The Department of Energy (DOE) is collecting information on how best to promote an “H-Prize” for a home hydrogen filling station. Unfortunately, the DOE is not the only organization that talks about home hydrogen filling stations as if they were the holy grail of hydrogen convergence (i.e. a lot of very serious do). For those tasked with supporting sustainability, a better use of time would be to find ways to engage the Maker Movement.
The most difficult challenges ahead for getting Americans to adopt hydrogen convergence are not technological. They are cultural. For over a century, gasoline has been the foundation of personal transportation and economic mobility in the United States. This all changed with the arrival of peak oil (i.e. the point where oil production will continue decline without any hope of turnaround) and the Great Recession.
Countries around the world are working to end their reliance on this declining resource. They understand the reality that gasoline technology has reached its end of life even though a lot of very serious people still hold out hope. Some in the mainstream media talk about America becoming the world leader in oil production. The reality is that the new technology for producing more gasoline does so by reducing the production of other products.
Home hydrogen filling stations are just another technology pipedream much like the one associated with America becoming the world leader in oil production. The extra costs associated with deploying hydrogen filling stations will delay the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which some would say is the real goal. Centralized hydrogen filling stations makes the most sense from a both cost standpoint and cultural standpoint.