A response to "Frontlines," Feb. 1, 2002.
Paul B. Scott, Stuart Energy USA
Kudos to you for your well‑developed editorial ("Forgetting Someone, Mr. Secretary?" Frontlines, Feb. 1, 2002), pointing out that the administration's announcement is not quite half baked, and that the utilities are key to the implementation of a hydrogen fueled transportation initiative.
I had not been aware of the recent Chauncey Starr paper, and would appreciate a specific reference so that we can read it.
You may want to take a look at a study recently completed by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CFCP), which suggested the installation of 500 fueling stations in California to meet the needs of some 40,000 cars by the end of this decade, and estimated the capital cost at $225 million. The equivalent nationwide would cost a few billion dollars.
Before one pales at the costs, it is worthwhile to look at such relatively limited efforts as well as to look at the benefits of the massive investments contemplated. To the extent that one can convert to "home grown" fuel, one replaces the tens of billions/year spent to import hydrocarbons, one regains the national security that has been lost as the country has become more dependent. In addition, there will be health gains from reduced air pollution, which alone amount to over a hundred billion dollars per year in healthcare costs. Certainly, these offset some of the massive investments.