A New Kind of Forecourt : Honda Opens Solar Powered Hydrogen Station

Many people are looking for ways to move away from using petroleum for transportation, and one alternative to using gas or diesel as a fuel is hydrogen, and companies like Honda and Toyota are developing vehicles that are powered by electricity generated from hydrogen fuel cells. This week Honda opened a hydrogen filling station at its factory in Swindon, UK at which the hydrogen provided is generated at the point of use using solar power. Hydrogen  for the station is produced using pressurized alkaline electrolysis of water powered by a solar farm.

Producing hydrogen on-site overcomes the need for expensive hydrogen storage and distribution systems, and this could be an attractive model for a new transportation fuel infrastructure.  The UK government, along with a consortium of industrial groups, provided funding for the creation of this station.

The filling station has the capacity to produce 20 tonnes of hydrogen per year, and will initially be used primarily to provide hydrogen to fleet vehicles, but Honda has its own fuel cell powered passenger car — the FCX Clarity — that can be refueled there.

An article at Autocar.co.uk provides more details.

We have often discussed the future of transportation here at E-Cat World, and the role that LENR technology could play in that future. It seems to me that generation of electricity will be the key if LENR is to have an impact with vehicles.

If LENR can be used to generate electricity efficiently, then hydrogen production would not be a major challenge, and fuel cell vehicles might make a lot of sense. Along with Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are moving forward with the development of fuel-cell vehicles. Also, LENR might also provide electricity for the charging of batteries used in electric vehicles — which are now becoming increasingly popular with companies like Tesla, Nissan, GM and Ford moving forward with all-electric cars.

It is possible at some point that on-board LENR power sources could be used — but probably not for passenger vehicles for some time. We already have nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers that have installed nuclear power plants which can run continuously for decades at a time without the need for refueling, and I think there’s a good chance that ships, subs and trains could the first kinds of vehicles to have LENR reactors powering them in similar ways.

 

 

  • EEStorFanFibb

    There are a host of major infrastructure and storage problems with H2. But BEYOND all that, H2 will never be able to compete with it’s only clean energy source – ELECTRONS. Why? Conversion losses, that’s why. Even with the limitations of today’s traction batteries, using the electrons directly is a much more efficient way to go.

    Electrons can be harvested numerous ways, many of which are clean and easy. That, plus better solid state batteries/ultracapacitors (coming soon), makes for a unbeatable combination for transportation. Meanwhile lithium ion batteries (despite being chemically based) are good enough to get the electrification of road transport well under way.

    Despite the hype by a couple of major automakers, imo, the renewed push behind H2 exists simply because the vested interests in transportation fuel infrastructure are desperate to continue to sell you some kind of fuel by the Litre, from a pump. Unfortunately for them, chemical to electrical conversion losses and storage problems related to H2 means H2 will never be competitive on cost and convenience when compared to cheaply harvested electrons and cheaper, better batteries.

    The ICE is good as dead, and as a substitute for it, H2 is DOA.

    • Fortyniner

      As you say, the ICE must be doomed in any coming vehicle fuel economy. However there is still the possibility of using H2 fuel cells coupled to a relatively small traction battery that drives wheel motors. The problem as always is storing the H2 safely, and in a way that allows easy refilling or cartridge exchange.

      My money would be on exchangeable pressure vessels filled with light metal hydrides, with the heat for thermal decomposition supplied by exhaust gases. These would most likely be slung under a vehicle in a way that would allow automated exchange at ‘filling stations’, where they could be regenerated.

  • jousterusa

    This is great – they get free energy from the sun, and use it to make free energy from water! And then they sell it…

  • US_Citizen71

    That appears to be nothing more than a patent troll. Claiming an idea and making a functioning engine that is lightweight, compact and able to produce useful horsepower for extended periods reliably are two different things.

  • bitplayer
    • Daniel Maris

      Is that the MFMP site??

      • Fortyniner

        No, it isn’t. It is a very interesting, well reasoned and somewhat critical analysis of the Lugarno report by the CEO of ‘StepChange Innovations GmbH’, Dr. Christian Schumacher. Unfortunately, like a number of others, he concludes that there are enough uncertainties in the report to damage its overall credibility, but this conclusion appears to be sincere and fact-based, rather than the product of pathological skepticism.

        “StepChange Innovations GmbH was established in 2009 as consultancy company in Hofheim, Germany. ….. We offer professional services in innovation management and technology consulting for the manufacturing and financial industries. Our prime focus in on the chemical and textile industry.”

  • bitplayer

    I look forward to the day when gasoline burning exhaust pipes seem as archaic as horse dung on the streets of New York.

  • Daniel Maris

    During WW2 planes would sometimes go from design to full production in a matter of six months, often with numerous technological innovations on board.

    I feel if the same level of effort were put into researching energy storage technology, artificial methane production, LENR, hydrogen and solar etc over a similar six year period (or even 4 if you’re American) then we would crack renewable energy.

    There isn’t really the political and commercial will to do it at present, sadly.

    • georgehants

      Very good point Daniel and exactly what I am saying about Cold Fusion if the main-line science where to start doing the job it is there for.

      How quickly could Cold Fusion be saving lives and making many more lives more comfortable if the subject where being handled as it should be?

  • bachcole

    This is a datapoint showing that the so-called powers that be still don’t know what is going to happen with regard the LENR++

    • US_Citizen71

      I disagree chemical fuels for personal passenger vehicles will be with us for decades to come with or without LENR, unless a lightweight LENR electric generator comes into being. Changing heat into motion by any currently developed means requires a machine that is both heavy and occupies a large volume.

      • bitplayer

        What if solar hydrogen is cheaper…a lot cheaper? What’s the cost of keeping a carrier group in the Gulf?

        • US_Citizen71

          I agree, I include hydrogen as a chemical fuel.

          • bitplayer

            Interesting point, because the “chemical” of any kind requires a much larger infrastructure (service station, fuel tank) than a standalone LENR-electric vehicle might (hopefully) require.

        • US_Citizen71

          Depending on application solar/compressed air could be very useful and economical as well. The Tata motors air cars would be great for dense population centers like Bejing, Dehli, Mexico City, New York, etc… and even smaller cities as well. No pollution and you get the added benefit of a constant trickle of water out of the compressors when they are running. Solar or wind power can compress air to run air motors to provide power for water-pumps for irrigation and other non-constant demands where high horsepower is needed for moderate lengths of time. Storing compressed air is more efficient than a battery, I’m not sure how it compares to hydrogen production.