California Receives Majority Of $7M US Energy Department Hydrogen Funding

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
california receives majority of 7m us energy department hydrogen funding

A new gold rush in California is coming to the fore as private and public investments push hydrogen fuel cell technology forward, and the U.S. Department of Energy is the latest to enter the arena.

Autoblog Green reports the DOE will be delivering $7 million in funding for the development of “lightweight, compact, and inexpensive advanced hydrogen storage systems that will enable longer driving ranges and help make fuel cell systems competitive for different platforms and sizes of vehicles,” the majority of the funds to land in California. Pasadena’s Materia will receive the most of the California-bound taxpayer dollars, with $2 million to help reduce the cost of storing compressed hydrogen through the use of “a novel resin system” aimed to replace carbon fiber composites in storage tanks.

The latest round of funding comes on the heels of similar investments into hydrogen storage and fueling infrastructure, including a $27.6 million grant by the California Energy Commission to FirstElement Fuel Inc., the startup founded by former General Motors and Hyundai exec Joel Ewanick. The only non-California recipient was PPG Industries of Greensboro, N.C., who will like supply its glass fiber tanks to the sole public fueling station outside of the new gold rush, located in Columbia, S.C.

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  • Conslaw Conslaw on May 30, 2014

    People forget about the hidden social choices that we make because we think our paths are irreversible. In the last 12 years, we've spent $4 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That $4 trillion would have paid for a lot of "pie in the sky" trans formative projects in the US. It would have been easy with a fraction of that money, over that time, to convert our over-the-road truck fleet to natural gas. Harder projects, like solar roads and massive solar hydrogen generation would have been within our grasp. We would have had money to design and build thorium nuclear reactors in areas without solar, wind and geothermal resources. As the wars wind down we still subsidize the oil, gas and (unbelievably) the coal industries. We subsidize private car ownership through insufficient fuel taxes.

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    • Luke42 Luke42 on May 31, 2014

      @highdesertcat Coal and oil are also too valuable and have too many consequences to waste them on tasks that can easily be done other ways.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on May 30, 2014

    I'm not a big supporter of incentivized and subsidisied schemes by the government. If hydrogen requires this even this small level of support then it's a waste of resources. There are obviously better options out there. Or, is this just a token effort to appease some lobbyist group? Hydrogen is an expensive and polluting fuel to manufacture, when and if we can produce it economically, it then should be considered. There are other instruments that can be used to make the US more efficient in the use of energy. The first one is the US (and many other countries) must realize there is a cost with using any form of energy. It will impact something somewhere. If Californian's want a cleaner environment, then increase the tax on fossil fuels. This would encourage the use of smaller vehicles. Believe it or not these are readily available and use cheap existing technology.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on May 30, 2014

      BAFO, California already charges at least a dollar more per gallon of gasoline and it hasn't deterred anyone from driving less or driving some pregnant roller skate, except the people who can least afford the higher fuel costs because they were already poor. And those poor people cannot afford EVs, PEVs, Hybrids or hydrogen-fueled vehicles. People with money, which is is the vast majority of Americans, continue to buy gasoline, no matter what it costs. So raising the cost of fuel disproportionately hits the people who can least afford it.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on May 30, 2014

    @hdc So? Does California have to have cheaper fuel? Your view of equal fuel prices is a socialist outlook. California needs money to exist. This $7 million is better spent fixing a blackspot to reduce accidents. Each road death costs the US and California millions of dollars. So what if you drive smaller and more efficient vehicles in California. But you need to remove many of the restrictive controls on the US auto industry and energy industry for this to occur. Driving large vehicles isn't a god given right. Driving a small vehicle, as in Europe isn't a god given right. Cheap energy isn't a god given right. Just because you want cheap energy doesn't mean it is a given, even to the point where poor government policy/regulatory controls/socialist subsidies are put into place. There are alternatives to the current regime of US controls and regulations to reduce fuel/energy usage in the US. All more efficient. I had this debate the other day on PUTC. The US auto/energy industry regulatory controls are designed by unions, corporation and government. Not the people. Your auto industry is an example of socialist controls. If you want to drive a vehicle that consumes energy, pay for it. Which makes my beliefs the same as yours. Except you believe that fuel should be cheap and subsidised because that is what you want. You appear to believe in socialism when you benefit. My mother is similar and she's an avid Fox and Friends fan. To her everyone on welfare are the issue, not the fact that the average un/semi-skilled US worker earns peanuts. The cost of energy influences what you drive. Look at us in Australia and Canada. We have a similar car culture to the US. But the cost of energy influences what we drive. This isn't subsidised by the taxpayer in Australia. It is influenced by better and more logical regulatory controls. We can buy and drive what we want, with less influence by regulations. That's why per capita Australia has the highest ownership of performance cars globally. We call this in Australia freedom. In the US, the vehicle you buy, is more regulated and controlled to the point where the US is becoming the odd one out globally. Being the odd one out will cost the US consumer money. If you like a socialist energy and auto market, so be it. The US market would be similar to what I envisage the Chinese to eventually have. We will give you enough choice, but the choice is what we want as a government, not you as a people. Sounds like something George Washington and Ben Franklin would of have liked to see.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Jun 01, 2014

      @Luke42 Well said! But the majority in CA keeps voting for more of the current regime and economic philosophy. I can tell you from MY relatives who still live in CA that their standard of living has tumbled to where it is lower than mine in New Mexico, and they are better off than many because they do not have a mortgage on their home(s), and their cars are paid for. They are also unwilling to pay for many of the basics that should come free in life. I have brought in and installed six Reverse Osmosis units so that my relatives can enjoy clean, good tasting, RO water, without having to pay outrageous prices for bottled water that I pay $2.79 for in a case of 24 - 16.9oz plastic bottles. And before I enter California on my trips, I stop in Quartzsite, AZ, to top off my gas tank, fill up 4 - 5 gallon gasoline containers and carry them on my hitch-mounted cargo carrier. That's usually enough gas to make a trip into and out of California without having to pay for $4.75/gal gas there. And guess what, I'm not the Lone Ranger in this. Lots of travelers doing the very same thing!

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on May 31, 2014

    @hdc Here's are some links to highlight what I'm stating. The US subsidises it cars at $3 000 per vehicle, Germany $1 300 per vehicle, Australia $2 000 (used too). Then when you look at he graph in the first link the US also has greater fuel subsidies than the Europeans on average. So, this indicates to me that the US has a more socialised energy and auto manufacturing industries than the EU. I can see why the UAW stooges like Pch101, DiM, Mikey, and the rest want the status quo to remain. Socialism at it's best. I think you'll find the US would pay more for fuel without the massive subsidised energy you guys receive. Dont' forget for a subsidy to exist the money has to come from somewhere. But where? Borrowings? This makes a mockery of this wasted money on pointless EV, hybrid and hydrogen sh!t. I do think the people that support this waste of resources should pay the full price for the unviability so they can feel good. Let them as the consumer contribute all the money required to develop these feel good industries. Not the guy making $10ph. I would say most who buy this stuff have a life skills degree in the Arts or are socialist inclined engineers, ie, the socialist elites. Why else would you buy a vehicle that's subsidised by poorer tax payers? These are just feel good products. Like the feeling you get after eating a whole grain sugar encrusted breakfast cereal. The true cost of this stuff is the neglect of better methods to reduce emissions, like the construction of more very needed nuclear reactors or comprehensive natural gas infrastructure to ALL home in the US, not just manufacturer a few feel good products.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on May 31, 2014

      Appreciate the links. I have run across some, but not all. I understand about the massive subsidies the US uses to foster its own well-being. Truth be told, Americans expect that our government does many things for its people and the nation, when it works for them. I'm not saying it is right in all manner, and what some consider existential to their cause may not evoke any reaction from others, in fact, it may irk them. For me subsidies for EVs irk me! And so it is with the individuals you named. However, in the spirit of free thinking, they are entitled to their own beliefs. For some, their philosophy of the rigid status quo is the only solution. The way I see it, they are entitled to their own swill. I don't have to buy into it, if I don't want. From my perspective, I believe that enterprise is free to innovate all they want, but I draw the line when the government mandates conflict with my own beliefs. I have learned to suck it up when I encounter a policy like "too big to fail", or bailouts, handouts and nationalization for failed corporate entities. I don't support them, and find ways to work around them. I think I have been successful in beating my government at their own game -- because it worked for me (whatever it was I did, like maybe no longer buying GM products, or whatever.) Our government says I need to pollute less, I fire up my AC generators every Sunday at noon and let them run for six hours, thus blowing more than my fair share of pollution into the atmosphere, and using a bunch of cheap gasoline I got from Mexico to boot. This also ties in to me having to pay more for my electricity because some greenweenie sold the government on having me help pay for windmills and solar panels. I use less commercial electricity but make more of my own at higher cost to me and greater pollution to the atmosphere. Some of this is out of necessity of course, because electricity in MY area is not reliable. I've got a lot of money invested in having all my electronics hooked up to individual UPS's to tie me over until my generators kick in. I think you get the idea. I'd love to expound on MY philosophy about all this greenweenie silliness, but I have an early call tomorrow. So, good night.