I am pasting below the reply to Nathan Wilson's comment sent by Dr. Mustafa Hatipoglu, Managing Director of UNIDO-ICHET (United Nations Industrial Development Organization - International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies), who is not a member of this group.
The idea of using hydrogen as a fuel in transportation or in residential applications or other stationary applications has never been debunked. On the contrary, commercial applications have started in the recent years and will sharply increase after 2015. Those facts and recent developments can be found in the press releases of the related companies and the R&D institutes.
In 2009, the leading automotive companies such as Daimler, Toyota, Honda, Ford, General Motor, Hyundai, Kia, an Nissan produced a joint statement on the development of hydrogen fuel cell cars and their commercialization from 2015 onwards. About two months ago, Daimler and Toyota confirmed their plan to start commercialization in 2015. By 2020, the other companies will complete their commercialization plans.
In parallel with the automotive manufacturers, the ‘Hydrogen Mobility Initiative’ partners: Linde, Shell, Daimler, ENBW, OMV, Total, Vattenfall & NOW Gmbh National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, announced their collaboration on spreading hydrogen fueling stations in Germany.
Thus, thee are not dreams but realities. One can find enough information if one enters the websites of those companies or participates in dedicated conferences and workshops.
As an example, HONDA/FCX-Clarity FC Car has a 100kW PEM Fuel Cell and 350 bar H2 Tank. Its driving range is close to 500 km. TOYOTA nowadays employs 700 bar H2 tanks and its driving range is a little more than 800 km. The websites of Honda, Toyota, Daimler and the others should be checked. Moreover, I have also ridden those cars in Japan. The performance, cold start, reliability and hydrogen storage problems of hydrogen fuel cell cars are already been solved. HONDA is also renting FCX-Clarity car in some countries (USA, Germany) at a monthly rate of 600 USD.
We should keep in mind that the energy storing capacity of hydrogen is almost three times more than that of gasoline. It means that the weight of hydrogen stored in compressed gas form in the car to drive a certain mileage is three times less than the weight of gasoline needed.
Currently, the automotive companies prefer to use compressed hydrogen (350 or 700 bar) in fuel cell cars. BMW selected liquid hydrogen to use in their prototypes, but later on gave up, since it is more costly than gaseous hydrogen.
Also, to produce hydrogen in a plant and then carry with lorries to fueling stations is not the way preferred by the gas companies. They prefer to produce hydrogen in site either by water electrolyzing or natural gas steam reforming.
Using ammonia as fuel in internal combustion engines and fuel cells is still under research. Can it be more efficient and feasible to convert hydrogen to ammonia and then reconvert it to hydrogen just for transporting? The toxic effect of ammonia is another issue but this should be cleared up over time. But, in any case, the automotive companies currently prefer to use compressed hydrogen as fuel for fuel cell cars.
Dr. Mustafa Hatipoglu