EFFICIENCY’S IMPORTANT BECAUSE ENERGY SUPPLY LOOKS LIKE IT’S GOING TO RUN SHORT OF ENERGY DEMAND AND WE THINK THE SUPPLY OF PETROLEUM IS PLATEAUING
quarter of the cars in the world that could be fuelled by hydrogen.
‘‘What’s all that hydrogen being used for? It’s used to make fertiliser — one half of it — the other half is used as input to making gasoline.
‘‘By 2012 we’re estimating that just the hydrogen used at refineries could fuel 175 million vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells. The point is, the infrastructure is not a showstopper and the vehicle has proven to be real.’’
‘‘YOU don’t need as many hydrogen stations as we have gasoline stations.
‘‘In the US there are 170,000 gasoline stations. We estimated that if you never wanted to be more than two miles from a hydrogen station and never more than 25 miles from one on the freeway and you wanted that in all 100 larger cities in the US— which is 70 per cent of our population — you need 12,000 stations.
‘‘Those 12,000 stations, even at $2 million each, that’s $24 billion. And you ask ‘Is there a hydrogen infrastructure problem?’ Come on, guys.
‘‘And you could make that hydrogen from natural gas.’’
FUEL V WATER
‘‘AS YOU study energy systems, you find higher energy dependencies between water and energy.
‘‘You realise it takes 2-3 litres of water to make a litre of gasoline.’’
‘‘THE time frame on LPG is right now . . . the biomass time frame is three to five years.
‘‘The good news on biomass-based technology is it’s already very inexpensive to make your car capable of running on E85 and we’ll find clever ways with LPG and compressed natural gas to get more cost out as well. I want to emphasise that this is not food-based biomass, it’s garbage.’’
‘‘WE THINK the tipping point for fuel cell vehicles is where we have sufficient scale and sufficient cost and market learning. That could be 2018 to 2020 and you might ask, ‘Can the world wait that long?’
‘‘Well, we’re not waiting. We’re playing hard on ethanol, we’re playing hard on plug-in electrics, we have eight hybrids in the market now, and we’ll have eight more in the next two years. We’re pushing solutions like CNG and LPG.’’
A MAGIC WAND FOR AUSTRALIA?
‘‘I DEFINITELY would focus on energy diversity, I would ask, ‘Do I need to be importing any petroleum at all into this country’.
‘‘I would look at LPG. That’s an exciting opportunity you have here already, and there’s distribution for that already. And natural gas is relatively inexpensive and clean.
‘‘I would anticipate compressed natural gas down the road and, longer term, I would go after solar big time. I think it’s going to be economically viable. Then I would look at biomass.’’
‘‘Then I would anticipate that fuelcell vehicles and plug-in electrics are going to be very real solutions, and set myself up for that.’’
A MAGIC WAND FOR THE US?
‘‘I KNOW nuclear is not necessarily the right thing here in Australia — I respect that — but in the US I would build one nuclear plant on a closed military base, so it’s secure.
‘‘I would dedicate that nuclear power to creating hydrogen. And I’d hoard it, because you can make a lot from a nuclear plant.
‘‘I would introduce hydrogen fuelcell vehicles because they’re an exciting vehicle customers like. Then I would say to OPEC, ‘Do you want to talk?’
‘‘We’ve shown we can create an alternative to petroleum that goes into a vehicle customers like and we don’t have to rely on petroleum any more.’’
Electric dream: General Motors’ hybrid engine.
Greener pastures: GM vice-president Tom Stephens plugs in the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid at the 2008 North American Motor Show.
Options: GM is already using alternative fuels.