There are many technologies on the horizon that are helping with sustainability. One that California is funding and has recognized as part of the mix is hydrogen. The cost of hydrogen is expected to fall in the next decade as new clean production technologies mature and industries reach economies of scale.

Three reasons we need to consider hydrogen could have an impact on our daily life are storage, customer behavior, and long haul freight.

  1. Storage, with current technology we do not have enough battery storage.  There are not enough batteries on earth for just California to go 100% renewable.  So investing in additional storage options is prudent, with the looming threat of climate change. Hydrogen stores excess wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal energy to be used later when demand is high. Hydrogen has already been deployed as storage in Utah, Scotland, Norway, South Korea, and other places.  to balance the grid and using hydrogen as storage could be supported by this California Grant.
  2. Customer Behavior. Having promoted Electric Vehicles (EV) for years, I still see people stuck in the “Fill up” mindset. Fast EV charging that matches the speed of refueling costs more than just the stations, they also require major grid investment in power generation, distribution, and storage. Hydrogen stations currently cost less to build on a per-car basis than DC fast charging, and one hydrogen station can fill hundreds of cars daily. The fuel station model might be the answer to providing Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) fueling in areas that can’t accommodate overnight charging and be better suited to people who drive 100 or more miles a day
  3. Freight. Trucks, buses, ships, and trains create more pollution and GHG emissions than single-passenger cars and, thanks to Amazon Prime, are a growing sector of vehicles on the road. Short-haul, return-to-base trucks may be well-served by batteries, and freight vehicles that use hydrogen will simply increase the number of clean trucks on the road. 

The numbers of ZEVs on the roads is not enough. Just as we need solar, wind, and hydropower to meet our renewable energy goals, we need investment batteries and fuel cells to meet our goals for vehicle electrification. We need to bring as many options to bear fighting climate change.

California is Investing in both storage and hydrogen refueling stations in California.  The California Fuel Cell Partnership is a great resource to stay up to date on funding opportunities. Including the over $100 Million is available for Hydrogen projects and the road map to hydrogen technologies being delivered across the US.

If you want to learn more and get involved with hydrogen make sure you come to our Meetup at Frontier Energy on January 30th.  Frontier has been operating the California Fuel Cell Partnership for 30 years as well as projects with battery EVs, autonomous vehicles, and new mobility. There you can connect with people leading the Zero Emission charge with Hydrogen.


Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

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