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H2USA Launched by DOE to Promote Hydrogen Infrastructure

On March 12, 2013 I had talked about how the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) was intending to launch a new public-private program called H2USA that would promote the building of hydrogen infrastructure to support fuel cell vehicles. Yesterday, on May 13, 2014 the DOE actually launched the H2USA program.

According to the , “The new partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States …

“… Through H2USA, industry and government partners will focus on identifying actions to encourage early adopters of fuel cell electric vehicles, conduct coordinated technical and market analysis, and evaluate alternative fueling infrastructure that can enable cost reductions and economies of scale. For example, infrastructure being developed for alternative fuels such as natural gas, as well as fuel cell applications including tri-generation that produce heat, power and hydrogen from natural gas or biogas, may also provide low cost hydrogen for vehicles. In addition, increased fuel cell deployment for combined heat and power, back-up power systems and fuel cell forklifts can help pave the way for mainstream hydrogen vehicle infrastructure …

“…Current members of the H2USA partnership include the American Gas Association, Association of Global Automakers, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, Hyundai Motor America, ITM Power, Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nissan North America Research and Development, Proton OnSite, and Toyota Motor North America.”

So, let’s see. Who is missing from this list? Notably missing are some of the largest industrial gas suppliers and those running the hydrogen fueling stations such as Air Products, Praxair, Air Liquide and Linde. Even Shell Oil which runs several hydrogen gas pumps is not on the list. Hopefully, this will change. In order for H2USA to be successful, the big players which are currently developing the hydrogen refueling infrastructure need to be onboard with the program so that we are not looking at the year 2015 in the rearview mirror and wondering where all of the hydrogen autos and refueling stations are and why didn’t the powers that be take action sooner.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen auto blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen autos, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Avatar
    Michael Robinson

    I question whether hydrogen ultimately or ammonia or both are the way forward. The major advantage of ammonia is that it is probably easier to store on a vehicle than hydrogen is. The major drawback is that anhydrous ammonia is very dangerous to people if it leaks. There seems to be a lopsided amount of information about hydrogen verses ammonia. Ammonia is chemically composed of hydrogen and nitrogen and fuel cells do exist for ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia is currently shipped on trucks, think existing distribution system that can simply be scaled up.

    There is apparently a push in Rochester Minnesota to put in an anhydrous ammonia train. This is being resisted because an anhydrous ammonia
    leak near the major hospitals there could be very dangerous to people and the railroad has a poor safety record apparently.

    Overhead power lines and large batteries are impractically expensive for
    long distance travel. Over short distances, batteries and overhead lines are superior ways to propel an electric train from the safety standpoint. Hydrogen fed to hydrogen fuel cells is also safer in town than ammonia fed to ammonia fuel cells.

    What is the storage space needed for ammonia verses hydrogen to propel
    a train say 1000 miles? I bet the space needed for ammonia is considerably less than the space needed for hydrogen even with high compression employed. Ammonia as far as I know doesn’t embrittle metal.

    Another potential drawback of ammonia, there is plenty of nitrogen around and many sources of hydrogen, but I doubt that ammonia is easily formed.
    Is it necessary to use anhydrous ammonia? Hydrate ammonia enough, it
    will be far less dangerous if it leaks around people and ammonia has a
    smell unlike hydrogen.

    I’d like to read more about ammonia safety and ammonia fuel cells.

  2. Hydro Kevin

    I’ve talked about ammonia somewhat on this blog as a potential fuel of the future though I’m sure there is a lot more to talk about than I’ve covered here.

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