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Hydrogen Power Could Go Mainstream After All

Over 5,000 fueling stations will be in use by 2020, says study.

by on Jul.19, 2011

GM is testing the viability of its hydrogen-powered Equinox prototype as part of a Hawaiian pilot program.

Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, goes the old saw, and always will be.  A decade ago, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were being billed as the green power source of choice, but interest has waned, in recent years as emphasis shifts to battery power.

But a new study suggests there’ll be a big market for the clean, lightweight gas, after all.  According to Pike Research, there will be at least 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations in operation around the globe by 2020, the result of an estimated $8.4 billion investment effort.

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Demand for the fuel is forecast to grow to 418 million kilograms (920 million pounds) annually, compared to 775,000 kilograms (1.7 million pounds) today.

“Currently, the major players in hydrogen fueling are large multinationals: the industrial gas companies, and the energy and gas companies, both those that operate retail gas stations and those that provide fuels for the grid. These companies tend to favor large-scale hydrogen infrastructure options,” explains Pike senior analyst Lisa Jerram.