure and feed it into massive SMR processing for hydrogen. To a lesser but still significant extent, the lure of Hydrogen as a market for Natural Gas rebadged as ‘green’ is also a corrupting influence in US energy politics linked to similar aspirations for energy independence based upon the newfound glut of onshore gas drilling and fracking. Various government and industry sponsored renewable hydrogen projects are promoted and occasionally built as a PR stunt. All of the big new investments in Hydrogen however from Saudi and Japan and in Europe and the US is based on methane (natural gas and methane hydrates) and naphtha (from Middle East oil). In fact Japan and Saudi have collaborated on a technology to ship hydrogen in Saudi oil tankers such is the hypocrisy of hydrogen. They have figured out how to absorb it reversibly at low pressure in Toluene.

            So essentially both in the short term as a policy and marketing hinderance to renewables and EVs and in the longer term in the form of a planetary-killer environmental fraud.

            This is what underpins hydrogen and Toyota’s role in it. If you thought the VW emissions cheating scandal was terrible, meet Toyota’s HFCVs – A solid and genuinely horrific bid for the Darwin Award for all mankind.

            Nevertheless, I trust this answers your question as to why.

            The primary defence humanity has to this is to rapidly obsolete HFCVs and of course for anyone that could be tempted by them on environmental grounds to shun this technology and to condemn it, loudly. Unsubscribe / don’t even sign up to Toyota’s newsletters or anything Toyota could misuse to gain encouragement or to claim public interest.

            The good news is that HFCVs are terrible vehicles with low performance and utility that cost Toyota a fortune to make. An ICE Camry makes a mockery of the performance and usefulness stats of the Mirai at half the public price even after all marketing and government subsidies applied to the Mirai – and EVs at approaching half of the same cost are rapidly set to overtake the Camry in value for money.

            Longer term it is impossible to compete with an autonomous electric vehicle with any chemical fuel.

  • KnowYourRightsFool

    I do not support well-to-wheel because I do not support using natural gas for producing hydrogen. There are better and safer ways to get hydrogen. Using polluted, or sea water, filtering it and splitting it with solar, thermal, wind, or hydro power we can produce hydrogen cleanly in ideal areas. While we are pumping explosive gas in pipelines along homes, businesses, and under roads we travel, we could be using these pipes to bring filtered sea water to quarries and splitting the water on-site. If done right hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and can be the “freedom fuel” we need to regain our independence from foreign, and domestic corporate interest.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Problem is, producing hydrogen from methane is much cheaper than producing it in any other ways. Only a very small percentage of the population would voluntarily pay a lot more per mile in order to drive with clean hydrogen.
      The other problem for FCEVs is that it’s very much cheaper to drive with electricity per mile. Even using “dirty” H2. Toyota, manufacturer’s of the H2 FCEV Mirai, says that driving their FCEV will cost 17 cents a mile and driving a Tesla EV costs 4 cents a mile. That’s a $1,690 annual difference for a 13,000 mile a year driver.

      • KnowYourRightsFool

        I can split water on a 12v battery, so solar and wind that produces hydrogen through electrolysis is by far cheaper than building an expensive infrastructure of wells, oil barges, tanker trucks, and pipelines to transport oil or natural gas. In order to use natural gas in fuel cell vehicles you need to reform it which takes more energy than to split water. Transporting water in pipelines is less risky than explosive gas, using abandoned quarries with distilled water would work better than oil distilleries, and the water can be split at the distilleries or split at the station. You can get anymore domestic and local than that, and if that isn’t cheaper…then the energy producers are either in denial, or simply ignore the fact because of greed. Here we have a current president that pretends to support alternative energy, but it was former President George Bush that believed in the “Freedom Fuel”?

        • Bob_Wallace

          We could convert water to hydrogen in filling stations.

          It would still take 2x to 3x more electricity per mile than driving an EV.
          You’d still have to install electrolysers, compressors and storage tanks at filling stations and the cost of fuel would have to cover the expense of the filling station, the hydrogen infrastructure inside the filling station and the filling station staff.

          You’d still end up paying more than 3x as much per mile as someone driving an EV. And you’d have to spend hours every year filling up your tanks rather than just plugging in when you park.

          Perhaps you didn’t notice, but George W. was kind of a dim bulb….

          • KnowYourRightsFool

            Th electricity to charge EV’s are coming from dirty sources. Whether we use Electric Vehicles or Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles we need to extract this energy from renewable resources like wind, sun, and water. Getting the electricity as close to the refueling station as possible is the cheapest way to produce fuel. Ofcourse this will never happen because our government will lose money without the port, transportation, distribution, and pump tax. How do you tax water, or air? Of course there is start up costs for any Refueling Station but they can be as small as a parking space, or as large as a super WAWA.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Every day our grids get cleaner. A fossil fuel free grid will not happen instantly, neither will the conversion away from petroleum fueled vehicles. We’re discussing what makes the most sense as a FF replacement.

            I don’t know if creating H2 at the filling station would be cheapest or not. Sometimes it’s cheaper to do things on a large scale.

            What’s the cost of H2 produced by your linked station? (If it isn’t cheaper than reformed methane then it’s dead in the water.) It costs Toyota $3 million to build a station that could refill 40 EVs a day.

            It’s only fair for vehicles to pay a fee for road maintenance. We can move from a per gallon tax to a per mile tax.

        • Julian Cox

          You can make a trivial amount of hydrogen with a 12V battery compared with the energy and cost to make and recycle the battery and to repeatedly charge the battery between using it to make hydrogen. This trivial amount of hydrogen per KWh and $ input definitely cannot compete with massive scale fossil fuel based hydrogen production. Not even close. That is why a puppet president in the pockets of Big Oil, President George W Bush believed in the “Freedom Fuel” (Hydrogen). He was also the most dangerous election-thief and liar ever to cripple the economy and world standing of a previously great nation.

  • Bob_Wallace

    ” We show that for any vehicle range greater than 160 km (100 miles) fuel cells are superior to batteries in terms of mass, volume, cost, initial greenhouse gas reductions, refueling time, well-to-wheels energy efficiency using natural gas or biomass as the source and life cycle costs.” ?”

    Let’s think that out.

    Now, let’s use where we are likely to be in a few years once we get past the infancy of EVs and H2 FCEVs.

    Mass. H2 in tanks will probably always weigh less per mile than battery storage. But, within reason, that is not important. As long as we can recapture most of the acceleration energy during deceleration FCEVs will have only a small advantagge.

    Volume. H2 is a space hog. Toyota was able to cram about 300 miles into their Mirai. The Tesla Mod3 and GM Bolt we expect to see within two years should offer a bit over 200 miles in the same sized vehicle. Over time battery capacity will likely double making EVs the volume winner.

    Cost. No contest.

    The price of batteries is falling like lead panties when the fleet comes to town. In a few years same-model EVs should cost less to manufacture than ICEVs. FCEVs, if they can find enough market, could also drop to about ICEV range. Purchase price – possibly a draw, but finding a few hundred thousand buyers for FCEVs is going to be a problem.

    Where the contest is over is in terms of cost per mile. Toyota states that it will cost about 17 cents per mile to fuel the Mirai. And they state that is costs about 4 cents per mile to charge the Tesla.

    There is no known route to cheap hydrogen.

    “(I)nitial greenhouse gas reductions. I’m not sure what that means.

    Almost all our hydrogen comes from reforming methane. It’s far too expensive to make “green” H2. It’s possible that running a FCEV on reformed methane is somewhat cheaper than an EV running on the dirtiest of our grids. But EVs win if charged on a clean grid and all our grids are getting cleaner.

    Long term, EVs will be cleaner.

    Refueling time. FCEVs win on the very few days a year when one drives further than their battery range. I’ll give you a graph below so you can see how seldom that is. Remember, 200 mile range soon coming.

    OTOH, EV drivers will just plug in when they park. FCEV drivers will have to spend 10 to 12 hours a year at fueling stations.

    Wells to wheel efficiency. Are you assuming EVs will charge from oil? EVs are going to be charged from renewable sources. It takes about 3x as much renewable energy to produce H2 as to charge an EV.

    “The science behind it is clear. FCVs make a lot of sense as you want greater range,”

    We’re likely to see EVs with 500 mile ranges in 10 to 15 years. That’s just a bit over one capacity doubling. The FCEV range advantage almost certainly hold.

    • JeffreyR

      I don’t understand this graph. I imagine a bar graph where total days is the Y-axis and the X-axis is number of miles all for a typical year.

      0 miles @ 10 days
      10 miles @ 30 days
      20 miles @ 35 days
      30 miles @ 40 days
      40 miles @ 100 days
      50 miles @ 40 days
      60 miles @ 20 days
      70 miles @ 10 days
      80 miles @ 10 days
      90+ miles @ 5 days

      I guess my biggest problem w/ the graph is that 0 driving miles is not 0% for me. But I think I figured it out. It shows that 50% of the days you drive 25 miles or less. Close to 98% of your driving is 150 miles or less. My little faux bell curve (made up numbers) was looking at it another way.

      They way I look at it, I drive from NorCal to SoCal on holidays to take the kids to Grandma & Grandpa’s (I’m sure lots of folks take similar family trips). That means about 6x to 8x 350- to 500-mile trips. Add a few more fun trips to Carmel or The City maybe 10x to 15x 120-mile trips and the rest are just commutes and taking the kids to their activities. So around 340 days out of the year and I drive less than 40 miles. At my house on Galveston, that number drops to below 10 miles.

      Small sample size I know, but most of my friends do similar driving.

      • Bob_Wallace

        If the study was correctly done then what it says is that you and some of the people you know are unusual.

        For me (guessing this out)

        0 miles @ 338 days

        7 miles @ 5 days
        120 miles @ 20 days
        250 miles @ 4 days

        That’s 367 days, but you get the drift. Some of us don’t have “typical” driving patterns.

  • Greg

    Only way you can produce hydrogen as a fuel without also polluting the atmosphere with by products is to use electricity generated by tide motors or heat exchange engines mounted on abandoned oil rigs at sea to separate Hydrogen from the H2O of sea water, then transport the hydrogen to end users far inland.

    • Bob_Wallace

      That could be done. But you could drive an EV 2x to 3x further with that same electricity.

      And you’d use extra energy transporting the H2.

  • FrancisMcCann

    Your logic is flawed. You take into account the production of hydrogen but not the production of electricity. Most of the electricity in the US – the world’s largest car market – is made from coal. Also the materials that go into making batteries are a finite resource that is depletable. Electric cars are great for urbanites that don’t travel more than 100km per year and share cars with eachother but that’s just not the reality of most peoples situations. CNG can be configured to capture carbon and reduces emissions more than enough to curb climate change. Hydrogen is already produced to create gasoline we just attach it to dirty carbon atoms instead of using it efficiently. This article looks like it was paid for by Elon Musk.

    • Bob_Wallace

      First, reforming natural gas into hydrogen is a dead end. I hope you’re not suggesting that as a way to power our vehicles.

      Then, let’s talk about “dirty electricity”. Are you aware that it takes between 2x and 3x as much electricity do move a fuel cell vehicle using hydrogen than to move an EV?

      Want to drive a H2 FCEV? You’ll cause 2x to 3x as much coa to be burned.

      Now, batteries. Yes, materials are finite. But that is not an issue. Unlike oil or coal, the materials that go into batteries are not consumed, they can be recycled.

      BTW, natural gas is finite. And we could hit the wall not all that many years in the future.

  • krishna kishor bhat

    Hi Julian, the first time I heard about hydrogen fuel cells, very first question that came to me was, aren’t we further risking the balence of oxygen (21%) in environment. As hydrogen forms a stable compound with oxygen called water upon combustion. On one hand we will increase the concentration of CO2 while extracting hydrogen for fuel cell and the other these fuels cell take away oxygen from environment thereby exacerbating the situation. Please share your opinion on this angle.

  • Bob_Wallace

    “The sun goes down, now there is not enough energy to fill the grid especially because a ton of people are recharging their EV’S. So either you recharge using dirty electricity or you fill using Hydrogen that came from solar. Why is this so hard to understand?”

    Richard, let’s look at something that currently happens in Germany on sunny days. Look at the two graphs below.

    The top graph is the price of electricity before solar was added. Notice how the price is lowest between midnight and about 7AM? That’s because demand is down and the wind tends to blow.

    A lot of people will charge at night when demand is down and the wind tends to blow.

    The second graph show what happens to midday electricity price with only a modest amount of solar added.

    Add solar and the price of electricity drops during the middle of the day when a lot of cars are parked.

    Let me spell it out for you.

    EVs don’ need to charge very many hours per day (many can easily skip days). That means that EVs can “shop” for best prices.

    Now think about a hydrogen extraction plant. If you run it 24 hours a day it will mean purchasing some higher priced power during the morning and evening price peaks. That makes the average cost of electricity for H2 higher than the average cost of electricity for EVs.

    Or you have the option of turning off the plant during the price peaks and waiting for price drops. If you do that then you need more infrastructure to produce and compress the same amount of H2.

    You need to buy 2x to 3x as much electricity for your H2 miles as for your EV miles.

    It’s the cost, Richard.

    • Richard


      You have a real mental blockage. We already discussed the costs aspect using CLEAN electrical, your answer was that it is too expensive to get clean energy in the US. Of course right back with your mantra again trying to compare clean energy to dirty one.

      So based on this, It is not useful for me to loose my time.

      • Bob_Wallace

        No, Richard, I said nothing of the sort.

        I said coal with CCS is too expensive. And I gave you prices for clean wind and solar.

        You are wasting your own time by not attending.

  • Bob_Wallace

    No tune changed.

    You suggested using coal with CCS and I gave you some facts.

    New coal is priced off the table. Old (paid off) coal is being shut down because renewables are producing cheaper electricity.

    The paper you link shows EVs and FCEVs with 100% renewable power to be about the same. In the other paper you linked FCEVs were somewhat higher.

    The current paper states –

    ” The BEV scenario has higher energy efficiency and builds off existing infrastructure, but may require large amounts of electric energy storage to realize emissions benefits in the real-world system.

    The FCEV pathway has lower energy efficiency and requires more infrastructure construction, but may require little to no electric energy storage to realize emissions benefits in the real-world system.”

    I’m not sure where they get the need for energy storage for EVs. EVs are likely to be dispatchable loads which, in fact, would lower the amount of grid storage needed.

    Hydrogen plants would need energy storage in order to operate 24/365. If they are to be run only when electricity is abundant and cheap then there will need to be a lot more infrastructure built along with significantly more H2 storage.

    It’s not today’s grid, Richard. There are not enough EVs and FCEVs on the roads to mean much of anything. It’s about the future grid and personal transportation.

    If our goal is to minimize carbon output from personal transportation then both EVs and FCEVs would greatly solve our problems.

    Both EVs and FCEVs may reach the price of ICEVs.

    The problem with FCEVs is the cost per mile to operate.

  • Like the discussion that this article has given rise to.

  • Peter Gordon

    Very good work, here Julian. And nice work by both you and Bob fending off the various dishonest people with financial interests in this misrepresented dirty tech.

    It is their method to just keep posting lies again and again to try and make the simple truth needlessly complex. It didn’t work.

    It is exceedingly important to get this information out there so please write more articles like these before some poor guy spends $60,000 on a Corolla thinking he is helping the environment.

  • Pap Charles

    As a former USN Nuclear submariner we generated our own Oxygen (and also Hydrogen) by electrolysis. Why do you overlook the simple fact that we can generate Hydrogen straight from electricity? Yes, perhaps Hydrogen is currently made via natural gas, however there is a pathway forward. Unlike pure EV cars like the Tesla, Leaf or Volt. (which also indirectly use NatGas when you plug them in since most of our electricity comes from NatGas).

    Perhaps maybe you have an agenda? I can’t imagine why you would overlook such a basic fact unless you are deliberately trying to mislead your readers.

    Pure electric cars are the “fork in the road” technology, not Hydrogen. As they stand today, EV cars are utterly impractical in cold climates where you need to run the heater full blast to get to work. If I want to drive to visit family, I can’t sit around and wait 8 hours to recharge my batteries, that’s just stupid.

    More importantly however. Why are you so negative on exploring alternate technologies? Perhaps I’m wrong and hydrogen isn’t the “perfect answer” but what does it really hurt to explore alternate technologies? Should Edison not have kept working on his lightbulb just because it kept burning out after only a few seconds? Should the Wright brother have stopped trying to make their silly “bicycle with wings” fly?

    Finally, I have nothing against Tesla, nor hybrid cars, nor normal gas cars. I have no agenda at all in this I want the most practical tool for the job. I just don’t like it when so called “experts” come along and vomit a bunch of crap statistics that are clearly contrived to mislead (like this article).

    • Bob_Wallace

      First, few of us have the resources to spend on the scale of the US military. What is spent to run a nuclear submarine is outside the budget of most of us.

      The point you seem to be missing is cost.

      Yes, we all know that we can crack H2 out of H20. But we also know that it’s a more expensive way to generate H2 than by reforming natural gas. For that reason FCEVs will be fueled with “high carbon” H2 as long as the price of NG stays low.

      We also know that, right now, it costs 17 cents per mile to drive a H2 FCEV, about 10 cents a mile to drive a ICEV, and about 3 cents a mile to drive an EV. Over time the cost to drive a H2 FCEV might fall to 10 cents a mile. Those are Toyota’s numbers. Toyota – the company getting ready to market a FCEV.

      What this site is about is clean energy. Not just about how we could generate carbon free energy, but about which technologies have the best chance of replacing fossil fuels. And that is largely an issue of cost.

      People aren’t going to pay a premium price for a car and then pay a premium per mile when there are no advantages over what is already in the dealerships. H2 FCEVs will not get people out of their gasmobiles.

      I have never heard anyone on this site come out against research. Continue to research fuel cells and hydrogen. (You will see push back against crackpot ideas.)

      Now, you have made some strong charges about the information in this article. It’s on you to back up your charges of “crap statistics” with documented facts. Failing to do so will look bad for you.

      • Pap Charles

        Just because it may or may not be practical to generate the hydrogen myself in my own home doesn’t mean that’s the only way you have to do it. Do you have to refine your own crude oil into gasoline in order to drive a car? No, of course you don’t you go a a fuel station.

        There is no reason why we can’t have hydrogen fuel stations just like we have gasoline/diesel fuel stations.

        However, I completely disagree, and I have an engineering degree in my wall backing me up. You absolutely could take a solar cell to generate electricity all day long and a small hydrolysis generator and make your own fuel. Our subs generator that supplied all the O2 necessary for over 100 crew was about the size of two refrigerators.

        Yes, I did make some gross charges about the clear bias of the article when it seems to go on and on saying inflammatory things like “the fuel cell is so bullshit that it’s rubbish” and “Will hydrogen also become cleaner over time? No” followed by every statistic which only compares that one single method of generating hydrogen and completely overlooking the fact that it can be made by pure electricity alone that doesn’t necessarily require natural gas as the source.

        You claim that you invite more research/development. I’ll take you at your word that you have no agenda. I don’t either. I don’t work for any related industry whatsoever. I just stumbled across this page while doing a random search. But once I saw how it was written I was compelled to call BS on this horribly one-sided article that would seem like it was written to educate but in fact I can tell you is very one sided and I think must be written by people with a different agenda and I’m betting the whole article is bought and paid for by someone with deep pockets who’s probably feeding at the government trough gobbling up millions of our tax dollars and building huge mansions and leaving us with pathetic niche cars that can only drive 50 miles at a time (so long as you don’t have to turn on your HEATER or AC) and take 8 hours to recharge…blech!

        • Bob_Wallace

          ​Pap, there’s nothing “one sided” about an economic analysis of fuel cell vehicles. The numbers are laid out and the numbers tell the story.

          Apparently you do have an agenda or you wouldn’t be upset that the math does not support H2 FCEVs.

  • Helmuth G.

    It’s clear, Mr.Cox, you haven’t done your homework right, even if you present a lot of “facts” and tables in your piece. Hydrogen does make sense, not only if it is produced by excess power of renewables like wind, but even if you produce it with dedicated renewables. The only truth you are purporting is that it makes no sense if it is produced from gas, especially shale gas, or with electricity produced by fossil fuel (especially coal).
    …and distributed generation by electrolysis is possible already today with both PEM and Alcaline methods from water at a consumption of ~4 kWh/litre liquid hydrogen. Metal hydride storage tanks can contain 10,000litre hydrogen in only 30cm OD x 170 cm long cylinders at 200 bar pressure. A 3,000 litre MH tank has an OD of 15 cm x 53 cm.
    Since you also mention that the cost/kWh must be 1.49 US Cents to compete with NG, you are already losing argument, since wind generated power is approaching this threshold faster than you can write, and if you consider using excess power, which if not used for electrolysis has to be dumped….I rest my case.

    • Bob_Wallace

      How much is hydrogen produced by electrolysis at the moment? Source?

      Where do you find wind produced electricity for something close to 1.49 US cents (without subsidies)?

  • Jim Smith

    Fail Cells are a total scam.

  • Bob Fearn

    These posts reveal a serious problem in America. Some people will argue about anything without knowing what they are talking about. Fox News describes themselves as “Fair and Balanced.” According to Pew Research their broadcasts have contributed to conservative thinking that has resulted in a significant number of people believing that –
    Governments are almost always wasteful and inefficient
    Government regulation does more harm than good
    Poor people have it easy because they get government benefits
    Governments can’t do more to help the needy
    Blacks who can’t get ahead are responsible for their condition
    Immigrants are a burden on the country
    The best way to peace is with military strength
    Most corporations make a reasonable profit
    Strict environmental laws hurt jobs and the economy
    Homosexuality should be discouraged

    All of those beliefs are wrong and yet changing minds, as this thread reveals, is almost impossible. When we have a nuclear fusion plant safely located almost 100 million miles away and providing far more free energy that we could possibly use then using fuels that will wreck our planet is simply stupid.

  • jalopy

    I don’t know if Julian still comes around and reads these comments, but a few things seem to have changed since the article was posted. He might want to make some notations of them where relevant.

    1. Dr. Tim Brown is no longer at UCI APEP. He left UCI in October 2013 according to this article: . He has a leftover profile on the UCI website, but on the APEP website he is not listed under any position.

    2. A newer version of the UCI study was released: It’s apparently updated every year. I had to clear my browser cache to see it, since the web page showing the old study was still stored in my browser.

    The current (2014) version of the study seems to agree with Julian’s assertion. Compared to high-mpg gasoline vehicles, H2 from natural gas reformation has only very small reductions in GHG with gas truck delivery and no reductions at all with liquid truck delivery. Only with renewable H2 does any significant reductions occur. It also looks like they included some renewable BEV cases as well. They also added another chart which shows the electric energy needed to fuel a mile of travel for some of the cases. The renewable FCEV cases seem to require 2-3x as much electricity as the BEV cases.

  • jumping jack flash

    The second chart is so much a bull*hit that I can’t even continue reading the remaining part of the article: you are comparing PERCENTAGES of DIFFERENT THINGS!!!

    Additionally, from what you write I argue that I really “need” a 310 HP car, and each car with less than this power is a “poor man car”. This is another lie: what counts in a car performance is not absolute power, but power-to-mass ratio: you need 50 W/kg to go 0-60 mph in 15 seconds, and 100 W/kg to go 0-60 in 10. You need just 30 kW total power to keep 80 mph constant speed.
    50 W/kg on a 1500 kg car means 75 kW, which is 100 hp.

    Hence you are deliberately trying to mess up results, performance and advantages of H2, for unkwnon reasons.

    The REAL truth is that, as long you use gasoline on a car… you can ONLY use gasoline on that car to produce energy.
    For ever.
    Or until crude oil lasts.

    If you use hydrogen on a car, to produce hydrogen you can use ANY type of energy production method you know, regardless of how it will change in the future.

    • Bob_Wallace

      No allcaps shouting

      And hydrogen from natural gas does not solve our need to quit de-sequestering carbon.

      Extracting hydrogen from water is less energy efficient than using the electricity directly.

      If someone comes up with a clean way to produce H2 that is financially competitive with electricity used in EVs then perhaps FCEVs have a chance.

    • Bret Andersen

      What about plug in hybrid cars? They seem to look much better today and going forward from an emissions and cost point of view and require minimal investment in infrastructure, especially from a public purse point of view. H2 cars look like a solution looking for a problem. Stationary or heavy fleet H2 power looks OK though.

      • Bob_Wallace

        When battery prices drop low enough hybrids and plug in hybrids get forced out of the market. Low enough battery prices mean affordable EVs with enough range to allow for all day driving with minimal time spent recharging.

        I modified the graph below, added the red oval based on recent reports of what Tesla is paying Panasonic for their batteries, $180/kWh and the price of gas.

        If that battery price is correct then hybrids and PHEVs will start to disappear as those battery prices become more universal.

        H2 might be a solution for heavy transportation. But large, swappable battery packs might be a better option.

        Someone calculated that three Tesla packs would power a loaded semi- 100 miles. Given that capacity has been increasing about 8% a year those packs could give a 200 mile range. Drive 200, pull in for a quick battery swap and pee, and you’re back on the road.

        No one knows how the future will play out, but if batteries continue to improve and drop in price H2 is going to have a heck of a time grabbing a significant portion of the market.

        • Bret Andersen

          I think your analysis paints the current and highly probable future scenario where plug in hybrids provide an optimal economic transition to full BEV’s. I think that relegates the hugely wasteful distraction with H2 cars to the political/rent-seeking realm.

  • TedKidd

    Wow, flaming thread!

    Once you get used to electric and the idea you can plug in anywhere and get 9 miles per hour, get 30 anywhere I can find a dryer plug, and 320 miles an hour at a supercharger.

    And the infrastructure exists, not just in some bought and paid for PR crack heads mind…

    Show me how hydrogen can be easier, cheaper, more flexible, better performance, and less environmental impact. I’m dying to see it.

    • EricR

      Me too 🙂 I would love to see a high performance FCEV sports car. There is no fundamental reason that would prevent a fuel cell from supplementing a high torque battery/motor combo. It is just another source of electrical storage. Ford was showing off a 200 mph, 770 hp FCEV in 2009:

      High performance is just a matter of design rather than any inherent limitation in the technology.

      • Engineering Student

        Well, it seems that they’re here actually. Audi recently demonstrated their latest A7 h-tron, a plug-in FCEV with 288bhp and 540Nm of torque, weighing 1950kg. It seems fuel economy is unaffected despite the increase in performance; the car manages to get 62.9mi/kg, total range of about 310 miles/500km (as you can see from the trip computer about 10mins into this video: Of course the EPA still has to test it.

        The VW Passat Hymotion and Golf Hymotion has also been tested; it’s basically VW group saying to the Japanese “We can do this too”. BMW are also testing their hydrogen FC 5-series GT with about 245bhp with optional liquid or gaseous H2 refueling.

        Why aren’t they here? Well, if the refueling infrastructure was in place to justify making the cars, they would be here, they’re ready.

        If the entire point in this thread was that a reduction in performance is responsible for lower emissions, the technology has already advanced to a point where this is not true anymore, Audi seem to have achieved higher performance while maintaining the 60-ish mile/kg that FCVs normally achieve.

  • EricR

    The last point I want to make (I think everything else was covered elsewhere in the discussion) is that it is misleading to compare the horsepower of a conventional/hybrid vehicle with an EV. As most EV enthusiast know, conventional (and hybrid) vehicles don’t hit their maximum horsepower and torque until the engine hits between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. In normal driving, most drivers don’t usually reach max horsepower and torque. Further, as most of you all know, EVs have max torque immediately available. That is why cars like the Leaf and Volt feel more powerful than their rated horsepower, and why diesel trains are really diesel electric (because of the electric motor’s excellent torque for towing great weights). This means that for most driving, EV (including FCEV) drivers always enjoy their max torque.

    The following are the Toyota Highlander power comparisons:

    2014 Highlander 4-cyl 2WD: 185 hp at 5800 rpm and 184 lb-ft torque at 4200 rpm
    2014 Toyota Highlander hybrid: 280 hp at 5800 rpm and 215 lb-ft torque at 4200 rpm
    2009 Toyota Highlander FCV-adv: 192 lb-ft torque at 0 rpm

    Unless you intend to race your full sized SUV or run it at high rpm all the time, you will most likely enjoy torque more often with the FCEV.

    • juxx0r

      What’s the power at 0rpm? That’s right it’s zero! Like all rotary power devices, power is torque times rotational velocity. Without rotational velocity your torque is meaningless.

      You can’t compare torque unless you compare it at the wheels, it’s irrelevant when there’s different gearboxes.

      Acceleration needs power, power is the rate of doing work. If you’ve got an underpowered motor, then the acceleration is compromised. In FCVs you’ve got an underpowered motor and acceleration is compromised.

      Therefore you’re not comparing like with like. We’ve been through this with you and keep posting the same twaddle.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I’m confused. I thought FCEVs operated like hybrids with batteries in addition to the fuel cell and electric motor.

        Power stored in the batteries were used for acceleration with the fuel cell putting out a constant amount of power.

        • juxx0r

          We are just talking about the drive motor Bob.

  • juxx0r

    I just read all 421 comments, and to summarize:

    1) Fuel cells suck on an energy balance
    2) There’s no fuel cell vehicle that has a better CO2/mile than an equivalent duty/power hybrid or EV
    3) You’d be better off putting natural gas into a CCGT and then charging an EV than reforming it into hydrogen and putting it in a FCEV
    4) Because of the afore mentioned energy balance even if you use renewable feedstocks to an electrolyser, you’d be better off charging an EV.

    So to summarize that:
    5) There’s no energy or CO2 advantage to fuel cell vehicles.

    Therefore the only benefit of FCEVs is the ability to drive for 15 minutes to get to a refilling station where you can spend 5 minutes refilling.

    • EricR

      @juxx0r:disqus ,

      2014 Toyota Highlander 4-cyl 2WD: 514 g CO2-eq/mi
      2014 Toyota Highlander hybrid: 404 g CO2-eq/mi
      2009 Toyota Highlander FCV (SMR): 243 g CO2-eq/mi

      It seems conclusive to me that of the three identical form factor vehicles, the FCV has significantly less GHG emissions.

      • juxx0r

        Yay for you.

        Now demonstrate that they have equal performance.

        • EricR

          I am glad you asked. I had the opportunity to have a test drive at the NY Auto Show of the Highlander FCV, and the instant torque felt like a V6. I’ve also driven the Equinox FCEV for a few months, and it too felt like the V6 variant. Have you ever driven an FCEV? It feels remarkably like an EV, because it is an EV.

          • juxx0r

            We are not here to talk about your feelings.

            Now demonstrate that they have equal performance.

            What’s it like for towing?

          • EricR

            I’ve never had to tow anything. But since torque is the key metric, I think you will find that FCEVs, just like EVs have max torque right from the line. You don’t have to rev 4K – 6K rpms to hit max torque.

          • juxx0r

            Numbers, or it didn’t happen.

          • EricR

            Yet you trust Julian’s numbers even though you don’t understand them. I will post the torque numbers in another post in a few minutes.

          • juxx0r

            Make sure you post the final drive numbers too, and the power numbers and the 0-62 numbers.

            And apologise for not providing those in your first reply.

            Heres one from green car congress on the Hyundai FCV:
            “Acceleration is a stately 12.5 seconds for 0-60.”

  • Esteban Sperber Frankel

    Mr. Julian Cox, you are right in many thinks, but you are not looking the possibility other alternatives to produce very cheap hydrogen and carbonblack as byproduct from natural gas or biogas with cold plasma reactors, for example the Norway’s company GASPLAS are making this kind reactors, also many investigations in South Korea, Poland, etc:.

  • EricR

    Let’s see if this simply and concisely makes my point:

    As a threshold matter, I think we can agree that FCEVs themselves don’t produce any GHG emissions. Analyzing a vehicle’s emissions is referred to as a Tank to Wheels (TTW) analysis. Therefore, the only emissions are upstream; that is, the GHG emissions produced in the production, distribution and dispensing of the hydrogen. This is referred to as a Well to Tank (WTT) analysis. The entire pathway is referred to as a Well to Wheels (WTW) analysis. In the US, the accepted methodology for the Department of Energy, EPA, auto industry, etc. for determining TTW, WTT and WTW is the GREET model developed by the Argonne National Laboratory. So, if the FCEVs don’t produce any GHG emissions themselves (i.e. no TTW GHG emissions), we need to see how the GREET model would determine the WTT GHG emissions for FCEVs, and a full WTW GHG emissions analysis for comparable ICE-type cars for comparison purposes to see if Julian’s premise is correct (that FCEVs are more polluting than comparable ICE vehicles).

    For hydrogen, the GREET model would be used to determine how much GHGs are emitted in the production, distribution and dispensing (WTT) of 1 kg of hydrogen (a kg is the generally accepted unit of measurement for hydrogen stored in FCEVs). For gasoline, the GREET model is used to determine the amount of GHGs that are emitted in the production, distribution, dispensing and comparable gasoline vehicle utilization of one gallon of gasoline (WTW). At this point, the reader can probably locate one flaw in Julian’s argument without having to do any math: hydrogen has multiple WTT pathways, and each will result in a different GHG value. So, for example, if I were to buy/lease an FCEV in California and fill up in one of Paul Staple’s stations (HyGen) where the hydrogen is produced solely by renewables, I would have essentially 0 WTW GHG emissions. Now, Julian will vociferously object, claiming that steam methane reforming (SMR) is the only truly economical means of producing hydrogen, and that they certainly have WTT GHG emissions. However, as Bob_Wallace has pointed out, we can only deal with what exists, not what the future may hold, and California has a 30% renewables mandate, I believe. That means, at worst (i.e. every other station is using SMR), the GHG emissions would still need to be offset by 30%, representing the effect of the renewables stations.

    Be that as it may, let’s now take a look at hydrogen produced by SMR from a WTT perspective using the GREET model. I am not an engineer, but thankfully, Dr. Sandy Thomas, a very well-respected authority on this issue, has done exactly such an analysis in his rebuttal to Julian to the CEC. As per Dr. Thomas, the GREET model provides that hydrogen produced from SMR produces 16.58 kg CO2-eq/kg WTT, and gasoline produces 11.30 kg CO2-eq./gal WTW. So, to compare vehicles, the simple calculation that even a lawyer like me can do is to divide the CO2 emissions provided by the respective GREET values for SMR hydrogen WTT and gasoline WTW (16.58 kg CO2-eq/kg for hydrogen and 11.30 kg CO2-eq./gal for gasoline) by the vehicle’s fuel economy. Although FCEV mileage is in mi/kg and ICE/hybrids are in mi/gal, the kg and gallons cancel each other out in the division, and so we are left with just kg (or g) of CO2/mi driven, an apples-to-apples comparison between all vehicle technologies.

    Dr. Thomas chooses three baseline vehicles for comparison- the regular Toyota Highlander, the Highlander hybrid and the Highlander fuel cell (presumably from the 2009 FCV-adv) to compare their GHG emissions.

    So, comparing the 2009 FCV-adv to the 2014 Toyota Highlander and 2014 Highlander hybrid:

    2014 Highlander 4-cyl 2WD EPA combined fuel economy as per = 22 mi/gallon. Dividing 11.30 kg CO2-eq/gal by 22 mi/gal = 0.514 kg CO2-eq/mi or 514 g CO2-eq/mi (rounded to the nearest gram).

    2014 Highlander hybrid EPA combined fuel economy as per = 28 mi/gallon. Dividing 11.30 kg CO2-eq/gal by 28 mi/gal = 0.404 kg CO2-eq/mi or 404 g CO2-eq/mi (rounded to the nearest gram).

    2009 Highlander FCEV fuel economy was 68.3 mi/kg as measured by the Department of Energy. Dividing 16.58 kg CO2-eq/kg by 68.3 mi/kg = 0.243 kg CO2-eq/mi or 243 g CO2-eq/mi (rounded to the nearest gram).

    So, we have three identical form factor vehicles- the highest mpg conventional gasoline Highlander variant, the most recent hybrid Highlander, and the 2009 Highlander FCEV. The 2009 FCEV’s GHG emissions are still about 40% less than the current 2014 hybrid variant, and about 52.8% less than the most frugal 2014 gasoline variant. These calculations do not even factor the 30% California offset for the 0 GHG renewables sourced hydrogen stations.

    There is no need to make the calculations any more complex than as per the above. Julian’s calculations, however, which may use some GREET-derived values, but certainly don’t use GREET methodology, create inexplicable and wholly unnecessary calculations and variables like “MPGp” that appear to make absolutely no sense but to skew results in his favor.

    The calculations I provided above are based on the generally accepted standards used by the U.S. government and auto industry, and demonstrate Julian’s premise, that FCEVs are dirtier than comparable ICE vehicles, is flat out wrong.

    • Julian Cox


      You went way off base from the get go and awarded yourself with a false conclusion to your own writing.

      1. First of all CaFCP is selling a policy based on natural gas with the line that FCVs pollute 50% less than gasoline and 40% less than hybrids when hydrogen is produced from natural gas. Introducing issues relating to other means of pro ducting hydrogen is irrelevant – just a red herring.

      2. I don’t know who Dr. Sandy Thomas is, and he disposed of any respect that might have been due to him on first contact. He did that to himself with an embarrasing failure to grasp a simple mathematical concept (it was obvious to a 12 year old that he was wrong by exactly the amount he was accusing me of being wrong). The rest of his piece was a regurgitation of the spin to be expected of a hydrogen industry true believer suffering from an overdose of confirmation bias.

      3. You have just repeated the same flawed argument (hydrogen spin/fraud etc) promoted by CaFCP and by Dr Thomas.

      Most people regardless of educational background are generally familiar with the fact that powerful ICE cars have worse fuel economy than low performance economy vehicles.

      A 28 mpg 3.5L 280hp highlander HEV is a bit of a monster. A 22 mpg 2.7L 4 cylinder Highlander is also a bit of a monster.

      We have already established that the $1 million Toyota FCV-adv prototype is a complete outlier that bears no relation to anything that will be made available to consumers. The best estimates from Toyota PR suggests that the Prius-derived 2015 FCV cannot compare. 312.5 miles / 5 Kg = 62.4 miles / Kg (marketing numbers, not EPA) equates by my overly-sympathetic figures to 229.81 g CO2e / mile and by the esteemed Dr Thomas’s figures to 265.71 g CO2e per mile – the same as a 42 mpg vehicle by EPA standards – pretty hopeless compared with a 223 g/mile 50 mpg EPA Toyota Prius that offers an extra 13.4 hp to the driver.

      So how on earth is the CaFCP, yourself, Dr Thomas etc supposed to sell this low-power, heavily polluting technology to gullible consumers or to defraud taxpayer of environmental funding on offer from credulous / fossil fuel friendly politicians when it cannot even come close to competing on equal terms with an every-day gasoline hybrid that is already in service in the millions of units with no need for any new public investment in infrastructure?

      Answer: Find some seriously heavily polluting 23 and 28 mpg vehicles and compare FCVs to those instead – and then claim the result as a miracle environmental technology breakthrough! – Like c’mon!

      MPGp is extremely simple to understand – it can only be considered inexplicable to those allergic to transparency. It is simply an honest number of how far vehicles can go before creating the same pollution as a gallon of gasoline.

      It is just a number that lets you put 42 mpg equivalent pollution for the Toyota 2015 FCV next to the 50 mpg Prius so that nobody is fooled that the FCV is less polluting when in fact it is more polluting.

      Ain’t transparency a bitch when you are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

      As a matter of fact, applying Dr Thomas’s figures to all of the FCVs including the EPA tested ones absolutely crushes your argument.

      Kindly forget about trying to confuse the issue with PR stunts for renewable hydrogen. Before you can make a claim like that you need to demonstrate that you can compete on a societal scale with natural gas prices – and you can’t do that can you.

      As for 30% renewable sourced hydrogen stations, if the California Energy Commission understands that it has narrowly escaped being duped by the central premise promoted by the CaFCP (50% emissions reduction using natural gas – 40% reduction from hybrids) by bogus comparison to massively more powerful vehicles – then maybe they will have a re-think on the whole misguided subject including that 30%. More to the point, if they mandate sequestering on natural gas SMR then the auto makers will in my opinion most likely pull FCV programs because they will realise economic hydrogen fuel is no longer a possibility – but so long as the sequestering mandate is in place then as far as I am concerned then the promoters of FCVs will be delivering what they have been promising all along and all would be well in the world.

      • Ben Helton

        “You went way off base from the get go and awarded yourself with a false conclusion to your own writing.”

        This poetically describes the nature of your article.

        • Julian Cox

          You might wish that were so but I am not sure how you could possibly justify such a claim. I am sorry that facts make you angry but the facts won’t change to fit your world view.

          You don’t strike me as the sort of person that would gladly trade a high performance gasoline vehicle for a car that goes 0~60 in 10 or 11 seconds just to do your part to save the planet. Even if you were there are much better choices than an FCV. You can get nearly 4 times the performance from a Tesla Model S and do more for your fellow man than the typical FCV.

          Eric tries to blind folk by comparing a Toyota Highlander 2.7 or 3.5 liter SUV with a $1 Million FCV prototype from Toyota that is just marginally better than a Prius (by my numbers) and marginally worse by NREL figures. For $1 million I could buy a Rimac Concept 1 that would kick the Toyota FCV-ADV all over town – 1088 hp, 312.5 mile real world range, 0~60 in 2.8 seconds.

          BTW – that $1 million Toyota that in the real world under performs the Prius – 21KW power output from the battery pack (not the FC, the battery) – try to find a capacity figure for that battery – bet that vehicle was just a range extended BEV.

          False comparisons to powerful gasoline and hybrid vehicles are just that – false. Nothing you can say or do will change that.

          What does change that equation is Electric Vehicles.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Dr. Sandy Thomas is also known as Dr. C.E. (Sandy) Thomas.
      H2Gen Innovations, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia

      And he is only a “well-respected authority on this issue,” within Hydrogen Lobbyists’ circles. Basically, a shill for Hydrogen.

      He is famous for underestimating the costs of H2 infrastructure as well as the emissions. And overestimating the cost of Electric Vehicle Charging.

      • Julian Cox

        His so called rebuttal of my letter to the CEC is linked below along with some annotations from me.

        My own opinions that it is the most childish thing I have ever read. Certainly nothing that I can respect.

        I would suggest the man is a danger to his own cause.

        • japan4

          Hi Julian,

          This is the commenter that asked about system boundaries earlier. I went through your rebuttal and have some comments / questions.

          First, Dr. Sandy Thomas’s rebuttal is overall terrible and his analysis is confusing. He is well known even among people I know who do research on hydrogen for being loopy in his analysis and messaging. Only the most ardent hydrogen supporters regard him as an authority.

          There was a concept in his rebuttal that might have some merit from my understanding though, so I wanted to ask you about them to clear things up.

          1. “Market” potential. I’m not sure which “market” Sandy is talking about, and the terminology that he uses is confusing, so I’ll explain how I see it in new terms. CARB classifies vehicles into light duty (LD), medium duty (MD), and heavy duty (HD) categories. MD and HD vehicles include cargo trucks, semi trucks, buses, and so on. All passenger vehicles that consumers can buy are in the LD category – broken down into LDA (automobiles), LDT1 (smaller trucks / SUVs), LDT2 (larger trucks / SUVs). The latter two categories also includes cargo vans and such. According to the CARB EMFAC model, about 32% of the vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) in CA in 2013 was composed of LDT1 and LDT2 vehicles.

          From what I understand, BEVs are highly successful in the LDA class (Leaf, Model S, etc…), and with the upcoming Model X crossover, may be successful for a part of the LDT1 class (the SUV part) in the near future. The rest of the LDT1 class are pickups often used for working duty cycles (carrying loads, etc…) and the LDT2 class which is more so.

          BEVs carry less energy onboard, but are able to make range by being significantly more efficient than a conventional vehicle. For large vehicles and vehicles with working duty cycles, the operating efficiency of the vehicle decreases, and the energy density issue becomes more prominent. This seems to be why there has been difficulty making cargo vans and trucks that are full BEVs with sufficient range. For example, the BEV cargo vans (i.e. Azure dynamics, etc…) are currently having difficulty making comfortable range for their working cycle. This seems limits their penetration into the LDT1 and LDT2 classes, which are still non-trivial parts of the vehicle miles traveled demand.

          Sandy’s assertion of BEVs being limited to 28% market penetration is wrong. But with current tech, there is a limit on the market penetration of BEVs into the LD market, which I would put closer to 75-80% (the 68% covered by cars, and a fraction of the SUV/truck market). The question is then – if there aren’t significant energy density advances in batteries – what do we use for the remaining 20-25% of the light-duty vehicle miles traveled demand? By extension, there is also the MD and HD categories which include vehicles such as buses and semi-trucks which need to drive very long distances.

          Working-cycle LDT1 vehicles, LDT2 and larger vehicles may be a valid niche for FCVs, which may be an improvement over the large engines used in these vehicles. This category of vehicles could also be met with plug-in diesel hybrids and so on. While greenhouse gas effects of the FCVs may only be slightly better, there still might be a case for these vehicles based on air quality since many of these vehicles operate in dense urban regions such as the South Coast Air Basin. Air quality is more of a regional issue, and replacing diesel trucks with FCV trucks can shift emissions out of air-quality impacted areas to centralized processes that have better pollutant emissions control (as opposed to on-board vehicle cleanup which isn’t as effective)

          To summarize how I see it, I see BEVs dominating the LDA and part of the LDT1 market no doubt, which is responsible for the majority of the GHG emissions and travel demand anyway. FCVs, however, may have applications for LDT2, MD, and HD vehicles, especially ones with working duty cycles.

          Sandy asserts that BEV market penetration is limited to 28% (of an undefined market) and that BEVs are only suitable for small, short-range vehicles. These points in specific are dead wrong, but their concepts might have some validity. I’d say its more like:

          1. BEV market penetration with current tech is limited to 75-80% of the *light-duty* vehicle market which includes cars, consumer trucks and SUVs.

          2. BEVs are currently suitable for all consumer travel needs, but other tech is currently needed (FCV or otherwise) for working cycle travel needs.

          Let me know what you think and if that makes sense to you.


          • Julian Cox

            I think there may be a possible case for methane fuel cells as range extenders until rechargeable metal-air batteries make them obsolete in a few years time at the most.

            I cannot see any honest justification for hydrogen at all. Hydrogen from natural gas is the most carbon-intensive fuel source known to man – even worse than coal, anthracite or even peat per Btu, MJ or KWh. It is therefore the most ridiculous starting point to seek for carbon reduction.

            If one is happy to create pollution to travel extra distance in a truck, what is wrong with diesel? It pollutes far less than hydrogen and every step of manufacturing and infrastructure pre-exists. I would strongly suggest that a diesel-electric hybrid truck is the way to go – with about 50 miles all-electric range. That would load-balance hills, add regeneration and totally eliminate inner-city air and noise pollution. Once metal air is commonplace then that 50 miles can easily become 1000 miles or more with a simple retrofit. A small diesel generator operating at optimum efficiency will slash long distance travel GHG emissions in a way that hydrogen never could.

            Dr CE ‘Sandy’ Thomas is so wrong in both his calculations and speculations that dissecting the reasons why he is wrong is just to create work. Tesla Model S according to Thomas is impossible, as is the Model X and his arguments about market adoption descend into moronic stupidity from there on in.

          • JeffreyR

            My cursory reading of the Dr. S.T. ‘rebuttal’ letter did happen to include the “28% of the market” comment. I believe he was attempting to say BEV vehicles are small, low-range vehicles that can only replace a sub-set of everyday usage (your LD breakdown is much better). While some BEVs do fit the compact, city-car mold, this is an over simplification, and utterly misses the advances that Tesla has achieved w/ the Model S and will hopefully achieve w/ the Model ≡.

            Battery pack advances have already seen a jump from Tesla’s Roadster 50-kWh pack (2008) to Model S 90-kWh pack (2015). The GigaFactory has been designed to accelerate that improvement. It remains to be seen if they can achieve it. But JB Straubel, Tesla CTO, is confident a similar doubling can be achieved for another 10-20 years.

    • EricR

      The above post is edited to provide the correct GREET WTW GHG value for centralized SMR produced hydrogen and the corresponding results. I erroneously used 16.58 kg of CO2-eq. per kg of H2 instead of the actual GREET model value of 13.20 kg of CO2-eq. per kg of H2. This has the effect of making hydrogen even more favorable from a GHG perspective versus conventional gasoline and hybrid vehicles.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Eric and Julian – I’m overloaded trying to sort out your back and forths on whether the emission data is reliable or not.

    Here’s what we’re going to do.

    I’m going to limit your input on this topic to one per day. That will allow you each 24 hours to formulate your best argument. Starting with the time I post this I will remove any posts on data sources until this time on Monday.

    I would encourage each of you to write and post a concise version of your position in terms that someone outside the area can easily understand. Then, if you wish, you can revisit the argument the following day with a well thought out post.

    • EricR

      Thank you.

      • EricR

        … At least this argument is not oral- imagine the GHG emissions we would be responsible for 🙂

    • Julian Cox

      Bob, as the author of this piece will not consent to being treated as a commentator. I would like you to limit the inane carpet-bombing of my article by this individual and the wasting of my time having to respond.

      As you see, that is exactly what he wants.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Say less.

        Take time and say it better.

        That will communicate more information to those who continue to read. You can continue to make a daily post on the quality of the data for the next century if you like. Right now you two are throwing stuff up so fast that no one can sort it out, it seems that you are caught up in a ” ’tis – ’tis not ” battle.

        • Julian Cox

          Bob, the issue is that it takes no intelligence to keep questioning and casting doubt until a comment thread is full of questions that to the average reader looks as though there is actually some doubt about the original piece, when there is none. The tactic is as ordinary as it is vile and abusive.

          It is definitely an abuse of my time to have to keep batting away specious commentary. The fact that there has been a prolific troll in the comment steam of this article does not equate to anything in the article being in dispute or that I am in dispute with anyone. It just means that there is a troll.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “until a comment thread is full of questions that to the average reader looks as though there is actually some doubt”

            “It is definitely an abuse of my time to have to keep batting away specious commentary.”

            My new policy is designed to deal with these issues. I do not know if it will be successful. It might be unfair to one or all parties. But it’s what I intend to try for a while.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Eric, what you wrote on linkedin a couple of weeks ago is most interesting.*5rotbard%2Fa%2F7ba%2F254%2Egmp_3284455&commentID=-1&item=5875837009011961860&type=member&gid=3284455&view=&readyComment=true#lastComment

    “”Furthermore, I am concerned because it appears that there is a significant discrepancy between the anticipated WTW GHG emissions projected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) for H2 sourced from distributed natural gas of 200 g-CO2/mi (… and the actual findings from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) fuel cell test fleet of 356 g CO2-eq/mile from onsite ng reformation (…, Section 2.2.2 at p. 27). This would place FCEVs as significantly less clean than currently available hybrids when the H2 is sourced from ng””


    “I normally would not bother this group if I perceived the author as just another anti-hydrogen/pro-BEV commentator. However, I expect that he will appear at the California public hearing to present his arguments and potentially derail the grants.”

    That, to me, does not sound like an objective person looking for the best way to move personal transportation off oil. It sounds like someone who is an avid supporter of the H2 FCEV approach, is aware of the fact that fuel cells might not be a real solution, but wants to suppress that information so that public money will be spent on hydrogen refueling stations.

    you go on…

    “As I don’t have the mathematical and scientific expertise to dispute his calculations and findings, I thought it best to raise the issue here to determine if there are flaws in the author’s methodology/conclusions. I would. though, advise anyone that wants to comment on this CleanTechnica post that the author will make personal attacks in addition to his mathematical rebuttals”

    It seems that you are attempting to recruit assistance in defending H2 rather than attempting to determine the accuracy of Julian’s assertions.

    And I don’t see any signs of your group attempting to determine the accuracy of the NREL data during the rest of the conversation. Only efforts to protect the H2 grants and potential hydrogen industry.

    Now, you’ve assured us that you have no financial reasons to support H2. Would that then put you in the category of a “hydrogen true believer” who continues to strongly support their chosen team even when they realize that their position might be fatally flawed?

    • EricR

      No- that would be my effort to prompt the H2 industry to provide a substantive response. As you can see, I was interested in resolving the discrepancy between the NREL “real world” data and the DoE GHG summary findings. I did receive private responses, and my understanding is that Dr. Sandy Thomas sent a substantive response to CEC in response to Julian’s letter.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I read (present tense) it as “We better get busy and push back against this guy. He’s going to mess up us getting government funding.”

        • EricR

          You can read it any way you like, but you clearly see that I raised my concerns about the NREL/DoE discrepancy and my request for clarification. I intended for a substantive response.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “I normally would not bother this group if I perceived the author as just another anti-hydrogen/pro-BEV commentator. However, I expect that he will appear at the California public hearing to present his arguments and potentially derail the grants.”

          • EricR

            Right- because I want the H2 community to take this seriously. Don’t you want them to post their side?

  • EricR

    One significant problem with the above evaluation is that Mr. Cox cherry picks his GHG findings from different sources. The reason this is a problem is that even under the GREET model for WTW GHG emissions, one will get different results depending on the parameters used in the modeling. For example, if one GREET user includes the full life-cycle (including the GHG emissions in vehicle manufacturer as a parameter) and another does not, they will get different GHG results. I believe that is one of the reasons why the EPA, NREL and other DoE studies have apparently divergent GHG results. So, it is not necessarily accurate to compare the NREL FCEV WTW GHG learnings results with the EPA WTW GHG numbers for the vehicles it tested unless we are sure that both NREL and EPA used the very same GREET parameters. Until the EPA (for example) measures all available vehicle model offerings, including BEV, FCEV, hybrid, etc. using the same metrics, I am not sure we can get an accurate vehicle model-for-model WTW GHG comparison.

    • Julian Cox

      Firstly it is dishonest to say that there is a significant problem. Significance implies that it would affect the outcome. That is not true.

      It is also a dishonest ad-hominem to say that I have cherry picked any data. In fact I have done the opposite. I have had the intellectual honesty to look for the most lenient and unarguable sources of data for hydrogen and the most harsh and inviolable data sources for the comparisons, particularly in the case of EVs.

      As a matter of fact I have presented all of the data, no picking and choosing at all, let alone cherry picking. I have interposed the NREL average and best case findings as immutable points of reference on a graph. The data on the graph pulls together manufacturers Hp ratings and an openly transparent calculation of gasoline equivalence set against a single standard. A 11.132g CO2 gasoline mile. For gasoline EPA mpg is exactly the same as MPGp. The only distinction is to count a consistent 11.132g at the well instead of 8.887Kg at the tailpipe.

      I have demonstrated exactly how I have arrived at 14.34Kg CO2/Kg H2. I suspect the FCV shills are not arguing with that number because they know it is a low estimate – it leaves out CH4 slippage.

      It is dishonest to discuss the EPA regards to WTW measures. The EPA figures are always in relation to energy from the source purchased by the typical consumer. In the case of Gasoline, Diesel and Hydrogen it is the pump. In the case of Electricity it is the domestic wall socket. Furthermore EPA deals primarily in energy per unit mile. There are no figures for CO2 presented by the EPA for hydrogen or EVs.

      No matter what even European CO2/mile figures from Diesels for example multiplied up to WTW figures by about 19% hidden emissions may affect the end figure by 10% either way. It will never come close to making truth out of the lie that FCVs on NG offer 50% less emissions than ICE!

      They don’t.

  • Cox – Balanced and Fair!

    Time To Come Clean About Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles? better title:

    Time To Come Clean About Julian Cox’ motivation to distort facts to serve his own agenda.
    – Owner of a battery company? Check!
    – Claims of being an analyst without providing any analytical peer reviewed work? Check!
    – Strong supporter of Tesla, the company directly affected by ZEV credits being given to FCEVs in California? Check!
    – Claims to telling the “truth” vs numerous government agencies, national laboratories, and established analysts? Check!


    • Stan

      Any actual evidence that he has distorted facts? You’ve made an assertion of fact distortion yet you’ve only provided potential motivations. The author has given fairly lengthy defenses and also made changes when faced with contrary evidence. Thus, your post comes across like baseless character assassination.

      • Spam

        Of course he’s defending his article to the teeth, throwing dirt on a competing technology. Furthermore, the author has been very negative towards any criticism on his data, engaged in name calling of his critics and threw around the terms BS, rubbish, etc.

        He’s also dragged another highly acclaimed analyst through the mud.

        Considering the positive news coming out about fuel cells in recent months, I suspect he’s and others here are now concerned about the competition to pure BEVs and potential market share. So sad, since fuel cells still use batteries.

        • juxx0r

          Competing? That’s a long bow to stretch, that’s like saying i can compete in the mens 100m sprint at the olympics. The fact that i come in at more than twice the winners time is apparently immaterial.

          • Ben Helton

            It’s more like Tesla is the king of the special olympics of vehicles, meanwhile, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Ford, BMW (all the fully capable of the auto manufacturers) are competing in the big kid arena – With Real Vehicles.

          • Julian Cox

            I believe that adequately sums up the perspective of an auto mechanic. Low maintenance vehicles mean different jobs, not no jobs. It also means that as a society we get richer because labor is not wasted on useless tasks. We can build things with that labor instead of fixing things that are broken.

        • Julian Cox

          Spam – I will call it as it is if that’s OK. If someone says I disagree with the DOE when in fact the article links directly to a DOE study and uses the figures in it for anyone to check for themselves, yes I am going to call that critique BS.

          The ‘highly acclaimed analyst’ you refer to dragged himself into the mud – apparently his analytical abilities were having an off day (the man missed the point and could not add up for any 10th grader to see).

          I am not arguing for my own interests unless it is an interest in common with all – not screwing up societal energy and environment choices needlessly because a few vested interests twisted the facts into a pretzel.

    • Ben Helton

      Ahhh, hahahah. Cox makes Fox look modest and easy going… Julian Cox is more in line with an Alex Jones if you ask me (everything that involves hydrogen is a conspiracy from the oil companies, anybody who disagrees is a shill who works for them)

    • Bob_Wallace

      Can you point out what Cox has stated that is incorrect?

      Not as “you don’t agree”, but in a factual way which you can back up with data?

      Since you made the statement ” Claims to telling the “truth” vs numerous government agencies, national laboratories, and established analysts?” the task should be fairly easy for you. You apparently already have the facts at hand.

    • Julian Cox

      All of the facts and analysis presented in the article above are provided with direct references to government agency sources, all linked.

      This is provided in contrast to the marketing spin that is also referenced and not through the filter of the marketing spin.

      I am not arguing from my own authority and shooting the messenger is futile.

      • Bret Andersen

        Hello Julian,
        A group of us in Palo Alto are lobbying to stop California funding H2 stations. Your posts make a great case. Do you have any link to summary presentation on hand suitable for educating gov’t representatives face to face?
        Bret Andersen

    • Bob_Wallace

      Balanced and Fair, Spam, Moonboy.

      Any more sock puppeting and you will be history.

  • hm nice i am hundred percent convinced and i am in favour of doing so. Hi sir i read your articles daily. i visit this site many times and search for new articles i am fond of reading. So nice of you for these great articles. I am a blogger and work at but i always follow you and want to contact you. because i love you.

  • CsabaU

    The problem with hydrogen is fourfold:

    1. How generate hydrogen efficiently. As mentioned below, surplus wind- and solarpower can alternatively be stored as hydrogen. That can make production cost-effective. But creating hydrogen from electricity on demand is NOT a good option. Using natural gas to produce hydrogen is a stupid idea. Period. The dream to cheaply create hydrogen through photocatalysis is still a dream.
    2. Storing large amount of hydrogen is costly and dangerous.
    3. Distribution of hydrogen is costly and dangerous.
    4. Fuel cells are still far too expensive.

    To rush step 2, 3 and 4 while step 1 remain is just waste of money.

    • juxx0r

      you forgot number 5:

      5. Has an electricity to miles driven efficiency of 20% Vs an EV at 80%

      • juxx0r

        Here’s how it rolls:

        A hydrogen fuel cell runs like this:

        Electricity 100%
        Water purification 90%
        Water electrolysis 70%
        Compression 80%
        Transport XX%
        Fuel cell stack 50%
        Fuel cell ancillaries 70-85%
        Inverter 97%
        Motor 96%
        Gearbox 98%

        Total 19.5%
        for distributed hydrogen it’s 18.26%

        A battery EV goes like this:
        Electricity 100%
        Distribution 93.5%
        Charger 97-98%
        Battery resistance and coulombic efficiency 98%
        Thermal Management 95-98%
        Inverter 97%
        Motor 96%
        Gearbox 98%

        total 77-80%

        • Bob_Wallace

          Don’t take this personally, but I’m not sure whose numbers to trust. Can you link to a credible publication?

          Here’s how the H2 FCEV / EV efficiency looked a few years back. That’s closer to a 3x difference.

          What’s a reliable source for how things stand today?

          • juxx0r

            All good Bob, i’m happy for someone to quote some more up to date numbers.

          • Moonboy

            Yet you still throw around the 4x number elsewhere in the forum.

          • juxx0r

            If you can provide a more accurate energy balance, then bring it on.

  • Solar Hydrogen Fan

    Top Gear reviews the 2008 Honda Hydrogen Clarity:

    Hydrogen fueling stations can be installed in 48 hours:

    Honda has a working solar hydrogen station in Japan:

    Prototype Honda Gas Station:

    • Julian Cox

      I have written to the producers of Top Gear to implore them to review irresponsible reporting of FCVs saving the world per the FCX program.

      The sad music with the H2 station installation is more appropriate.

      • Julian Cox

        The article is in fact extremely lenient to hydrogen. For example I have used best case efficiencies for SMR @ 75% (industry standard numbers are 65~75%). I have not attributed anything to CH4 slippage from SMR (industry rumour up to 4%) and the person whose reputation you are so sorry to have lost from your arsenal of shills (Dr Sandy Thomas) states the GREET Model figure for Hydrogen is 16.58 Kg CO2 per Kg Hydrogen which is 15.6% higher than the 14.34 Kg CO2 figure I have calculated (generously). Even with his higher GREET figure for Gasoline at 11.3Kg he is stating that Hydrogen is 46.7% worse than Gasoline which is WAY more damning than the 28.8% that I have arrived at (generously).

        Using Dr Thomas’s figures

        the Toyota 2015 FCV at 68.3 mpKg H2 can only make it to 46.56 MPGp versus the current Prius that is EPA rated at 50 MPGp / MPGe (same thing) – and nothing will change the fact that the Toyota FCV is 10% less powerful than the Prius – that is Toyota’s own specification / matter of public record.

        The Honda FCX clarity Dr Thomas would be forced to admit on his own numbers that it can only go 40.9 MPGp

        I have generously put the Toyota 2015 FCV at 53.02 MPGp

        and I have put the Honda FCX Clarity at 46.58 MPGp

        To explain MPGp in the identical words used to describe Dr Thomas’s error to the CEC:

        The measure of MPGp literally takes the energy efficiency of the hydrogen vehicle in miles per kg H2 and reduces it proportionately by the relative carbon intensity of hydrogen compared with gasoline. In other words the H2 vehicle is not allowed to claim additional environmental mileage after it has produced the same pollution as a gallon of gas.

        You may not like the facts, you may not like me. That is absolutely irrelevant and accusing me of bias will get you nowhere.

        If you need a comment on Solar Hydrogen stations:

        Solar Hydrogen station is a stupid PR stunt. A solar BEV charging station would drive its vehicles 3 or 4 times the distance on the same energy. That is just the way it is and I am sorry if that makes you angry. Lithium mood stabilisation drugs may be an appropriate recourse.

      • Bob_Wallace

        “By the way, you should disclose your bias next time you write an article that displays a conflict of interest.”

        Perhaps you could explain this “conflict of interest”?

        Julian has a background in batteries. How does that create a conflict of interest? Where do you see him profiting from H2 FCEVs failing? He doesn’t appear to be manufacturing batteries for EVs, for example.

        Paul, on the other hand, has a very big dog in the fight. He’s got a business building (attempting to build) H2 stations. And I’m waiting for Eric to disclose his involvement in the hydrogen business, if there is one.

        • Julian Cox

          Full Disclosure: This piece is purely philanthropic i.e. A bunch of hard work and taking a heap of grief in return for giving a damn – which as a matter of fact I do.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’d like to hear from the person hiding behind the “Lithium if for Hospitals” alias.

            And I’m still waiting for Eric to disclose his possible connection to the H2/FCEV industry.

          • EricR

            Doesn’t that make me just as philanthropic? My profession, alas, is completely unrelated to alternative energy, nor do I have any investments in this area, so I do not derive any financial benefit whatsoever in any alternative energy tech.

          • Julian Cox

            Hard to be philanthropic and seek to cause harm to society.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’re all going to turn it down a notch, Julian….

          • EricR

            You can see my problem here. I have a legitimate disagreement with Julian on the merits of his position, and I hope that you and the other readers can appreciate that it is possible to disagree with him and not be evil.

          • A Real Libertarian

            I hope that you and the other readers can appreciate that it is possible to disagree with him and not be evil.

            The more you say this, the more I distrust you.

            Because in my experience, the more someone talks about “perspectives” and “the world isn’t black and white” the more it means they don’t have any evidence and are desperately trying to avoid realizing that fact.

          • EricR

            I am sorry you feel this way. I prefer to think of it as having an open mind.

          • Bob_Wallace

            In my experience when people start with the “we probably just need to agree to disagree” stuff that’s a recognition that their position is unsupportable and they aren’t willing to admit that the other side has the data.

            “We lost that case. How about we shake hands, call it a day, and forget about damages?”

            Show us some data, Eric. Let’s not try to use a “reasonable doubt” defense.

          • EricR

            Julian provided a methodology using disparate sources of data, I provided an argument that he would need to show the consistency of the methodologies among his sources. If there is no single source for these findings, I don’t see how we can trust the results.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think you need to show some reason why the data can’t be compared.

            Either furnish some real world numbers or drop this talking point. You’ve made your speculation often enough in this conversation.

          • EricR

            The reason is because not all WTW analyses (even under GREET) are the same. For example, one study might include the full life-cycle, which would include the GHG emitted during vehicle manufacturing. Others might not include this value, which would change the results.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You have failed to show how testing protocols could result in an error that would double/halve the numbers.

            Unless you can show that some of the data is off to that extent you have no point. Please do not post this argument again without proof. You’ve used up your speculation budget.

          • A Real Libertarian

            I am sorry you feel this way. I prefer to think of it as having an open mind.

            Why is it “Open your mind” always sounds like “Stop asking questions and believe what I tell you”?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Gentle people:

            We are operating under stricter than usual limits on personal affronts.
            Let’s dial it back. OK?

            (And, yes, I am often one of the worst offenders. You should see what I delete rather that post. Sometimes I have to delete myself after I post.)

          • A Real Libertarian


          • EricR

            I am not telling you to believe me, only that you consider what I am saying on its merits. That is what I mean by having an open mind.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Some of us have considered what you are saying and it’s coming off as not very important.

            You’re suggesting that there could be some variation in measurement approach from vehicle to vehicle but showing zero evidence that there is potential variation to turn “almost the same” into “two times greater”.

            Attempting to spread doubt is all I’m hearing.

          • EricR

            That is pretty accurate, as I do not believe there is conclusive data out there yet that would conclusively answer the issue. All we have here are Julian’s calculations, and so I was pointing out what I believed to be problems with his methodology. As to the magnitude of any potential errors, I am not an engineer, and so I am not going to suggest how to weigh them.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’d say that you have observed possible molehills and speculated mountains.

          • Julian Cox

            A Most curious find:

            What Eric R Really thinks:

            “….he does lay out a seemingly mathematically convincing (at least to my layman’s understanding) argument as to how FCEVs are just as/if not more polluting from a WTW GHG emissions perspective as similar performing ICE vehicles when the hydrogen is sourced from the likeliest and most cost effective pathway, SMR (he disputes the GREET model’s assumptions which focus on average fuel economy of 23 mpg rather than comparable vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz F-Cell with the B Class diesel).
            I normally would not bother this group if I perceived the author as just another anti-hydrogen/pro-BEV commentator. However, I expect that he will appear at the California public hearing to present his arguments and potentially derail the grants.”

            “Furthermore, I am concerned because it appears that there is a significant discrepancy between the anticipated WTW GHG emissions projected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) for H2 sourced from distributed natural gas of 200 g-CO2/mi ( and the actual findings from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) fuel cell test fleet of 356 g CO2-eq/mile from onsite ng reformation (, Section 2.2.2 at p. 27). This would place FCEVs as significantly less clean than currently available hybrids when the H2 is sourced from ng”


            Very odd that someone should worry about grants being derailed for a program that cannot deliver its promises.

          • A Real Libertarian

            A Most curious find:

          • EricR

            Busted because I wanted the H2 industry to respond? Busted because I am not satisfied with one side of the story? You are telling me that you only want to hear Julian’s version, and don’t care about the possibility of him being wrong. I find that very curious.

        • EricR

          @Bob_Wallace:disqus, I have no stake in the game yet, but I am trying…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Actually, I’m struggling to catch up. I missed most of this thread while traveling. I’m trying to sort out the players and issues at the moment.

          • EricR

            Lol! Not a problem. I should add though, that I was one of GM’s Project Driveway FCEV consumer participants in 2008, as well as participant in Chevy’s Volt Consumer Advisory Board (we tested pre-production Volts). Both were volunteer positions. I did wind up doing a Volt commercial (Google “Eric Happy Volt owner) in which I was compensated at scale (I am not a member of SAG :), and defended the Volt on Cavuto (Fox Business News).

  • Ben Helton

    This guy has no business getting published on this subject. He owns a battery company called FlightPower.

    He will accuse anybody and everybody of being a shill that disagree’s with him, yet he is primarily motivated on creating a world dependent on batteries, a direct conflict of interest if you ask me.

    • EricR

      Re: being called a shill, that would be me 🙂 I am also apparently a failure as a father (please don’t tell my kids 😛 )

      • Ben Helton

        Yes, well the non biased Clean Technica deletes my comments once again. Yay to accountability. Guess Zach and Bob don’t want the world knowing this guy rips people off, and has several felony grade wire transfers awaiting prosecution

      • Ben Helton


  • vadik

    Hydrogen is stupid because it costs a lot of electricity to electrolyse the damn thing. It is a physical fact which will never change, so hydrogen is never going to be clean nor make economic sense. Period.

  • Kyle Field

    I personally believe this should be broken out into actual articles vs encyclopedic volumes. The reason hydro is going to get marketing dollars, infrastructure, etc is because there’s money to be made there supplying energy (hydro stations) vs electric where it gives the consumer too many options and not as much opportunity for capitalists to make profit. Not a huge deal – they are cleaner than what’s on the road now…just unfortunate that folks are charging into them without all the info. My guess is that EVs will have such a footprint in 5yrs when these make it to market at any scale worth talking about that it will be a non-issue…

    • Julian Cox

      I tend to agree. How do you feel about this little poster as a simple message:

      • Stan

        Hi Julian, I believe this poster is way too complicated. Good idea, but needs much less information. Maybe try doing a few separate comparisons? Maybe do four of the main ones: average EV, diesel, hybrid, and real gasoline. It would also be a good idea to spell out EPA and NREL.

      • Kyle Field

        I actually found it a bit confusing at first. The metric was not clear but when I drilled in, it made sense. Crazy how a Prius is more efficient than the current FCEVs. I suppose a home unit running on solar would trump most of this…though it really just begs the question ‘why not just an ev?’

      • Kyle Field

        Definitely helps for those into the details. It took a bit of translation for me – but communicates a powerful message. Thanks!

  • DavidSnydacker

    I work on Li-ion batteries, but I refuse to assume that battery electric vehicles are the best low-carbon solution for every market and will continue to dominate forever. As fuel cells become more affordable and environmentally friendly, so will electrolyzers. Cost reductions have been phenomenal over the last ten years. Writing off fuel cell vehicles forever on the basis of today’s technology is no better than writing off smartphones forever on the basis of 1980s technology. You cannot conclude that a powertrain concept will never make sense simply because it doesn’t make sense today. The use of public funds for deployment of today’s fuel cell technology with hydrogen from natural gas is separate from the long-term feasibility of affordable and environmentally-friendly fuel cell vehicles.

    • Nash

      Well said!
      It takes a brave man to make a bet as to which technology in the long run will be the “greenest” or cheapest. Even otto cycles working on 2nd/3rd gen ethonal. Don’t count anything out. Best to invest R&D in all and see which one progresses the most. PEM fuel cells have dropped by an order of 10 in the last 15 years.

      • Julian Cox

        Nash – I have to say the same as to David. Brave is one thing credulity in the presence of obvious falsehood is another. I have no comment to make on the price trajectory of fuel cells. The issue I have flagged here is that with Fuel Cell Vehicles we are getting sold “50% emissions reductions when operating on NG” which is not true.

        We are instead getting fractions of the performance of gasoline in return for a larger fraction of the emissions of gasoline – i.e. proportionately more emissions.

        If we were being sold more emissions than gasoline now and a sensible economic roadmap to the impending slaughtering of the natural gas industry by massive decreases in the cost of renewable hydrogen then that would be something. What we are getting instead is natural gas attempting to slaughter cleaner initiatives and usurping public funds to do it on a false premise.

    • Omega Centauri

      I can’t argue with never-say-never. But we have to acknowledge that FCVs rely upon chained energy conversion, first to hydrogen (or another energy carrier), then back to high quality (electrical/mechanical) energy. Li-Ions can do this with over 90% roundtrip efficiency, with an FCV you have the product of the two processes, both of which of very much lower than 90%. It going to rquire some really huge breakthorighs to substantially change the math. Not proven impossible, just highly unlikely.

      We might well come up with decent processes for energy to liquid. But then we already have technology to convert liquid fuels to energy. I’d rather see the research dollars go to say the wave-disk engine/generator, then waste it on a fuelcell longshot.

      • Moonboy
        • Bob_Wallace

          That (apparently outdated) graphic covers more than Li-ion efficiency.

          ” Li-Ions can do this with over 90% roundtrip efficiency”

          BTW, that graphic seems to leave out the 10% transmission loss for H2 but charged to the EV.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The outdated part seems to be largely the 50% efficiency for fuel cell. Honda is claiming they have achieved 60% which tightens things up a bit.

          • juxx0r

            But Bob, that is just the cell itself, not what you need to make it run.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’re all over the place here. Omega was talking only about the battery. Moonboy jumped it to entire system. I commented on a couple of problems with the graphic and pointed out that fuel cell efficiency may be higher than it was when that graphic was produced several years ago.

            Clearly it’s going to take a lot more electricity to move an H2 FCEV than an EV. The question is whether it will take closer to 2x or 3x.

          • juxx0r

            Does it matter if it’s 2 or 3 times? I mean it’s 2 or 3 times. I’m not willing to pay 2 or 3 times more for some sort of convenience a few times a year.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It matters only in terms of accuracy.

            Some people do drive a lot and they might be willing to pay extra in order to avoid spending an extra 15 minutes a day charging. I doubt there are enough of them to support an industry.

            Me? I’m of an age at which the idea of taking a 20 minute nap while my batteries recharge is a positive thing.

    • juxx0r

      So what’s the plan for making up the 400% efficiency difference?

    • dgaetano

      There may well be market niches for FCVs, but for general consumer vehicles the technology is doomed. People go to gas stations every week their entire lives and never think about it, but once you’ve lived with an EV for a while it suddenly becomes unacceptable. Going to a fuel station is just a big annoying waste of time.

      At this point (3 years of EV ownership) you’d actually have to pay me to drive a vehicle that needed a refueling stations (of any type). Seriously, the car would have to cost negative money.

    • Julian Cox

      David – if the proponents of FCVs cannot tell the truth from day one to promote this technology and instead fact flat out lie to both politicians and the public this thing is not going anywhere good IMO. “Even on NG 50% emissions reduction” is a falsehood that is just inexcusable.

      Nobody needs to lie to sell an EV. Like hey – pulling electricity from the grid makes grid emissions. It does.

      Nobody needs to lie to sell a gasoline vehicle either. It pollutes like crazy but vehicles are relatively cheap and the utility is great so long as you are willing to pay through the nose for gas and maintenance.

      What is so special about FCVs that should get a free pass on a stinking pile of BS about being great for the environment. They have poor performance and in relative terms they pollute like crazy and will do until natural gas runs out in 100 years time.

      • Moonboy

        Except that Tesla claimed a 300 mile range for their vehicle when the EPA gets only 265. You’re good at math, right, is that a 10% difference? And that’s on sunny days in California, not winter storms in New England… So yeah, everyone paints their picture a little more positive.

        • JeffreyR

          Tesla projected a 300-mile range using EPA-2 conditions, before the Model S was complete. Then EPA-5 was introduced and the range dropped accordingly. Now Tesla refers to an ideal 65 MPH range when trying to put their best case forward. Also, the MS 90D is projected to get close to a 300-mile range. It took three years, an extra motor w/ “torque sleep”, and an extra 5 kWh in the battery, but it looks like they’ll achieve their plan. The advertised EPA-5 range will be lower.

          But they also introduced “Ludicrous Speed” w/ sub-three second 0-60 MPH times for their Performance version.

    • JamesWimberley

      Th equilibrium for a technology transition is path-dependent; in other words, where you end up depends on how you start out. See Betamax, MS-Dos, concentrating solar. Once a technology that does the job gets a foothold, it starts benefiting from economies of scale and networking. Late-starting rivals never get a chance. An incumbent can be broken with huge resources, as with Android. So it isn’t a law, just a betting probability. Evs have the foothold today, fuel cell vehicles not. They never will outside niche uses. Perhaps long-distance trucks.

      BTW, this process wasn’t what doomed nuclear power: it had a very good run with strong, consistent and well-funded support from a good many governments over a long period. It’s just an inferior technology.

  • JamesWimberley

    I like it when Cleantechnica calls out the snake oil stuff.

    Julian is too categorical to dismiss electrolysis with renewable electricity so completely. The reason is the variability of solar an wind. If the leading renewable technology were geothermal, available 24/7 at 95% reliability, you would just instal enough to meet peak demand plus a 20% reserve. What we have is wind and solar, which are much more variable. To get very high renewable penetration (say over 80%), we will need to overbuild both wind and solar on a very large scale, absent a miracle breakthrough on storage at a scale of weeks. For long periods, combined wind and solar output will be excess to demand. It will have to be curtailed, i.e. thrown away – or used to make synfuels, at the cost of transmission. The Germans are already working on this.

    If you are making fuel out of thin air and water, why stop at hydrogen? It’s difficult and dangerous to handle. Better go a step further and reform to methane, which can be distributed using the existing pipeline grid and burnt in existing engines. The snag, beyond the extra cost, is leakage. I’ve linked before to a clever German scheme to feed electroysed hydrogen into bioreactors (link), allowing a doubling of their methane output per kg of biomass.

    • Julian Cox

      The principal issue with electrolysis for FCVs is the question of what happens when there is not enough curtailed energy left to curtail. Both the argument and the reality just circles straight back to a natural gas transport system. The truth is that 90% of public infrastructure investment in California is natural gas based from the outset. It really does not matter that curtailed energy is there to convert, this process is being driven by the natural gas industry. See H2USA . It’s right there in the official hydrogen policy announcement for the United States without one word of mention of the ‘environment’ or ’emissions, but an eloquent decryption of the low cost and abundance of natural gas.

    • Paul Staples

      Again, You can store all renewable power as hydrogen. And that is what is happening on a large scale in Europe. So your point on variability of power is moot when hydrogen is used to store the energy.

      No, you are misinformed, hydrogen is safer than all other fuels currently in use. It dissipates quickly because it is 14x lighter than air. Doesn’t pool like propane or gasoline or biofuels, or hangs at air level like NG. And leaking can be eliminated with the proper systems and materials. The rest involves not storing large amounts by generating on demand with modern PEM Electrolyzers.

      • Ulenspiegel

        The argument is, that methane in “only” one step more and can be used in already built infrastructure.

  • Michael Berndtson

    I read about 50 percent of the post and will read the rest soon. You’re preaching to the choir – but a big amen from me nonetheless. George Bush pushed hydrogen fuel cells and compressed hydrogen – basically to stall research on ICE efficiency and EVs. And of course, to use more oil and gas. Obama’s admin at least has done a good job promoting all alternative vehicles and powertrains.

    Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute was a big hydrogen promoter back in the early/mid 1990s. I believe he’s scaled back his bandwagon. Especially since battery technology has improved greatly since then. I’ll have to check out the website to see if hydrogen is still RMI’s thing.

    The whole thing about the hydrogen economy is another domestic market for natural gas. The O&G industry is way over capitalized from crazytown drilling and production over the past 10 years to throttle wells. Overseas sales of LNG is kind of, well, dumb. China just signed a deal with Russia to pipe natural gas from Siberia last week. I’m going to assume we’ll be hearing a lot about hydrogen and natural gas (LNG and CNG) for transportation now and in the future.

    • Jan Veselý

      Quoting A.Lovins: “I never thought that batteries will become so cheap so quickly”

      • lovinsfan

        Here’s another: “The shift to hydrogen is inevitable, and it’s happening faster than we expected,” -Amory Lovins

        • juxx0r

          I think that was a misquote, i believe it went:

          “The shift to electrons is inevitable, and it’s happening faster than we expected,” -Amory Lovins

          • Bob_Wallace

            I looked a bit for that quote. Anyone got a link to the original? I’d like to see it in context and dated.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Amory is often right. But not 100% of the time.

          We’re about to witness a battle between EVs and H2 FCEVs. I don’t think it will be a fair battle (based on Julian’s analysis) because FCEVs will use cheaper, climate-destroying natural gas rather than renewable electricity.

          I can see a slight chance that FCEVs could grab the market first if they can bring their prices down quicker than EVs can produce an affordable high capacity battery.

          I suspect the FCEV dominance would be short-lived. We don’t have a long term supply of NG and prices are not going to stay low. Solar prices are likely to drop to half or less what they now are and wind may have dropped very significantly over the last year.

          At some point it will be cheaper to drive an EV than a natural gas powered FCEV. And it’s always going to be cheaper to drive an EV than a renewable electricity power FCEV.

  • japan4

    Hi Julian,
    I posted this on your other article, but it was a bit old, so just thought I’d update here.

    I just want to clarify a few things.

    What is the source for the numbers for the SMR step-by-step process emissions? I found a few studies showing between 8.9 and 11.888 kg CO2/kg H2 on LCA bases, but as we know LCAs can draw the system boundaries at different levels.

    NETL (2005): 8.9 kg CO2e / kg H2, fuel production only. – includes liquefaction step which is energy intensive.

    DOE: (2005-06): 9.07 kg CO2e / kg H2 by 2015 (converted from 20 lb/gge),d.cGU

    Ecole Polytechnique du Montreal: 11.888 kg CO2e / kg H2

    Looking into it further, I noticed that some of the numbers around the 8.9-9 kg CO2e / kg H2 are pre-fracking, and the study closer to 11.8 kg CO2e / kg H2 is taking into account wellhead and fugitive emissions due to fracking. A study called “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations” shows that the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from shale gas wells are on the order of 33% higher than that from conventional wells. From a purely emissions standpoint, however, studies performed using the 9.0 kg CO2e / kg H2 number would show non-trivial emissions advantages for FCVs over gasoline vehicles, but this assumes natural gas extraction from conventional reservoirs. Fracking started to take off in the 2009 timeframe from what I understand, and studies regarding its emissions didn’t seem to come out until a few years later. The emissions due to the tie to shale gas fracking make a big difference and speak to the points you presented in your calcs.

    Also, do you think mobile fuel cells have a role in the heavy duty sector (i.e. trucking, etc…)? They seem well suited for that application especially from a criteria pollutant emissions standpoint, removing emissions from densely impacted port areas but having enough on-board energy density for heavy applications and so on.

    Just one more thing for tidying up – the emissions factor of the grid changes when additional load is put onto it, depending on what incremental generation source meets that new load. For example, if the energy of the load increases by 20000 GWh, if that extra energy is met by natural gas, the carbon intensity of the grid increases because NG forms a larger share of the total mix. This highlights the importance of renewable deployment for supporting any technology that imposes a grid load – BEV (directly) or FCV (by electrolysis, etc…). Was this included in the calcs?


    • Julian Cox


      The answer is a very long one, but I would prefer to provide it than duck the question:

      Double Checking hydrogen emissions figures.

      In this section we will require the use of ‘molar mass’ to enable us to calculate the weights of the inputs and outputs of chemical reactions. By the convention that defines Moles, Hydrogen as the smallest element with a single proton and an electron has an an atomic weight of 1.000 and so 1 Mole of basic hydrogen atoms weighs 1 gram (1g/mol). In nature hydrogen has a standard molar mass of a little higher than 1g due to minor concentrations of deuterium and tritium (Hydrogen species with one or two additional neutrons). Hence a natural molar mass of 1.0079g/mol is usual for hydrogen atoms.

      We will also need to have the molar masses of:

      Methane (CH4) 16.04 g/mol

      Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 44.01 g/mol

      So to start using this information with an example:

      1 kg Hydrogen divided by the standard Molar mass of hydrogen (atoms) [1.0079 mol per gram] = 922 Moles (of atoms).

      Hydrogen gas exists as H2 in nature (two atoms together).

      922 Moles of atoms has the same weight as 461 Moles of H2 gas.

      So if we wanted to know the weight of water vapor that would result from burning 1 Kg of hydrogen we can make a chemical equation.

      H2 + O => H2O

      This tells us that we need 461 Moles of Oxygen atoms to attach to the 461 Moles of H2 molecules (and not some other multiple of 461). Oxygen atoms weigh nominally 16g/mol. (Carbon is nominally 12g/mol).

      To make water we need to add 461 * 16 = 7.376Kg of oxygen to our 1Kg of hydrogen making a total of 8.376 Kg of water vapor.

      We will use this method below to get at CO2 emissions.

      These are the steps for producing compressed hydrogen in reverse order.

      Step 1.

      Hydrogen compression to 5000 psi (Toyota for example).

      2.23 kWh / Kg ref:…ompression.pdf

      Taking a CO2 emission factor of 0.527 Kg / kWh for the use of the grid to drive a compressor. ref:

      2.23 kWh * 0.527 Kg / Kwh = 1.175 Kg CO2.

      Molar Mass CH4 16.01g

      Molar Mass CO2 44.01g

      Note also that 1.175 Kg CO2 is the product of burning

      1.175 *16.04/44.01 = 0.43 Kg CH4 (Natural Gas).

      Subtotal: 1.175 Kg CO2.

      Step 2.

      SMR (Steam Methane Reforming) two step chemical reaction.

      CH4 + H2O ⇌ CO + 3 H2

      CO + H2O ⇌ CO2 + H2

      Back calculating there is 1 mole of CO2 produced for every 4 moles of H2

      molar mass of CO2 is 44.01 g/mol

      (461 / 4 * 44.01)/ 1000g/Kg = 5.072 Kg CO2 per Kg H2

      Note also 1 mole of CH4 is required for every 4 moles of H2

      461 / 4 * 16.04/ 1000g/Kg = 1.849 Kg CH4 (Natural Gas) per Kg H2

      Subtotal for Step 2. 5.072 Kg CO2

      Step 3.

      Powering the SMR reaction.

      Industrial SMR (Steam Methane Reforming) reactors are typically quoted as 75% efficient.

      1 Kg Hydrogen output containing 120 MJ/Kg represents 75% of the input energy. Note some of the heat input energy is electrical, potentially all of it in the case of distributed SMR (at gas stations), also industrial SMR is generally quoted as 65~75% efficient.

      Hence at its most generous 75% interpretation:

      120 MJ / 0.75 = 160 MJ input.

      Natural Gas (nominally CH4) is 50 MJ/Kg (LHV)

      1.849 Kg CH4 consumed in the reaction contributes 92.45 MJ

      The Balance of 160 MJ – 92.45 MJ = 67.55 MJ for SMR heating requires the combustion of an additional 1.35 Kg CH4 per Kg Hydrogen produced.

      Simple combustion reaction CH4 + 2 O2 = CO2 + 2 H20

      Natural gas is 16.04 g/mol

      CO2 is 44.01 g/mol

      They are in a 1:1 proportion in this reaction hence

      1.35 Kg CH4 releases 1.35 * 44.01 / 16.04 = 3.704 Kg C02 per Kg Hydrogen.

      Subtotal for Step 3. 3.704 Kg CO2

      Step 4.

      Production of Natural Gas.

      Looking at step 1, 0.43 Kg CH4 is required for compression

      Looking at step 2, 1.849 Kg CH4 is consumed as a chemical feedstock.

      Looking at step 3, 1.35 Kg of CH4 required for heating the SMR process.

      Total CH4 requirement for 1 Kg H2 = 0.43 + 1.849 + 1.35 = 3.629 Kg Ch4 per Kg Hydrogen.

      Cross check 50 MJ/Kg for Natural Gas = 181.45 MJ

      CO2 emissions from Natural Gas Production, 13.5g / MJ ref:

      181.45 * 13.5 / 1000g/Kg = 1.974 Kg CO2

      Subtotal for Step 4. 2.450 Kg CO2

      Putting that all together we have a grand total of

      1.175 + 5.072 + 3.704 + 2.450 = 12.401 Kg CO2 per Kg Hydrogen.

      To produce 1 Kg Hydrogen containing 120 MJ / Kg energy

      120 / 181.45 = 66% efficiency.

      This errs on the side of generosity and compares favorably with the 62% efficiency stated by the Hydrogen FCV lobby group California Fuel Cell Partnership (quoting Argonne National Labs) because it lacks a figure for transportation.

      Rounding up to include transportation

      66/62 * 12.401 = 13.201 Kg CO2

      Note 13.201 Kg does not include CH4 slippage to approach CO2e equivalence to NREL figures for gasoline. The total to include CO2 equivalence or CH4 slippage is 14.34Kg CO2e versus 11.13Kg CO2e for a US gallon of Gasoline.

      • japan4

        Hi Julian,
        Thank you for the response. Your calculations are clear and solid for SMR. 🙂

        Please bear with me as I’m just seeking clarity. I don’t dispute that EVs are more efficient than FCVs and have lower emissions under common grid conditions. I’m still finding it difficult to wrap my mind around FCVs being worse than gasoline. I’ve always had the understanding of a tradeoff between operational benefits vs. efficiency between the two, but that both were better than gasoline. So if you don’t mind, I want to ask for some more accounting of factors for the gasoline numbers (and if you want to go through the trouble of providing them, the BEV numbers also).

        From your calculations, I see where the 8.9-ish kg CO2e/ kg H2 number used in many studies comes from: it comes from the SMR process and the required process heat. In your calcs, you also included compression for dispensing (a necessary step) and emissions due to natural gas resource exploration and extraction. The latter factor especially is one that hasn’t been included in many WTW analyses for many technologies (not just FCV). So I’m wondering if these and other relevant factors are included in the numbers for gasoline and BEVs.

        For SMR, the WTW chain presented is: NG extraction/mining –> NG transport –> NG SMR (include process and heat) –> H2 dispensing–> FCV usage

        For gasoline, the equivalent WTW chain for comparison would need to be: Oil extraction/mining –> Oil transport –> Oil refining –> Gasoline dispensing (admittedly small) –> ICE usage

        For BEV, the equivalent WTW chain for comparison would need to be: Grid feedstock extraction/mining (varies depending on feedstock) –> Feedstock processing (if required) –> Feedstock usage (i.e. power plants, etc…) –> Transmission/Distribution –> BEV usage.

        For example, for gasoline, does the NREL WTW number include energy-related and other emissions associated with oil mining/extraction/transport? I know many numbers used in different studies draw their boundary line at the refinery entrance. Since climate change is a global phenomenon, even if this occurred in other regions, it is still important. Similarly, for BEVs using the grid emissions factor, do the factors/calculations take into account the GHG associated with the feedstock extraction of natural gas and coal used on the grid?

        If you have these numbers or know whether they were included in the numbers referenced, it would clear up a lot of things for me just by satisfying my curiosity about whether the system boundaries were consistent between all techs considered. Similar to you, I’m seeking clarity, and I’m inherently curious about strong statements at first glance, since as you know – strong statements for any case that get proliferated can have profound impacts for better or worse.


        • japan4

          Also forgot to mention one thing regarding the vs. gasoline WTW comparison, hydrogen from SMR is currently used in hydrocracking for gasoline refining, so that’s one other reason i’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around FCVs being worse than gasoline.

          • Julian Cox

            For gasoline I have attempted to do is use like for like reference figures from NREL. These are cited by NREL as GREET model defined – except that nobody seems to publish a carbon intensity figure for H2. Thanks for double checking the maths. That said I have an as yet unverified source suggesting that the GREET model for H2 puts CO2e right out at 16.58 Kg CO2e per Kg!!! Which relegates hydrogen from NG from appalling to absolutely too absurdly filthy to countenance territory. I don’t actually doubt it because I have not included a figure for CH4 slippage in SMR because it is just too hard to lock that figure down. I think this can be up to 4% which would blow the roof off the maths at a GHG equivalence factor of 21 – and that 21 is a load of crock too, it’s more like 86 in the first few years.

            Bottom line I have been insanely generous to hydrogen and as hard as possible on everything else. For example the Tesla Model S is far better in real life than the EPA 89MPGe figure because the EPA figure use estimates for charging losses relevant to the inefficiencies of charging little batteries with little chargers last tested in 2011 – but I have used the EPA figure for of 89MPGe regardless of the fact that 38KWh/100mi is at odds with typical user data of 33KWh/100mi.

            I think your point about boundaries is valid question but to the best of my knowledge and belief the answer is equally valid. For average grid intensity of the US Grid I sourced it from an unfriendly reference: I suspect the IPCC have tried to add up everything they could from ground to socket rather than casually omit something. By all means please double check.

            What I think must be said and triple underlined is that the environmental sales case for hydrogen is Bogus with a capital B. It is impossible to claim 50% emissions reduction vs gasoline for a technology while omitting to mention the fact that the reference gasoline ICE technology vehicle is always double the power output or thereabouts or so old as to be equally irrelevant.

            Most likely if the absolute truth were ever knowable, the figures I have presented as damning as they obviously are will be found to have been massively forgiving in the case of hydrogen.

          • japan4

            Hi Julian,
            Thanks for the response. I agree with you that the marketing has gotten out of hand, especially the claim stated. This is why following much of the green vehicle discussion (for me) is frustrating, because there’s lots of noise and yelling and so on (on all sides) that make it hard to see things clearly. Thanks for being as forthcoming as you can be to the best of your knowledge (and cordial).

            When I get some time, I’ll want to look into the factors regarding whether they include the equivalent upstream processes across the board or not just to satisfy my own curiosity about having a clear comparison. I’m sure your margins are a good way to go about it given what bits of information are readily retrievable, but if more information can be added that’s always a good thing.

            Have a good one.

          • Julian Cox

            Welcome – and thank you for an intelligent contribution.

  • Ross

    Hydrogen fuel cells made sense in the Space Shuttle but not on Planet earth where water is more readily available and battery EVs can be charged with clean renewable technology.

  • Joel

    Straight talk! The only thing that keeps me from hating FCVs is that I think it can serve as a bridge to hydrogen-fueled aircraft. For cars it’s clearly a dead end.

  • Omega Centauri

    Haven’t we seen this act before, with the whole FlexFuel ethanol thing? This looks like a replay, only the capital cost of the vehicle is huge as well.

    • Paul Staples

      Wrong in so many ways. The cost of the FCEV vehicles are about the same
      as a hybrid when they came out, and will get less to no more than an
      ICE equivalent model. Everything else
      this guy discusses is irrelevant since there is zero carbon footprint
      with Renewable/Sustainable Hydrogen. The cost of the fuel is a little
      less than gasoline and will only decline in price the more we use, and
      the infrastructure deployment is less expensive than all
      other options, and Renewable/Sustainable hydrogen is the only
      sustainable energy paradigm there is of all the other viable options.
      There isn’t a straight talk in this whole post. Just a lot of
      statistical BS with an axe to grind. Is he trying to sell a book or
      what. What does he have against a 100% Renewable Sustainable Energy
      paradigm that is carbon free from cradle to grave, or Well to Wheel (if
      you prefer). Go to to see more. Because you certainly
      are not getting the straight dope here.

      • Julian Cox

        Paul, I am sorry but the web site you are promoting contains a pack of lies. This is precisely the misleading nonsense that this document exists to warn people about.

        The author of this piece has had the temerity to post a picture of a vehicle next to a Shell hydrogen filling system while spouting on about wind wave and solar!

        As a matter of fact, distributed hydrogen generation from natural gas is literally the most polluting fossil fuel option well to wheel in existence.

        Look at the chart above discussing economics of renewables for H2 generation. Never going to happen – and is not happening.

        • Paul Staples

          Now you are leaving yourself open for liable. To say you disagree, is
          your right, a pack of lies, That is liable. It is not lies, it is just
          designed to reach people in a way that the layman can wade through and
          get without falling asleep like with your article here. I could say the
          same thing about your article, but sadly I fell asleep reading it
          whenever I tried. If you want to have an conversation to discuss it, I would welcome it. Feel free to call me to
          discuss. In fact anyone here interested enough to discuss it
          intelligently feel free to call as well. But that site is probably the
          most accurate site you will find on the subject and I have the real
          facts to back it up. Not a bunch of irrelevant data like your
          articles. I have 40 years at it to back me up along with Nobel
          Laureates, Physicists from Lawrence Livermore, as well as professors
          from some of the most prestigious institutes and universities from
          around the world Ph.D’s that line around the block, as well as a CalEPA
          Secretary and many others. How about you? Call me. 707-667-5329

          • Bob_Wallace

            You aren’t exactly coming off as an accurate person on this site.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ooooh…. Looked at your site.

            “HyGen believes the hydrogen infrastructure is mostly in place.”

            HyGen is tossing BS into the air. There is no infrastructure for cracking water, compressing the H2, and distributing it. All that is in place is the feedstock (the grid and water mains).

          • Paul Staples

            Don’t act like an idiot. You know very well what we are talking about. Water and electricity. that is the most important part. The rest is relatively easy to do and can be done with proven technology in life critical scenarios – just equipment to convert water to hydrogen and compress and dispense (about 400 sqft footprint at a gas station), the electricity one can buy from wind or solar or geothermal or wave power producers. Which is exactly what we will do.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Don’t try to push more BS on us. You know very well that the hydrogen infrastructure is not in place. That would be a major expense which would have to be reflected in the cost of fuel.

          • Paul Staples

            Less expensive than any other sustainable option. Much less, since it is the only real sustainable option. It is a cost, no doubt, but don’t be a nitt-picking whiner. It is an accurate statement but I don’t just say that is it, just trying to demonstrate that the basics to do it are in place. All it takes is currently available technologies as well as the locations and the funding to kick start it. Anyone with half a brain does not need to be told that when they are told that!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Paul, even someone with half a brain can tell that it’s going to be cheaper to drive a vehicle which uses half as much sustainable electricity per mile.

            They don’t even have to know how to add in the infrastructure cost for H2.

            And anyone with half a brain can look around and see that there are no H2 stations that use sustainable electricity.

            It only takes half a brain to see where you are talking junk.

          • Øyvind Lunde

            Half as much? One third at least. 😉

          • Julian Cox

            Yes there is a sustainable supply of natural gas, but that is one heck of a play on words isn’t it. Nicely echoed by Toyota’s threat to do us all for the next 100 years – about the estimated supply of frack gas. Jeez.

            The funny thing is that here is a simple and straight forward exposure of the lies we are being told about the environmental credentials of FCVs on Natural Gas – and who should plead with people to look at his “accurate” sales website but a guy trying to make a buck out of hydrogen from electrolysis. Weird that you are not grateful that finally the truth is out about your natural gas competitor.

          • Julian Cox

            Electrolysis can be done on a relatively small scale as a PR stunt, the question is a PR stunt to promote what. No FCV manufacturer is going to produce an FCV in the hope of scrounging off the variability of renewable sources. Its neither realistic nor is it representative of public energy policy.

            On top of which your claim that FCVs are “efficiency about 2-3x that of an ICE vehicle” is outrageous. I am delighted to tell you “pack of lies” without a moments concern.

            That Honda FCX on your website is 60mpKg H2 for a 134hp vehicle. Show me a modern 134hp ICE vehicle that gets 20~30 mpg gasoline – especially a hybrid gasoline to make a fair comparison – A Prius for example.

          • Paul Staples

            You are wrong carbon breath. Electrolysis has been around for a long time and has some very large production facilities, just not in the states. In Europe mostly. On the size of multi megawatts, even gigawatts. The systems we will be deplying has a full system footprint of around 400sf. producing 400kg/day. About 1/2 the daily fuel sales for full commercialization.

            Also, that is what the DOE has verified 2.5 – 3x the efficiency of the average American Fleet ICE vehicle (2.5 for current model more efficient economy cars). Hybrids are more efficient than your average car, but the FCEV is about 2x as efficient as a hybrid in real world numbers. Those hybrids do not get the EPA average that the sticker says it does. Much less, more around 30 – 35mpg as opposed to the 40 – 45 on the window sticker. This was recently on the news as an expose. Those numbers are figured into the average. you do realize that there are a lot of SUV’s and gas guzzlers still on the road. In fact most of the cars on the road could still be considered gas guzzlers as most cars on the road get an average mpg below 20 mpg. In the early days of the FCEV deployment, around 2000, 2001, it was 3x undisputed. but since then the DOE figured in the hybrid and more fuel efficient cars of the last decade to make it more accurate. At this point, no one questions that FACT because it is considered conventional wisdom now. Well accepted worldwide without debate. Science fact is not debatable it just is. No one says otherwise but Elon Musk! If you have done your homework and didn’t listen to that idiot Elon Musk (that’s it, he is paying your salary to do this.) Elon is a very angry opponent of hydrogen, scared sh_tless that he made the wrong investment in batteries and has in the past made the same arguments. However he doesn’t do much anymore because he has been so soundly criticized for it. Now he tries to scare people with paranoid safety rants. Tesla will be out of business in 5 years unless he converts his electric vehicle from battery electric to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

            As far as your rant about the BEV (now we are getting to his interest, he owns equity in Tesla or is employed by him. He does that, he hires people to blog on it to smear and slander hydrogen and FCEVs). It is not that much more efficient. The efficiency you tout is not real life. It is lab efficiency. You loose about 15% charging with the current charging system for your house. Because the system requires a larger charge than most houses can provide, about 8 – 10 kwh taking 8 – 10 hours to charge, when the average house is designed and built to use 2 – 3 kwh ( at that rate it would take 2.5 days to get a full charge, then you get those higher efficient charges at 110). Maybe more if you have a big house, but that is the average house. That makes the conversion efficiency at 85%. A high efficiency PEM Electrolyzer is 80% – 85% efficient WTT. Which makes a wash there, the vehicle powered by battery is more efficient conversion than a fuel cell conversion of hydrogen to eklectricity is correct, but the weight difference of 1200 lbs for an all electric car (with any kind of viable range) compared to about 200 lbs for the fuel cell system and tank makes that almost a wash with a marginal increase in efficiency. Where as the FCEV has a range of 300 – 400 miles, and fuels in 5 minutes as opposed to 8 hours, unless you don’t mind burning vehicles with the fast charging of 85% capacity in 20 – 30 minutes as your lithium melts at 400 degrees. Good luck with that!

          • Julian Cox

            Nope. The numbers are in the article. They are mathematical, immune to confirmation bias and referenced directly to the official numbers for all to see.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Knock off the name calling.

          • Paul Staples

            I did not start this by calling people liars and full of BS. You guys did. So stop with the lies and name calling and I will. But I am right, and you will find out just how when this article is inundated with Ph.D’s and engineers tearing you both new asses. We have had it

            So long for now

          • Bob_Wallace


            And if you come back please don’t repeat the dishonest claims you’ve made to date.

          • Brandon


            ICE clean diesels, depending on the aerodynamics of the vehicle are getting upwards of 45+ mpg. These engines make nearly twice the torque and in the 125 hp ballpark.

            Your terminology “wasting” indicates a strong bias in argument based in little fact. In your argument, how much time is spent recharging to accomplish 3x the distance?

            I’d have to argue that electrolysis is not a PR stunt no more than your article is a PR stunt for tesla motors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “we’re better off combusting hydrogen in piston powered motors than using electric battery vehicles.”

            How about explaining how that could be true?

            I thought fuel cells were more efficient than internal combustion engines?

            Hydrogen is simply an energy storage technology when made with electricity. How are we better off using a much more lossy storage system?

          • Randall Smith

            So relatively easy, it only cost a cool $1 million per station.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s just a dispensing station. The cost of generation and compressing is extra.

          • Paul Staples

            I am the most accurate person so far posting on this site on this issue, So I would not talk about accuracy in this post. You guys are so wrong, and you will see how wrong soon.

          • Julian Cox

            Paul, you need to take it up with the NREL (that would be the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory). The figures presented here are NREL and EPA. The fact is that renewable energy cannot compete economically with natural gas – you can research that for yourself in the article above. Everything is transparent, nothing pulled from fantasy or out of any hat.

          • Paul Staples

            Yes I am sure if I provided you my data you could skew it to make your case as well. It is as the saying goes, there are Lies, Damn Lies, and there are Statistics. That is exactly what you are doing with their data. Yes Hydrogen from natural gas is cheaper. Especially with Fracking (which we are working feverishly to ban, how about you, do you own interest in NG). But the cost goes through the roof distributing it. We don’t have that problem as we generate on-demand, on-site. I wrote above what our costs and prices would be. about $8.60 – $9.00/kg with profits. Do you have any idea what they charge/kg at current hydrogen stations supplied from SMR is? $15.00/kg (AC Transit). I think we can compete with that. Ask any welding shop what they pay for the hydrogen they use, or glass company, or a semiconductor company – -$20.00 – $25.00/kg. The delivery kills it. Yes you can get the price that the petroleum industry gets for it, if you have a pipeline from the production facility to the refinery buying 80 million scf/day, you might be able to make a deal at $3.00/kg. But then deliver it and see what happens. One disadvantage of hydrogen is the volume it takes up and the cost of truck delivery, and there are no viable plans on the table to do pipelines to every gas station in the country. That is real facts from the street. Not some ivroy tower skeptic pissing down on us all not caring he may be pissing gasoline on us all and they throwing bombs setting us all on fire. Not someone who gets his hands soiled doing the actual work adn deploying systems and negotiating contracts and dealing with the liability issues as well. That is the difference between my knowledge and your knowledge. Mine is from doing. yours is from sitting back and critizingg before we have even had a chance to be correct and ptove it. Untoil ypou do it, you will never know for sure. My data is correct and I will be glad to go into in in more detail with youi off line if you have the courage to talk to me directly. $0 years background in the fields and 20 years of hard work makeing it real (without profiting at it) certainly deserves that much respect before you start calling me aliar and slandering some very credible and respected people, like Glenn rambach, who does merit review for the DOE, Dr. Alan Lloyd, former Secretary of CalEPA, Nobel Laureate and published author Dr. Woodrow Clark. There are hundreds more I could list. But you know so much you know who you are calling Liars, don’t you? I would at least know that much before I start slandering people. But, then maybe not.

          • Julian Cox

            California is primarily planning to pay for steam reforming on-site at refuelling stations. Because of the difficulties in transporting hydrogen, natural gas is piped or trucked to the station to be converted in small and inefficient steam reforming units with no hope of sequestering the CO2. So it pollutes like coal right next to the road, the station is free to the fossil fuel industry, the cars are subsidised as ZEVs on the road next to the station where their CO2 and CH4 exhaust is produced and the promoters point to your electrolysis station and cry oh look this is our clean future while they laugh in the faces of the tree hugging chumps that they managed to claw back from buying an EV and the tree hugging liberals of the CEC who who thought they were saving the environment with taxpayers money. LOL.

          • Bob Averill

            The word you want is ‘libel’, and apostrophes are not for indicating plurality. Additionally, I don’t recall the first hybrids costing $150,000 as Hyundai’s first FCEV is announced to.

        • Paul Staples

          Again you are wrong and your data assumes something that no one would do as a valid business model. Buy large amounts of renewable energy aty retail pricing!!! At the wholesale price of $0.07 – $0.10 /kwh and 50kw/kg (high efficient Gen2 system we will be deploying)- that is $5.00/kg, plus infrastructure amortization at about $0.50 – $0.60 /kg and system O&M at about $1.00, that is a total cost of $6.60/kg in cost, add $2.00/kg profit, that is about $8.60/kg, with an vehicle efficiency about 2-3x that of an ICE vehicle you are talking about $2.80 – $3.44/gge equivalent on a cost/mile basis. The cost goes down after that the more you use. I am getting $0.10/kwh wind power bids right now for a 10 station deployment.
          Those are the facts.
          As far as the photo on the site, We don’t care what Shell does, that picture was not to depict Shell doing anything but providing a site to have a dispenser at. You do know that 90% of all gas stations nationwide are independently owned. All are capable of adding dispensers for hydrogen, and most are open to it. I know. I have recruited 20, with another 100 in reserve, all in prime locations. Now, do you know what you are talking about? I don’t think so!

          • Julian Cox

            As I said, I will report your site to the FTC with this document as an explanation. You are misleading the layman evidently for profit and it is unacceptable.

          • Paul Staples

            Take your best shot smart guy. There is nothing on that website that can’t be verified by scientific fact. Some is based on projections, but that is fair as you try to project how it might go. I am not making profit on it yet, but we intend to in the next 5 years. We do not lie or mislead anyone. I am a very credible advocate in this field. Known from coast to coast . I lead the effort to build the world’s first commercially permitted facility confirmed by the European energy Agency in 1995. Don’t try to bully me. you picked the wrong guy to argue with. I know what I am talking about. You don’t! And the projections are fair and reasonable if our scenario is deployed. We can back it up with scientists from around the world. And as soon as I find out enough proof that you are being paid by Elon Musk, I will have a deep pocket to sue the both of you for slander. Yes, buy the power through Power Purchasing agreements with renewable power producers at a wholesale prtice. It is doable, especially when you are negotiating at least 200mwhs/day for the pilot deployment, and 1.8gwh/day for a 100 station deployment which we will be doing within 5 years.. You can negotiate a wholesale price for sure.

          • Julian Cox

            If you are disagreeing with the facts presented on this page then you are arguing with US Government source data. You might as well get upset with the guy that says 2+2 = 4.

            And no I am not compensated in any way for telling the truth, not by Musk or by anyone else. I am just sick to death of seeing people like me that happen to care for the state we leave environment being scammed by the likes of you.

          • Paul Staples

            Not the DOE. I just received a letter written by Dr. Sandy Thomas who works very closely with the DOE Hydrogen Program and he just eviscerated you and how off your facts were on just about every point. You are in trouble now. Who is lying now??

            You will be hearing from him soon. Also folks with the DOE, CEC, CARB, will probably be responding as well about your inaccuracies. Especially the DOE. It is the US Government you say you are quoting.

          • Julian Cox

            You mean this buffoon:

            I got a copy of it and promptly advised the CEC of its embarrassingly inept contents:


          • Paul Staples

            You’ve got to be kidding. If your feeble yellow lining is even read. I’ll bet it went right into the trash bin. Nobody over there is paying attention to you. The rest of Renewable hydrogen advocates will deal with you and your kind. They don’t have the time to deal with you.

          • Julian Cox

            You think the lies will prevail? I am no so sure. Those yellow lines have simply and absolutely eviscerated your credibility (not that you had any to lose) and more importantly your great white hope of this Dr Thomas character.

          • Paul Staples

            He is just one of many. We are not exactly friends and allies. we have had our differences over the years. But he can make a good point at times. They’ll be others. soon. you’ll see.

          • Moonboy

            Wow… Argumentum ad hominem. Suits you well. But before you continue your clearly bias rant, consider that you are now arguing against the long time hydrogen and fuel cell analyst Sandy Thomas, as well as DOE, NREL, Sandia and other government agency data that had to be vetted by many peers prior to publication. I would like to see what you’ve published in the past, as you claim to be a Consultant on Disruptive Technology for Energy and Transportation.

            Clearly you’re a Tesla supporter, arguing for EVs no matter what, even to the degree that you’re telling off Paul Staples, who has won 2 of the fueling station awards which are 100% renewable, showing you that renewable hydrogen is not a fantasy.

            The CEC has a 33% renewable requirement for the hydrogen stations it supported. CA grid mix is 24 % renewable. In effect, hydrogen transportation is more renewable than charging your Tesla in CA.

            Why on earth isn’t there room for both approaches? EVs get considerable subsidies from the government, and so does hydrogen. The government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners, but provide different approaches and see what wins out. Tesla or EVs surely wouldn’t have made it thus far without government support, so try to give other approaches similar curtesy.

          • juxx0r

            You’d need 100% renewable energy to beat the 24% when you need to use 4 times as much because of the slight efficiency issue that is hydrogen generation, storage, dispensing and fuel cells. So i don’t care if you’re Sandy Fagina, show us the maths.

          • Julian Cox

            Sandy Thomas has actually trashed any credibility he ever had with the CEC in trying to argue with me.


            You are entirely incorrect to state that I am arguing with DOE or NREL – if you took the time to read the letter above you will see that this document directly references DOE NREL data and that this data directly disagrees with the promotion of hydrogen on environmental grounds when set alongside EPA data for other technologies on an like for like well to wheel basis.

            The only requirement to dismiss the entire environmental case for Hydrogen FCVs is to state NREL data accurately without false and misleading comparison to very old or very powerful gasoline vehicles. Dr Sandy Thomas is one of a long list of those guilty of perpetrating that falsehood.

            There is no need to ask me why there is “no room for both approaches”. EVs are promoted faithfully with full transparency regards to the efficient conversion of electricity to miles travelled, the current limitations of range per charge are well understood as is the roadmap and timescale to longer range vehicles that are affordable to the mid market consumer. If anything the merits of modern EVs are understated in the EPA data (which I have used). If you read the list of marketing quotes at the top of the article directly attacking EVs with abundantly false environmental claims for FCVs. I think any reasonable person would ask that question of these entities why they are not for example able to present this technology on its merits – it can reduce local pollution, it can reduce overall particulate pollution but in return for increased Green House Gas emission over all per unit KW of power.

            Apparently the truth is so uncomfortable to promotors of FCVs that the response is rage. Good.

          • Moonboy

            You are trashing Sandy Thomas’ reputation? Just don’t go there. That’s a losing game for you.

            “C. E. (Sandy) Thomas has over 40 years experience in scientific research and related engineering activities. He started his career in coherent optical data processing (the subject of his Ph.D. thesis) and holography, and was the Director of the Laser and Optics Division of KMS Fusion when they were the first to successfully demonstrate a controlled thermonuclear reaction with a high power laser system on May 1, 1974, beating the Russians and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
            Dr. Thomas has also been involved with a project to commercialize amorphous silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar cells for SOHIO/ECD, and worked for eight years
            as a legislative assistant to Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) handling national security, energy and environmental activities for the Senator. He was a founder and served as the only President of H2Gen Innovations, Inc. and was a member of the Board of Directors and served on the Executive Committee of the National Hydrogen Association.

            In May of 2010, Dr. Thomas was awarded the Jules Verne award for “superior service” by the International Association of Hydrogen Energy at the 18th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Essen, Germany. The inscription on this
            award reads “for his leadership in system studies, analyses, and entrepreneurship in development and commercialization of hydrogen technologies.”


            He’s actually accomplished something! Where are your credentials. You claim to be an expert, but you do need to build a reputation for such. Please share your expertise on the subject matter.

            I’m thinking you’re concerned that there’s an alternative to EVs that is establishing itself. Fuel Cell EVs would be much more common on the road if Secretary Chu didn’t slash hydrogen funding and send the clear signal they have picked EVs as the winner. I am very excited to see those 1 million EVs that were promised by 2015. We were at 100,000 last year, right? Clearly, EVs aren’t as attractive as you think they are to the regular customer, despite getting $10,000 tax credit ($7,500 federal, $2,500 state). At the same time, arguing against FCEVs and only for BEVs, all you do is extend the life of gasoline and diesel fueled transportation and our reliance on imported oil.

            Sandy Thomas’ analysis of the possible market penetration and clear limitations of BEVs is spot on. While you claim that:
            “Californian designed and built EVs do not have short range, low power, low size or long charging times and they come with the convenience of home charging and instant direct compatibility with mature sources of renewable energy.”, of course meaning Tesla, you don’t address the issue of heavy-duty trucking, heavy machinery, anything that’s past mid-sized sedan. Do you foresee goods in America being hauled with BEV 18-wheelers?

          • Julian Cox

            Arguments from authority are no match for simple fact.

            You can have a string of Phd’s after your name but lose an argument with a 4 year old if you disagree with his statement that 2 + 2 = 4.

            That is an accurate characterisation of Dr Thomas’s efforts to disagree with me. He has made a fool of himself in front of the CEC.

          • Ben Helton

            He’s not just a Tesla supporter, he owns a battery company.
            It’s called FlightPower. Do some digging.

          • Moonboy

            Thanks, that helps. He’s spending a lot of time on forums though to be the owner of a company.

          • Julian Cox

            My reasons for posting this article are self contained in the article, as are all the data references.

            This is why I think Tesla is supportable and why FCVs are not:


            No matter who presents the data, nothing and no-one will change the fact that EV technology gives more power for less pollution in any economically realistic setting. The best example of that principle ever officially tested in the US for a road-legal vehicle is the Tesla Model S. Inalienable fact.


          • Randall Smith

            Complete logic failure !!!

            “The CEC has a 33% renewable requirement for the hydrogen stations it supported. CA grid mix is 24 % renewable. In effect, hydrogen transportation is more renewable than charging your Tesla in CA.”

            There is no possible logic to make FCV derived from natural gas (0% renewable) and/or electricity (24% in CA as you stated.) more renewable than pure electricity (BEV).

            Whatever electricity used to create, compress, and deliver hydrogen can be used to charge a battery more efficiently.

          • Julian Cox

            “Especially the DOE. It is the US Government you say you are quoting.”

            Yup it is the DOE NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

            National Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Learning Demonstration

            Final Report

            Page 27

            Section 2.2.2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions



            That is what gives you this:

            And this:


            All of the EPA source data is referenced and linked in the article.

          • Julian Cox

            How about this for a best shot:

            The (Industrial Gas Industry – IGI and the Fossil Fuel Industry) have done everything they can, including
            buy influence, hiring government officials after they leave government as well as placing them and their
            spouses or relatives on their boards to dominate the field and squeeze everyone else out in the
            government funding area. They have even hired renewable hydrogen advocates to take their side and
            help them advance “Dirty Hydrogen” for the Industrial Gas Industry as a way to keep the funding rolling so
            they can make regular income in the field.


          • Paul Staples

            This is the first post you have made that is accurate and am in agreement with you. Yes I wrote that complaint, and I am dealing with it. Now if you want to get on board and fight for Renewable Hydrogen over fossil fuel hydrogen, then stop this slamming it and help me make the fight about that. The vehicle technology is excellent, the fueling technology for renewable hydrogen has made vast improvements over the last 20 years, and is ready and capable of providing the fueling infrastructure now. Not 20 years from now, but now. There is no advancements in NG reforming and is not likely to anytime soon. The vehicles are coming, and the infrastructure is coming. Right now we can determine just how it turns out, Dirty Fossil Fuel fracked Hydrogen, or 100% Carbon Free, Renewable/Sustainable Hydrogen. We can make a difference now, but not if the fossil fuel industry gets a big foothold in it now. We need everyone’s help now and can make a big difference. I have devoted the last 20 years of my life to doing this neglecting my personal life, relationships, family, to make this a reality. This is not about money for me. It just has to be profitable to succeed. I’ll be gone and/or retired before I will see any real money from it. This is several lifetimes of commitment to this. Carbon Free Renewable Hydrogen. I will not have it go to the fossil fuel industry. They are really threatened by what I am doing. They keep hoping I’ll go away if they throw me a bone. Well I won’t. That is what my most recent complaint was about basically. That one you link to was about the Draft PON. Maybe I’ll share with you the one I wrote about the NOPA sometime. But for now, lets deal with the related issue at hand. I worked 5 years to develop over 100 station locations who are anxious to get off of petroleum. They hate the petroleum industry as much as the rest of us. They bully them into submission. They dictate the terms. And if they don’t support their issues, they end up paying for it one way or the other. I once spoke to several oil company executives around the time I started recruiting stations. All of them said they would not help. I asked one of them why. He said why would we work with you. We can do everything our selves. I responded, why do you do it then if you can do it all without me or someone like me? He said simply, because we don’t want to. Why should we. We are doing just fine doing what we do. It was the most honest response I ever got from an oil exec.

            They are really threatened by Renewable Hydrogen. They know it is the only paradigm they can’t control and dictate. It put’s energy in the free market for the first time in it’s history. Makes real competition for the first time a reality. Petroleum started out as a monopoly, and it still is and always will be. Wars, assassinations, genocides of whole cultures, propping up tinhorn dictators will continue and get worse if nothing is done, not to mention global destruction. There is no time to wait for people to change the way they do things. Someone must make a stand and get this started or well all pay for it more than we ever have in the past or in the present. The future is here now, and so is Renewable Sustainable Carbon Free Hydrogen.

            I bid you all well and just try to understand where this all started from and why. 1973 oil embargo and all that I mentioned above.

            Good day. Remember I’m in this for the Planet.

          • Julian Cox

            I actually think that the constructive middle ground from a policy perspective is to INSIST by binding and perpetual mandate that Natural Gas cannot enter the FCV refuelling economy without 100% sequestering of SMR from day one in order to put it on a level “green” playing field consistent with

            A. The understanding that the industry has fought to impose on the common man (i.e. the taxpayer/consumer) about supposed environmental benefits (that is not true without sequestering),

            B. To prevent walking blind into a massive political Catch 22 – i.e. A building critical mass of consumers trapped in dirty H2 vehicles and no way to introduce the cost of sequestering after the fact without a consumer revolt (no different from raising gas prices radically) or without the cost burden falling on the taxpayer.

            C. To start on a more level economic playing field with renewable H2 production where natural gas does not have a special competitive advantage owing to a tacit license to pollute.

            This is the sort of thing that will be hard fought but possible to get through the political system with no end of lies and yelling and screaming from the fossil fuel lobby. However a voting majority of politicians could be persuaded that this was sensible and reasonable requirement to set the challenge of producing clean hydrogen from any source rather than hydrogen at any price.

            It might delay FCVs but that might come in return for triggering an honest rethink of how to actually deliver the hither-to false promises of hydrogen and with it the whole business of SMR. That is a process called Thermocatalytic Decomposition of Methane, not as commercially mature as SMR but possible. It is a process that produces Hydrogen and solid carbon particles without CO2. This process could be quite useful as a matter of fact as source of synthetic carbon for battery production and make natural gas pretty much green assuming the environmental horror of fracking was brought under control.


            Insisting on 100% sequestering from the outset and an R&D focus on Thermocatalytic Decomposition of Methane would be a goal I could support. My only reservation about that is that policing sequestering would be identical as a regulatory task as a war on drugs. Sequestering currently costs about the same as the fuel so in other words if the fossil fuel industry can make 25% profit on selling a $7.00 Kg of hydrogen with sequestering it can make a 125% profit by just failing to comply with sequestering requirements. Good luck finding enough budget to police a police regulations requiring sequestering..

            My other point about the whole thing is that FCVs are fundamentally flawed as a technology and they are basically unnecessary. They have a short window of opportunity to screw up the EV market until EVs get a bit cheaper doing exactly what they can already do at $70K~$100K a piece. Add rechargeable metal air batteries into the mix for 500~1000 mile range on a single charge and FCVs are so ridiculously pointless it makes me want to scream out loud that any politician could be so stupid as to spend a brass penny on the subject for a penny’s worth of risk of hampering EVs.
            Anyway – Campaign for social justice – they promised you green, give us green – 100% sequestering or no access to the self-decared green use of hydrogen from natural gas.

          • Moonboy

            And then, let’s also mandate all gasoline to be renewable, all EV charging to be renewable and all diesel to be renewable. Let’s set an impossible bar, but there will be winners! Bikes and walking will still be possible.

          • Julian Cox

            I think if all of the above had petitioned the public, federal and state governments to buy what they were selling on a promise of 50% GHG emissions reduction from gasoline and significant contributions to tackling global warming powered by natural gas then that is what needs to be delivered. Problem with that?

          • Jim Seko

            Thank you Julian Cox for doing the math. I’m an engineer and I’ve done some math on hydrogen too but not as extensively as you. Keep up the good work!

          • Richard

            How about 100% sequestering from all electrical coming from fossil, let’s see if your economics will hold?
            It is always so funny to see arguments from people that care only for economics but do not care about environment. be rich and Kill the planet is your motto.

          • Bob_Wallace

            New coal plants are already too expensive. Electricity from a new coal plant would cost well over 10c/kWh.

            CCS simply makes coal plants more expensive to build plus reduces the amount of energy produced per ton of coal consumed.

            Now, use your “MBA” and figure out the economics.

          • Julian Cox

            Hi Richard. Far from caring only for economics, the way I look at economics is as a reality check: Will people cooperate to make this work? In the case of clean Hydrogen production, the answer is no, the natural gas industry can afford to lower its hydrogen market price until any clean source at scale is forced out of business.

            While there are initiatives to sequester power stations and to move away from coal in particular, in a free market, the same goes. Not sequestering is cheaper than sequestering and hence the clean power station is at an economic disadvantage in competition with dirty production. This kind of reality gets extremely hard to negotiate in India for example where the difference in the cost of dirty vs clean is millions of people with or without access to affordable electricity.

            The more encouraging news is that solar and wind power is on track and rapidly trending to become cheaper than dirty un-sequestered electricity production – such that even when considerations of long term environmental stewardship is irrelevant to a population in pressing poverty now, the cheapest route to improve that situation is also the cleanest.

            One of the reasons I have put efforts into publicly explaining the inter-relation of economic and energy efficiency issues with Hydrogen FCVs, this is the most dangerous possible energy and transportation policy mistake owing to the fact that the economics leads away from a system that gets cleaner as is the case with EVs, to one that agressively favours fossil fuels and gets dirtier.

            There is nothing else I can think of that threatens to absorb public support for a greener world and divert it to making the world dirtier – that is Hydrogen FCVs in a nutshell.

          • juxx0r

            You don’t get it. Renewable hydrogen is dirty hydrogen. The power to wheel efficiency is 20%. That’s wasting 4 times the energy you get out of it. Put the same electricity in an EV and you get 4 times as much energy to use. Overbuilding by 4 times is wasteful and expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t think the 4x number is correct. Are you perhaps confusing ICEV inefficiency and FCEV? 20% efficiency is ICE territory.

            Up until recently H2 FCEVs were about 3x less efficient than EVs. Honda claims to have brought this closer to 2x.

            It does take energy to crack water into H2 and O. It takes additional energy to compress the H2. These energy losses will always make H2 FCEVs more expensive per mile than EVs. Add in the infrastructure to generate and compress H2 and the financials get worse for FCEVs.

          • juxx0r

            I was using an electricity to wheel efficiency, see calculation above at the top of the thread.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, I need to go back and read everything from the top down.

          • bill

            why do i care what scales. some genius will figure that out. i can make the fuel at home using solor panels so this article is useless. all i care about is not giving 1 cent to fossil fule industry

          • Ben Helton

            You are still assuming each car is built with zero carbon footprint.

            One needs to consider the initial costs of making an 85kwh battery before you start damning something against it as being less efficient.

            There is a mileage point at which a BEV wins, but what will the life of the battery be at that point? If it needs replacement before then, you get yourself completely set back carbon foot print wise, and may never end up in that ‘lower carbon footprint’ bracket that is so highly sought after.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What’s the carbon footprint for fuel cell manufacturing?

            And is not the carbon footprint for both likely to drop close to zero as we clean our grids?

            What’s the expected lifetime of fuel cells? Batteries seem to be holding out much better than we originally expected.

          • juxx0r

            This always gets me. What is the carbon footprints, and who worked them out?

            Why has a lithium battery such a large footprint, when the lithium was mined through evaporation of water in salt lakes.

            Where the NiMH battery that the Lexus uses is jam packed with Ni, which for this purpose is given the same footprint as the Co used in the lithium battery, but the Rare earths in the NiMH has a shocking footprint due to the chemical similarity of the rare earths and their difficulty to separate from each other, not just extract.

            Then Toyota uses rare earth magnets in their motors, whilst tesla uses an induction motor.

            The chargers and inverters are roughly similar in footprint only difference is the size.

            The Lexus has a giant motor to build and machine and metallurgically treat.

            So i don’t get it when people say the carbon footprint of a hybrid is better than an EV. And i’ve yet to see a proper analysis.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve not been able to get to any carbon footprint studies for lithium-ion batteries, only references to them.

            My impression at the moment is that most of the carbon emission comes from the grid electricity used to manufacture. Along with some petroleum for mining and transportation. I found nothing that says one has to toast the anode over a pile of smoldering coal. ;o)

            If that’s the case then we should be working toward a very low/approaching zero carbon footprint for li-ions. As we green our grids and electrify transportation the battery footprint will fall.

            ​I’m not sure we should even talk about the carbon footprint of EVs and batteries. If one were to set up a EV and battery plant in Uruguay (100% renewable electricity) then their carbon footprint would be ~zero. There’s no way to achieve that with a ICEV running on petroleum.

          • Randall Smith

            FCV also uses a battery. Same type BEV uses, just smaller. I’m guessing that’s why the FCV performance is so weak. Needs more cells for higher output.

          • Ben Helton

            All of this always fails to consider the initial carbon footprint of making an 85KWh battery…..

            You will find, if you can manage to get a Tesla to 100,000 miles without going through 9 sets of rear tires, that even at 100,000 miles, its carbon foot print is greater than that of a Lexus ES Hybrid.

          • juxx0r

            Prove it.

          • Ben Helton
          • Ben Helton

            One of the key findings in the report;
            For luxury sedans, in 46 states the gas-powered Lexus ES hybrid is better for the climate than the electric Tesla Model S, over the first 100,000 miles the car is driven.

          • Randall Smith

            I found and looked over the report. Two things stood out.

            It references battery construction techniques from 2006 and chemistries different from what Tesla uses. In 2006, there were virtually no EV applications. These are very poor figures to use for modern EV construction.

            Also, I don’t find any account for gasoline/diesel production. Refinement requires significant heat and electrical energy, yet it seems to be completely omitted.

          • Julian Cox

            As I mentioned in the article, the claims of an excessive carbon footprint for battery production are out-dated (Argonne Labs 2006) and bogus to re-state in the modern world. Actual investment in battery production for the mass market look like this:


            A renewable-powered battery production facility.

            This is as opposed to the actual investment proposed for FCV fuelling infrastructure which is 10% renewable PR cases, and if successful in attracting customers will naturally reduce in renewable percentage because the economics of chemical fuel massively favours chemical feedstock i.e. natural gas in the case of hydrogen.

          • Paul Staples

            That’s not true. It is 6% – 8% depending on where it comes from and where it goes to and the distance. At least that is what I was estimated for by a power broker. Of course if you are brining it in from New Mexico or Texas, you might be correct. But from Tehachapie to the L.A. Basin it would be about 6% – 8%. The same with Altamont to the Bay Area.

          • juxx0r

            The LOLs continue

          • Bob_Wallace

            The power to wheel efficiency of H2 FCEVs is only 6% – 8%?

            That’s even worse than what juxx0r posted.

            Perhaps you’d like to rewrite that comment?

          • Richard

            Another one not understanding that Hydrogen can be clean too. You are so blinded that you look only at hydrogen production from Methane. Why is it so hard to understand that getting Hydrogen from renewable resources has a lower wheel to wheel CO2 production per mile driven than you Tesla.
            Look at this gov produced paper.
            You will quickly find out that even with hydrogen coming from methane, it is still cleaner than your tesla. And if you get it from sustanable energy, it is 7 times cleaner. Go get your maths right, Tesla producers always to forget the energy that has to be used to produce the batteries.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, you’re missing a very important element – cost.

            Extracting H2 from water is much more expensive than reforming methane. That’s why it’s almost certain that our H2 will continue to come from methane.

            Then your claim that a H2 FCEV car would be cheaper per mile than a Tesla (or any EV). Toyota – the company that is getting ready to market some H2 FCEVs says otherwise.

            Speaking at the JP Morgan Auto Conference in New York, Toyota’s senior vice president Bob Carter said that Department of Energy estimates suggest that a full tank of compressed hydrogen will cost around $50. This will fall to $30 in time, however.

            ($50 / 300 = 17 cents/mile. $30 / 300 = 10 cents/mile.)


            By comparison, nationwide fuel economy figures indicate that the average driver pays $44.50 to travel 300 miles while owners of the Toyota Prius, with its EPA rating of 50 mpg, pay just $21.

            ($21 / 300 = 7 cents/mile.)

            An EV using 0.3 kWh/mile and charging off $0.10/kWh electricity costs 3 cents/mile. Even a PHEV can do about 85% of its driving at 3 cents/mile.

            Do some more reading, Richard. You’re short on facts.

          • Richard

            you are missing some huge points here, have you heard about climate change, fossil fuel depletion?
            To you, every thing is fine, let’s keep cranking gas burning to produce electricity because it is cheap, let’s not change anything.
            You know, getting energy from sustainable resource enables you to displace oil as the primary energy for transportation. I am not against oil but it is very silly to use it for transportation, it should be used for industrial production high tech plastics etc.
            Hydroelectricity, thermalsolar, PVs etc can be used to produce Hydrogen that then give you transportation without emitting anything but water. Yes we have some wasted energy nut since it is coming from the sun, even if we misuse some, it is certainly better than burning fossil fuel.
            You remind me a guy producing rice but his water is contaminated with Arsenic. The guy does calculation and find it is very expensive to remove arsenic so he leaves it there and dies of Arsenic poisoning, he sure got rich but died soon. I would rather remove the arsenic.
            The arsenic here is fossil fuel, you keep calculating and say, this is the cheaper way so it is THE only way, I am sorry but I choose the cleaner way.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What is wrong with your reading comprehension?

            What do you not understand about economics?

          • Richard

            When you have your MBA, you may try to insult my intelligence on economics You do not seem to understand your calculations are bogus. Efficiency both on electrolysis and PV’s are changing very rapidly . the final cost of H2 will decline very rapidly with mass production of the new developments, you should know that, even if you do not have a clue about the new developments.
            In the EV, You never take in account the cost of the battery itself, it is far from being eternal, where do you factor that in? Easy to show nice calculations forgetting about a major cost.

            Obviously, you did not understand anything about climate change and fossil fuel depletion. Only calculations seem important to you, it is funny however that many government sites come to totally different conclusions than your UK guru. Google his name you will find pretty ugly stuff, that is some kind of a concern, may be not to you but certainly to me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, why do you feel it necessary to insult?

            Now, let’s lay out some facts.

            First, sourcing hydrogen –

            1) It is significantly cheaper to reform methane to get hydrogen than to extract it from water using electrolysis.

            2) The market does not price carbon, therefore there is no economic penalty for using methane as the H2 source.

            3) The market will not support a higher cost fuel over a less expensive fuel.

            People will not fuel their FCEVs with low carbon H2 but with H2 from reformed methane. Driving a FCEV with methane derived hydrogen releases CO2 into the environment.

            Do you see any bogus calculations or flawed arguments there?

            Now hydrogen vs. electricity –

            1) It takes 2x to 3x as much electricity to drive a FCEV a mile as to drive an EV a mile. It takes energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. It takes additional energy to compress the hydrogen so that it can be carried in sufficient volume in a FCEV. Hydrogen is a very lossy storage method compared to batteries.

            There are no shortcuts around the laws of physics.

            2) Using hydrogen as an energy storage method would mean replacing existing petroleum refining, transportation and distribution infrastructure. We now have over 120,000 filling stations in the US. We would need that many more were we to move to hydrogen for our storage method.

            That infrastructure has cost and the cost would need to be recovered with cost of fuel.

            3) The infrastructure for EVs is largely in place. We have enough spare capacity and transmission to allow us to charge 70% of all US cars and light trucks were they EVs. Over 50% of all drivers already have a place to charge where they regularly park. Adding outlets is inexpensive.

            4) EVs would be a dispatchable load for the grid, allowing the utilities to cut back on storage in order to deal with supply peaks and troughs. This will likely mean that EVs will charge at rates well below the average retail price of electricity.

            Now, battery costs vs. fuel cell costs.

            1) Battery prices are rapidly dropping. With the Tesla/Panasonic gigafactory up and running battery prices are expected to be about $130/kWh.

            At about $100/kWh EVs become cheaper to manufacture than ICEVs.

            FCEVs may or may not reach manufacturing cost of ICEVs. Toyota claims that it will take some economy of scale to bring the price down. They suggest manufacturing rates of 50,000 per year (IIRC).

            It’s very unclear where the market will be for those FCEVs. The Toyota FCEV will be almost as expensive as the entry level Tesla S but without the luxury and ‘zip’. And to sell them at that price point Toyota will take a $50,000 loss per car. No one has identified where the 50k buyers might be found to pay almost as much as a Tesla S for a car that will cost 6x as much per mile to drive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now, Richard you make some statements of fact. Let’s look at one or two…

            “Efficiency both on electrolysis and PV’s are changing very rapidly”

            What is increasing the efficiency of electrolysis? Give us the starting point and what technological advances have been proven in the last 2-3 years.

            Tell us why increased PV efficiency might make driving an FCEV cheaper than an EV.

            “Obviously, you did not understand anything about climate change and fossil fuel depletion.”

            What evidence do you have that I do not understand anything about climate change? About fossil fuel depletion?

            “Only calculations seem important to you,”

            What evidence supports that claim?

            “it is funny however that many government sites come to totally different conclusions than your UK guru.”

            Who is my UK guru?

          • Richard

            Once you make your bogus calculation on clean electricity i.e. 100 sequestered coal power and NG powered, you will see that your economics will change so much that H2 becomes cheaper and cleaner.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Show us the numbers, Richard.

            Document your sources.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, wait. Were you claiming that the clean energy used to charge EVs would come from coal with CCS plants?

            That’s just silly. There’s no way coal with carbon capture has a future.

          • Richard

            Show me your numbers, document yourself.

            You already told me new plants are way to expensive. It is so easy to take the numbers on clean H2 , compare them to your super dirty electricity and then claim: See I win, my electricity is cheaper.
            Show me the costs on clean electricity.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Wind = $0.025/kWh average 2013 PPA (subsidized).

            DOE “2013 Wind Technologies Market Report”


            Solar = $0.05/kWh PPAs (subsidized) being signed in the US Southwest. Working backwards through a LCOE calculation extrapolates a cost of about $0.02 higher for the less sunny Northeast.

            Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “Utility-Scale Solar 2013: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”


            PPA prices for wind and solar are lowered about 1.5 cents by PTC (Production Tax Credits). Both wind and solar are eligible for 2.3 cent/kWh tax credits for each kWh produced during their first ten years of operation. Half of 2.3 is 1.15, but getting ones money early has value. That means that the non-subsidized costs of wind are a bit under 4 cents and solar is running 6.5 to 8.5 cents/kWh.


            Clean H2 will require 2x to 3x as much electricity per mile driven plus infrastructure costs.

            Assume 3 cents per mile for an EV. That means 6c to 9c just for electricity for the clean H2 FCEV. Then add in infrastructure costs. Remember, replacing all the petroleum refineries, over 120,000 gas stations and distribution costs.

          • juxx0r


          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s take a look at Richard’s “gov produced paper”. It compares grams of CO2-equivalent emissions per mile for EVs and FCEVs with different inputs.

            EV charged from US grid power = 230 g
            EV charged from ultra low carbon (renewable) sources = 0 g

            FCEV using H2 from reformed methane = 200 g
            FCEV using H2 from reformed methane w/ CCS = 95 g
            FCEV using H2 from biomass = 37 g
            FCEV using H2 from ultra low carbon sources = 42 g

            FCEVs using reformed methane might have a small advantage over EVs charging from today’s grid. Or perhaps not. Our grid becomes cleaner each year.

            BTW, EIA estimates of future grid mix are terrible. Totally unrealistic.

            We’re headed toward an ultra low carbon grid. EVs will emit 0 g per mile and FCEVs would emit 42 g per mile. If we want the lowest possible levels of CO2 emission then FCEVs are not the route to take.

          • Richard

            This is the only fact you have LOL.
            Shows great scinetific analysis.

          • Richard


          • juxx0r
          • juxx0r

            Seems my 4 fold was a little out, lets go with 2-3:

          • Richard

            You me really laughing, how blind can be someone who does not want to see!
            You’re trying to make comparison from an EV charged with clean electricity, this does not exist except in Quebec(95% from Hydro and wind) when you plug on US grid, you are over 300g per mile and FCEV with on site PV less than 100.
            Who are you trying to fool. This is already what they do in Germany,
            An EV is good ONLY when plugged on clean electricity. Clean your grid and then we talk.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, did you even finish high school? Your writing skills are atrocious.

            EVs charged with 100% clean electricity exist in only few places at this time.

            FCEVs filled with H2 from clean electricity basically do not exist.

            Grids will be cleaned.

            FCEVs will continue to be significantly more expensive to drive per mile.

          • Richard

            Your comprehension skill are way more atrocious.
            How can you dare saying EV will help to lower the grid storage, You just say, we will clean the grid, easier said than done. You will very quickly find out that the only way to really

            clean the grid is to use solar and wind.

            Did you notice, the sun does not shine at night, so you have to store clean energy to keep using clean electricity at night.

            You’re a little b.ehind

          • Bob_Wallace

            “How can you dare saying EV will help to lower the grid storage?”

            EVs can be dispatchable load. The average EV will need to charge about 3 hours per day on a simple 240 vac outlet. That means that, with owner’s permission, utilities can bring EV charging on line during periods of high supply:demand and take them off during periods of low supply:demand.

            Because EVs will be able to suck up peaks and drop out during lulls less storage will be needed.

            Yes, wind and solar are very likely to be our main grid inputs.

            The Sun does not shine at night, but the wind generally blows harder.

          • Richard

            Well, this is exactly what I am getting at, you will soon find out that solar will be THE way to get real clean power but most people cannot charge during day time, in fact they are going to work, spending electrical charge from their EV.
            Coming back at night, when they start charging, it is not helping the grid, it makes it worse, remember, you get your clean energy from the sun and now the sun is out!

            And this is for people that can home charge, what about guys living without a driveway, not enough charging stations, much easier to fill up 3 minutes of H2 for 400miles.

          • Bob_Wallace

            A large number of drivers are likely to charge while at work/school. Many people don’t have regular places to charge where they part at night.

            We are already seeing workplace parking lot outlets being installed. SoCal Edison just put up $350 million to assist with installing 30,000 new outlets with many going into workplace parking lots.

            Dispatchable loads are an asset for utilities, it will be worth their while to help create daytime loads which they can control. More dispatchable load means less storage and less curtailment. It has value.

            Just plug in when you park. Don’t waste time going to a filling station. (The 3 minutes is BS. Account for all the time from leaving your route to returning to your route.)

          • Richard

            This is BS again and you know it, there is just not enough places to charge at work, people are starting to fight to get a place to charge and there is very little EV’s on the road. You are dreaming if you think charging stations will appear at the same rate as car production.

            I thought it was so simple to charge, now you talking about dispatchable loads etc. Do you at least understand that your only source of clean energy, the sun, will not be present when the vast majority of people wants to charge. You will argue that a 4 hours charge is simpler than a 3min fill up.

            Whether you want it or not, FC will be there and so will EV’S.
            People will decide if they want clean energy or need a car only for a small trip. With mass production, FC will become cheaper than EV’s. Big batteries cost a fortune and will cost a fortune to recycle. When you factor that in, EV’s become expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, about 16% of all drivers have a place plug in where they work.

            0% of all drivers have access to a retail hydrogen filling station. We’d need about 19 thousand H2 filling stations to provide for 16% FCEV penetration.

            54% of all US drivers already have a place to plug in where they park. We’re adding more outlets every day.

            Clean energy is not limited to solar. We also have wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal, biogas and biomass.

            Richard, you don’t know jack about battery prices. Along with all the other stuff you have demonstrated you don’t know.

          • juxx0r

            Look at the chart again, read what you wrote, look back at the chart, read what you wrote, look back at the chart. Repeat till you notice that BEV is better than FCEV in Quebec, AND Germany.

          • Richard

            In Quebec, yes and only if you do not need to go far. In Germany, no, their grid is not clean enough. How about in the USA, are you trying to make the point from Quebec with an 8 millions population, have you seen the data on US grid you’re 3x behind.

          • juxx0r

            Allow me to explain that chart. BEV is better than FCEV.

            If they did what you claim they do in Germany, then the Germans would be better off plugging in a BEV instead of a FCEV. That’s because BEV are better than FCEV.
            Are we clear now?

          • Richard

            No, what I meant is that they are producing H2 from wind generated electricity at night and solar but since there is not much sun at night, electrolysing water into H2 is a way to store electricity.

            Are we clear?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, it will still take 2x to 3x as much electricity from wind and solar to produce the H2 as to charge EVs.

            If you run H2 plants only part time you will have higher infrastructure costs (run them 50% as often and you need to build 100% more), plus you’ll need more H2 storage.

            That means even higher infrastructure costs.

            EVs charging only when wind and solar electricity are available require no additional infrastructure. Just a signal to turn on/turn off.

            Someone with a business education should have grasped these facts long ago. We’re having to tell you the same thing over and over.

          • juxx0r

            Batteries are a way to store electricity, some 90+%, hydrogen is a way to store 1/3rd of that. That is the main reason why BEV are better than HFCEV.

          • Richard

            Again you loose and by a very big margin.
            Do you at least know why we switched from Pb base to NiCd, then NiMH then Li? The answer is energy density.
            The best Li batteries are not even storing 1MJ/Kg while Hydrogen is 142MJ/Kg. I happen to be a chemist, do not loose your time looking for a higher energy density. It is no accident we want to store in such an energetic bond.

            Where did you dream that batteries were a better storage, show me a real reference, no way.

            You can beat that only using nuclear reactors and if you do not want nuclear waste, you need Hydrogen fusion but cold fusion. I would vote for that except that we probably won’t get it before a century.

          • juxx0r

            Energy balance.

            Energy in compared to energy out.

            And we have a winner….Batteries.

            Which might explain why battery storage shows triple digit growth.

          • Richard

            So you cannot argue about energy density.
            Also from Navigant:

            Navigant forecasts revenue from hydrogen consumption will reach $50B by 2030

            Also: In its report Automotive Fuel Efficiency Technologies,
            Navigant Research predicts that by 2017 ‘conventional gasoline-powered
            vehicles’ will represent less than half of the new automobile market worldwide.

            The Department of Energy wrote: “Hydrogen fuel cells for cars have neverbeen manufactured at large scale, in part because of the prohibitive price tag. But the DOE estimates that the cost of producing fuel cells is falling fast”.

            Increased energy demand, government-mandated renewable energy
            requirements, growth in the cleantech backup power market, and
            deployment of a growing number of fuel cell-powered vehicles in the
            transport sector are all driving overall demand for hydrogen. At the
            same time, the increasing availability of distributed electrolysis, low
            off-peak electricity prices, and cheap natural gas are improving the
            economics of the hydrogen market.

            —Kerry-Ann Adamson, research director with Navigant Research

          • juxx0r

            I have a policy of not arguing about stuff that is irrelevant.

          • Richard

            you cannot even see the relevance of energy density. I am afraid you should stop arguing totally because this is top in energy field.
            You just ran out of arguments. in China
            EV’s will still exist, they have a place in the market for people that need only short trips and absolutely want to plus at home because they can and do not care about electricity cleanliness.

            FC will capture the rest and when FC becomes cheaper than EV’S a massive switch will occur. But as usual it will not start in America, it will be in China and all Asia. There is no infrastructure in China either H2 or EV. Instead of building both they will build H2.
            Tesla already fired 1,000, it is the beginning of the end there.
            Keep dreaming!

          • juxx0r

            You’re right, I think that poorer energy efficiency, higher cost to buy, higher cost to operate and higher CO2 pretty much covers that FCEV are worse than BEV. I really don’t feel like i need any more arguments.

          • Richard

            Wkat is the part you do not understand again,

            g of CO2 equiv per mile says it all unless you cannot grasp the concept . I already sent you the referals and the numbers. FC are always lower energy to operate than EV. Either you do not know how to read or are simply to stubborn to admit anything.
            Some stubborn people when confronted to hard facts prefer looking the other way not to admit anything.
            You obviously are not a scientific mind but a dirty politician.
            If it is what you like, fine with me.

          • juxx0r

            Read the other 500 odd comments. It’s not just me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, there is no know way to produce H2 for anything near the price of what it costs to charge an EV.

            Driving a FCEV will cost 3+x as much as driving an EV.

            “FC are always lower energy to operate than EV”

            This is clearly and completely wrong. Wrong by a factor of three or more.

            Now, time for you to stop your insults. You are so very wrong and just making yourself look foolish. And you are very close to violating the site rules about calling others names.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Your argument falls apart when one looks at per mile operating costs.

          • juxx0r

            “According to Tesla’s 2014 Annual Report in which the automaker discloses information (mostly risk factors), the automaker nearly double its staff count in 2014 by going from 5,859 in 2014 to 10,161 employees by the end of 2014”

          • Bob_Wallace

            It will take significant economies of scale to bring the cost of FCEVs down to the level of ICEVs. As I have explained to you, that will be difficult given that current manufacturing costs are over $100,000 and costs per mile to drive is around $0.17. Car companies are going to have to find 50,000+ people willing to spend that sort of money.

            The cost of EV batteries is falling fast. Tesla is currently paying Panasonic $180/kWh (or less now). Battery prices should drop to around $130/kWh when the gigafactory opens. $130 or a bit less makes EV prices very close to ICEVs. $100/kWh, where battery prices should be before 2020, would make EVs cheaper than ICEVs.

            There is no known route to getting FCEVs down that rapidly. And no know route to bringing the per mile cost below 10c vs. the 3c for EVs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, it is not about winning and losing. It’s about understanding and we are spending quite a bit of our energy trying to get you caught up.

            Energy density is somewhat important but it is not a controlling variable. Hydrogen does pack more energy than current batteries but not a huge amount when you look at kinetic energy produced.

            The Toyota Mirai will have a 300 mile range with a curb weight of 1,850 kg (4,078.6 lb).

            The Tesla Model S has a 265 mile range with a curb weight of 2107.84 kg (4,647 lb).

            Battery capacities have been increasing and almost certainly will continue to increase. The range/weight gap will close.

            Batteries are much more efficient storage. Let’s look at a chart that is a bit out of date. Fuel cells are somewhat more efficient now than when this chart was produced but the gap has not closed very much.

          • Richard

            Bob, you are a technical joke,
            You say batteries are much more efficient storage.
            Do you realize that your TESLA has 200kg of batteries for that range while the Mirai needs 10kg of H2 for about the same range. You call that more efficient.

            You try any way to demonstrate

            142MJ per Kg is less energy than 1MJ per Kg.

            You better go back to costs again, compare dirty energy with CLEAN energy.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, storage efficiency is not measured by weight but by the amount of energy returned.

            Battery efficiencies are in the 90% range.

            Hydrogen efficiency is in the 30% to 40% range.

            With batteries you put 100 kWh in and get about 90 kWh out.

            With hydrogen you put 100 kWh in and get 30 to 40 kWh out.

          • Julian Cox


            I have read enough of your lies. You a polluting the comment section of my article arguing repeatedly against people who are right. You are dead wrong and dishonest to boot.

            As the author I suggest that you take a hike.

            The Mirai cannot possibly store 10Kg of Hydrogen. It takes a 87.5Kg tank to store 5Kg aboard the Mirai and the the energy density of the system only gets worse when you add in the necessary DC to DC converter and two giant radiators (sails) to dispose of waste heat.

            142MJ/Kg is Upper Heating Value for Hydrogen. Fuel Cells are not a closed vessel. 120 Mj/Kg LHV is the correct number to use.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, that is not what we mean by “efficient storage”.

            Batteries are about 90% efficient. In order to get 1 kWh out we have to put about 1.1 kWh in.

            Hydrogen is very inefficient. In order to get 1 kWh out we have to put about 2.5 kWh in.

            You are not looking at efficiency but, apparently at energy stored per kg. Hydrogen is very good using that measurement, being a very light gas. That does not make it an efficient energy storage method.

            Best you don’t call someone a joke, Richard, when you’re clueless.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Richard, how about addressing my comments?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Reality is, we are likely to see TOU billing with wind (now well under 5c/kWh) providing some very affordable late night charging. Utilities are likely to give EVs a sweet rate simply because they can be dispatchable loads.

            You can’t use 2x as much electricity, pay for the H2 infrastructure and compete with EVs on a per mile operating cost.

            H2 FCEVs have a (likely temporary) range advantage and a rather meaningless refill time advantage. The refill advantage fades when one takes into account the need to visit a fueling station for all fuel as opposed to simply plugging in (or parking over a wireless charger) at night.
            The amount of time added to an all day drive with a 200 mile range EV is minor. EV drivers are going to be able to combine charging with meal and bathroom breaks. FCEV drivers will have to make those separate stops.

            And most people drive over 200 miles per day quite rarely. People aren’t likely to pay significantly more per mile in order to arrive 20 to 30 minutes sooner on an all day drive.

          • Paul Staples

            That $0.05/kwh you mention won’t be the case once more than a couple of people /block have a BEV. Then the whole neighborhood will need to be rewired and larger transformers will need to be added. Also once you do get more vehicles charging at home, say goodby to off-peak rates, because the power demand will be around the same amount as daytime needs if not more, and the price will rise. Also, who is going to pay for the Residential grid upgrades? All the residents whether they use a BEVs or not. Those rates will rise. An undisputable fact the utilities can not deny. As opposed to upgrading the commercial/industrial grid is something that happens all the time, Which a gas station is connected to, and paid for only by the FCEV users. And fueling time is not a factor? Are you kidding??? that is the main thing holding BEVs back. Otherwise they would have taken hold after 100 years of deployment attempts every 20 years and have failed miserably. What is that saying? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is the first sign of insanity! That’s it. Market surveys show this to be the case everytime they have been done. Every one conducted by the auto industry has shown that 95% of respondents who are considering buying a BEV have shown that they would not buy a BEV if once in the lifetime of the vehicle they had to take a trip longer than the range unless the vehicle could be refilled/charged in under 10 minutes. It is a big issue with the buying public. inescapable.

            FCEVs do not use 2x as much electricity as BEVs. More, a little, but most of the advantage in efficiency you claim is lab efficiencies not real life. The difference is small, maybe 10% at best, because the weight of the batteries, and the loss of quick charging. Also you say “The need to visit a fueling station for all fuel as opposed to simply plugging in”. that is what people do and want to do? Very few people want a fueling system at their homes. The cost of the charger, the 8-10 hours needed to charge, the increase power bills, the increase of electric rates to pay to install the system upgrades needed. Yes it is a big deal. Not to you because you are an advocate. The general public is just not going to buy it. Not in mass production capacity. Not enough to make BEVs anything more than nich boutique item, and not after FCEVs hit the market in significant numbers. Again you say “The amount of time added to an all day drive with a 200 mile range EV is minor” Who are you talking about, Ed Begley Jr.? You are dilusional if you believe that. It is all that matters, that and performance, and in that the BEV is a loser and will never happen. 200mi range is not acceptable to the American public. they want 400 mi ranges and above. Never get that with a BEV. You guys are living in a fantasy world where everyone holds hands and sings cumbya to mother earth. I am with you, but I am not delusional thaat everyone else is willing to compromise their mobility. I accept the reality of the general public and what they want. It is a lot easier to change technologies than people. People take generations to change, technologies take years, sometimes days. We can’t wait generations to change, we must do this now. Time is up the north pole is open for sailing, the Antartic is melting. FCEVs and renewable hydrogen fueling can be done and done successfully now. In 10 years we could convert the whole transportation energy paradigm to 100% renewable hydrogen driven FCEVs. That may sound overly optimistic to some advocates, even in my field, but not impossible. I know because I have been able to exceed every expectation everyone has ever made about renewable hydrogen.That will never happen with BEVs. NEVER. It is a waste of time to try it one more time, It is a failed endeavor you guys are trying to resurrect one more time.

            You also say “And most people drive over 200 miles per day quite rarely. People
            aren’t likely to pay significantly more per mile in order to arrive 20
            to 30 minutes sooner on an all day drive.” What world do you live in??? Yes, people will. we get upset when our internet connection slows down because of traffic. There are shoot-outs on the freeway because someone slows down the traffic. This is the real world. A lot of people drive more than 200 miles a day. Even though most don’t they want to be able to on a moments notice and refill in 5 minutes. That is reality. Get a grip.

          • EricR

            Thanks Paul. Regarding the utilities, you are exactly right. I was one of the Chevy Volt testers (Consumer Advisory Board), and had a pre-production Volt. My local utility company was very interested, and we had long discussions on exactly what you are saying. They also had to upgrade the transformer near my house, and were actually worried about plug-ins making large inroads because the infrastructure was not designed to handle it. In fact, they were concerned because the newer developments had underground wiring and it will be more expensive to upgrade.

            I was also one of GM’s Project Driveway FCEV participants, and while I love BEVs, I have no illusions as to their limitations. That’s why I got a Volt and now ELR. I’d love to connect to tell you my stories of trying to get infrastructure going in NY…

          • Julian Cox

            Uhem, Are you suggesting the fossil fuel industry cannot afford its own hydrogen infrastructure when Tesla for example can pay for its own supercharger network out of a percentage of the sales of its vehicles?

          • EricR

            Not at all. I don’t think the fossil fuel industry (not counting the industrial gas companies) are all that interested yet. I believe they will take a wait-and-see approach. But Paul is right. Most stations now are franchised and not company-owned. They make very little profit on their gas pumps (much more from their convenience stores), and they have (mostly) maximized their footprint. I do not believe they will switch over to hydrogen until they see a market for it.

            In 2008, the DoE had a granting opportunity for a 50% cost-share to develop stations (and the other 50% could be in-kind contributions). I lined up a shopping center with surplus parking and an out-of-business gas station lot and the municipal government, but the DoE amended its solicitation to require that the FCEVs be “commercially available”. With a stroke of the pen, the FOA was effectively killed.

          • Paul Staples

            The fossil fuel industry doesn’t want to. The CFO of Valero Oil responded to the San Jose Mercury News article covering the CARB proposed CFO (Clean Fuels Outlet) when presented with the prospect of being forced by law to install hydrogen fueling at all gas stations statewide, he responded (I paraphrase) “Why would we want to fund our own demise”. In a way, I understand, so we can do it with out them, and will.

          • EricR

            The fossil fuel industry could absolutely afford hydrogen infrastructure if they wanted to pay for it. But, I don’t think they want to (the industrial gas companies notwithstanding); at least, not yet. That is why I don’t think there is some great hydrogen conspiracy to keep us all hooked on fossil fuels.

          • Julian Cox

            What angers me about comments like this is that I cannot for the life of me believe you are sufficiently stupid to believe what you are saying. I would have every sympathy if you were a layman that has formed that impression due to being lied to but you are a trained lawyer that is intimately involved in promoting FCVs.

            You are obviously aware of H2USA (consortium of auto makers, fossil fuel industry and fuel cell industry) and the grotesque efforts of the fossil fuel industry to lobby for public environmental funds. You are obviously aware of the thrust of auto maker efforts to assault EVs with FCVs (and not gasoline and diesel vehicles) with because you are a mouthpiece and an embodiment of that disgusting malpractice.

            Why should the fossil fuel industry take unnecessary financial risks on infrastructure when lobbying will suffice to get the job done. You know as well as I do that natural gas has nothing to worry about. Hydrogen will always fall into the lap of the natural gas industry no matter who pays for it. Much better to let the true believers and the shills promote it as green and clean and wait for the dust to settle. There is no getting away from the fact – it costs $0.91 of natural gas sold at $5 on Henry Hub to make a Kg of H2. Nothing can compete with it regardless of the hand waving.

          • Paul Staples

            Call me anytime I sent you an email with my number. I’d be glad to hear your stories.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Some transformers will need to be upsized. Since EVs will be mostly charged late at night transformers will not be able to cool down as they could pre-EVs.

            The infrastructure handles large AC, electric clothes dryers and all sorts of large draws. Most EV charging will occur when other demand is low.

          • Paul Staples

            But to charge in 8 – 10 hours, the will need to use 3x – 5x the normal load. That will change the off-peak to peak rates.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Few people drive enough to require a full recharge. Grids are built to serve peak demand. The range from peak to off-peak is 2:1, even 3:1. There’s plenty of ability to charge EVs during offpeak. In fact, the NREL found that if we transformed all US vehicles to electrics over night we had the spare capacity and transmission to charge at least 70% of them right now.

          • Julian Cox

            Paul you seem to be blind about the fact you are being used as a shill for the fossil fuel industry in your own business, it is a waste of time your commenting on EVs that you seem to understand even less.

          • Moonboy

            Bob_Wallace said “Paul, you are stepping over the line for
            acceptable behavior on this forum. Accusing others of being paid shills is not to be done. Especially by someone who is pushing his own business interests.”

            Bob, it’s funny you’re not calling out Julian the same way you’re calling out Paul. Biased, methinks!

          • EricR

            Regarding your point, I talked my utility co. about that very issue when they installed the new transformer. They told me that when everyone started getting dishwashers, the load increased by 50%. It happened again with AC, washing machines and dryers, etc., and they are concerned it will happen again with EVs. They said it will cost billions to upgrade the NY metro area, which will translate to higher rates.

            At a meeting with NJ Gov. Corzine’s office back in 2008, the utility companies were absolutely against any incentivizing of charging during peak hours.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sure, charging during peak hours would be a problem. Especially on high demand days. That’s likely why we’ll see cheaper TOU charging during late nights.

            As far as the transformer thing, transformers have a limited lifetime. EVs will shorten the life of some of them. The replacement/upgrade cost will be built into rates. Furthermore, with the smart grid traditional transformers are going away and being replaced by solid-state transformers (which aren’t actually transformers).

          • EricR

            I agree, and in fact, I don’t mean to be critical of the point. I am only pointing out that the proliferation of EVs will force the upgrade our antiquated grid. Personally, I think this is a good thing, even if my rates go up.

          • EricR

            First, let me say that I hope you are right. I know with a lot of families, most of the chores, like laundry, dishwashing, etc. take place at night because both spouses work, but with TOU, it is not that much of an obstacle to just program the charging even later. In my personal case, I work for myself, and particularly when my kids were smaller, I worked from home more often so I do not use TOU. My utility co. did install a separate use monitor for my 220V charger so they could get real world learnings from it.


            What happens to all the grid capacity at night? Does it simply not work in the dark?

            All you need to do is glance at the useage charts at DOE. Plenty of capacity at night when most people are sleeping.

          • EricR

            Sure- but the EV community (myself included) is hoping for a complete transition from fossil fuels. When there are millions of cars charging at night, it might be problematic for the utilities, especially if they are using 220V.

          • Bob_Wallace

            240v is not an issue. Power comes into the house as 240vac. Higher voltage means the ability to use smaller diameter wire for the same wattage (amount of power).

            The utilities deliver power to neighborhoods at voltages higher than 240 vac and then it is converted into 240 vac for the neighborhood.

            “A new study … for the Department of Energy finds that “off-peak” electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 70% percent of the U.S. light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet, if they were plug-in hybrid electrics.”


            That’s if 70% of all light-duty vehicles turned into electrics overnight. As we add more wind turbines to the grid we provide more off-peak power for EV changing.

            We already know that the majority of electric owners voluntarily charge at night. Via smart meters we can control the actual charging times so that they load-follow supply.

          • EricR

            I really want you to be right. I was only relaying what the utility reps were telling me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            As I pointed out EVs charging with their own internal charger on 240 vac (~17 amps) pull less power than clothes dryers (~20 amps). Not that much more than a toaster or electric iron.

            Using an external 240 vac charger they will pull less than an electric stove (~30 vs. >40 amps).

            Because most EVs will get charged at night transformers will be a bit more stressed, but those transformers are likely to be swapped out before their end of life because the ‘smart’ solid state replacements will pay for the early replacement via distribution costs and grid reliability.

            If lots of people were going to be charging during the day then the grid could get stressed. Mostly in terms of capacity, assuming we don’t keep installing solar faster than EVs come on line. But that’s unlikely.

          • EricR

            Thank you- I really want this to happen. And even if the grid gets stressed more than you anticipate, I think it is ultimately a good thing because it will hasten the smart grid development. No argument from me on this issue.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That doesn’t smell right, Eric. EVs, on a 120 or 240 vac outlet don’t pull that much power. Consider what the grid/house wiring has to deal with during the daytime when the AC, dishwasher, clothes dryer, a few TVs and the electric stove are running at the same time. There’s ample transmission to deal with all those loads.

            There probably will be some limited problems with neighborhood transformers. If there are a lot of EVs in a particular neighborhood that transformer may have to be swapped out sooner than it otherwise would happen. But since utilities are moving to (smart) solid state “transformers” it’s pretty much a moot point.

            The neighborhoods with the highest EV penetration would get their SSTs sooner than other neighborhoods.

            It’s simply not likely that many people will spend the money to install rapid chargers. There’s no reason for most people to spend that money. A neighborhood with multiple rapid chargers is going to be a very tiny exception.

          • Bob_Wallace

            After doing some checking…

            An EV/PHEV charging off a 120 vac outlet and using the car’s internal battery charger is going to pull 8 to 12 amps.

            Charging on 240 vac with the car’s charger the draw is going to be about 17 amps. (Volt, Leaf)

            Using an external 240 vac charger the draw can run up to 30 amps.

            An electric stove can draw > 40 amps of 240 vac. A clothes dryer >20 amps of 240 vac.

            Worst case, you live in an older house with only a 100 amp service (connection to the grid) and you can’t charge your EV with a L2 charger, dry your clothes, run your AC, power wash your house, and roast a turkey at the same time.

            More modern house – you’ve likely got a 200 amp service.

            The grid should be able to handle a neighborhood of 200 amp service houses. If not, it’s past time for an upgrade anyway.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Whether we go to EVs or FCEVs we are going to need more electricity capacity.

            If you think FCEVs will need only slightly more electricity for H2 production then you need to site a source.

            Wind is apparently selling for 2.1c/kWh at the moment. Add back in about 1.5c/kWh to recover the subsidy and we’re under 5c. Onshore wind in the US blows harder late at night when other demand is low. EVs will create a market for that wind and the extra profit will bring new investment. EVs are almost certain to get good rates because they are dispatchable loads. The average daily drive is less than 40 miles which means about 1.5 hours of charging using a simple 240vac outlet.

            Now, let’s look at someone taking their once a year trip to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving. Grandma lives 500 miles away.

            Person A is driving a 200 mile range EV. They drive ~200, stop for a 20 minute 80% charge, drive 160, charge 20m, drive 160 and they are knocking on Grandma’s door.

            Person B is driving a 300 mile range FCEV. They drive about 300, stop for a 5 minute refill, drive 200 and knock. Oh, they also stopped for a 20 minute meal and a 5 minute pee/coffee break.

            Person B arrives 15 minutes sooner than Person A. Person A did the eat/pee stuff while they were charging.

            Person A paid half as much per mile to get to Grandma’s. Person A pays half as much for every mile they drive every day throughout the year. Person A doesn’t have to bother stopping every week to refill on H2.

            Why would Person A want that extra expense and hassle in order to get to Grandma’s and back home 15 minutes sooner?

            Finally, let’s take a look at US driver behavior. Take a look at the graph below and how few of our driving days are longer than 200 miles. Long driving days are the exception for most drivers.

            (Why don’t you try to be less insulting and discuss the issues like an adult?)

          • Julian Cox

            The truth is that 200+ mile EVs will be down to 10 minute charging before the whole thing actually matters on any scale.

            The other truth is that despite all the hand wringing and “look at my accurate website” there is nothing that the shills can say to the content of this article. Just diverting the conversation to some BS about electrolysis and attempting to attack the messenger.

          • Paul Staples

            Now that is Musk BS if I have ever heard it. that is physically impossible with batteries, at least Lithium batteries anyway. Not unless you want to leave a hole of melted lithium in the pavement.

          • Julian Cox

            Actually that is JB Straubel Tesla CTO – not to 100% from 0% but then what sort of a dufus runs a gasoline car to zero before refuelling. The point is that it is possible.

            What is physically impossible is electrolysis competing economically with natural gas – I am really sorry about that because it seemed that at one point you actually believed that clean hydrogen could have done some good in this world and not just be used as a trojan horse just to be endured or spat out by the gas industry as it saw fit.

          • Paul Staples

            Wrong, again the real cost of fossil fuel hydrogen is the delivery and labor costs. that being the case, we can compete. Renewable hydrogen was how it styarted. them trying to take it over is nothing new. they have tried it with everythin that could compete with foddil fuels. In fact they prefer that BEVs succeed because then they know they will be providing the fuel for years to com, because the distribution infrastructure will remain the same.

          • Julian Cox

            You are doing yourself no favours telling me I am wrong.

            Learn to read.

            If you have nothing intelligent to say, stay quiet. You come across as a bully and a liar, which frankly is my impression of you and I suspect every other reader with the exception of EricR who apparently in the same racket as you.

          • A Real Libertarian

            In fact they prefer that BEVs succeed because then they know they will be providing the fuel for years to com, because the distribution infrastructure will remain the same.

            Did you just say electric cars are recharged at gas stations?


          • Mint

            You really don’t know anything about modern batteries, do you.

            We’ve had fast charging lithium ion chemistries for many years. For example:

            Proterra’s FastFill™ charge system is comprised of the software and hardware to rapidly charge the TerraVolt™ Energy Storage System from 0% to 95% with >92% energy charge efficiency in as little as 6 minutes.


            The hydrogen fuel cell isn’t going anywhere, especially for transportation. It’s actually best suited for distributed power generation, as many companies (and even neighborhoods) want modular $1/W on-demand generation for electricity more reliable and possibly cheaper than the grid. Heck, Bloom Energy is making money selling fuel cells for around $10/W (granted, those use natural gas directly rather than through SMR, but the point remains). In a twist of irony, Musk’s solar business would be using $1/W fuel cells as backup for off-grid systems. The market for fuel cells is enormous at that price..

            Cars, OTOH, need that cost to drop to $0.2/W. Even then, you’re talking about $6k for a mere 30kW, not including the fuel system, tanks, battery, etc. Plus, your fuel cost per mile is way more than that of an EV.

            If Toyota actually has legit fuel-cell technology, and isn’t run by a bunch of morons, then it can make tens of billions revolutionizing the power market years before they’re cheap enough for cars.

            Until we see that happen, FCEVs have no chance of being economical.

          • Moonboy


            “Paul, you are stepping over the line for acceptable behavior on this forum. Accusing others of being paid shills is not to be done. Especially by someone who is pushing his own business interests.”

            Bob, it’s funny you’re not calling out Julian the same way you’re calling out Paul. Biased, methinks!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Paul has been ranting about paid shills when he’s pushing his own company.
            Julian, as far as I’ve seen, hasn’t been calling people shills. Could have happened, I don’t catch everything on a busy day.

          • Paul Staples

            I would if your posts were more like this than insulting me calling me a liar and full of BS.

            The amount of electriciy uised is not relevant if the source is 100% Renewable/Sustainable carbon free generation, like solar, wind, wave, geothermal, etc.

            My sources are many, that I have compiled over the years, United Technologies/Hamilton Sundstrand,Giner Inc, ITM, DOE, SCAQMD, NREL,when I was working as Executive Director and President of Clean Air Now and developed the World’s First Commercially Permitted Solar Hydrogen Generating Facility and Vehicle Fueling Station and Converted Vehicle Fleet at Xerox Corporation in L.A., Ca. in 1994. Developing the City of Santa Monica’s and Riverside’s Hydrogen Program and Project that lead to a 5 city program. And analysis doen by many experts who some of will be weighing in tomorrow to respond to this latest rant of yours. You’ll see soon. I will let them speak for themselves.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Paul, on the front page of your web site you state that the H2 infrastructure is in place.

            That is an outright, and outrageous, lie.

            Furthermore, the amount of electricity is of great importance. By using twice as much electricity per mile H2 FCEVs become financially noncompetitive with EVs.

            I’m sorry, Paul. I can’t take you seriously. You have fallen into the ranks of a “true believer” who distorts and misrepresents facts.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ​Sorry, don’t know what you’re trying to say.​

          • Julian Cox

            Paul one of the many reasons you lack all credibility – and frankly doing your cause much more harm than good is your ignorance of EV state of the art and your desire to attack it as though doing so will help you in some way.

          • Julian Cox


            The problem with this is exactly what I have laid out so clearly in the article.

            You apparently started out with good intentions of seeding renewable-based H2 infrastructure and yet the industry is already swamped with Natural Gas and projects like yours relegated to promotional side-gigs that only serve to promote the main act.

            Like it or not your efforts are an enabler for the fossil fuel industry to enter the market for renewable energy by the back door. By your own admission you are frustrated by the corrupt behaviour of the IGI (Industrial Gas Industry) and appalled that the CaFCP gets to act as a gate keeper for State grants, and in turn the CaFCP is dominated by IGI and Auto players who want to talk a green game and do the exact opposite.


            No idea why you were ever arguing the toss.

          • Paul Staples

            In what world are you fantasizing about where you charge up a 100+kw battery pack in 20 minutes. If you get away without melting it you might get 2 years of use out of it and have to spend $20k+ to replace it. Maybe then yea.

            Most people driving such a short distance will usually drive through to eat Thanksgiving dinner rather than spoiling their appetite on the way. This way they arrive at least an 1.5 hours earlier because your charge took at least an hour due to overheating of the batteries.

            Not 1/2 as much since your fast charge cost 2x as much as your 8-10 hour charge at home. And they (B) made it to grandmas before they all went to bed waiting for you to arrive. And it even cost less in fuel than their Prius. That’s why.

            Who is Rob van Haarer?

            If that graph is correct, So what! 95% of the vehicle owners would not buy a vehicle that would exceed it’s range just once in the lifetime of the vehicle if they could not fuel on the fly.. That is what matters. The public wants to be able to go when they want, where they want and as far as they want. If they can’t do that, they won’t buy the vehicle. That is what it means to have personal transportation, or everyone would just use mass transit only.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The Toshiba SCiB reaches 80% of capacity in 15 minutes and 95% in an additional 3 minutes.

            This is the battery used in the Honda FIT EV.

            People may have to pay H2 rates for charging on their infrequent long distance drives. But the other 350+ days of the year they will charge with cheap off-peak electricity.

            *You’ve got a business problem, Paul, denial won’t keep you in business.*


            Paul, your assertion that the grid will
            need major upgrades for EVs is totally false. I have spoken with all the major utility vehicle electrification managers in California. They have all done in-depth studies on this. They all come to just about the same conclusion: no major grid upgrades will be needed for at least 25 years, because the vast majority of drivers will be charging overnight, when there is plenty of grid capacity available.

            The grid upgrade argument is simply false, and the evidence easily obtainable.

          • Randall Smith

            “Also, who is going to pay for the Residential grid upgrades?”

            The residents. It’s called a market.

            1. People use more electricity.
            2. People pay power company MORE money.
            3. Power company makes MORE money.
            4. Power company upgrades.
            5. Go back to 1.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Then the whole neighborhood will need to be rewired and larger transformers will need to be added. ”

            Some transformers will need to be switched out sooner than they otherwise would be. But since we’ll likely be swapping out old transformers for new smart solid state devices that means nothing but a change in scheduling.

            Neighborhoods are already sufficiently wired.

            “say goodby to off-peak rates”

            Why will likely happen is that we’ll install a lot more onshore wind capacity. And new wind capacity is now running about 4c/kWh – without subsidies. Prices aren’t likely to rise much.

            But even at 12 cents, 15 cents per kWh EVs are an immense bargain per mile.

            ” And fueling time is not a factor? Are you kidding??? that is the main thing holding BEVs back. Otherwise they would have taken hold after 100 years of deployment attempts every 20 years and have failed miserably.”

            That’s pretty bizarre. We’ve never had batteries like we have today. Plus ‘park and charge’ is so much sweeter than going to a gas station.

            “FCEVs do not use 2x as much electricity as BEVs.”

            Check physics. Takes energy to separate O from H when one starts with H2O.

            I’ve got to stop here. There’s simply too much fail….

          • EricR

            Bob, there are many of us, like myself, that want convenient public refueling. Although most of my driving is within the battery range of almost every BEV and EREV (maybe not the Prius Plugin), there are some days each month where my drives are significantly longer, and there are no convenient superchargers on my route (there are occasionally ChargePoint chargers which I have used, but more for the novelty rather than the practical use). I have appointments, and I don’t have the luxury of blocking out even 20 minutes out of my way to find a charger, then waiting at least another 20 minutes to charge, and then another 20 minutes to get back to where I was. This is my real world, and it is not dissimilar to that of my colleagues. If H2 can offer me the same convenient refueling when I need it, especially sourced by renewables, I am all for it.
            Also, take a look at the Cadillac Provoq concept. It uses the same EREV architecture as the Volt/ELR, but uses a fuel cell range extender. The point is that an FCEV can be designed to plug in at home (or where convenient) and refill on the road.

          • juxx0r

            “vehicle efficiency about 2-3x that of an ICE vehicle”

            Care to share how you calculate that?

          • Paul Staples

            Again, the DOE, The CEC, CARB, CHBC, The European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, just about everywhere. Where the hell did you get your facts from or manipulated facts I should say.

          • juxx0r

            So if i multiply the DOE by the CARB then divide by the CEC, then i get an efficiency of what?

          • Bob_Wallace

            A unknown number. But rest assured, it proves that “Hydrogen is the answer”.

          • Julian Cox

            All of them make the same error and promote it as fact.

            Try to answer the question posed by juxxOr by working it out long hand. Appealing to an argument from authority is not going to cut it here. This is a direct call to your loud-mouthed claims of expertise and a test of your integrity. Can you tell the truth even when it does not fit your argument.

          • EricR

            Paul, I am glad you are posting here with real world numbers and data.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric that is an offensive mischaracterisation. Overall this person has blustered and attacked real world numbers to the best of his limited ability to the point where I feel like asking the moderators to clear up this thread of his garbage.

          • EricR

            Julian, you attack ad hominem everyone who dares disagree with you. Paul has devoted his career to advancing clean hydrogen. He is not just an academic (although he has plenty of people with solid academic credentials supporting him), and his stations will be the ideal. By real world, I am talking about his actual numbers that he is getting with his technology rather than projections and assumptions (which I am not criticizing, by the way- it is just that it is nice to see something in action rather than projections using best available scientific methodologies). There are people of good intentions that differ with you regarding hydrogen.

          • Julian Cox

            There is a fundamental difference between myself and Paul/yourself. I am not arguing for my own interests.

            Paul has apparently made one of the first hydrogen stations and he is angry that the gas industry has taken over “his baby” and “his business” and that EVs challenge “his prerogative” to get rich because “his idea” of delivering clean hydrogen was “more accurate” in his opinion as supported by the bought “experts” of the gas industry.

            Unlike Paul I don’t think that defending his right to make a buck at the fringes of the gas-industry is a supportable cause, especially when the gas industry is reliant to mis-selling to make its case, as is Paul, as are you.

          • EricR

            There is really no point in discussing this with you. I can cite studies until my fingers bleed, but you don’t care, because you know the Truth, and anyone that can’t (or won’t) accede to your Truth is clearly evil. The world does not work like that- not everyone who disagrees with you is acting with malicious intent.

          • Julian Cox

            I am going to ask you to leave this discussion.

            All of the studies conclude that a 1/2 power FCV pollutes 1/2 as much as a full power gasoline vehicle and the nonsense fans outwards from there. The actual DOE data proves exactly this. You know it, I know it.

            The purpose of this piece is to provide information to address the very nonsense that you promote. You clearly have no interest in honest discourse. You lost the argument a long time ago and I think the laymen deserves to see a clear picture without it being bogged down by sheer weight of weasel-worded lawyer bullshit.

          • EricR

            Unless the moderators decide that I am not a constructive part of this dialog, I intend to respond as I see fit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “that is about $8.60/kg”

            And what is the cost of H2 from NG? Julian’s big point, IMO, is that as long as H2 from NG is considerably cheaper then NG is what will be used. Not H2 from renewable electricity.

            ” about $2.80 – $3.44/gge equivalent on a cost/mile basis”

            An EV using 0.3 kWh per mile and charging off $0.12/kWh electricity would cost 3.6c/mile. That’s $1.50/gallon gas in a 50 MPG ICEV. I don’t see a reason why people would pay twice as much per mile, do you?

          • Julian Cox

            The other very significant point is that when using NG emissions benefits are proportionally less than the performance loss vs gasoline.

            There are plenty of choices existing for consumers to choose a low power vehicle to “save the planet”. Most if not all of those choices are better depending which DOE NREL figure you care to choose.

            CaFCP chose the best case NREL figure from Natural Gas, in which case a Prius is still better and an EV radically better.

            Not exactly a society-wide motivator to pay for hydrogen infrastructure on environmental grounds or to subsidise the efforts of heavy-duty marketing organisations to attack EVs (which in fact is what is happening). There are no visible efforts on the part of FCV advocates to attack gasoline or diesel vehicles, only EVs and only on environmental grounds (clearly false).

        • EricR

          Julian, the Shell hydrogen station that I used in NY used an onsite electrolyzer. The Air Liquide station used deliveries from Niagara Falls (hydro powered electrolyzer).

          • Julian Cox

            How does that affect the layman’s impression of the promotion of the false promotion of hydrogen as green?

            How does that serve to correct this blatant falsehood from CaFCP:

            The well-to-wheels reports show that hydrogen made from natural gas and used in a fuel cell vehicle reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 55%-65% compared to gasoline used in a conventional vehicle, and by about 40% compared to gasoline in a hybrid engine.

          • EricR

            Because H2 can be made, at scale, using renewables. That is the goal, and the DoE is actively engaged in this. I also disagree with your analysis, because, as we’ve pointed out to you before, the DOE’s WTW GHG analysis puts FCEVs with H2 sourced from SMR at 200 g CO2/mi, which is less than hybrids (and the other options were far cleaner). I am still trying to get an answer from NREL regarding the GHG WTW discrepancy in their test fleet findings from the DoE’s numbers.

            A while back, you and I had a similar argument, and we both agreed that hydrogen sourced from SMR is not green, and I would agree that such H2 should not be promoted as green. However, where we disagree is that there should not be double standard with regards to FCEVs and BEVs. Both are only as clean as their feedstocks, but I think that the H2 pathway, just like electricity, will move towards renewables. I am glad that Paul is here, because this is something he is actively trying to commercialize. But instead of supporting him, you attack him.

          • Julian Cox


            For something to be really clean (real and clean simultaneously) it needs to be clean and it needs to be competitive with dirty.

            This needs to be understood as a benchmark for common sense i.e. the truth.

            Constantly arguing against common sense is not going to fly with me. BTW the DOE (NREL) figure for electrolysis was 280g CO2e / mile, not 200. But this is irrelevant in the real world on any real scale.

            It is fundamentally impossible to argue the economic case for human civilisation to spend its energy (economic lifeblood) un-burning the oxidation products of spent fuels i.e. water with respect to Hydrogen. The more this is argued for the more clearly it needs to be pointed out that the argument is false and misleading. It really does not matter if there is some corner case where it makes temporary sense – especially when the promotors are actively attacking something that is actually good for society – super efficient vehicles that are directly compatible with zero emissions renewables and a price that makes enormous sense.

            That is just the promotors of corner case examples.

            When it comes to integrity the actions of CaFCP are a complete show-stopper. You just can’t tell the public “50% emissions reductions using natural gas”. It isn’t true.

            – and without that complete and utter BS there would be no public incentives for infrastructure and there would be no FCVs for you guys to get agitated about because there would be no abundance of hydrogen supply that Auto manufacturers could rely upon.

          • EricR

            The fact that Saudi Aramco does not think electrolysis is viable is unconvincing, considering the source. I am always skeptical of people saying that something potentially competitive is not viable. The fact that Paul’s company’s business model is designed to prove that renewables-based electrolysis is viable and competitive with gasoline on a gge basis is far more interesting to me. We will see when his stations go live with a decent population of FCEVs. I am always amazed at the brilliance of people who can prove conventional wisdom wrong in the marketplace. Paul has explained here how he intends to compete, and we will see how it plays out. I, for one, am rooting for him.

          • Bob_Wallace

            H2 doesn’t have to compete with gasoline. It has to compete with direct use of electricity.

            I don’t think anyone is rooting for Paul to fail.

          • EricR

            Unfortunately, I actually think Julian wants Paul to fail (and I think he would readily agree). To paraphrase his argument against renewables-based electrolysis, it would at best be a bit player in the market, and at worst, a Trojan horse from a messaging standpoint that would enable SMR to share in a false patina of green.

          • Julian Cox

            I on the other hand would prefer to see a moratorium on dishonesty in the marketing of FCVs. In the absence of dishonest promotion I do not believe there will be any consumers for FCVs.

            What could be the fascination in a low performance fossil fuel vehicle considering the fact that much higher performance fossil fuel vehicles already exist. A Honda Accord PHEV destroys every FCV on every metric. It is far cleaner, far more powerful and far more convenient – and it does not require an assault on even cleaner technologies to sell it.

            Paul’s business can only ever be a bit part player on the fringes of the fossil fuel industry and his efforts to promote FCVs simply play into the hands of polluting industry.

          • EricR

            You may have an opinion on the viability of Paul’s business (which is fine), and time will tell as to who is right. But to pass off your opinions as Truth is dishonest. The DoE and European studies dispute your findings.

          • Julian Cox

            My opinion is not the truth, the truth is the truth.

            You are dishonest to state that the DOE and European studies dispute my findings. They are not my findings! They are the DOE findings – just the data without the layers of spin and BS.

          • EricR

            I am looking at the bottom line numbers from the DOE (comparing fuel cells sourced with distributed SMR, which is 200 g CO2/mi and hybrids at 235 g CO2/mi:
            No spin, no layers- just bottom line findings from the DOE.

          • Julian Cox

            No Spin?

            “For a projected state of technologies in 2035-2045.”

            The DOE figures I have quoted are REAL!


            Eric seriously, I am going to ask the moderators to deal with you. You are carpet-bombing my article with BS and I don’t want to spend my time proving you wrong every 5 minutes for the remainder of the week.

          • EricR

            What you call my BS are direct bottom-line findings from the DoE. I am not making anything up, and the reader is free to check my sources:

            US- DoE WTW GHG (2010):

            Europe- WTW (2014):

            As for the cited DoE summary, yes they are for projected technologies in the 2035 timeframe, but every option (except for the current gasoline used as a baseline) benefits from predicted improved GHG emissions, so the results are not skewed in favor of FCEV.

            As for asking the moderators to “deal with me”, I think the moderators can see that I am trying to present a valid counterpoint to what I perceive is a biased and inaccurate presentation in your article. I don’t resort to profanity or ad hominem attacks, nor do I believe that there is one Truth and anyone who disagrees is essentially evil. Personally, I think we’ve both made our points and I believe the readers here (who are clearly intelligent) want to see and consider different perspectives. They may disagree with me, which is absolutely fine, but I would at least hope they appreciate the discourse.

          • Julian Cox

            Here is the table of DOE data (NREL and EPA).


            As you can see an FCV pollutes less than a 23 mpg gasoline vehicle.

            The 23 mpg gasoline vehicle is 306 hp
            The typical FCV is 134hp (Toyota 120.6 hp)

            Other 120~416 hp vehicles pollute less than the typical FCV.

            The Accord PHEV pollutes less at 195 hp
            The Tesla Model S EV pollutes less at 416 hp

            Anybody can draw their own conclusions directly from the DOE data when presented in this format.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, let me see if I understand this graph.

            If I scan across the 135 brake horsepower line (where the FCVs reside) I see that for every FCV fueled with “industrial SMR” H2 there is a ICEV (sometimes hybrid) of approximately the same power and lower CO2 emissions (more CO2 reduction from the target Lexus).

            In fact, the GM Spark charged off the not that clean PG&E grid kicks FCV butt.

            And I don’t see a single incidence where the “green bar is higher than the purple bar” for FCVs. I do see EVs, PHEVs, hybrids and even a diesel where green is higher than purple.

            And “industrial SMR” is the cleanest possible H2? Or would 100% solar/wind H2 be cleaner?

            Is that a correct read?

          • Julian Cox

            The mainstay of the argument I wish to see publicly debunked is the mainstay of US and Californian energy policy for FCVs. That is to say that 50% emissions reductions are available when using natural gas.

            Industrial Steam Methane Reforming is the best realistic case (large-scale SMR equipment at the refinery).

            What is horrifying from an environmental perspective is that Californian’s are being asked to pay for small scale SMR located at gas stations which is far worse than the best case from natural gas due to the loss of efficiencies of scale.

            This is what the Ford Motor Company has to say about that (as quoted in the article above):

            “Currently, the most state-of-the-art procedure is a distributed [on-site] natural gas steam reforming process. However, when FCVs are run on hydrogen reformed from natural gas using this process, they do not provide significant environmental benefits on a well-to-wheels basis (due to GHG emissions from the natural gas reformation process).”

            When considering solar/wind/wave etc, obviously this is cleaner but it fails hard economically because of the extreme conversion losses when converting electricity to chemical fuels. So while it is possible to demonstrate clean H2 on a small scale it is impossible in any market where clean hydrogen is in head to head economic competition with natural gas.

          • EricR

            Once again:

            1) This chart is your work-product, not an official DoE/EPA chart.

            2) The NREL GHG numbers you cite are based
            on Gen 1 and Gen 2 FCEV prototypes and older onsite SMR at service stations that just emit all gas emissions into the atmosphere – NOx, COx, CO2, SOX, as well as methane (which is 30x-50x worse GHG than CO2). At the central facilities that the industrial gas companies use to produce H2, they sell all kinds of gases, like nitrogen, oxygen, CO2 for dry ice, SOx for making Sulfuric Acid, chlor-alkalai, etc.. So, while the small onsite SMR facilities simply release these GHGs, the IGs capture, process them for sale at these centralized IG facilities rather than vent them into the atmosphere. My understanding is that this “real world” process is the reason for the discrepancy between the NREL and the prediction for cleaner FCEVs, even when H2 is sourced from SMR. With regard to the Gen 1 and Gen 2 FCEVs, the NREL learnings specifically
            state that project started with Gen 1 prototypes provided in 2004.
            at p. 1.

            The Gen 2 prototypes were integrated into the NREL
            program from 2006 until 2009. Id. at 3. The only vehicle OEMs that provided prototypes for the NREL test fleet (Gen 1 and Gen 2) were from Daimler, GM, Hyundai-Kia and Ford. Id. at p. 2. As you can see from the learnings, the improvements from Gen 1 to Gen 2 were dramatic across
            the board, even though they were only 2 to 4 years apart. Your premise for your posting attacks the entire raison d’etre for fuel cells, past, present and future, based on obsolete prototypes.

            3. Your findings regarding the Hyundai Tucson FCEV, M-B F-Cell and Honda Clarity FCEVs are your own calculations based simply on mileage numbers. The EPA has not yet done WTW GHG analyses on these cars You have
            not shown that your GHG calculations use the same methodology as the EPA with respect to the existing ICE vehicles you used for comparison.

            4. Your findings with respect to the upcoming 2015 Toyota FCEV are completely misleading. Instead of being honest and labeling the findings from the 2009 FCV-adv, a prototype test mule based on the FCV Highlander SUV prototype from 2009, you attribute it as the actual upcoming production sedan, which has not yet been EPA tested.

            5. You are equating the fact that existing FCEVs have 50% less WTW GHG emissions and 50% less power than
            existing ICE with the argument that they have 50% less GHG emissions –because- they have 50% less power (btw, I would argue that torque is the better metric than horsepower). This is a logically fallacious argument. You have absolutely no basis for arguing that an FCEV with 50% more power will necessarily cause 50% more emissions, especially as advancements in efficiency across the whole panoply of vehicle technologies has shown increases of both power and efficiency over time.

            6. You completely discount the possibility of H2 sourced from renewables (which would be the perfect GHG solution), because you don’t think it is economically viable. HyGen (Paul’s company), which has grants for such stations and is installing them, is betting its resources on you being wrong. Yet, you malign him despite the fact that he has actual skin in the game for a true WTW ZEV future.

            I think I hit all the highlights of my arguments across this discussion thread.

          • Julian Cox


            You are flat wrong and the explanation is eye-wateringly simple.

            CaFCP use the NREL best case figure of 237g CO2e / mile as a benchmark.

            They compare it to EPA gasoline and gasoline hybrid milage with well to wheel figures for gasoline at 11.132 Kg CO2. This is the same benchmark used by NREL.


            23 mpg WTW = 484g CO2e / mile
            28 mpg WTW = 398g CO2e / mile

            CaFCP claim 50% emissions reductions from gasoline:

            237/484 = 49%. (There is the 50% reduction)

            CaFCP claim 40% reductions from a gasoline hybrid.

            237/ 398 = 60% (there is the 40% reduction).

            The 23 mpg EPA 306 hp Lexus 3.5 Liter V6 is a perfect example of a 23 mpg EPA vehicle. Others include the 350 hp Porche 911 Carera 4.

            The 28 mpg EPA 280hp 3.5 liter V6 hybrid Toyota Highlander hybrid is a perfect example of ‘a hybrid’ referenced by CaFCP.

            These are both thoroughly unreasonable, absolutely misleading and maliciously deceptive comparisons to cite as a generalisation to promote the environmental credentials Fuel Cell Vehicle technology.

            A reasonable comparative benchmark to any of the 134 hp FCVs is the the Toyota Prius. EPA 50mpg.

            50mpg by the identical standards is 223 g CO2e / mile.

            This is better than the CaFCP benchmark, the NREL best case 237 g CO2e / mile.

            I do of course discount the possibility of H2 sourced from renewables. This is an obvious falsehood on a societal scale due to the grotesque conversion losses from renewable energy to chemical energy. No society can function on un-burning the oxidation products of spent fuel before using the resulting fuel. That is a most obvious and immovable fact. Any attempt to circumnavigate that fact is fraud.

          • EricR

            Let’s see how the actual stations perform from a WTT perspective before you condemn the entire industry.

          • Julian Cox

            The graph contains both the average and the best case DOE figures. Look it up.

            The CaFCP disingenuously uses the best case NREL figure.

            You have said nothing to contest the figures in that graph. Nothing at all, just a bogus argument from authority – which is identical to an ad-hominem attack. You loose sunshine.

            We have a basic difference of opinion.

            I think it is absolutely vital that the CEC is not mislead into handing out environmental grant funding.

            You clearly believe it is absolutely vital that the CEC is mislead into handing out grant funding.

          • EricR

            I agree with Bob that this horse is quite dead, although I think we both beat it to death.

          • Julian Cox

            No Eric, your argument is dead.

            I will not permit you to delude yourself or mislead any person that this is a debate between equals. You have attempted to bend the truth and failed. That is all.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Julian, how about we make that the last word on this topic?

          • Julian Cox

            Bob, the whole mission of Eric and his ilk is to try to shut down free and frank public discussion. We saw it with cigarettes, we saw it with hydrogen/CARB in the late ’90s. Never again would be my vote.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think the horse is adequately beaten, Julian.

            I would like to see a comparison based on aerodynamics for similar sized vehicles, if that is something you can provide.

            I have an unresolved question about using horsepower as the important variable. ICEVs need horsepower for acceleration. Vehicles with batteries (hybrids/PHEVs/FCEVs) need less horsepower because they have the ability to pull large amounts of power from their batteries when accelerating and can use smaller (lower HP) engines.

          • Julian Cox

            Regards aerodynamics:

            There are three versions of the Mercedes B Class in the data.

            All the same aerodynamics – the same body shell.

            FCV, 2.0 Diesel, 1.6 Gasoline.

            There are four versions of the Hyundai Tucson in the data.

            Also the same aerodynamics – the same body shell.

            FCV, 1.7 Diesel, 2.0 Diesel. 1.6 Gasoline.

            When dealing with a technology for motive power, then of course power is the actual value proposition that a drive system is actually delivering in return for consuming energy.
            There are some variables around torque, however all of these FCVs have high weight and pathetic torque. This can be seen in 0~60 figures typical in the 10 second region. ICE vehicles of similar power generally do slightly better.

            Regardless of variables around torque – not that these favour FCVs anyway, under no circumstances can a 134 hp machine be compared apples to apples with a 280 ~ 306 hp machine. To suggest otherwise is intellectual and scientific fraud. When the purpose is to elicit $millions if not $billions in cash, it is the common variety of fraud.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That answer is a bit too complex for my befuddled mind.

            There are three Mercedes B Class versions. Gas, diesel and fuel cell. Do we have CO2 per mile data for each? (I’m assuming EPA type testing.)

            Same for the Hyundai Tucson fuel cell, diesel, and gasoline.

            Simple as possible, please.

            Unless the 0-30/0-60 performance is greatly different I don’t think it should be part of the discussion at the moment. Only if it is so poor that it would make the car undesirable to most drivers.

          • Julian Cox

            Yes they are all on the same graph so that it is possible to make like for like comparisons.


          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ll bet that if you worked on it you could present a simpler answer. For example…

            The Mercedes B Class gas version emits X CO2 per mile.

            The Mercedes B Class diesel version emits X CO2 per mile.

            The Mercedes B Class fuel cell version emits X CO2 per mile.

            (Rinse and repeat for the Hyundai)

          • Julian Cox

            g/mile CO2e

            Lexus GS 350 3.5L Gasoline (23mpg) 484g
            CO2 / mile wtw (reference)

            Toyota Highlander 3.5L Gadsoline Hubrid

            NREL Average FCV (on-site SMR) 356g CO2 /
            mile wtw

            Hyundai Tucson 1.6L Gasoline

            Hyundai Tucson FCV (industrial SMR)

            Hyundai Tucson 2.0L Diesel

            Mercedes B Class 1.6L Gasoline

            Toyota Prius Gasoline Hybrid

            Mercedes B Class F-Cell FCV (industrial SMR)

            Hyundai Tucson 1.7L Diesel

            Honda FCX Clarity FCV (industrial SMR)

            NREL Best Case FCV (on-site SMR) 237g CO2
            / mile wtw

            Honda Accord Gasoline Hybrid

            Tesla Model S P85 US Grid Average

            Mercedes B Class B-200 Diesel

            Toyota 2015 FCV (industrial SMR)

            Honda Civic 1.6L Diesel

            Chevrolet Spark EV US Grid Average

            Honda Accord Plug In Hybrid

            Tesla Model S P85 California PG&E

            Chevrolet Spark EV California PG&E

            Tesla Model S P85 Norway Grid

            Chevrolet Spark EV Norway Grid

            Hyundai Tucson 1.6L Gasoline

            Hyundai Tucson FCV (industrial SMR)

            Hyundai Tucson 2.0L Diesel

            Hyundai Tucson 1.7L Diesel

            Mercedes B Class 1.6L Gasoline

            Mercedes B Class F-Cell FCV (industrial SMR)

            Mercedes B Class B-200 Diesel

          • Bob_Wallace

            Man, you really need an editor. ;o)

            Let me give it a shot.

            There are three versions of the Mercedes B Class. All have the same body so we can compare CO2 per mile without concerning ourselves about body size and aerodynamics.

            Mer B-gasoline = 290 g/mile CO2e
            Mer B-diesel = 221 g/mile CO2e
            Mer B-fuel cell = 276 g/mile CO2e

            There are three versions of the Hyundai Tuscon.

            Tuscon-gasoline = 319 g/mile CO2e
            Tuscon-diesel = 293 g/mile CO2e
            Tuscon-fuel cell = 305 g/mile CO2e

            One can see that fuel cell vehicles burning natural gas derived hydrogen offer no CO2 emission advantages over petroleum burning engines.

            (That’s a version that simpletons like me can quickly read and comprehend. Very important for sites that get lots of readers that don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring things out.)

          • Julian Cox

            Here are just the Hyundai and Mercedes models.

            Hyundai Tucson 1.6L Gasoline

            34.95 MPGp

            319 g/mile CO2e

            Hyundai Tucson FCV (industrial SMR)

            36.48 MPGp

            305 g/mile CO2e

            Hyundai Tucson 2.0L Diesel

            37.93 MPGp

            293 g/mile CO2e

            Hyundai Tucson 1.7L Diesel

            41.76 MPGp

            267 g/mile CO2e

            Mercedes B Class 1.6L Gasoline

            38.44 MPGp

            290 g/mile CO2e

            Mercedes B Class F-Cell FCV (industrial SMR)

            40.36 MPGp

            276 g/mile CO2e

            Mercedes B Class B-200 Diesel

            50.47 MPGp

            221 g/mile CO2e

          • Bob_Wallace

            Copying over my version. With an attempt to make it even easier to comprehend.

            There are three versions of the Mercedes B Class. All have the same body so we can compare CO2 per mile without concerning ourselves about body size and aerodynamics.

            All numbers are grams CO2e per mile

            Merc B-gasoline = 290
            Merc B-fuel cell = 276
            Merc B-diesel = 221

            There are three versions of the Hyundai Tuscon.

            Tuscon-gasoline = 319
            Tuscon-fuel cell = 305
            Tuscon-diesel = 293

            One can see that fuel cell vehicles burning natural gas derived hydrogen offer no CO2 emission advantages over petroleum burning engines. The fuel cell version emits about 4% less CO2 than the gasoline version but 25% more than the diesel Mercedes and 4% more than the diesel Hyundai.

          • Julian Cox


            Now how do you feel about having hundreds of $millions of publicly funded environmental budgets sunk into propelling this technology forwards on the false promise of tackling global warming and for the benefit of organisations determined to attack Electric Vehicles?

            Hyundai Motor America, marketers of the Tucson Fuel Cell

            “Well-to-wheel emissions for hydrogen vehicles sourced from natural gas are lower than battery electric vehicles, and less than half of equivalent gasoline vehicle emissions.”

            Mercedes Benz, marketers of the B-Class F-Cell

            “Mercedes-Benz is working hard to harness the power of the most abundant element in the known universe. In other words, zero-emission hydrogen power.”

            “0.0 emissions that means it is invisible to the environment.”

          • Bob_Wallace

            First, I (call me Everyman) needs to understand the issue. I/we need to get the data in a form that easily lodges in our brains. We aren’t engineers and we don’t talk the lingo nor have the background to take on lots of new info in an instant.

            Second, I need to be somewhat sure that the data is accurate, since it has been questioned. But I’ll leave that for your Monday “Is the data accurate” update. ;o)

            If I’m convinced that we’re making a mistake with FCEVs then I’ll start performing the role I’ve assigned to myself. I’ll pass the message on to whomever will listen.

          • Julian Cox

            My step by step calculation arriving at an overly-fair result of 14.34 Kg CO2e / Kg Hydrogen is available at this link:
   (you would need to expand the ‘read more’. It is as clear can be considering the subject matter and will require a basic level of scientific understanding to follow it.

            If mathematical proof is insufficient to be compelling in its own right, here is an authoritative source. The DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory Well to Wheel calculation for Industrial Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) to produce Hydrogen from Natural Gas.

            The result is 14.99 Kg CO2 / Kg Hydrogen with electrical inputs provided by PG&E in California.

            or 16.50 Kg CO2 / Kg Hydrogen with electrical inputs assumed to be the US average grid mix.

            NREL arrive at 14.3 Kg CO2e for an accurate gasoline gallon equivalence of 116,000 Btu (British thermal units of energy) without accounting for any electrical inputs for compression, storage or dispensing.

            Annotated NREL digram attached.


            Original document at

            Relevant pages: 132 and 127.

            Bottom line: There is no realistic way to get GHG emissions from Hydrogen produced from Natural Gas underneath the 14.34 Kg CO2e / Kg H2 figure that I have calculated from first principles In real life the figures are much higher.

            At 14.34 Kg CO2e Hydrogen cannot contribute to reducing green house gas emissions in comparison to any existing technology. Claims of 50% emissions reductions at the centre of influencing public hydrogen policy in California, in the media and elsewhere are beyond flawed. At more realistic numbers like 16.5 Kg CO2e / Kg H2 adopting FCVs in displacement of even gasoline vehicles of similar power output would be an environmental tragedy – as if that was not enough, marketers of FCVs are universally targeting environmentally conscious consumers who would otherwise consider a PHEV or an EV.

            Displacing an EV or a PHEV with an FCV at anywhere between 14.34 Kg and 16.5 Kg CO2e / Kg H2 would represent an environmental travesty beyond comprehension.

            Literally to match a 416hp Tesla Model S in California a basic 134 Hp FCV like a Mercedes B-Class F-Cell would need to be supplied with Hydrogen at

            .380 * .238 = 90g per mile for the Model S on PG&E
            x 52 miles / Kg for the B-Class F-Cell that is

            = 4.68 Kg CO2e / Kg H2 necessary for the F-Cell not to polute more than the Tesla Model S P85+.

            Hydrogen production from Natural Gas is nothing and nowhere near as clean as 4.68 Kg Kg CO2e / Kg H2.

            Chevy Spark 134hp EV @ 280 Wh/mile EPA equates to the F-Cell operating on 3.45 Kg CO2e / Kg H2.

          • EricR

            Ask Julian to post the response to his letter to the CEC from Dr. Sandy Thomas without Julian’s annotations. This way, you have a clean response from the H2 side for you to consider and comment on. That seems fair to me, considering the text of Julian’s post is not annotated with opposing views.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Unless the 0-30/0-60 performance is greatly different I don’t think it should be part of the discussion at the moment. Only if it is so poor that it would make the car undesirable to most drivers.

            I think comparing horsepower of engines is important.

            As far as I know the “half the emissions” claim was based on compering a fuel cell subcompact to a hybrid sports car with more then double the power.

            It’s like claiming Person X has a grade of A+ in math and is thus better then Person Y with their grade of B-, while ignoring the fact that Person X is attending a local Community Collage and Person Y is attending MIT.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I remember a statistic from way back that a Porsche 911 needs only 16 HP to maintain a speed of 55 miles per hour once it has reached that speed. (Don’t hold me to the exact numbers.)

            You could get to that speed with 50, 100, or 500 HP. The rate may be important to some, but most of the time that extra 400+ HP is useless.

            Fuel consumption is determined by mass, aerodynamics and rate of acceleration. Mass differences, in this case, are determined by the propulsion systems. Aerodynamics are the same – same body. I would assume that EPA type mileage test control for acceleration and speed between models.

            Again, if one of the three vehicles is a real dog then the comparison is unfair. But the FCEV is probably the spunkiest of the three. After all, it accelerates with battery power just like a PHEV or EV.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’ve made that point many, many times already. You are now spamming the conversation.

            That’s a notice….

          • Julian Cox

            “4. Your findings with respect to the upcoming 2015 Toyota FCEV are completely misleading. Instead of being honest and labelling the findings from the 2009 FCV-adv”

            You of all people are in the glass house of all glass houses when it comes to accusations of dishonesty Eric.

            I have referenced exactly where that 68.3 mpKg H2 figure came from with a link to the source, and as a matter of fact you are correct, this is an oversight on my part. This figure does belong to the 2009 FCV-adv and not the 2015 Toyota FCV.

            However that explains why the 68.3 mpKg figure is verging on too good to be true. It is a $1 Million vehicle.

            The actual 2015 Toyota FCV looks to be closer to 50 mpKg H2. I will dig further and try to get a definitive reference for the 2015 Toyota FCV and correct the figures for that vehicle – but they will of course be corrected downwards.

          • Paul Staples

            Sorry that is true, the analysis was not done by the CAFCP. It was done by the DOE.

          • EricR

            Julian, not only does the DoE disagree with you, but so does European Joint Research Center: See at p. 81 (“hydrogen from NG via thermal processes used in a fuel cell at the 2020+ horizon has the potential to produce half the GHG emissions of a gasoline vehicle”). Although the JRC finds that electrolysis from ng-based electricity has no benefits over gasoline, they do find that electrolysis via renewables (wind, nuclear) has practically 0 ghg emissions (no surprise there). This analysis is pretty comprehensive in looking at different pathways (see p. 84 for a summary of H2 pathways, including a look at EREVs using H2 as the range extender). In fact, all thermal pathways for H2 that where considered, including on-site SMR, central reforming/pipeline, central reforming/liquefying/road transport, etc. were cleaner than gasoline hybrids (let alone conventional gasoline vehicles)from a ghg perspective, except for non-sequestered gasification of coal- compare p. 31 and 84 (the H2 pathway codes are on p. 79).

            So, the European study appears to concur with the DoE/CaFCP statement you quoted, and thereby disputes your premise.

          • Julian Cox

            For heaven’s sake Eric.

            Quit the bullshit.

            We all know that you can make zero emission H2 that is not viable economically because under no circumstances can it compete with natural gas.

            We all know that it is possible claim half the emissions of a gasoline vehicle that is twice as powerful.

          • EricR

            So let me get this straight- I cite legitimate sources, but it is BS according to you. The JRC looked at practically every conceivable H2 pathway. Electrolysis using current EU grid = bad. No question there, as it is too energy intensive using relatively dirty sources. However, your point was always comparing SMR to gasoline. They did, and found the thermal solutions cleaner, except for non-sequestered coal. As far as vehicles, you are looking at first gen production vehicles, akin more to the EV1 than the Tesla. In any event, I agree that if the automakers cannot make a compelling FCEV, it will fail on that account, not because you think it dirtier.

          • Julian Cox

            Flagged for moderation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Julian, that was an inappropriate flagging.

            I realize that you’re frustrated with the stuff being thrown at you. I’ve not followed this discussion closely (I’ve been traveling for the last couple of weeks.) It is my opinion that Eric and Paul have been engaging in dishonest argument but I don’t yet have enough information to confirm that.

            I’m now keeping an eye on posts. If needed, I’ll lower the boom.

            Eric and Paul, please understand that foolishness will not be tolerated. Let me point you to the site comment rules. Pay attention to the first and third from the bottom bullet points….


          • Julian Cox

            Bob, my issue is with the weight of dishonest repetition long after the argument is lost i.e. carpet bombing the discussion.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m sorry, I just haven’t read enough of the comments to have a feel for whether “carpet bombing” is or is not occurring.

            One option is for me to simply close this thread.

          • Julian Cox

            To be clear it is not the individual comment that I have an issue with, each is readily addressed. I think others deserve a voice and that this thread should not become unbalanced with 3 meters of advocacy from Eric R for every 3 inches of independent commentary.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I can’t, at this time, bar Eric. I just haven’t read enough to be able to form an independent judgement.

            I can close the thread if you think all the important issues have been covered.

            What I have read over the last couple of days indicated to me that the discussion may have run its course. We’ve got a jerk or two tossing in worthless stuff and none of the (valued) regulars seem to be partaking.

          • Julian Cox

            My request would be to leave the thread open. There are some very, very interesting individuals that have popped up on line and offline. These include a California State representative a California Senator, the Executive Director of CaFCP, some of the cast of Who Killed the Electric car and on the down side Dr Sandy Thomas and others. Even the perspective of Paul and Eric has its value even if it is primarily to illustrate the problem. I learned through interaction with Paul that CaFCP is actually a gate-keeper for grants in California which is a horrible situation from the perspective of good governance.

          • Benjamin Nead

            As with Julian, Bob, I think it wise to keep this thread open, even though the number of comments (just below 200 as I write this) is mind boggling.

            I want to thank Julian for his detailed article and, while my thoughts on this topic run contrary to most of what has been written here in his opposition, the debate has been amazing informative. The name-calling, however, has gotten very old.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ll leave it open. I have to admit that I’m a bit overwhelmed because I was traveling when most of this occurred and I’m simply not up to speed with all the comments and contributors.

            I will warn people that in the past Discus has gotten squirrelly when comment counts get high. With high count threads sometimes comments don’t post.

            I am going to crack down a bit harder than usual on name-calling and insulting. Let’s just put us all on notice that this conversation needs to run like a graduate seminar from here out. If you have something factual to say, back it up. Be courteous. Take the ground.

            If your comment gets deleted and you think you had something constructive to add (along with your insult/whatever) feel free to repost the grownup part.

            Let’s see how much light we can shine on the EV/FCEV issue. OK?

          • Bob_Wallace

            And, Eric, let me ask – are you in fact an attorney who is working in some capacity for the fuel cell or natural gas industry? Or in any capacity for which you get paid to advocate for FCEVs or against EVs?

          • EricR

            Sorry- I did not see this one. The answer is categorically no.

          • EricR

            “We all know that it is possible claim half the emissions of a gasoline vehicle that is twice as powerful or more – that is what the DOE numbers say.”

            If I understand you correctly, you agree that the current actual H2 cars have, in fact, half the emissions of actual, current gasoline cars, but only because they have half the power of the gasoline cars they are compared against (i.e. not a like for like comparison). For purposes of this argument, I will not take issue with statement that current FCEVs have half the power of the gasoline cars they are compared against. Is your argument, then, that if the FCEVs had 50% more power (i.e. power parity with the gasoline cars they are compared against), they would have at least 50% more emissions (i.e. emissions parity with these gasoline cars), and so that is why you claim that FCEVs sourced with SMR are at least as dirty as like gasoline vehicles?

          • Julian Cox

            That is correct.

            CaFCP and others allow it to be understood that the Technology of Hydrogen FCVs offers 50% emissions reductions vs a gasoline ICE technology when operated on Natural Gas – but the technology comparison is false. The emissions reduction has nothing to do with FCV technology it has to do with power reduction.

            Under the same circumstances (sacrificing motive power) small engined Gasoline also offers 50% emissions reduction vs a large engined Gasoline. By the same argument used to promote FCVs taken to the limit I can sell you a bicycle on the basis that it pollutes less than a Corvette and ask society to build a multi $Billion bicycle infrastructure to support it.

            In fact any vehicle technology of the same or similar power to an FCV offers 50% emissions reduction vs a 23mpg gasoline vehicle, and many do much better than that.


            In fact the only technology that clearly offers the same or greater performance than an ICE while reducing emissions by more than 50% when operating on Natural Gas powered grid is an EV.

          • EricR

            Well, then I think you have a serious flaw in your reasoning. You are assuming that a hypothetical FCEV with 50% more power will necessarily have 50% more emissions (after all, they do not exist yet). This is not necessarily true. As has been amply demonstrated with ICE, efficiency and power have both increased over time, while at the same time, emissions have decreased. And, this is for a mature ICE technology. FCEVs are in their infancy with plenty of room to mature. Neither you nor I are fuel cell automotive engineers, and so we are not in a position to say with any degree of certainty how a hypothetical future FCEV will perform; i.e. that a more efficient, powerful and cleaner FCEV will not be developed. All we can say for certain is that -current- FCEVs are cleaner than current gasoline vehicles (whether the consumer is satisfied with the difference in performance is up to the consumer).

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” As has been amply demonstrated with ICE, efficiency and power have both increased over time, while at the same time, emissions have decreased.”

            Bad argument. One would need to look at a 50% larger ICE built with similar technology. Comparing across time ignores improvements in technology.

            From the graph posted I don’t we can say that FCEVs are cleaner than all current ICEs. The Honda Civic diesel beats all FCEVs (a same horsepower comparison).

          • EricR

            The problem with the graph is that it takes WTW GHG data from different sources (NREL, EPA, etc.). When I looked into the discrepancies between them, including what DoE is saying, I learned that the GREET model is very flexible, and will yield different results depending on the criteria used. I cannot say for certain whether EPA, NREL and the DOE 2010 findings used the same GREET parameters, and so we cannot say for certain whether they are truly apples-to-apples comparisons. I think we will have to wait for the EPA to test the Tucson, Clarity, M-B and Toyota FCEVs, as they will presumably use the same GREET parameters for consistent results.

            I think you and I are making the same point- we really cannot compare over time, because we don’t know for certain what the future holds. According to DoE, they think fuel cells, even when sourced with SMR, will be cleaner than hybrids, etc. in the future ( )So, for now, it is my opinion that they are the most authoritative source, and that is why I am disagreeing with Julian.

            Btw, in case you didn’t see the cite I posted elsewhere, its seems that Europe also concurs with the DoE:

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, what “same sources” comparisons can we make?

            Taking the best example FCEV, the 2015 Toyota, are there any same source comparisons between it and similar horsepower efficient ICEVs? In particular the Honda Civic Diesel?

            Anyone do a best FCEV to best ICEV comparison?

          • EricR

            You hit the nail on the head. I could not find such a comparison. I suspect we will have to wait on the EPA, as they will (one day) test all the cars on the road regardless of technology.

          • Julian Cox

            The article includes EPA test data for the Mercedes F-Cell and the Honda FCX. The Toyota has undergone an NREL test that is claimed to be representative of an EPA test regimen. All referenced to source in the article.

            What has become absolutely clear is that the CaFCP is using the 237 g CO2e “NREL best case” number to compare with EPA tested vehicles with the assumption of 11.132 Kg CO2e / US Gallon of Gasoline well to wheel.

            As a result, the comparison to the 23mpg Lexus (Porsche Carerra 4 or any other 23mpg vehicle) is absolutely perfect as is the comparison to the 50mpg Prius and the 28mpg Highlander (or any other 28 mpg gasoline vehicle).

          • EricR

            The EPA has not done a GHG WTW analysis for the F-Cell and Clarity. CaFCP cited the NREL best case to show the potential for hydrogen (which was based on older tech), but you now applying one number and its assumptions across the board for every current and future FCEV.

          • Julian Cox

            Jesus wept.

            What the hell do you think this is:


          • EricR

            That is a fuel economy value. It is not this:


            … which is the EPA WTW GHG emissions finding.

          • Julian Cox

            No it isn’t, that is also an EPA fuel economy value and an accompanying tailpipe emissions figure.

            EPA does not deal in hidden emissions ( c 26% for gasoline, c 19% for diesel and exactly 100% for Hydrogen). Hence the URGENT need to bring public transparency to the topic.

          • EricR

            Am I missing something? I have reviewed your link and I don’t see any emissions figures.

          • Julian Cox


          • EricR

            Then please humor me- where on the page does it talk about emissions? I had thought you calculated emissions based on the mileage values.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric I am not interested in humouring you, just in preventing you from misleading others. All of the calculations are there in the article. We know CaFCP is using 11.132 Kg CO2e / US gal gasoline. I have produced an open-source figure of 14.34 Kg CO2e figure / Kg for hydrogen. It is extremely lenient, for example Dr Sandy Thomas puts it at 16.58 Kg CO2e / Kg. Using my very lenient figure you get the CO2e / mile figures for all of the real world FCVs including the two EPA tested ones. There are also NREL figures used by the CaFCP (at least the absolutely cherry-picked best case NREL figure of 237 g CO2e / mile that they use) as well as the NREL average figure that is much higher at 356 g CO2e / mile which arguably would have been more responsible and more realistic.

            A book recommendation for anyone that has been watching Eric argue.


            ‘The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.

            Merchants of Doubt tells the story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. Remarkably, the same individuals surface repeatedly-some of the same figures who have claimed that the science of global warming is “not settled” denied the truth of studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.

            Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, historians of science, roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how ideology and corporate interests, aided by a too-compliant media, have skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.’

          • EricR

            I thought I may have responded to this, but I don’t see it. In any event, if you click Julian’s source for the 2015 Toyota, it brings you to a 2009 test mule. He assumes its performance/efficiency/emissions will be the same as the upcoming Toyota FCV. An honest way of presenting his argument would be to properly label the vehicle, with a note that he believes it to be representative of the upcoming FCV. Let the reader weight the value then. The problem, as you point out, is that I could not find one source that tested the actual production FCEVs and ICEVs using the same methodology.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric, I am sorry, you are lawyering again. The result of a logical discussion cannot be to continue to argue regardless.

            There are no reasonable gaps in the argument for you to exploit. FCVs are being sold as of now as a 50% emissions reduction technology. On a like for like real world basis that is not true. There may be 5% disparity between g/mile CO2 numbers between NREL and EPA, the test regimen for the Hyundai FCV may be a non-EPA test – but the gross difference between promise and reality cannot be overcome by any of this.

            I have had the intellectual honesty to present figures that are best-case for hydrogen and in the best case FCVs are nowhere near good enough to live up to the marketing claims. If I was pushing an agenda in the same manner as you I would be scraping the bottom of the barrel for strange instances of things being really bad for hydrogen. That is not what I have done.

          • EricR

            Again, you are making assumptions that may or may not be borne out. I understand that you think you are right (and you very well may be), but I am not willing to take such a leap of faith. While I await true apples-to-apples comparisons from one source, I will be skeptical.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Julian, let me suggest that Eric probably is lawyering, you’re probably engineering, and I’m flailing around.

            Let’s simply recognize that we each have styles and try to work around that.

          • EricR

            Lol! I suspect that we each have made our points, and we each understand our respective positions. The great thing about sites like CleanTechnica is that it presents a great forum to express our ideas (I know, I am definitely lawyering). We may not agree with each other at the end of the day, but it would be a boring world if we all did 🙂

          • Julian Cox

            No I do not have any flaw in reasoning. The 50% emissions reduction is being claimed now. Not in some hypothetical future. And these reductions are not attributable to FCV technology, they are attributable to power reduction.

            Emissions reductions of more than 50% from EVs are also available now and not in some hypothetical future and without sacrificing performance.

            In a very predictable future sense, range limitations for affordable EVs will disappear, leaving FCVs and any investment made in them looking rather forlorn.

            As luck would have it, I am an engineer and it is fair to say that increasing the power density of Fuel Cells is a major challenge. We can wait for FCVs until that challenge is addressed – but no need to hold ones breath.

          • EricR

            Your statement that “these reductions are not attributable to FCV technology, they are attributable to power reduction” is your opinion, not fact. I do agree, though, that this will be conclusively answered when/if FCEVs continue to be developed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Bad dog, Eric.

            Stick with apples:apples. Not apples: future oranges.

            Find a comparison of what’s on the table today.

          • EricR

            My point is the fact that the current FCEVs have less emissions and less power does not equate to the fact that FCEVs have less emissions -because- they have less power. One would need an FCEV engineer to answer that.

          • EricR

            That is exactly the point I am making- we can’t compare apples to apples, unless you can find one source that actually compared current FCEVs with other current vehicles. I don’t think it exists yet, though I hope the EPA will get to it soon.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We can roughly compare apples to apples. Let’s stick with the data we have for current vehicles.

            Apparently you’ve looked closely at the data from various sources. I would guess that there is some overlap in vehicles evaluated? For example, did any two sources both test the “2015 Humpmobile”?

            If so, how close were the numbers? Is the discrepancy big numbers or small numbers?

          • EricR

            Actually no, not that I could find. The EPA has specifically not yet tested any FCEV, and the DoE/NREL does not talk about specific vehicles. All I know is that they get their data from the manufacturers, but do not disclose specifics.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric, you are unfortunately trying every trick in the book to obscure the blatantly obvious.

            Ad hominem insinuation, the time-machine argument, the argument from authority etc. Fact is fact and it will not budge for your connivance.

            50% emissions reduction from hydrogen from natural gas is claimed by promotors of FCVs. This is not true by a massive margin, in fact it is entirely false when approached in the fairest and most transparent manner.

          • EricR

            It looks like we are going in circles at this point. I think there is now enough for the readers here to understand our respective positions.

          • Julian Cox

            There is enough in the article for readers to get a perfect picture of what is going on and to check it for themselves.

          • Julian Cox

            You can see in the graph that this is a fact.

          • EricR

            You see my problem with the graph- I posted it above. For the sake of convenience, my point is, briefly, the different sources of your data may have used different GREET parameters, so it may not be an accurate comparison of the vehicles. You prepared that graph?

          • Julian Cox

            There is no problem with the graph, it can be generated by anyone with a basic competence in Excel.

            The object of the exercise is to make the facts publicly accessible without the marketing and to circumvent spin doctors drawing conclusions on behalf of the individual.

            484g CO2 (ICE) 356g (FCV NREL average case) 257g (FCV NREL best case) all from the same report.

            Are all NREL figures GREET 1b figures. Unless you are, nobody is accusing the DOE of swapping GREET model mid analysis and not telling anyone.

            All of the power figures are public information.

            The method used to derive all of the other figures is fully transparent in the article. It is as faithful as can be to the source data and it errs on the side of generosity to hydrogen. That is my definition of intellectual honesty and I think a generally accepted scientific definition of intellectual honesty also.

          • EricR

            My problem is not with the GREET model, but with its consistent application. As you know, it is extremely robust with many selectable criteria, and unless the very same parameters are consistently used across the different vehicles, the results can be different for the same vehicle.

            We’ve both talked about the NREL discrepancy with DoE before (in fact, I think I cited those very numbers in your last discussion). The problem is that neither you nor I can confirm that EPA used the same methodology/GREET parameters when it evaluated the other cars you mention.

          • Julian Cox

            No Eric. I am sorry you are going down the same track that resulted in my calling time-out yesterday.

            There is no discrepancy in any of the data presented that can possibly come close to altering the results.

            Hydrogen from natural gas is much worse in reality than the figures I have presented. For example, what seems like a typical 4% slippage of natural gas during SMR multiplied by GWP of 21 is not included in the numbers I have presented. It should be added – and doing so trashes hydrogen to the point of absurdity. The only reason I have not included it is because the gas industry is too secretive about this number for any official body to record a figure for it.

          • EricR

            Well, it is after 1:00 am here, and I want to go to sleep. At this point, instead of going around again, let’s simply agree to disagree.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you decide to visit again it would be pleasant if your brought some data with you.

            If you’re concerned that the data sources that Julian referenced are quiet dissimilar then there should be some numbers that substantiate your opinion.

          • EricR

            I cited the DoE and JRC reports, which provided bottom line WTW GHG numbers that disputed Julian’s results. He has stated his reasons for discounting them, and I have provided my responses. Once the EPA tests FCEVs, I think we will have a more authoritative answer.

          • Julian Cox

            Sorry Eric, but they have and the data is included in the graph and the link to the EPA result is in the article.

            Look it up (in the article) for yourself.

          • EricR

            I am not disputing the numbers you provided, only the fact that the numbers were not necessarily derived using consistent methods among those sources.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Don’t you think it would take a massive difference in methodology to produce a systematic error that would “cover up” a 50% reduction in CO2 for FCEV?

          • EricR

            We don’t know which vehicles NREL tested to get which CO2 emissions numbers. There is a best case and an average. My understanding is that the NREL test fleet is far older than the current “production” FCEVs, like the Tucson, current gen Clarity and M-B F-Cell. So, if they used 2005-2007 tech (i.e. the previous gen Clarity, 1st gen GM FCEV which is still on the road, etc.), the numbers could easily be very different than the production FCEVs. There is no question that FCEV technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last few years- for example, the fuel cell stacks went from looking like clunky science fair projects, to streamlined, production-quality looking units (I have seen these first hand).

          • Julian Cox

            Eric, yes we do. Read the final NREL report, it is linked in the article.

            I am sorry, there is no possible excuse to argue for FCVs in this manner. You have the EPA test results for the actual vehicles right in front of you (Mercedes F-Cell and Honda FCX Clarity). You also have the NREL special case test result for the actual Toyota 2015 FCV with all kinds of claims that it matches the EPA testing regimen, again right in front of you. The direct links to this information is in the article you are arguing under. The Hyundai data is direct from the manufacturer’s web page.

            Yes this is a company that was caught for lying to the EPA and had to reimburse its clients for lost gas milage – but it lied to make itself look good, not bad – and it’s own claims for its FCV demonstrate that it sucks – it sucks harder that its own claims for its own 1.7 litre diesel of the same model!

          • EricR

            Unless you are looking at a different EPA site that has the WTW GHG results for FCEVs, I did not see any. All I saw was mileage, and your calculations. With regard to your Toyota 2015 FCV citation, you linked to the NREL field test of a circa 2008 Highlander FCEV mule, not the upcoming sedan which was only shown in concept. You have no basis to determine what efficiency gains have been made since 2008. With regard to the Tucson, I did not see any source that provided a WTW GHG value.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric. You are labouring to find a misunderstanding where there is none.

            NREL Average FCV = 356g/mile (equivalent to every 31.27 mpg gasoline vehicle by the closest possible equivalence to EPA standards using NREL’s figure of 484g/mile for a 23mpg EPA vehicle as a baseline).

            NREL Best case = 257g/mile (equivalent to every 43.32 mpg gasoline vehicle by the closest possible equivalence to EPA standards using NREL’s figure of 484g/mile for a 23mpg EPA vehicle as a baseline).

            All of this is spelled out absolutely clearly in the article nothing is stated as anything other than what it is – look at the first image – it says NREL Average Case and NREL best case. These are exactly the correct labels for those data points and the source and wording is referenced to the original NREL document.

            It is fundamentally specious of you to question that fact as though it was in any doubt because it clearly is not under any possible circumstances in any doubt unless creating doubt for its own sake to obscure the plainly stated facts was your sole objective.

            Using the same baseline of 484g/mile for a 23 mpg vehicle all of the other figures follow for any gasoline vehicle by converting every other energy source to its relative CO2e intensity to a US gallon of gasoline at 23 x 484g = 11132g

            This calculation is consistent, open and transparent for all to see including you. Again questioning that fact is specious.

            All of the figures for actual vehicles (rather than NREL average and best case) are either current EPA figures for H2 usage, current manufacturer’s figures (Hyundai), and a speciality staged NREL test for the Toyota, again current figures, all linked and referenced with complete transparency leaving absolutely no room for doubt – besides manufactured doubt intended to obscure plain fact that is obvious to all.

            There is nothing I have said here that is not repeating exactly what any person can read and understand from the article without a pointless Q&A with you.

            You have not made a single valid argument in what must be approaching 100 comments in this stream and I find your approach to be one of harassment rather than constructive discourse. I also cannot see any merit in what you are arguing for. There is no merit and nothing to be gained in arguing for FCVs. There is no merit to be had.

            You are side-stepping the central issue throughout: The grotesquely false promotion of FCVs as environmentally beneficial when in fact all that is on offer from FCVs is a poor trade of power reduction in return for emissions that is improved upon by every other technology, most especially PHEVs and EVs.

            I will strongly resent having to repeat this obvious fact another time in trade for another specious and evasive comment from you.

          • EricR

            You are damning an entire potential ZEV option, past, present and future on the NREL findings from old prototypes, and passing them off as the current and upcoming state-of-the-art offerings. I have a problem with that.

          • Julian Cox

            Simple example in accordance with the above.

            Try to validate the California Fuel Cell Partnership’s unambiguous claim that an FCV produces 40% less Green House Gas Emissions than a Gasoline Hybrid when operated on natural gas.


            52 mpKg H2 EPA tested 134hp Mercedes B-Class F-Cell (supposedly invisible to the environment).

            50 mpg EPA tested 134hp Toyota Prius.

            50 mpg would be 60% of the performance of an 83.33 mpg gasoline vehicle.

            Does the F-Cell go 83.33 miles to produce only the same emissions as the Prius?

            No. It goes 40.37 miles for the same pollution as a Prius.

            The CaFCP claim seems to be out by 206%

            Now would somebody like to point out a 206% error in any of the numbers in this article? Anything more than maybe 5% that makes the case better and not worse for hydrogen?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I get it, Julian, but you aren’t that good at communicating with a general audience.

            Let’s attempt a rewrite:

            The California Fuel Cell Partnership claims that an fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) using hydrogen produced from natural gas produces 40% less GHG emissions than a gasoline hybrid. The problem with their claim is that they are comparing a relatively low horsepower FCEV with a much higher horsepower hybrid.

            It appears they have their thumb on the scale. So let’s look at the GHG emissions of more similar cars.

            From EPA testing:

            The 134hp Mercedes B-Class FCEV*

            The 134hp Toyota Prius hybrid*

            * What is the simplest way to compare the CO2 output of these two similarly powered vehicles? Can you supply a CO2 per mile number?

            Give me a couple of easy to understand numbers so that someone can look at the comment and quickly understand the problem.

          • Julian Cox

            How about one impossible to misunderstand number:

            By the most sympathetic possible yardstick for hydrogen production from natural gas, the Prius would need to pollute more than twice as much as it does for CaFCP’s claims to be true.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about you chill out a bit? I’m trying to help you here. Can you work with me?

          • Julian Cox

            Sorry Bob, I was not intending to be impolite, I was just snatching a moment between mowing the lawn.

            The answer is simply that comparing a Prius with a Merc F-Cell

            The Prius would need to pollute more than twice as much as it does (i.e. as much as a 28 mpg 3.5 liter Highlander HEV) or the F-Cell would need to get more than twice the EPA milage as it actually gets on 1Kg of H2 to make the CaFCP claims valid. And that is at the kindest possible interpretation with respect to hydrogen from natural gas.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Just give me the CO2 per mile for each vehicle. Or a better set of numbers if you think there’s something more meaningful.

            I’m trying to rewrite the argument as simply as possible.

            Sort of “Understanding why FCEVs are likely a bad idea for dummies” as written from the dummy’s perspective.

          • Julian Cox

            Sure, let’s see

            By the math

            52 mpKg H2 EPA tested 134hp Mercedes B-Class F-Cell

            That would be 14.34Kg div. 52 = 276 g CO2e / mile WTW.

            50 mpg EPA tested 134hp Toyota Prius.

            That would be 11.132 div 50 = 223 g CO2e / mile WTW.

            Clearly 276 is not 40% less than 223.

            40% less than 223g CO2e / mile is 134 CO2e / mile.

            134 CO2e / mile is a WHOPPING difference from 276 CO2e / mile actually produced by the FCV in the real world.

            Here is the exact quote and the reference link:

            California Fuel Cell Partnership.

            “The well-to-wheels reports show that hydrogen made from natural gas and used in a fuel cell vehicle reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 55%-65% compared to gasoline used in a conventional vehicle, and by about 40% compared to gasoline in a hybrid engine.”

          • Mint

            Hi Julian,

            Count me among those that think H2 fuel cells are a waste of time, but not for the same reasons. The core of your argument hinges on that 14.34 kgCO/kgH2 figure (or 16.58) being a static one. I just don’t see how you can say that with such certainty. That would be like judging EVs by looking at the US grid when the EV1 came in the 90’s.

            Moreover, your 12.4 kg CO2 figure (i.e. before transportation or leakage) doesn’t match the 3.63 kg methane input figure. You didn’t make it clear where the breakdown of that 12.4 came from, and it seems you’re assuming well below 66%.

            Sure, the CaFCP statement may be misleading about the current state, but I don’t see why it has to stay this way. It’s at least possible for SMR to have lower CO2 per kgH2 than gasoline’s CO2/gal, particularly in a world of sub-$1/W solar panels, as this application couldn’t care less about solar’s intermittency or the grid. Quick calculation: 50% efficiency (we can do better) from a small 10kW station (~200 MJ/day solar) gives you ~300 kgH2/yr, which could conceivably pay the bills even at $5/kg.

            The H2 fuel cell’s real problem is cost per watt paired with a car engine’s low duty cycle of <1%. EVs/PHEVs offset high initial cost with low fuel costs. H2 has no such advantage, and never will.

          • Julian Cox

            To understand how to arrive at the CO2 figures for Hydrogen produced from natural gas I need to refer you to this post:


            The reason I have not included this calculation in the article is because it is lengthy and likely tedious for most. You are most welcome to study it.

            The reason why CO2 output is not identical to simply burning 3.63 Kg methane is because the SMR reaction is a major component and is not identical to combustion.

          • Julian Cox

            To understand how to arrive at the figures for Hydrogen from Natural Gas, I need to refer you to this:


            It is long and potentially too technical for many readers but it is the answer.

            Kindly note that SMR = Steam Methane Reforming. While there are other experimental methods of making hydrogen from the methane content of natural gas, SMR itself is a definite process that is mature and unlikely to change significantly. For example solar energy could theroetically be used to compress hydrogen but it will not change the SMR process itself.

            Note also that the SMR reaction is not the same as combustion, that is why your CO2 from burring 3.63 Kg of methane does not match, not because the calculations relating to SMR are in error. Hope this helps.

            And yes – you are correct that power density and the cost per watt is an issue for Fuel Cells generally.

          • Mint

            That answer is long because you’re not very good at being concise. And no, SMR is not different from combustion as far as CO2/MJ is concerned.

            The biggest mistake is that you double counted methane leakage. The CAPP document you linked to includes that in the 13.5g/MJ figure, and you’re adding it again with the EPA study.

            You also assumed that the grid powering the compressor is 100% natural gas, which isn’t true, and that all the energy for transportation is from natural gas, which may not even be needed (on-site SMR). These assumptions multiplied your aforementioned double counting.

            Really, it comes down to 2.23kWh from the grid + 160MJ from natural gas for SMR. The latter emits 11kg CO2e, while the former depends on the grid just like EVs do. It’s a bit worse than gasoline, but not fundamentally 30% worse like your article implies.

          • Julian Cox

            Sorry Mint. There is no purpose in taking this conversation forwards with you. You are taking an insulting tone while demonstrating ignorance of basic principles.

            In future if you don’t understand ask, don’t tell that way you won’t have to look like such a complete idiot.

            Here it is in pictures from the DOE:


          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re way off base, Julian.

            Mint was actually quite gracious when he stated that “you’re not very good at being concise”.

            That’s what I’ve been trying to get across to you. I find it very hard to understand what you are trying to impart. I’ve tried a couple of times to get you to give a ‘simple as possible’ answer and even written an example or two for you to consider.

            I’m not dumb, but I’m not an engineer. And I haven’t spent much time educating myself about H2/FCEVs. I suspect I’m like most of the people who read this site.

            You don’t know your audience. This is not a room full of engineers who have spent some time with hydrogen and FCEVs. I would expect most people got a few sentences into your article and moved on.

            If you want to communicate your ideas then you need to do a better job of making them easy to understand.

          • Julian Cox

            Bob, you seem you have missed something.

            The guy was trying to take me to school in condescending language while littering a comment with errors.

            Sometimes it is best to be detailed and correct on an important topic than abrupt, ignorant and wrong.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Julian, you are missing something.

            You are lashing out at people when it is not appropriate. A couple of us are trying to give you a message. Don’t kill the messenger.

            I see exactly nothing condescending in Mint’s statement. He states that you’ve double counted loss in a couple of places (IIRC). Either you have or you haven’t.

            Now, you and Mint have a disagreement over the accuracy of some of your calculations. Why don’t you dial back your emotions a bit and have a reasoned exchange with Mint and see if you can work out the differences. (Mint has been around the site. I find him to be a reasonable person.)
            And just for fun, try to write your comments as you go along so that dumbasses like me can follow. ;o)

          • Julian Cox

            Sorry Bob,

            1. SMR is not different from combustion as far as CO2/MJ is concerned


            2. The biggest mistake is that you double counted methane leakage

            No and wrong.

            3. The CAPP document you linked to includes that in the 13.5g/MJ figure, and you’re adding it again with the EPA study.

            No you made that up completely.

            4. You also assumed that the grid powering the compressor is 100% natural gas, which isn’t true, and that all the energy for transportation is from natural gas

            Yes because it was an acceptable short-hand given the spare margin of error I had built in, i.e. no need to overcomplicate it.

            5. …which may not even be needed (on-site SMR)

            Irrelevant for a best case calculation of industrial SMR. (on Site SMR is much, much worse – if FCVs aren’t good enough on Industrial SMR then they are toast with small scale units.

            6. These assumptions multiplied your aforementioned double counting.

            No, wrong.

            7. Really, it comes down to 2.23kWh from the grid + 160MJ from natural gas for SMR

            No, wrong.

            8. The latter emits 11kg CO2e, while the former depends on the grid just like EVs do.

            Irrelevant compound error.

            9. It’s a bit worse than gasoline, but not fundamentally 30% worse like your article implies.

            Irrelevant compound error.

            Did I really have to waste my time in this manner?

          • Bob_Wallace

            You don’t have to “waste” your time in this manner. If you don’t wish to get your message out then you can pout and storm off.

            If you want to make your point and have some impact on whether the general public does or does not support FCEVs you’re going to have to figure out how to make people understand.

            To give you some very blunt feedback, your attitude is pissing me off and I’d have already left this thread were it not my job to be hall monitor. If you’re losing me I suspect you’ve lost a lot of readers. I’m probably more interested than most in learning new things and figuring out what the best answers might be.

          • Julian Cox

            I have contributed some work to assembling some publicly accessible information that can assist in preventing both an environmental catastrophe and a monumental taxpayer fraud.

            Naturally I prepared to come under fire for doing that by sophisticated vested interests and I have been happy to put in the effort to debunk the same.

            While I am happy to help this concerns everyone. If you can explain it to people better than I then please do so. If you don’t care, or you imagine that giving every blogger a fair say is more important than the issue at hand, I can’t force you to think differently, nor is it my place to try.

            The last question that you asked me was to demonstrate the accuracy of the 14.34 Kg CO2e / Kg H2 figure.

            I did that. You then committed to go tell everyone that would listen instead you tell me that you are pissed off with my attitude.

            Personally I more pissed off with the guys threatening to defraud future generations of my family and yours of their chance of survival – unless of course climate change really is a hoax?

            What about your priorities Bob?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Julian, I can’t explain it to others because I don’t yet understand everything.

            I’m not yet clear on why we should be looking at horsepower rather than vehicle size/aerodynamics.

            I’m not yet satisfied that you’ve worked out all the problems that others see with your numbers.

            There are over 300 comments in this thread and I recall that you’ve acknowledged a problem or two along the way. I need to watch your exchange with Mint and others to see how their input pans out.

            I think I can help you create an easier to understand message once I’m comfortable with the basics. One of the skills (that I think I have) is taking complex issues and putting them into easy to understandable language.

          • Julian Cox


            I can’t help with that. I can assure you that all of the information is present, correct and definitive.

            There is no question about vehicle size and aerodynamics – we have already been through that with vehicles of exactly the same power make and model. The only factor being the drive train be it gasoline, diesel or FCV.

            Others have not been able to question the numbers at all. They have tried hard to give the impression that the numbers have been questioned, but as you recall none of them actually had a mathematical counter argument.

            It is pointless for me to take a debate with Mint as he does not even understand the units of measurement. We would have to start with basic arithmetic and honest to goodness I don’t have the patience for that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Mint says –

            “75% efficient SMR needs 3.2kg CH4 (we have the same calcs here), and directly releases 8.8 kgCO2 per kgH2. To account for methane leakage for it’s production, you add 160*0.0135=2 kgCO2e, as per CAPP, *or* 3.2*0.015*21=1 kgCO2e from the EPA. You can’t add both and claim to be fair.”

            Julian says –

            “It is pointless for me to take a debate with Mint as he does not even understand the units of measurement. We would have to start with basic arithmetic and honest to goodness I don’t have the patience for that.”
            There’s no arithmetic involved. You either double added or you didn’t.
            1) Take a close look and make sure you didn’t double add. (I’m not questioning your honesty. But I do know that we all make mistakes from time to time.)

            2) Either acknowledge your mistake and correct your math or explain – very clearly so that Bob sitting in the 23rd row – can understand.

            If you wave Mint’s issue aside and claim that you know it all and can’t be bothered to be questioned then people reading are likely to dismiss you as a credible source.

            And it does not matter if you’ve answered this question before. Expect to be have it and many other questions asked and answered many times. It’s just how the world is….

          • Julian Cox

            see comment above re fiddling while Rome burns.

            If you don’t like the CH4 slippage number and think it is a double count – then just add in the slippage from the SMR reaction.

            If you still don’t like it, then look at the recent studies indicating that the EPA has underestimated CH4 slippage at the wellhead by a factor of up to 100 times.

            14.34 Kg is excessively fair.

            NREL official figure: 16.5

            No matter the semantics, unless you can get 14.34 down to about 4 Kg CaFCP is lying its face off for $millions.

          • Julian Cox

            Bob – maybe it would help to explain that I am attending a family function. I am sure it is possible to tighten my 14.34 figure until the cows come home. I am not here to argue from my own authority, I just need to ask for some common sense.

            The task at hand is not whether or not to establish whether or I am a credible messenger by +/- 5% but whether any of us in our right minds want environmental energy policy to be led off the rails by the natural gas and FCV proponents that are clearly mis-stating reality by well over 100% – the difference between true and false. Clean or environmental catastrophe!

          • Bob_Wallace

            If the differences are that small (5%) then try stating the range early on and then use the ‘worst for your argument’ number from there on.

            (I think you have been using the ‘worst for you case’ numbers.)

            If you and whomever disagree by a factor of 2x or something large then that needs sorting out.

          • Julian Cox

            True. That would be:

            The California Fuel Cell Partnership Under Dr Tim Brown.

            UCI Advanced Energy Program Under Dr Tim Brown.

            The California Energy Commission Under advisement from Dr Tim Brown.

            FirstElement Fuel Inc. Under Dr Tim Brown (beneficiary in chief.)

            We (i.e. all humanity) the losers unless we do something could perhaps do something more constructive than arguing amounts ourselves over semantics.

            CaFCP are definitely using the 237 g / mile best case NREL figure to relate to EPA mpg at 11132g / US Gal Gasoline wtw.

            On that basis, I would suggest just going with the NREL figure of 14.99 Kg CO2e / Kg H2 for hydrogen (in California). This of course leaves my rather conservative 14.34 number in the dust.

            I can be happy to mess around withe the 14.34 a bit tomorrow.

            BTW without even messing with that number, The Toyota 2015 FCV on the best info I can find from Toyota PR comes down to 48.51 MPGp – i.e. into the realm of the less good than ordinary for something 10% less powerful than a 50 mpg Prius.

            Adopting the 14.99 Kg NREL figure in California brings that down to 46.41 MPGp – which is pretty sad. Just not as sad as the US grid average figure of 42.14 MPGp assuming the NREL have it correct. Considering that the CaFCP is happy to take NREL’s word for it when asking for taxpayer’s money, I suspect that we can do so too when pointing out it is a hoax to compare these vehicles with machines of double to triple the power.

          • jalopy

            On a sidenote, as far as I’ve read Dr. Brown left UCI on October 2013:

          • EricR

            “I’m not yet clear on why we should be looking at horsepower rather than vehicle size/aerodynamics.”

            I’d like to address that very issue in my post tomorrow.

          • Bob_Wallace

            My priority, Julian, is to slow climate change as much as possible. I’m hoping we can get the change slowed to a crawl, or even better stopped, during the years I have left. I’ll leave the GHG pullback for those who follow me.

            My role, the one I’ve assigned myself, is to gather the most reliable facts I can find and to put them in an easy to understand form for the general public.

          • Mint

            1. 1kg of H2 production via SMR, according to you, directly emits 5.072kg+3.704kg=8.8kg CO2, correct?

            Guess what: 160MJ of CH4 combustion needs 160/50=3.2kg of methane, and directly emits 3.2*44.01/16.04=8.8kg of CO2.

            Wanna tell me how these two numbers are different?

            2 & 3. Here is your link:

            Because of the release of methane at various points in the natural gas production and delivery chain and its high GWP, the total GHG effect of natural gas use must include the emissions throughout the chain, known as a life-cycle analysis (LCA). Lifecycle GHG emissions are the aggregate quantity of GHGs related to the full fuel cycle, including all stages of fuel and feedstock production and distribution, from feedstock extraction through distribution and delivery and use of the finished fuel.

            Tell me how the EPA is measuring something not included here.

            4. WTF? How is it acceptable? You’re overstating the amount of CH4 responsible for compressor power emissions by a factor of 3, and transportation is unlikely to use any natural gas at all.

            5. Fine, I won’t debate that.

            6-9. Great. Declaration of victory without an iota of rationale.

          • Julian Cox

            See comment above.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about we take Mint’s comments one by one and sort them out?

            “The biggest mistake is that you double counted methane leakage. The CAPP document you linked to includes that in the 13.5g/MJ figure, and you’re adding it again with the EPA study.”

            Now, you either double counted or you didn’t double count. Please explain clearly and concisely whether, in your opinion, you double counted.

            “You also assumed that the grid powering the compressor is 100% natural gas, which isn’t true, and that all the energy for transportation is from natural gas, which may not even be needed (on-site SMR). These assumptions multiplied your aforementioned double counting.”

            That’s a pretty easy to answer question. Did you assume a 100% NG grid or did you use ‘the grid as it is’?

            Same for transportation.

            Once again, please, clear and concise.

            Like you were explaining things to a freshman general science class.

          • Mint

            Why don’t you actually address the factual points I’m making instead of whining about me “trying to take you to school”?

            75% efficient SMR needs 3.2kg CH4 (we have the same calcs here), and directly releases 8.8 kgCO2 per kgH2. To account for methane leakage for it’s production, you add 160*0.0135=2 kgCO2e, as per CAPP, or 3.2*0.015*21=1 kgCO2e from the EPA. You can’t add both and claim to be fair.

            For compression emissions, 2.23kWh*0.527kgCO2/kWh is justifiable (but still high when looking forward over a car’s lifetime, as the grid gets cleaner, and areas with the highest green car sales like California and Norway have much lower kgCO2/kWh). But what is your justification of that being entirely from CH4 (i.e. your 0.43kg figure)?

            Most importantly, how can you definitively state that cleaner H2 “cannot ever compete in the open market”? ‘Ever’ is a long time, and hydrogen is much, much easier to produce than synthetic gasoline.

            You seem to be decent with numbers, so consider this: If intermittent clean energy can be produced for 5c/kWh, and inefficient electrolysis needs 240MJ/kgH2, then that’s only $3.33/kg. Sell it at $5/kg, and you beat gasoline after accounting for MPGe. Sure, SMR is cheaper, but it can be outlawed. Nuclear industrial heat is something else I bet we’ll see in a decade, allowing more efficient electrolysis or even thermolysis. There’s too many possibilities that you inadvertently ruled out without any quantitative analysis.

            To summarize, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Overcoming currently CO2-intensive H2 production is way down the list of FCV’s issues.

          • Julian Cox

            OK, I will look at this when I have time, which is not now.

            Regardless of anything you and I discuss the fact remains that 14.34 Kg CO2e is a deliberately fair and significant underestimate of actual emissions during the production of Hydrogen from Natural Gas.

            Diving into greater detail will only reveal larger numbers. For example much of the SMR infrastructure under consideration is on-site which blows the roof of figures in the order of 14.34 Kg.

            Hydrogen policy and marketing claims are driven by claims that would put CO2e under the same circumstances down in the 4 Kg arena i.e. absolutely horrific BS – i.e. less than half of the basic feedstock conversion numbers.

            On the one hand you criticise me for not being concise and on the other you apparently want a lecture on thermodynamics.

            Which is it to be?

            The concise version when it comes to converting electricity to hydrogen is that it cannot compete with natural gas under any significant economy of scale scenario because the laws of physics do not allow it (and neither do the economic politics driving hydrogen adoption which is all about natural gas even if the physics was no obstacle – which it is).

            We can look to wasting renewables and nuclear electricity once we have disposed of coal and natural gas from the grid, not before, and because of the extreme added inefficiencies of delivering miles per KWh after suffering conversion loss to hydrogen, trust me FCVs are the last candidate on the list for renewable energy being able to compete effectively with natural gas.

            All of this is a side issue.

            The big issue is that FCVs pollute more than similar vehicles and vastly more than EVS. The pollute less than completely dis-similar vehicles in the 23 and 28 mpg class and the issues are being deliberately confused, fraudulently, by those clamouring to get their hands on public funds, right now.

            It must stop regardless of whether we end up agreeing on 14.34Kg or 16.50Kg or any other number in the region. That is called fiddling while Rome burns.

          • Mint

            Economic politics change. We see it all over the world. And you’re wrong about laws of physics not allowing electrolysis to compete.

            There is an economic cost of integrating any electricity source into the grid (that’s why wholesale electricity is 5c/kWh and retail is 10-30c/kWh), especially intermittent renewables, but that cost is next to zero for distributed standalone hydrogen production. In fact, I think $0.5/W fuel cells (still way too expensive for cars) will make hydrogen from solar electrolysis a smash hit for people that want/need to go off the grid and need backup power (a role currently filled by dirty gas/diesel generators).

            If you’re correct about hydrogen policy being driven by claims of getting 4kg CO2e/kgH2 today, then you’re right to be angry, but I haven’t seen any proof of that. Alternative fuel policy is always about the long haul, i.e. kickstarting benefits that only become significant 20 years down the line.

            Quite honestly, your worries are much ado about nothing. FCVs will get clobbered by EVs/PHEVs in the marketplace. They don’t have a chance in hell.

          • Julian Cox

            Congratulations on finding your own opinion to be of such importance. I am afraid it does not wash with others.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Bad form, old bean…

          • Julian Cox

            Blanket dismissals like ‘you are wrong’ is not particularly constructive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, Julian.

            Good luck.

          • Julian Cox

            Ultimately I would agree that FCVs will not be able to compete on technical merit with EVs as a desirable product in the consumer market. However it is important to look much deeper than the technological merits. We are at a critical juncture in which the big money is on the wrong side of the facts and holding sway at the CEC. The CEC in turn is about to set precedent for global energy policy for transport contrary to its own mandate to reduce emissions with untold damage and delay to tackling climate change in its wake across the US with ramifications world-wide.

            The immediate effect of supporting this course of action whether actively, by turning a blind eye or arguing over inanities (my social skills for example), is to give the auto industry a free pass to dump EVs and return to the symbiosis as usual with fossil fuels at the pump under a faux-green banner.

            For those with a more tolerant and persuasive disposition, that also happen to care about outcomes, it is probably about time to major in major things. Just IMHO.

          • A Real Libertarian

            I should point out that clear, concise writing is very important for solutions.

            Every hard to understand graph is an opportunity for the gas boys to claim “it’s all a matter of interpretation”.

            Every extraneous word is a word that can be taken out of context and used as a weapon.

            There’s a reason that communications are so important in war.

          • Julian Cox

            True. I think it is possible to drill this down to something extremely simple – at least on the point of totally debunking the CaFCP before the California Energy Commission.

          • Julian Cox

            I have used a figure of 14.34 Kg CO2e / Kg H2.

            This is really generous!


          • Mint

            Why didn’t you just use this as your reference in the first place? It clearly shows that as of 2010, hydrogen production needs 15 kgCO2/kg in CA.

            But your argument needs to stay within that scope. You can’t use that to claim that it’s never going to get lower. It’s as bad as the anti-EV crowd saying they’re powered by coal.

          • Julian Cox

            So now I think it would be fair of you to concede that you are wrong about disputing that. It would also be fair of you to concede that the worst case figures presented are NREL like for like numbers. I have been more fair to hydrogen than that and 100% transparent about how I have arrived at all of the numbers. If I was to show a critical bias against hydrogen there are plenty worse figures out there than the ones that I have used. Dr Sandy Thomas, my erstwhile critic, claims that the GREET CO2/Kg figure for Hydrogen is 16.58 Kg CO2/Kg H2. I have not been able to verify a single word from him so I will not stoop to cherry picking what could be just another of his errors. That said, 16.58Kg CO2/Kg pretty much agrees with the NREL worst case while making my 14.34Kg look pretty darn tame.

            There is just no getting away from it. FCVs do not do what they say on the tin. They are a poor performance technology with less than stellar returns with regards to emissions reductions compared with more convenient and far better choices for the environment.

          • EricR

            I am not sure what you mean by conceding. Maybe I was not clear about what numbers I was referring to- I was referring to the data you cited from NREL, EPA, etc. I will agree that that the NREL numbers you cited were from NREL, etc. but I don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions.

          • Julian Cox

            Then it is clear for all to see that you are being disagreeable for its own sake. I need to object to your filling up the comment steam in this manner. You have no valid argument whatsoever in what must be approaching 50 comments.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, please humor me for a while. I’m catching up.

            You’re argument seems to be only that we shouldn’t trust numbers from different testing facilities?

            What if we restrict to a single source?

            From the numbers at the bottom of Julian’s article I find four EPA sets of numbers.

            Mercedes B Class 134hp F-Cell FCV 52 miles per Kg H2 EPA = 40.36 MPGp

            Honda FCX Clarity 134hp FCV 60 miles per Kg H2 EPA = 46.58 MPGp

            Toyota Prius gasoline Hybrid 1.8 134hp 50mpg EPA = 50.00 MPGp

            The Merc B FCV, Honda FCV, and Prius all have the same horsepower. I’ll leave out the higher horsepower Honda Accord.

            The fuel cell vehicles have lower MPGp ratings than does the hybrid. On the graph they have poorer CO2 comparisons to the Lexis.

            That would be an apple:apple would it not? And there is certainly no huge CO2 advantage for the FCVs, they are worse.

          • Julian Cox

            All linked in the article to their EPA reference source pages I should add. The Chevy Spark and Tesla are also EPA tested – the Spark was chosen because it has exactly the same power output as the most powerful FCVs.

          • EricR

            First, remember that Julian made the graphs, and that his MPGp are his calculations. The EPA does WTW GHG analyses at They have not done emissions analyses on FCEVs yet. The ones on Julian’s list don’t match exactly with the list on this site, but the following EPA results are as close as I could find (all are from MY 2014):

            Toyota Prius at 222 g CO2/mi.
            Hyundai Tucson 2WD (2.0 L:): 443 g CO2/mi
            Hyundai Tucson 2WD (2.4 L): 462 g CO2/mi
            Honda Accord gasoline hybrid: 236 g CO2/mi
            Tesla Model S (85 kw): 250 g CO2/mi (US avg).

            The other cars are not in the US or have not been tested by the EPA for GHG purposes. There is no EPA data on current FCEVs for WTW GHG. The problem with Julian’s NREL fuel cell test fleet WTW GHG citation for average/best case emissions is that they are using older generations, not the current (as yet untested) vehicles. One is particularly misleading citation from Julian is the purported 2015 Toyota fuel cell. If you click the link, it will take you to the NREL field test of a prototype 2008 era FCEV test mule based on the Highlander (the same generation as GM’s Equinox-based FCEV). This is not the upcoming 2015 Toyota fuel cell, which has advanced significantly since then. So, we cannot say what the actual production FCEVs will be until they are tested as well. Interestingly, according to the EPA, the Model S 60 kw came in at 230 g CO2/mi (US avg), which means that both variants are actually worse from a GHG perspective than the gasoline Prius. Does that mean that Julian will now espouse the Prius over the Tesla from a purely GHG perspective?

          • Bob_Wallace

            We often don’t have the data we’d like and have to use the data we do have.

            Might there be some difference from source to source?


            Might the difference be enough to go from “FCEVs are slightly worse than the best ICEVs” to “FCEVs are twice as good as ICEVs”?

            I think not.

            It seems clear to me that Julian has adequately established that if one compares equally powerful FCEVs and the most efficient ICEVs that there is little difference in CO2 emissions and the most efficient ICEV might actually be better.

          • EricR

            I am glad you took the opportunity to consider my posts and did not discount them out of hand due to an anti-hydrogen bias. If I find better data, I will be sure to post it. I really enjoyed the discussion.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not at all anti-hydrogen. I’m all for a good low carbon alternative to ICEVs and I can see H2 FCEVs with the H2 coming from renewable sources as a decent way to get gasmobiles off our roads.

            For a long time I’ve viewed EVs as a better option – if we can get adequate range for an affordable price. If we can’t get battery capacity up/price down then H2 FCEVs might be the best answer.

            I had not considered the problem of FCEVs burning reconstituted natural gas pushing out EVs. That would be a major problem. We would just be swapping one fossil fuel transportation system for another fossil fuel transportation system. I think Julian has done a very good thing pointing out the likely emission problems of NG/H2 FCEVs.

            I think this is a topic that needs to be taken on by a major lab and the data pulled together in a form that would not be questionable. As we would say in my business, Julian’s done an excellent pilot study.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric. I think unless you are willing to concede all credibility by default, you are going to need to accept a burden of proof.

            To define the distance an FCV can go before producing the same GHG emissions as a US Gallon of Gasoline you need 3 numbers.

            1. A number for the total GHG emissions for a US Gallon of Gasoline. The number I have used is 11.132 Kg CO2e.

            Prove that this is materially wrong.

            2. A number for the total GHG emissions for 1 Kg of Hydrogen. The number I have used is 14.34 Kg CO2e.

            Prove that this is materially wrong.

            3. A number for the miles a given FCV can go on 1 Kg of Hydrogen. For example the 2012 EPA Combined milage figure for the Mercedes B Class F-Cell is 52 miles per Kg H2.

            Prove that this is materially wrong.

            I have given transparent explanations how and from where I have chosen all of these numbers. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the only number here that can be questioned materially is the 14.34 Kg figure for hydrogen. It is more fair and favourable to Hydrogen than it deserves owing to an abundance of caution to ensure any accusation of bias is groundless. CaFCP for example have cherry-picked the NREL best case figure to promote FCVs, not the Average NREL case. That is what bias looks like. Dr Sandy Thomas says the GREET figure is 16.58 Kg CO2e / Kg. I have not cherry picked his number no matter how tempting it might be to do so to “bash” FCVs. That is why my numbers are the fairest case for Hydrogen in any of the graphs I have presented.. It is also why the harshest numbers for Hydrogen are not mine, they are the immutable DOE numbers for average and best case FCVs from their long term testing.

            Once we know the CO2e figure for gasoline and hydrogen and a figure for mpKg H2. It is very simple to arrive at an equivalent MPGp.

            For the Mercedes B Class F-Cell we can simply take

            52 mpKg H2 divide it by 14.34 for H2 and multiply the result by 11.132 for gasoline.

            Now we have a gasoline CO2e equivalent milage (or MPGp) of

            40.37 miles that the F-Cell can go. Further than that and it produces more GHG pollution than a gallon of gasoline.

            The manufacturer claims that this F-Cell is a 100KW FCV = 134 hp.

            Prove that this is materially wrong.

            The EPA combined figure for the 134 hp 2014 Toyota Prius is 50 mpg.

            Prove that this is materially wrong.

            Now the Prius is a gasoline powered hybrid electric vehicle, not a plug in.

            To be pedantic

            50 mpg divided by 11.132 for gasoline multiplied by 11.132 for gasoline = 50 MPGp.

            That is 50 miles that the Prius can go. Further than that and it produces more GHG pollution than a gallon of gasoline.

            These are two 134hp vehicles.

            The Gasoline Prius HEV can go 50 miles and the Mercedes FCV can go 40.37 miles in return for the same amount of pollution.

            Which one would you say is the superior technology for tackling green house gas emissions?

            How do you think these numbers relate to the CaFCP claim that FCVs on natural gas produce 40% less GHG emissions than a gasoline vehicle?

            No more playing with words. This is a numbers game.

            Thank you.

          • EricR

            Now who is being lawyerly 🙂 Actually, you have the burden of proof because you would be the plaintiff in this case (if this were a case). First, you want me to stop posting, now you want me to respond. Not very consistent, but ok:

            #1: I have not reviewed your gasoline assumption, so I have no comment on it at this time.

            I have a problem with your #2, as it depends on the source. For example, you discount the very possibility of a zero emission source which is exactly what Paul’s company, HyGen is attempting to commercialize with its upcoming stations. With regard to SMR, onsite SMR could be dirtier than IG produced centralized SMR where the IG’s capture, process and sell some of those very emissions. If your #2 number is wrong, then your conclusions are wrong.

            #3: I have not double checked your numbers on EPA FCEV mileage, but I will assume they are correct for purposes of the argument. Since FCEVs have 0 WTT GHG emissions, I am not overly concerned with this number.

            The flaw here is that you are taking one specific value for H2 GHG emissions on what you perceive as the likeliest H2 pathway for the future. You don’t know with any certainty as to what this will be- you make an argument for one, but others, like Paul, have staked their companies on a different pathway. If your value for #1 turns out to be significantly wrong, then your FCEV GHG conclusions will be significantly wrong. At best, you are premature with this argument.

          • Julian Cox

            Sorry, you have gone there again.

            I have made it abundantly plain which pathway we are talking about. It is the same pathway referred to by the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Forget about misleading references to economic corner-cases, we are taking about SMR of Natural Gas.

            Let’s hear it from a lawyer. You as a matter of fact:

            “[Julian Cox] does lay out a seemingly mathematically convincing []argument as to how FCEVs are just as/if not more polluting from a WTW GHG emissions perspective as similar performing ICE vehicles when the hydrogen is sourced from the likeliest and most cost effective pathway, SMR (he disputes the GREET model’s assumptions which focus on average fuel economy of 23 mpg rather than comparable vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz F-Cell with the B Class diesel).

            I normally would not bother this group if I perceived the author as just another anti-hydrogen/pro-BEV commentator. However, I expect that he will appear at the California public hearing to present his arguments and potentially derail the grants.”


            Now Eric. Let’s quit the bull and deal with your real concern.

            You are obviously worried that the California Energy Commission will learn the truth and as a result cancel or review the grants for hydrogen infrastructure.

            Why would you be so desperate to secure hydrogen infrastructure grants considering you obviously know that there is no environmental justification for it, as so clearly expressed in your own words.

            By the way I have taken a screenshot of the attached link in case you think you can get away with just deleting it.

            Case closed by any chance?

          • EricR

            I would never delete the link, as I stand by it. I want to hear both sides of the debate. You presented one side. I usually don’t bother with most anti-hydrogen rhetoric, but I thought your points compelling enough to come here and question, as it is at odds with my understandings. However, I am not an engineer, and so I posted on LinkedIn to try and draw in the hydrogen proponents to make their points. I remember you had posted a while back in your prior CleanTechnica entry that you wanted this peer reviewed. I think the points you raise deserve to be vetted to the full extent possible (which really is a compliment to you), and not just blindly accepted as gospel.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That seems dishonest to me, Eric. I’ve read your linkedin posts and you were trying to recruit people to suppress Julian’s impact on potential grant funding.

            In fairness, you did start by asking for someone to review Julian’s numbers to see if they were or were not correct but then you moved on to a “We’ve got to do something or this guy might cause us to lose out” message.

          • EricR

            I am not sure why you would say that, when after providing the background, I state my reason for posting on LinkedIn:

            “… I thought it best to raise the issue here to determine if there are flaws in the author’s methodology/conclusions.”

            I then go into what I perceive to be discrepancies between the NREL actual findings and DoE summary findings. There is no nefarious motive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I gave you my reason. I am not going to get into a food fight with you over this.

            Any more and I take it down.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric I am sorry to have to go here, but I believe it stands to reason that you are still working for Joel Ewanick, former GVP Marketing for GM. He has used you in the past to shill for the Volt and now that he is the CEO of FirstElement Fuel I expect you are still shilling for him now:


            It is too much of a coincidence to have you typing sophistries until your fingers bleed on this article when this article stands to alert the CEC, consumers and other interested parties of the false-comparison data that has been sold to the CEC by Dr Tim Brown (author of the California Hydrogen Roadmap for the CaFCP and co-President of FirstElement Fuel Inc) as a prelude to FirstElement Fuel Inc standing to win $27.6 million in grant funding:


            Check out the Management and the Press releases.

            I should also remind readers that are concerned for the environment and due process of government that it is VITAL to object to this.

            FirstElement Fuel Inc. lied in a press release that they had been awarded funds – on last count this award is “contingent upon the approval of these projects at a publicly noticed Energy Commission Business Meeting”.

            This MUST NOT be approved at any such meeting:


          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m taking this down. Perhaps permanently, perhaps temporarily. I need some time to think this issue out.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t think the general audience here is gaining anything from the battle you two seem to be having.

            Eric, you’ve made your point about the possibility of error in comparing data from two or more different sources. You’ve produced, as far as I can tell, no evidence of significant discrepancies. Certainly none that could negate Julian’s premise that FCEVs fueled by “industrial SMR”, i.e., natural gas hydrogen would do nothing to lower GHG emissions.

            The sort of “error” you have gone on and one about is typical of what one must deal with all the time in the real world. We can’t always get our data from the very best lab in the world that tested the “whatevers” in exactly the same manner. We have to assume that the people producing the data are reasonably competent and reasonably honest.

            I’ve listened to your case, counselor, I don’t find it compelling. It is, as far as I can tell, only a cautionary point which suggests that the people making the claim that NG H2 would benefit the planet need to produce data to prove their claim. And that means holding all but one variable (fuel) constant. Vehicles must be compared with power, weight, aerodynamics, etc. either held constant or the results adjusted to tease out these confounding elements.

            This is not a point you need to bring to the discussion again.

          • Julian Cox

            Bob, the insinuation that the data sources are disparate is entirely bogus.

            There is a whole list of linked data sources in the appendix of the article for anyone to check for themselves.

            Mercedes F Class

            Honda FCX

            Tesla Model S

            Chevy Spark EV

            Honda Accord

            Honda Accord PHEV

            Totota Prius

            The Lexus Reference vehicle

            All EPA tested

            Everything converted to the same 11132g CO2 for 1 US Gallon of Gasoline equivalence.

            The small-engined diesels are not sold in the USA but the method of calculating up to g/mile CO2 is stated transparently.

          • EricR

            “No I do not have any flaw in reasoning. The 50% emissions reduction is being claimed now. Not in some hypothetical future. And these reductions are not attributable to FCV technology, they are attributable to power reduction.”

            Yet, you base your arguments on FCEV prototypes from 2004-2009, actual production vehicles (Tucson, Clarity) when the EPA has not yet tested them for GHG emissions, and you equate the 2009 Highlander FCV-adv. with the upcoming 2015 Toyota FCV. Maybe you will be proven right, but I think you jumped the gun on your conclusions.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric – absolute nonsense.

            Read the article. Follow the links used for references.

            It is absolute proof positive that the CaFCP is using the 237g CO2e / mile NREL best case figure and equating this by exactly the same gasoline equivalence number as I have used 11132g / WTW Gallon Gasoline as the NREL to EPA tested vehicles.

            FCVs fail hard compared with current gasoline hybrids (unless you are talking about the specious comparison to the 280 hp 3.5 liter V6 Highlander SUV hybrid – which in fact is what is done to promote FCVs) and in fact this chart of relative emissions performance is strictly accurate throughout:


          • EricR

            You have to love someone that cites his own work as authoritative. I’ll try that in my next brief.

            I did read your article and follow the links. I especially liked your link for the 2015 Toyota FCV, as it linked to a 2009 prototype. You really should change the article to disclose this with a comment that you believe it to be indicative of the performance characteristics of the 2015 FCV. That way, the cite would be honest.

            237 g CO2/mi is indeed the NREL best case, but as it was based on old tech, you cannot extrapolate that to all current, upcoming and future FCEVs. CaFCP’s use of that number was to show the value of H2 in general- we don’t even know which vehicle it represents.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Eric, you’ve beaten this dead horse into the ground.

            You don’t want to accept Julian’s data. Fine. You’ve made that point over and over and over.

            No more, please.

          • EricR

            Lol- fair enough 🙂 I edited the above response to remove the snarky comment.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Mature does not equal “can’t be improved”.

            Looking at this graph I see no emission advantages for FCEVs when compared to similar horsepower (best performing) ICEVs, PHEVs or EVs.


          • EricR

            You are right- mature does not equal can’t be improved. But shouldn’t FCEVs be given the same benefit of the doubt? Especially when Julian is predicating most of his findings from prototypes and EPA GHG untested FCEVs.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric. That is a gross mischaracterisation – and I know that you know it.

            And no – after the false marketing from the CaFCP and Auto makers there is only one possible chance I would give to FCVs – that is a strict mandate to sequester all CO2 from SMR used in transportation and a moratorium on public funding for hydrogen infrastructure pending an investigation into the lies told to the public and politicians – particularly the gross conflict of interest between the scientifically fraudulent advice received from UCI presented by a president of the key financial beneficiary of hydrogen infrastructure funding: FirstElement Fuel Inc.

            This is not diet yoghurt packed with sugar resulting in inexplicable diabetes and obesity. This scientific fraud if allowed to take its toll will accelerate global warming, risking an entire generation of people across the globe with fire, flood, famine and war.

            How dare you push for such a thing?

          • EricR

            This is what I mean by cherry picking your data points. Do you deny that your 2015 Toyota FCV findings are based on the 2009 Highlander FCV-adv without any attribution? That is deceptive, even if you are later borne out accurate when the actual vehicle details are released. You use EPA GHG findings for the conventional vehicles, but not for the FCEVs, as the EPA has not yet tested them. You use a methodology for deriving WTT premised on one single source, and you summarily (and vociferously) discount the possibility of a lesser (or 0) GHG emissions pathway.

            The future may very well prove you right- but I have not the hubris to make that prediction, given that the DoE, Japan, JRC and others disagree with you.

          • Julian Cox

            The attribution to the 68.3 mpKg hydrogen is indeed as referenced, the 2009 Highlander FCV-adv. You are correct, for once.

            On double checking this does seem to be overly generous to the Toyota 2015 FCV. I expect Toyota gamed the NREL with the $1 Million Highlander FCV-adv by increasing the hybridisation for that prototype making it more like a BEV. The probably charged the battery in a hidden location it and sent it off to be tested fully charged.

            For the production model the Toyota 2015 FCV seems to be offering a “target 300 mile range” according to Toyota with a 6Kg H2 tank.

            That reduces the performance from 68.3mpKg H2 to 50 mpKg H2. So basically it really sucks and brings it back into line with all the other production FCVs. The 2015 FCV is in fact 90KW or 120.6 Hp – so that is correct. All I need to do is to reduce the environmental performance.

            Hence even using my most generous assumptions for hydrogen than even the pathetic 90KW 2015 production version is behind the Toyota Prius.

            Thank you for pointing that out. Unfortunately what ever leg you thought you might have to stand on has been kicked away.

            By the way your accusation of cherry picking is grossly inaccurate and grossly offensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Right now FCEVs are far less efficient than are EVs. If that changes sometime in the future then we can reconsider. In the meantime it’s best that we play the cards we have in our hand.

            We also need to be honest with ourselves. Given that there is no price on carbon and most people will not make the “proper” choice at the H2 filling station most of our H2 is going to be dirty. If we get a carbon price in the future we things may change. In the meantime….

          • EricR

            The point Julian makes is not FCEV vs. BEV, but FCEV vs. ICE. I agree that BEV is more efficient than FCEV, but both could be pure WTW ZEVs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It doesn’t matter whether he compares to ICEVs or BEVs. We know how much better BEVs are in terms of CO2 per mile. One can compare FCEVs running on NG H2 to either and determine whether FCEVs running on NG H2 make sense.

          • EricR

            Absolutely! The reason I am defending H2, is that right now, for me, a pure BEV is not suitable. In the future, I would love to buy a Tesla Model S (or its successor) when it becomes suitable for me. I see hydrogen as potentially providing a better solution than the status quo, with the potential for true ZEV driving and convenient refueling. I don’t want to see the industry condemned before it starts.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are no FCEV vehicles sitting in showrooms for you to purchase.

            We don’t know the price of the first FCEVs that will be sold. Speculation runs from over $50k to close to $100k, with additional speculation that manufacturers might sell for under $50k and eat the loss.

            It looks to me as if FCEVs running on NG H2 are not an acceptable alternative to ICEVs based on CO2 emission levels. I will wait until you and Julian slow down the exchange and present your most convincing arguments to form a firmer opinion. And that opinion will be subject to change based on future findings.

          • EricR

            Thank you- that’s all I ask.

        • reedy

          that ridiculous hydrogen is a way better route to go that lion.

          bringing the cost down is the only real factor. also the production of hydrogen is almost environmentally neutral when produced using a fixed renewable source say hydrogen dam or solar farm in the desert the produced energy from these sources can be stored as hydrogen and therefore moved.

          also you are charging your lions batteries with fossil fuels or nuclear power.

          sell you stocks in lion powered cars and stock talking shit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you talking about making H2 from methane/natural gas? If so, then cost is not the only factor. This source of H2 is not environmentally neutral. And H2 from methane is not cheap, so cost is a killer.

            If you’re talking about H2 from renewable energy then cost is an even larger factor. Making H2 from water using renewable energy takes more than twice as much renewable electricity as it takes to drive an EV the same distance, so cost is the killer.

      • Bob_Wallace

        When the Prius was introduced in 1997 it sold for $19,995. That’s $28,832 in 2013 dollars.

        FCEVs are rumored to sell for around $96,500.

        There can be ~ zero carbon footprint were we to obtain our hydrogen from water using renewable energy. But we all know that for years into the future hydrogen is going to come from natural gas.

        And if we did get our hydrogen from water it would take 2x as much electricity to produce it. The fuel for a H2 FCEV would be closer to 3x more per mile than the electricity for an EV once the cost of H2 infrastructure is included.

        • Paul Staples

          Your problem from the start. You rely on rumors, mostly from Elon Musk. The price of an FCEV when fully commercialized is expected to cost no more than the Prius in today’s dollars. The DOE has estimated that the cost/kw for a FCEV will be under $53.00/kw. that is the cuurent comparitive price for your average ICE vehicle. The roll-out price is expected to be about $70.00/kw. tyhe Batteries are currently $400 – $600/kw for BEVs! And that number hasn’t changed in a decade, and no one (at least not the auto companie at least other than Tesla) is say anything less, and it is not expected to go down anytime soon. Also depending on “Rocket News24” is the reason you are so misinformed. Try the DOE hydrogen program or the FCHA as a credible source on such issues. As far as NG being the souce of hydrogen for years? Not if I have anything to say about it. Not while I am alive. That is the efforts of the fossil fuel industry trying to control hydrogen, because they are deathly afraid of renewable hydrogen getting a foothold. I and other RH developers are their worst nightmare. As far as your statement “And if we did get our hydrogen from water it would take 2x as much
          electricity to produce it. The fuel for a H2 FCEV would be closer to 3x
          more per mile than the electricity for an EV once the cost of H2
          infrastructure is included.” Not true, and I cover that issue in my previous posts. Read them.

          • Julian Cox

            “Batteries are currently $400 – $600/kw for BEVs”


            “fossil fuel industry trying to control hydrogen, because they are deathly afraid of renewable hydrogen getting a foothold”

            Huh? It is the dying wish of the fossil fuel industry for the layman to confuse fossil fuels with EVs and Green Energy.

            Why on Earth do you think Shell sponsors National Geographic?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Paul, you are stepping over the line for acceptable behavior on this forum. Accusing others of being paid shills is not to be done. Especially by someone who is pushing his own business interests.

            Your battery information is wrong. If you are attempting to run a business using incorrect data then you are pretty much guaranteeing yourself a big fat failure event. Best to know what your competition is capable of doing.

          • Moonboy

            So where do I find correct battery information? You seem to have the right source. Please educate Paul and myself!

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” Batteries are currently $400 – $600/kw for BEVs! And that number hasn’t changed in a decade”

            This claim?

            You could start here –


            Then go here –


            BTW, did you notice that Paul didn’t present any alternative cost numbers for the FCEV? He seems to be good at making statements with no backup and waving away things he doesn’t like.

    • Paul Staples

      Also one more thing. Do not go to that Air Liquide site for an animation of where hydrogen comes from. They are a fossil fuel hydrogen company and not anything even approaching renewable/sustainable hydrogen process. Try a chart on It is simple and clear what we are talking about. The rest of what Julian is talking about is gobbledee guk meant to glaze your eyes into thinking he knows what he is talking about. I’ve been at this for 40 years and actively at it full time for 20 years, and I can tell you he is full of himself. It is like reading a 10 page legal document that could be said in 1 page by normally intelegent people. If every lawyer did that, then you wouldn’t need a lawyer. Same thing. It is much simpler than he is trying to make it out. Zero Carbon Footprint, less expensive than gasoline, cheapest infrastructure to deploy for a complete change in paradigm that is sustainable and carbon free. And the vehicles will cost less than what we are doing now! Nothing else can be said or needs to be said. That is why it is being funded and should be.

      • Julian Cox

        No Paul. The figures I have given are official and correct.

        It is vital that people are not blinded by whatever it is you are selling even if you believe it yourself, which I sincerely doubt.

        In fact I will do you one better. I will report your website to the FTC along with a copy of this document.

        • Paul Staples

          Yes Julian, I am correct, in everything I am saying. And you are at best, manipulating data to make your biased case, and at worst, flat out lying. You choose. Again go for it, and make an even bigger fool of yourself than you are now.

          Yes in fossil fuel development and refining, and only they and other fossil fuel producers of hydrogen are promoting NG SMR Hydrogen as a viable option. Although they do admit we will have to go to 100% Renewable hydrogen eventually, but in 20 years, which is BS. I say do not go there to see the real hydrogen paradigm process flow demo.

          I was also awarded even more stations than Air Liquide was, so what is that supposed to mean?

          You are the one blinded, and it is evident. I must be making progress, since the only thing you can do now is to make empty threats.

          • Julian Cox

            Allow me to explain something at you in return for your arrogance.

            Base cost of 1 Kg of Hydrogen – just paying for the natural gas to make it. $0.91 per Kg Henry Hub at $5 / mmBtu (mind that it goes down occasionally to nearly $2).

            SMR can crush you like a maggot on any given Tuesday. Who do you think you are trying to kid?

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