Greg Blencoe, the CEO of Hydrogen Discoveries, Incorporated of Oak Ridge, Tennessee is advocating for a Southern California based Hydrogen Fueling Station Cooperative system to be built by 2015 when the major automakers say they will start rolling out large numbers of production hydrogen autos. Mr. Blencoe has in the past proposed a Hydrogen Manhattan Project for putting up hydrogen fueling stations nationwide.
The Mr. Blencoe is talking about does not involve government subsidies, but rather is a grassroots movement aimed at early adopters of technology and environmental activists. The idea is that a group of similar minded consumers who live near each other actually own a hydrogen fueling station in a cooperative system.
This group can fuel up their own autos with hydrogen or perhaps even decide to let others use the station as well, thus making a profit. Southern California would be the ideal location to start this cooperative as there are already a number of hydrogen fueling stations open in Los Angeles and Orange counties along with hydrogen autos to refuel at those stations.
This would mean that hydrogen auto owners could expand their radius of travel in Southern California (SoCal). In addition, Southern Californians tend to be early adopters of green technology so the chances of marketing this plan in this location will be greatly increased.
Another spin off this same idea that comes to mind for me is for less expensive hydrogen fueling pumps to be built as part of some master planned communities in Southern California. There is already a company that is building, near Denver, Colorado, a master planned community where every comes with solar panels.
If a hydrogen fuel pump were installed in some master planned communities in SoCal, then homeowners would pay for it with their association fees just as they would for the swimming pool or other amenities. And, as an option, this could also be accomplished cooperative style with each homeowner owning a part of the hydrogen pump, allowing those outside the community to fuel up there as well for a profit.
I think Mr. Blencoe’s idea has merit. It doesn’t rely on government, big oil companies or even the large gas companies to make the initial investment to get the ball rolling. What it will take is a strong grassroots movement of like-minded people who advocate for hydrogen fuel and autos and want to see them succeed.
Perhaps the SoCal people involved in General Motor’s Project Driveway might want to take up the torch on this one and start their own Hydrogen Fueling Station Cooperative system? Or perhaps there is another group of green tech investors out there just itching for this opportunity. We’ll see how this develops in the weeks and months to come.