Advocates for hydrogen convergence have been critical of the Obama Administration’s energy policies after Secretary Chu proposed defunding hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Many of these advocates have withheld their opinions on an Obama second term until there was some sign of support for American hydrogen innovation. For those tasked with supporting sustainability, a new program called H2USA maybe just what the doctor ordered.
The European Union has been working overtime to implement hydrogen infrastructure programs while the Department of Energy under Secretary Chu was busy removing hydrogen from the title of all fuel cell programs. Unfortunately, hydrogen convergence has started to look a lot like the global cell phone rollout. American companies tested their new products overseas and introduced them here at home once all the bugs were worked out.
Now this delay may seem efficient to senior managers and older first time entrepreneurs but it is not good for a country trying to maintain its current economic standing. Another similarity is the use of professional researchers in commercialization efforts. Recent history has shown that America has problems in industries which are dominated by high concentrations of professional workers (e.g. cell phones).
America does better in industries, in which the price of innovation is extremely low (i.e. Internet, robots, and increasingly biology). A lot of very serious people like to call this democracy in action. For those tasked with supporting sustainability, you may want to think of it as example of the post-Globalization marketplace. And remember that you can’t reason with evolution or creative destruction. You have got to out run them.
This brings us back to H2USA. If H2USA is focused on advancing the deployment of high-pressure hydrogen infrastructure then America will continue to fall behind Europe. However, if America moves to develop low-pressure hydrogen infrastructure then it can regain the hydrogen convergence lead. The reason is that low-pressure solutions cost less to build and maintain which reduces the price of innovation.