Welcome new readers of RMP’s quarterly H2 infrastructure report. Each quarter RMP looks back on the major stories related to hydrogen infrastructure advancements and we compare the current AFDC database to the AFDC database in the prior quarter to see what has changed. The AFDC database is updated by the US Dept of Energy & can be found by clicking here. AFDC stands for Alternative Fuels Data Center and it’s where the US government keeps stats on all alternative fuels’ infrastructure. Canada does not have a centralized database of alternative fuel vehicle information so we collect Canadian data by hand in RMP’s own data tables. Ok, on with the report…
At the end of 2019-Q3, the 41st HRS had just come online in Oakland California on 9/20/2019. This Shell station remains unique in California because of its 800kg capacity of liquid H2 and dual dispensers. In 2019-Q4 we had two more public stations come online in California that were also in the San Francisco area: the San Francisco 3rd street station came online 11/6/2019 and the San Francisco Harrison Street station came online 12/2/2019. This brings the total number of public stations open in California up to 43 to end the decade. A second public H2 refueling station came online in Vancouver British Columbia as well.
As we end of one decade & the start another, it’s exciting to look forward to the 2020s with so much ground work laid in the Hydrogen Economy through the 2010s. RMP has been following hydrogen infrastructure very closely through the 2010s & will continue to do so into the 2020s. At this decade milestone after so many steps forward in the Hydrogen Economy, it would seem appropriate to name past decade the “Hydrogen Economy Demonstration” decade and the upcoming decade the “Hydrogen Economy Scaling” decade. Really what we’ve seen over the past 10 years is that hydrogen just works & has great economic benefits. As the Hydrogen Economy scales up, cost costs go down & good paying jobs for Americans proliferate.
The United States Department of Energy has for a long time appropriately named their #hydrogen energy initiative H2@Scale. The DOE has recently updated their H2@Scale logo and it couldn’t be better timing as we start the new “Hydrogen Economy Scaling” decade. Many of the players in the Hydrogen Economy like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Air Liquide, Shell, NEL Hydrogen, Ballard, PLUG Power, Cummins, and too many more to name have put all the pieces in place to demonstrate the Hydrogen Economy works economically. Now it is time to blow some minds with how hydrogen can scale like no other solution over the next 10 years.
Countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany, America, the United Kingdom, Canada, and others have laid the groundwork for hydrogen cars, busses, trains, ships, steelmaking, home heating, & industrial scale electricity all at zero emissions. What will be surprising to some but not those reading this blog is how each of those energy sectors can scale to meet the needs of every human being on the planet earth. Hydrogen is literally inexhaustible & because its supply is so prevalent everywhere people live, there will never be a hydrogen resource issue. Hydrogen’s cost does nothing but go down as usage scales up, it’s that simple. This will mean meaningful reductions in fossil fuel use worldwide will start to materialize over the next decade as the general public learns what you already know: hydrogen just works. Not only does hydrogen just work, it works sustainably, economically, and (as the DOE says) at scale.
What does the path to hydrogen at scale look like in 2020? And, what is the smartest & most environmentally friendly way to get there? RMP supports Toyota’s approach & believes the big battery approach (like Tesla) is unsustainable & does not make economic or environmental sense at scale. While BEVs have had a jump start on FCEVs out of the gate, BEVs are still under 2% of VIO (vehicles in operation). At less than 2% VIO for BEVs, however, we are seeing massive charging station backups over both the Thankgiving 2019 & Christmas 2019. The videos are all over twitter & this is no surprise to many people who advocate for FCEVs & face non-stop arguments against FCEVs from Tesla fans. Serious question for Tesla fans tho, if SuperChargers are backed up already at 2% VIO: what happens at 5%? 10%? How about 20%? The scale problem for BEVs is real & demonstrates BEVs will not work at scale & there is no white paper out there to show how BEVs could possibly work at scale.
LMAO……seems as efficient and productive as most things in CA. pic.twitter.com/F8qG6f57hh
— All American 🇺🇸⭐️🇺🇸 (@Redtowel4) December 24, 2019
RMP is an environmental organization & our primary objective is to protect our fresh water. Following that mission, let’s just assume BEVs could work at scale and perform a little thought experiment. Let’s compare the environmental benefits of a long range BEV versus another off the shelf technology that’s ready to go right now: Toyota’s RAV4 Prime which is a gasoline / electric plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). RMP would like to demonstrate with math & numbers why Toyota’s approach to saving the environment is an order of magnitude smarter than Tesla’s. After our thought experiment, RMP will drill the point home how Toyota’s gasoline “range extenders” on the RAV4 Prime could eventually replaced with zero emission hydrogen fuel cell range extenders.
Toyota has sold & has in operation 3.5M Toyota RAV4s in North America as of 9/30/2019 according to the latest IHS Markit data, none of which were sold with any government subsidy ($0). Tesla on the other hand has just under 225k Tesla Model 3’s on US roads that were sold with $1.5B (yes billion) in subsidies. That means there is currently more than an order of magnitude more Toyota RAV4’s on the road than Tesla Model 3s. Let’s imagine now, that if Toyota can sell 3.5M Toyota RAV4s w/o subsidies, they ought to be able to sell another 3.5M Toyota RAV4 Primes with subsidies. The RAV4 Prime will get the full $7,500 subsidy & have a starting price of $36,500. That makes one of Toyota’s hottest selling vehicles already, much more attractive at $29,000! The Tesla Model 3 by comparison now sells for $39,900 according to their website with a $1,000 destination charge. Since the Tesla Model 3 no longer gets the federal tax incentive, that makes it more than $10k more than the Toyota RAV4 Prime. So now I think it’s fair to do a thought experiment to see how the RAV4 Primes would compare to Tesla Model 3s on environmental impacts if all the RAV4’s on the road were RAV4 Primes. Keep in mind, manufacturing a larger battery pack has a larger environmental impact before you have even driven your first mile. So, even if the RAV4 Prime & the Tesla Model 3 tied in our experiment, the RAV4 Prime would win the tie breaker. Spoiler alert, the Tesla Model 3 is an order of magnitude worse for the environment than the RAV4 Prime.
Let’s do our thought experiment using real numbers assuming all RAV4s on the road were RAV4 Primes vs the same number of Model 3s on the road. Let’s also make the following assumptions: distance travelled in a year is 12,000 miles and the RAV4 Prime would get 90% of its miles as zero emission electric miles using a 13kWh battery pack whereas the Tesla Model 3 would get 100% zero emission miles using a 75kWh battery pack. The Teslas, in one year, would lay down 2.7B miles of zero emission driving. The Toyotas would lay down 33.3B zero emission miles! The Toyotas are 12.4x better (more than 1.2 orders of magnitude better) for gasoline reduction than the Teslas & the consumer gives up zero convenience! (see Figure 1).
Now let’s look at how efficiently Toyota allocates important battery making raw materials versus Tesla continuing with the same variables. Telsa would use 16.8 million kWh of battery raw materials to make 225k vehicles whereas Toyota would use 45.1 million kWh of battery raw materials to make 3.5M vehicles. That means the Tesla only gets 160 miles per unit of raw materials used and the Toyota gets 923 miles per unit of raw materials used! The Toyota is approximately 600% better than the Tesla at fairly allocating important resources! (See Figure 1). That means Toyota can give six people a chance to drive zero emission miles for every one person with the same amount of raw materials for Tesla. Further, Toyota is using Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, which are cheaper & more abundant in the earth’s crust than Lithium Cobalt batteries (blood batteries).
As you can see with some simple math, Toyota’s plan to use batteries & gasoline range extenders is more than an order of magnitude better for planet earth than large battery pack BEVs. As hydrogen refueling infrastructure proliferates, those gasoline range extender vehicle sales can be replaced with sales of hydrogen fuel cell range extender vehicles and we have a clear winner on the pathway to zero emission travel. Remember, RMP doesn’t advocate against batteries, RMP advocates for FCEVs which are battery / fuel cell hybrids. RMP also advocates for smaller battery packs so everyone can get a chance to help us get off gasoline without consuming as much raw material to do so. We can reduce gasoline consumption in North America faster with smaller battery packs than we can with large ones. It’s hard to argue with RMP’s environmental logic even if BEV chargers weren’t already overloading at 2% VIO. But, if you’re compelled to run into that brick wall of truth with an anti-fuel cell argument, feel free to leave a comment below.
New H2 Stations That Opened To The Public 2019 Q4:
As mentioned earlier, in 2019-Q4 we had two more public stations come online in California that were also in the San Francisco area: the San Francisco 3rd street station came online 11/6/2019 and the San Francisco Harrison Street station came online 12/2/2019. This brings the total number of public stations in California up to 43 to end the decade.
We also had a 2nd public station open in Vancouver British Columbia on December 10, 2019. Both Canadian BC stations are Shell & HTEC collaborations. RMP will be adding these Canadian HRS’s to our North American Hydrogen Refueling Station map which is scheduled for a massive update in 2020. RMP will be adding many features or our HRS maps in 2020.
Important Headlines from 2019 Q4:
National Hydrogen Day. James Kaff posts this story about the DOE partnering with Orlando Utilities Commission to build $9M solar hydrogen system in Osceolo County Florida. The DOE will supply a $4M grant as part of the total $9M pricetag. 74.5MW of solar power will be used to charge two batteries capable of providing 1 MW for 10 hours. The hydrogen will be used to provide electricity for weeks at a time. Detroit’s General Motors will provide the fuel cell system. Again, this is another example that batteries & fuel cells work together, don’t believe the “either/or” argument.
Fully Charged Episode (Europe) with Siemens & GeoPura. Great video. Shows the end to end process of charging electric vehicles with fuel cells. The irony here is very thick in that it’s the fuel cells that are charging the BEVs. Again, batteries & fuel cells work together, the “either/or” argument is a red herring.
11/15/19 – First H2 powered train in USA coming to San Bernadino county California made by Swiss train maker Stadler. Article in H2 View by Molly Burgess
Toyota shows off Class8 zero emission truck in partnership with Kenworth. #ProjectPortal with this cool video linked below. The video shows off both the alpha & beta versions of the truck that are in operation in California. Toyota also shows off their new marketing logo: H2 + O2 = Electricity + Water.
On Sept 11, the CEC approved $20 million for more hydrogen infrastructure. Lots of other good numbers to cover here too. This is technically tail end of Q3 but was close enough to Q4 that the info didn’t rightly make it into Q4, plus I would have never found it if not for Mark Troup on facebook.
Nonetheless, this is a great link to the summary of the story, but there is also video somewhere worthy of an entire post on its own.
Dec 27, 2019
FuelCell Energy announces its Tulare California renewable 2.8MW waste water / biogas facility came online. Tulare is along the 99 between Los Angeles & San Franciso. The 99 essentially runs parallel to the 5 from LA to San Fran and this facility is a perhaps a precursor to hydrogen stations being located along the 99 which would open a second major artery for fuel cell vehicles on California roads. Fuel Cell Energy, who owns the proprietary equipment to work with natural biogas can turn human waste into: heat, electricity, hydrogen, and/or drinking water very economically & also in an environmentally friendly way.
December 26, 2019 – California Energy Commission releases GFO-19-602. “Up to $115.7 million in grant funds are available, “subject to future appropriations and Clean Transportation Program Investment Plan funding allocations, for hydrogen refueling infrastructure projects that will expand California’s early commercial light duty hydrogen refueling and fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) markets and to accommodate the projected FCEV roll-out in 2021-2024. Of the up-to amount, $45.7 million is currently available.”
Next Paragraph: This solicitation encourages projects with fueling agreements with fleets of commercial vehicles and transit buses to increase station throughput and to aid in the transition of California’s commercial vehicle and bus fleets to a zero-emission alternative. The network of hydrogen refueling stations, hydrogen fuel supply, and the use of FCEVs will support California’s air quality improvement and climate change goals. Hydrogen is one of the alternative fuels that contributes to reducing the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels.
FCEVs On The Road in America & Canada 2019 Q4:
RMP uses world renown IHS Markit data to view the number of vehicles on the road in the USA & Canada. This is the same data source used for the Toyota RAV4 & Tesla Model 3 VIO information above. IHS Markit releases data for the previous quarter about a month & a half after the quarter is over. So, 2019-Q3 data (shown below) is the most recent data. 2019-Q4 data will release some time in February. VIO stands for Vehicles In Operation & denotes how many vehicles are registered in the USA & Canada.
Final Remarks for 2019 Q4:
What did we learn in the last decade? We learned that hydrogen just works. Not only does hydrogen just work, its cost/economic profile only improves as it scales because it’s an inexhaustible resource located everywhere. With so many example hydrogen infrastructure projects completed in the 2010s (or the Hydrogen Economy Demonstration decade), we now look forward to scaling up in the 2020s (the Hydrogen Economy Scaling decade). Expert consensus is that hydrogen fuel cells & hydrogen refueling infrastructure costs will fall as fast or faster than solar cell costs have fallen since the 1970s through today. We also learned that even with all Elon Musk’s smack talk against fuel cells, he who laughs last, laughs best. Toyota who has proven scale in selling real world vehicles [not made in tents] will soon be showing Tesla how to reduce gasoline consumption by more than an order of magnitude more than Tesla’s large wasteful battery packs. A smaller pack & nice stack is the way to go.
Thanks for reading RMP’s last hydrogen update of the decade. In 2020, RMP will be scaling up our posts on the hydrogen economy & demonstrating new hydrogen infrastructure maps around the world. Our North America map is going to be really cool with new features coming & RMP will also be launching our European HRS map as well as improving our China HRS map. See you in the next decade.