The lag "has more to do with the fact that the energy landscape has changed so substantially and that the market is working to catch up," said Kathryn Clay, executive director of the Drive Natural Gas Alliance, a group representing the natural gas industry that lobbied hard for credits under the new fuel economy rule. "But it is catching up."
Some projections have sales levels jumping to 10 percent in the next two decades.
But it's a gamble at best to think natural gas vehicles will roll out quickly enough to spread fueling stations across the country so that FCEVs can have access to hydrogen.
There's also currently no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide produced in making hydrogen from natural gas on site at a fueling station, which would undermine any climate benefits. Carbon capture would be more feasible at a centralized facility.
The real barrier, however, is the logistics of coordinating the expansion of two nascent, expensive and potentially competitive technologies.
"It wouldn't be a great strategy for natural gas people to hope and wait for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in order to make a mutual strategy," said Nicholas Lutsey, program director at the International Council on Clean Transportation. "And if I really wanted fuel cell vehicles, I don't think it would be a necessary step to go through natural gas vehicles, either."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500