We’ve been hearing about the “hydrogen economy” for a long time. NASA was developing fuel cells in the 1960s and United Technologies started commercializing stationary power plants in the 70s. Jeremy Rifkin wrote about it in 2002. The Bloom Box got a lot of attention in 2010. In 2013, several US states agreed to pursue a mandate for a percentage of zero-emission vehicles, including fuel cell electric vehicles, to be sold in their jurisdictions. The Hydrogen Initiative was launched in Europe in 2018, building on the work of the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a robust public-private partnership begun in 2008. An even broader international consortium was launched only last month. Companies, governments, and research institutes around the world have been pursuing the vision of a hydrogen economy at an increasing pace and with more tangible breakthroughs every year. I was struck early this year, for instance, by the fact of South Korea’s enthusiastic embrace of hydrogen.
Don’t you love acronyms? ZEV MOU means “zero-emission vehicles memorandum of understanding.” The eight states of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont today signed an agreement to develop an action plan to collectively require 15% of all new vehicles sold in their states be either electric or hydrogen fuel-cell by 2025. That should translate, as the rule phases in, to having 3.3 million ZEVs on their roads by that time. California Governor Jerry Brown said: “This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment. From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.” Continue reading