Great article from Vox.
It is expensive, in both money and energy, to pry hydrogen loose from other elements, store it, and convert it back to useful energy. The value we get out of it has never quite justified what we invest in producing it. It is one of those technologies that seems perpetually on the verge of a breakthrough, but never quite there.
Seattle native Evan Johnson thinks he can change that. He thinks he’s finally figured out how to unlock a hydrogen economy.
Johnson is far from the first or only person with that goal. But after 10 years of tinkering, testing, and preparation, he has worked out a series of technologies and a practical business plan that chart a path to real commercial scale for hydrogen.
The best part is his 3 product plan:
HyTech Power, based in Redmond, Washington, intends to introduce three products over the next year or two.
The first will use hydrogen to clean up existing diesel engines, increasing their fuel efficiency by a third and eliminating over half their air pollution, with an average nine-month payback, the company says. That’s a potentially enormous market with plenty of existing demand, which HyTech hopes will capitalize its second product, a retrofit that will transform any internal combustion vehicle into a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) by enabling it to run on pure hydrogen. That will primarily be targeted at large fleets.
And that will tee up the third product — the one Johnson’s had his eye on from the beginning, the one that could revolutionize and decentralize the energy system — a stationary energy-storage product meant to compete with, and eventually outcompete, big batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall.
This is all very exciting. If ICE can be converted, then that would immediately accelerate the elimination of fossil fuel usage. The big issue with electric cars isn’t that they won’t happen, but that they can’t happen fast enough. There are around 270 million cars in the USA, and around 6 million new cars sold each year. All 3 of these products will have huge impacts on the entire transportation industry. And there’s plenty of room for electric cars and this.