A response to “Forgetting Someone, Mr. Secretary?” Frontlines, Feb 1, 2002.
Henry R. Linden is the Max McGraw Professor of Energy and Power Engineering and Management at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois.
The "Frontlines" article in the Feb. 1, 2002 issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly by Richard Stavros gives me a welcome opportunity to contribute to the ongoing debate about how to supply hydrogen to fuel-cell-powered vehicles. In his article "Forgetting Someone, Mr. Secretary? The DOE's new hydrogen car initiative won't get very far without electric utilities," Mr. Stavros is critical of DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham's recent announcement of the "Freedom Cooperative Automotive Research" (or "Freedom CAR" for short) program as the follow-on to the "Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles." The reason is that in this new public-private partnership to promote hydrogen as a fuel for cars and trucks, he did not include the electric utilities. Mr. Stavros seems to fall into the same trap as so many of the major car manufacturers in assuming the need for a prohibitively costly infrastructure to supply this hydrogen when one already exists that offers by far the cheapest and environmentally vastly superior option—the natural gas transmission and distribution system.