back to article EU parliament says yes to hydrogen cars

Members of the European Parliament have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a plan to bring in common standards for hydrogen cars and hydrogen filling stations across the EU. EU Observer reports that 644 MEPs in Brussels voted in favour of a report on hydrogen vehicles, with just two against and 11 abstaining. The report calls …


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  1. Red Bren

    Why governments prefer hydrogen to electric

    It is even more difficult to obtain, store and transport than petrol or diesel so governments can easily add fuel tax on purchase.

    Electric cars charged off the domestic mains would be damn near impossible to tax to the same level.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Energy Efficiency

    Nice article - balanced, accurate and to the point, IMHO.

    > "That's the key - energy efficiency."

    Absolutely - as both demand and costs increase (regardless of the ultimate energy source), energy efficiency becomes a huge driver for both market structures and technology development. It seems a few people are starting to realise just how important efficiency will become, but there's a long way to go yet.

  3. G.R.L. Cowan, H2-to-B convert

    Not electrical, even when you come right down to it

    Years ago air-breathing hydrogen fuel cells' efficiency, chemical-to-DC, was below 40 percent, even with a power-to-mass ratio such that a car would need 400 kg of fuel cell.

    No-one ever puts a hydrogen ICE in one, and a hydrogen FCEV powertrain in in the other, of two otherwise identical cars, with identical hydrogen tanks, and sees whether, if the FCEV sets the pace, the burner ever drops back with fuel starvation. I suspect the FCEV thing runs out first.

    So hydrogen cars are not intrinsically EVs. Nor would dedicated nuclear plants use electrolysis; they would use the S-I process, q.v.

    --- G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996

  4. Cindy lewis

    H2 is a go

    Our company, Limnia, Inc. ( has resolved almost all of the issues associated with hydrogen infrastructure. We store hydrogen in patented, solid-state, non-pressurized canisters that are safe, efficient, better than many battery solutions, use common carriers already built out globally and can recharge a car in seconds via hot-swap. Our many hydrogen generation partners have shown methods, this year, to make hydrogen from water or organic waste so that the energy efficiency is completely attractive.

    Cindy Lewis

  5. Martin Gregorie Silver badge
    Dead Vulture


    Read the Zubrin piece Lewis referenced:

    Its well-written and researched. It shows clearly that those pushing hydrogen are either ignorant idiots, charlatans or both.

  6. Julian Bond

    Follow the money

    Surely Eu politicians don't themselves know if this is a good idea. So who is telling them and why?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is bad

    Sorry, but the Hydrogen economy needs money, not standards, the promise of a big payday if they get it right. They don't know the optimal solution for generation/delivery/storage yet. Lots of contenders including the ones mentioned above. The standards will sort themselves out when the potential to earn a shit load of money comes along.

    The last thing needed is rules and regs, who cares if there is 2 nozzles to choose from? Who cares if we have a selection of different grades of oil and different vehicles use different oils?? Get your nose out of hydrogen and your wallet in.

    @martin, yeh Hydrogen is not an energy source it's a transmission mechanism, but we have all these car things and production lines for them and roads for them and until the next big thing comes along we need something to bridge that.

  8. Tony

    Hydrogen is a non-starter

    Production, transport and storage of hydrogen in a usable manner for mass consumption is not economically feasible and even dangerous highly compressed hydrogen has much less power density than gasoline and diesel.

  9. Jando
    Paris Hilton

    A bit of thinking

    In one day we get an article telling us that renewables were a mistake. Most comments tell us wind energy is expensive because gives us electricity which is diffcult to store. A bit later, we get an article telling us how hydrogen is bad because you need to make it from electricity and water so all it does is store energy from coal. I think I can see a really logical anti-renewable energy argument in there somewhere.

    Paris, because she can't remember what she was talking about 15 minutes ago either.

  10. Pyros

    Missing the point

    To be honest... wouldn't it be better to go one step further and make fuel out of waste material? Biofuels are looking more and more attractive, with newer technologies in development, such as algal filtration.

    Besides, hydrogen is pretty inefficent, requiring almost as much to make it as to use it.

  11. strcmp

    this Gunter Verhuegen?

    you mean this Gunter Verhuegen?ünter_Verheugen

    hard to find because of all the misplaced or missing (in the ü/ue) e-s

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    OH FFS

    Look lets just do them all, battery vehicles ala electric lightening style, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen engines and then let the market decide which they like. I mean its not as if we have arguments over petrol or diesel or lpg we just have all three options and all have their benefits and costs.

    Just build them already!

    Transport Fuel independance is a justa sub set of energy independance and i am all in favour of that. I also heard it might save the planet, make our oil last longer which is good considering the rest of the things we use it for like plastic. Basically though its make us less vulnerable to macro economic price speculation rises.

    We'll probably build the hydrogen separation plants in the UK if we go down the non reformed gas method which means well have more jobs there and then well have more jobs in the energy sector for all the power plants required to juice these green hydrogen plants up. Of course some petrolium refineries in the UK will downsize but i'd guess that most of the labour force would move into hydrogen. The rest of the jobs would be created or more accurately moved from other nations back here, but thats tough titty to them.

    So basically it will help our balance of payments, create (move) jobs to the UK, make us less vulnerable to speculation, save the planet, make us less vulnerable to International Political Power plays (Russia), give us more choice, stimulate new markets sectors. The best bit is that the only people likely to be able to this on a scale we need will be the BP's of this world and they are likely to follow the money as much as the next corporation so they will be happy as well.

    Best of all the hydrogen is probably not going to cost more than petrol to produce well at least it wont when we remember that whatever petrol costs you still have to add tax. Heck we might even see a price drop, but dont hold your breath.

  13. Rich

    Energy storage bah!

    We just need to dust off the Ford Nucleon:

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moan moan moan - don't do anything, just moan

    Why do these so-called "environmentalists" do nothing but complain and try to tell me what I should do? Why don't they actually put their money where their mouth is and actually offer us solutions to their perceived problems, thereby making what they consider to be a better world?

    No, no: don't bother telling me anything about how much it costs, how they don't have the infrastructure etc. I know that there are problems and so on. This post is just a rant - I'm a bit fed up :-(

  15. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Up

    It's about energy storage.

    I think that hydrogen in itself is not a solution, but it is a key piece of any renewable energy solution.

    The big problem with renewables is not so much production but storage. Wind doesn't blow all the time, sun doesn't shine all the time, and some days there are no waves. This causes a major problem for renewables as modern economies consume power and fuel all the time, so there is a problem unless you have a huge nuclear or fossil burning backup, at which point your renewable infrastructure isn't cost effective to build. Also there is a problem with purely electric cars: battery life is severely limited right now.

    If you have an hydrogen economy you can store the "surplus" energy renewables produces on good days (perfect wind, lot of sunshine etc...) and use it with electrolysis to produce hydrogen fuel for cars and possibly as fuel for power station on leaner days. This makes a renewable energy much more cost effective to set up, as even if power demand is low the energy from that solar panel can produce valuable car fuel. This us currently impossible with gas, as you cant turn electricity into benzine.

    An added bonus would be that an hydrogen economy would make Europe much less dependant of oil producing countries (middle east, Russia etc...). Once we have this energy portability that would really open a worldwide market for energy. We could imagine that a poor African country with little ressources but a lot of sun could become a major hydrogen provider with solar infrastructure. A remote island with constant wind would become a energy exporter, all it would require is windmill and an harbor for the hydrogen supertanker.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    19th Century tech

    We're still using it.

    We use steam engines to make electricity (we're still using electricity!)

    We use steam engines in our cars etc (igniting gas fumes for the work instead of using steam, but still using steam engines complete with gears and pistons!).

    So the real question now is - why the hell haven't we replaced all of this last century?

    Flame - because it's basic as well.

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    @Cindy Lewis

    I'll believe your PR piece when I see the goods available for sale and have the independent reviews that analyze your "solutions" and agree with your take.

    Until then, I'll remain skeptical about any vendor that promises to have found the ideal solution.

    Please do not take it personally, I really would like to get out of fuel permanently.

  18. druck Silver badge

    Hydrogen RX-8

    Mazda have been playing with a hydrogen powered RX-8s in Japan, and you can even hire one when you are over there. It all sounds very good until you realise it takes a 250hp sports car with a normal range of 250 miles to the tank on petrol (the RX-8 is thirsty rotary beast), and turns it in to a limp wristed 110hp 4 door saloon which can only venture 120 miles away from the limited number of hydrogen filling stations.

    Therefore I question Gunter Verhuegen's claim that his hydrogen BMW 7 series is very efficient. He'll probably be overtaken by tiny diesel blue motion Golfs on the autoban, when he isn't having to stop at each service station to pump in some more Hindenburg gas.

  19. breakfast
    Thumb Up

    I was just thinking

    Maybe we've been barking up the wrong tree with flying cars. Maybe they'll be more like zeppelins.

    Not relelvant to the discussion at all, but I thought of it while I was reading and I felt the need to share.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Better value......for who?

    It always amazes me when costs are touted as to which fuel products will be cheaper for the consumer.

    Lets not forget, the current cost of fuel isn't expensive beyond the pockets of most motorists - it's the taxes incurred which make driving so bloody expensive.

    Let me see.... I go to work, and get paid. Out of my pay, I'm deducted tax. I then pay road tax to have my vehicle on the road which is coming out of my post-tax salary, as is the exorbitant cost of fuel. Of course, should I drive through London and on a toll road, I pay congestion charges and toll-road tax. I could of course extend the example to all the other motoring costs, but I think i've made my point.

    If someone invented a way to fuel cars for free tomorrow with a low/zero conversion cost to consumers do you not think that the government will just find alternative ways to fleece us - for example the pay as you drive scheme here:

    grumble grumble grumble.....

  21. Peter

    Less is mo... well, not on the table. Different though, gets subsidies

    Dontcha just love having our kids' eco-futures decided by guys driven round in 7-litre cars? Next thing you'll be telling me is Arnie uses a Hummer.

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