TO THE EDITOR:
I agree with Keith Crain’s comments regarding battery-electric vehicles (“Don’t invest in steam engines,” Jan. 15).
Having sat on and chaired several National Research Council committees of the National Academy of Sciences dealing with the hydrogen fuel cell issue over the past 15 years, I would like to offer some additional comments.
While I am an enthusiastic proponent of fuel cells for automobiles, I felt Crain omitted the basic barrier to their introduction. It is not technology nor cost nor reliability; it is simply the lack of a hydrogen infrastructure. In the U.S., we have a gas station on almost every corner.
The number of hydrogen filling stations for vehicles in California is about 30! The number of gasoline and diesel retail stations in California is more than 10,000. Looking for a hydrogen filling station today is much worse than waiting to have your battery charged.
A 2008 NAS report put the cost of a distributed hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S. by 2023 at $16 billion, about $1 billion per year. So the question is who pays for it: Uncle Sam or BP, Shell, etc.? Why would the car companies push to sell these vehicles without a hydrogen fueling infrastructure?
TREVOR OWEN JONES, President and CEO, International Development Corp., Chagrin Falls, Ohio