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California Hydrogen Highway

California Hydrogen Highway

The hydrogen highway is not as far off as some think. One example is the one being built in California. Hydrogen highways mean having a cleaner environment with less greenhouse gases and less dependence upon foreign oil. The only bi-product of burning hydrogen in automobiles is water in the form of steam. For a hydrogen highway system to be practical, hydrogen fueling stations will need to be in place.

California Fuel Cell Partnership

These hydrogen fueling stations can be separate entities are can be add-ons to current petroleum fueling stations. The most likely scenario currently for a nationwide roll out of the hydrogen highway is for current gasoline stations to add or replace hydrogen-fueling devices to their current offerings.

The politicians have gotten on board with the concept of having a hydrogen highway system. From the U. S. President to two coastal governors, the wheels are turning on these new technologies.

In George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address he states, “In this century, the greatest environmental progress will come about not through endless lawsuits or command-and-control regulations, but through technology and innovation. Tonight I’m proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles. A single chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a auto — producing only water, not exhaust fumes. With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these autos from laboratory to showroom, so that the first auto driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.”

Having a hydrogen highway network in place by the year 2010 was a California initiative being spearheaded by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. According to Schwarzenegger, “Californians invent the future, and we are about to do it again. We have an opportunity to prove to the world that a thriving environment and economy can coexist. This vision for California is real and attainable; however, it will take time, so we must plant the seeds now.” California already has 23 hydrogen fueling stations in operation (for the 143 current hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) and another 15 are planned for the near future. For a transcript of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Hydrogen Highways Network Announcement at UC Davis, CA on April 20, 2004, see transcript.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush has also made headlines as on February 18, 2005 he broke ground on Florida’s first hydrogen filling station in Orlando with Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO Bill Ford and executives from Chevron Texaco Corporation and Progress Energy Florida. The hydrogen fueling station is expected to be completed in 2006 and will use a Ford V-10, E-450 hydrogen-powered shuttle buses to transport visitors around the Orlando International Airport.

As advances in hydrogen technology such as fuel cell development, hydrogen generation, storage and deployment infrastructure become a reality so does the hydrogen highway. Consumers are definitely interested as well. With rising gasoline prices and an interest in protecting the environment, consumers have been buying up all the hybrid vehicles from Toyota, Honda and other manufacturers that become available. With even greater fuel efficiency available with hydrogen autos, zero dependence upon foreign nations for oil and a reduction in health problems due to smog and a decrease in holes in the ozone and global warming, the hydrogen highway just can’t get here fast enough. For more information on what is happening in the rest of the world, check out the Norway HyNor Project page on this site.


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