Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Hydrogen vs. Electric Batteries: A Case For Fresno's Transportation & Ag Future
Opinion
By Opinion
Published 3 weeks ago on
May 20, 2024

Michael Maher's op-ed initiates a dialogue in Fresno about the role of hydrogen in transportation, contrasting it with BEVs while highlighting the practical challenges and broader implications for Fresno's agricultural economy and national energy security. (Shutterstock)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Responses to my recent op-ed, A Sustainable Future for Fresno: Rethinking Our Hydrogen Strategy, opened a local dialogue about hydrogen’s benefits to Fresno.

However, some have suggested that Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) might better fulfill our green transportation future.

So, let’s explore the realities of our transportation needs and their impact on our community. We face two paths: one of environmental degradation and the other heralding unprecedented growth and prosperity.

Michael Maher

Opinion

To begin this discussion, I‘ll define, in simple terms, the four basic acronyms commonly used in the new revolution of ground transportation: ICE, EV, FCEV, and BEV. In the future, I will add details about the coming hydrogen and other sustainable fuels revolution in aviation and marine transportation.

The two main categories of vehicle transportation are ICE, the Internal Combustion Engines and EV or Electric Vehicles. The EV category can be subdivided into FCEV — Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles — or BEV – Battery Electric Vehicles.

An ICE vehicle is powered by fuel detonation, generating reciprocating motion of a piston converted to rotational force. The fuel used in ICE could be petroleum based, biofuel, hydrogen, or a blended combination sustainable fuels. EVs use electricity to power electric motors. The electricity can be stored in a battery, i.e. BEV or in a gas tank filled with hydrogen in the case of FCEV. The latter coverts the stored hydrogen to electricity through fuel cell technology. Hybrids are typically some combination of the technologies described above.

Despite the popularity of BEVs in the passenger vehicle market, their limitations in heavy and freight transportation have proven to be substantial. Major U.S. cities, including Fresno, depend crucially on robust heavy transportation systems. Unfortunately, BEVs will not meet California’s ambitious green energy goals for such applications, not just due to the practical challenges brought by the excessive weight and other limitations of batteries, but even more so due to the lack of infrastructure upon which we depend to support the projected electrical demand of going green via BEVs.

Hydrogen Superior for Freight Transportation

Hydrogen fuel, in contrast, offers a powerful alternative for heavy-duty transportation, promising more efficient and sustainable practices by utilizing FCEV or hydrogen blending options with existing fuels in current ICE applications. The use of hydrogen fuels will responsibly ease the transition as we advance the technology, increasing efficiency and driving down the cost under what users pay at the pump.

As an example, charging a fleet of merely 50 semitrucks or Class 8 trucks would be equivalent of the electricity usage of over 700 homes. The average power use per home in California is 24kWh per day as opposed to 350kWh to charge a BEV Class 8 truck one time.

There are significant issues that arise with the widespread adoption of BEVs in heavy transport across Central California. Being significantly heavier than other vehicles, BEVs will exacerbate wear on our already strained roads, and the electricity required to power them could debilitate Fresno and surrounding areas by limiting power for our current uses.

As an example, charging a fleet of merely 50 semitrucks or Class 8 trucks would be equivalent of the electricity usage of over 700 homes. The average power use per home in California is 24kWh per day as opposed to 350kWh to charge a BEV Class 8 truck one time. California Air Resources Board staff estimates there are 1.8 million medium and heavy-duty vehicles in California. This demand would severely strain if not cripple our power grids, especially during peak hours, leading to higher costs as well as frequent power outages.

BEV advocates propose blanketing our fertile Central Valley with solar panels to meet this soaring electricity demand. However, such a plan would not only fail to yield sufficient power for a significant portion of our transportation needs but would also devastate our agricultural land. Moreover, the long-term disposal of solar infrastructure remains unaddressed, likely leading to abandoned environmental hazards as cheaper options prevail over proper cleanup for the developers of these installations.

Electric Batteries Offer Only Short-Lived Gains

The debate between BEVs and agriculturally produced hydrogen encapsulates two visions for Fresno’s future: one that sacrifices our heritage for short-term minor gains and another that revitalizes our agricultural base, creating enduring jobs and industries. Hydrogen not only supports our agricultural economy but also ties together our national goals of food and energy security, with our valley being the only region capable of supplying both.

The natural resources here in Central California bless us with the position of a national powerhouse for renewable energy, not from our sunlight alone but through our agricultural prowess. Our rich soils and experienced farming communities are poised to drive forward green energy solutions that are both sustainable and beneficial for local and national needs.

Hydrogen excels in heavy transportation due to its high energy density and efficiency. It supports larger vehicles effectively, without taxing our limited electrical supplies or roadways and tires with the increased weight of batteries. Additionally, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can refuel in about five minutes — a critical advantage over BEVs for maintaining workflow efficiency in California’s extensive transport networks. Hydrogen also offers superior range, with vehicles capable of exceeding 550 miles per refill, thus eliminating range anxiety and supporting extensive commutes and long-distance travel across the state.

In a future op-ed, I will delve deeper into the practical applications on how new hydrogen technology can deliver energy and fuel today. We will deliver the power and a promising future, moving forward Fresno and our CentralVvalley communities to the prominence and prosperity we deserve.

About the Author

Michael Maher, a U.S. Congressional candidate for CA-21, is committed to establishing Fresno as a leader in green hydrogen, regenerative agriculture, nuclear and advanced energy production. His diverse experience in the Navy, FBI, and private sector, alongside his involvement with TO Viridi Inc., drives his vision to transform the Central Valley into a national beacon for green hydrogen innovation.

Make Your Voice Heard

GV Wire encourages vigorous debate from people and organizations on local, state, and national issues. Submit your op-ed to bmcewen@gvwire.com for consideration.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

US Inflation Eases in May, Indicating Potential Relief from Price Pressures

DON'T MISS

Over 200 Rockets Launched from Lebanon Following Israeli Strike on Hezbollah Commander

DON'T MISS

Rep. Costa Blasts GOP House For Holding AG Merrick Garland in Contempt

DON'T MISS

Is California’s $20 Minimum Wage to Blame for Loss of 10,000 Fast-Food Jobs?

DON'T MISS

Balderrama: ‘I Plan on Leading This Police Department to Even Greater Heights’

DON'T MISS

Wired Wednesday: Clovis Raises Water Development Fee by 105%. Impact on Homebuyers?

DON'T MISS

As Californians’ Stance on Crime Hardens, Republicans Try to Regain Relevance

DON'T MISS

Lawsuit Claims Valley Children’s Paid On-Call Employees Less Than Minimum Wage

DON'T MISS

Edison High Murals Will Stay After Student Survey Says ‘Keep Them’

DON'T MISS

Over 1.5 Million Foreign Pilgrims Flock to Mecca for Annual Hajj

UP NEXT

Over 200 Rockets Launched from Lebanon Following Israeli Strike on Hezbollah Commander

UP NEXT

Rep. Costa Blasts GOP House For Holding AG Merrick Garland in Contempt

UP NEXT

Is California’s $20 Minimum Wage to Blame for Loss of 10,000 Fast-Food Jobs?

UP NEXT

Balderrama: ‘I Plan on Leading This Police Department to Even Greater Heights’

UP NEXT

Wired Wednesday: Clovis Raises Water Development Fee by 105%. Impact on Homebuyers?

UP NEXT

As Californians’ Stance on Crime Hardens, Republicans Try to Regain Relevance

UP NEXT

Lawsuit Claims Valley Children’s Paid On-Call Employees Less Than Minimum Wage

UP NEXT

Edison High Murals Will Stay After Student Survey Says ‘Keep Them’

UP NEXT

Over 1.5 Million Foreign Pilgrims Flock to Mecca for Annual Hajj

UP NEXT

Southern Baptists Narrowly Reject Formal Ban on Churches with Female Pastors

Is California’s $20 Minimum Wage to Blame for Loss of 10,000 Fast-Food Jobs?

2 hours ago

Balderrama: ‘I Plan on Leading This Police Department to Even Greater Heights’

2 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: Clovis Raises Water Development Fee by 105%. Impact on Homebuyers?

3 hours ago

As Californians’ Stance on Crime Hardens, Republicans Try to Regain Relevance

3 hours ago

Lawsuit Claims Valley Children’s Paid On-Call Employees Less Than Minimum Wage

Edison High Murals Will Stay After Student Survey Says ‘Keep Them’

4 hours ago

Over 1.5 Million Foreign Pilgrims Flock to Mecca for Annual Hajj

4 hours ago

Southern Baptists Narrowly Reject Formal Ban on Churches with Female Pastors

5 hours ago

Wall Street Surges as Bitcoin and Gold Rise Following Unexpected Slowdown in Inflation

5 hours ago

US Broadens Sanctions Against Russia, Aiming to Dissuade China from Engaging in Moscow Trade

5 hours ago

US Inflation Eases in May, Indicating Potential Relief from Price Pressures

WASHINGTON — Inflation in the United States eased in May for a second straight month, a hopeful sign that an acceleration of prices that occ...

27 mins ago

28 mins ago

US Inflation Eases in May, Indicating Potential Relief from Price Pressures

41 mins ago

Over 200 Rockets Launched from Lebanon Following Israeli Strike on Hezbollah Commander

57 mins ago

Rep. Costa Blasts GOP House For Holding AG Merrick Garland in Contempt

2 hours ago

Is California’s $20 Minimum Wage to Blame for Loss of 10,000 Fast-Food Jobs?

2 hours ago

Balderrama: ‘I Plan on Leading This Police Department to Even Greater Heights’

3 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: Clovis Raises Water Development Fee by 105%. Impact on Homebuyers?

3 hours ago

As Californians’ Stance on Crime Hardens, Republicans Try to Regain Relevance

Lawsuit Claims Valley Children’s Paid On-Call Employees Less Than Minimum Wage

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend