Friday, August 18, 2017

Implementing Hydrogen - the Last Hurdle

One by one, over the past 50 years, we have faced and overcome the many tough challenges facing the widespread implementation of hydrogen as a fuel for transportation.

Having been privileged to be on the ground floor of this amazing hydrogen energy evolution, I feel I have been able to impact some important milestones in bringing hydrogen fuel to everyday people everywhere. Beginning with proving the concept that passenger cars could run on hydrogen, we’ve taken on and solved seemingly insurmountable  obstacles — safe hydrogen storage (metal hydride technology), a ready fuel supply (various reformation processes),  acceptable operating costs (the high-efficiency fuel cell) — and now, the last frontier, distribution.

My favorite solution for distributing hydrogen at this point, and one that I am seriously looking at putting into commercialization, actually solves two problems — where do we get the hydrogen,  and how do we create an infrastructure to deliver it. 

What if we were to produce the hydrogen right there at the fueling station where we will be refueling the cars? We have the capability of making hydrogen out of water and any source of energy; we can use solar (although it is expensive); we can use wind; but we can also use hydrocarbon fuels. For example, we can use water and gasoline to make hydrogen, and we can do so at very high efficiency so that we end up with about as much hydrogen energy as we had gasoline energy.  

We can make a machine that could be installed behind a gasoline refueling station that would draw gasoline out of the station's underground fuel storage tanks similar to how a gasoline pump draws gasoline out of that tank to fuel cars. This machine would have a reaction system that would react gasoline with water, give off some CO2,  and produce hydrogen to refuel cars. 

All of a sudden all of our existing gas stations could also be producing hydrogen. We could do it practically overnight. This is a project I am very interested in.

Now, since the energy is coming from the gasoline, some may wonder what good have we done. We are still using gasoline. We are still giving off CO2. As it turns out, there is a big advantage to this approach, and it comes because of the efficiency we gain by using a hydrogen fuel cell. With our modern fuel cell technology, we can refuel a car’s 20-gallon gasoline tank with 10 gallons of hydrogen and go the same distance. The net effect is that the cost of the fuel would be cut in half. 

The same is true for CO2 emissions. If we put gasoline in an engine, the byproduct is CO2. When we make hydrogen from gasoline, the byproduct is CO2 in the same amount, but with the gallon of gasoline we converted to hydrogen, we are able to get 2-gallon's worth of driving. The net effect is, we've cut the CO2 emission in half, and that's going to have a significant impact on CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

At first we will make the hydrogen from gasoline, from natural gas, and even from coal. But as we get smarter, we'll make it from solar, from wind, and someday, I believe, from nuclear fusion.

The idea of having hydrogen that could be produced by every country – no country getting rich off their neighbors, because everybody can make their own — of having a fuel that is safe, that is environmentally clean, and that keeps the cost of energy down so that we're not tearing up so many of our earthly resources, is pretty exciting to me, and I believe it is possible. 

My goal for the past 50 years has been and continues to be to have everybody able to save money and save the environment by driving hydrogen cars. We now have the technologies and the experience to really do it!  I am determined to do my part to make it happen.

For a broader picture and technical details, please view my recent Science Forum

Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Time

It has been too long since my last post on hydrogen.  So much is starting to happen.

Those that know me well are aware that for the past few years I have focused my efforts on Improving Education, Computer Security, and Very High Performance Networking.  I will make a very brief report on each of these projects for the sake of continuity and then get to the big news about hydrogen.

Improving Education
For the past 13 years, my wonderful development team and I have been actively involved in developing Acellus, a computer based learning system that distinguishes itself from the others by how well it works.  Acellus utilizes a method we call Deficiency Diagnostics to identify the missing pieces in each student's knowledge of a subject, and Customized Personal Instruction to help students regain their confidence in learning and to catch up.

Acellus has been wildly successful.  Working in conjunction with the International Academy of Science, we now have Acellus in schools from coast to coast where it is making a measurable impact on the number of students graduating each year.  Anyone wishing to get the latest news on Acellus can visit or  If you know someone that may wish to enroll in Acellus Courses, please check out Grand River Schools.

Computer Security
We have incredible news to report regarding the progress of GoldKey Security Corporation (  Our goal was to develop an alternative computer security solution that could be relied upon by business and government to protect critical resources.  The resulting Gold Security technology is the subject of three new patents pending, and is already in use by customers from 40 countries around the world.  My son, John Billings, and I are the co-inventors of this new approach to computer security.  It appears that, in the next few years, there will develop a critical demand for something better to protect society from the ever increasing cyber-attacks.  Gold Security offers a robust solution that has already proven itself in many critical applications and environments. 

Very High Performance Networking
One of my major commitments for the past few years was the development of very high performance computer networking technology.  Our research resulted in several patents regarding nano-latency networking, which eventually resulted in a development contract from the US Army for the development of the next generation networking technology.  As the Principal Investigator on the Army contract, I have been involved in developing a new 100 Gbps network switch based on our nano-latency patents.  I am pleased to report that the custom silicone chip is in testing and next week will be installed onto the printed circuit board in preparation for our April delivery deadline to the Army.  This has been a challenging project, since it has pushed the very edge of technology, positioning WideBand Corporation for the future.  (More information can be found at

With the other projects staffed and moving forward, it is now time to return my focus to hydrogen energy.

Mission Hydrogen
Some of the big news this week has been about the regulations coming out of the EPA regarding CO2 emissions from coal burning power plants.  While not everyone can agree on just how serious the consequences are of emitting so much CO2 into the environment, the regulators are moving to make restrictions.  Of course, the key to making those regulations effective is going to be how well we can come up with other, better solutions.

In my book, “Hydrogen World View,” I came to the conclusion back in the year 2000 that the only commercially viable way to produce the enormous quantities of hydrogen that will be needed is to gasify coal.  Now, just 13 years later, this is no longer my “hydrogen world view.”  The whole energy landscape has changed.  Fuel is more expensive than before.  Even more important, other alternatives have developed to the point of being ready for commercialization, including graphene-based solar collectors like those announced recently by Stanford University, the emergence of abundant natural gas, and, most important from my point of view, my latest patent application, which was filed just last week on a new way to generate large quantities of electricity efficiently from hydrogen.

This patent is based on a new technology which appears to be superior to the hydrogen fuel cells that I have been running in a vehicle since 1991.  I am expecting four more related patent applications in upcoming months.  From my point of view, this represents a major breakthrough of a commercially viable technology that I have been working on “on the side” for years.

In November of 2015, it will be my 50th anniversary since I ran the first car on hydrogen back in 1965.  Whether in the energy or the computer industry, my long suit has always been moving new technologies from the breakthrough in the lab to commercialization.  For so many years I have held the dream that hydrogen would one day have a major impact on this world and our quality of life.  At long last I see the dream beginning to emerge.

In the next few weeks I will be meeting with my most trusted associates to put together a framework on how to proceed with making this all happen.  One thing is for certain, looking at world conditions and the need for something better, the way this needs to happen is “right now.”

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hydrogen Now

In the midst of rising oil prices and international instabilities, I am receiving numerous inquiries regarding hydrogen energy and why we are not doing anything to push it forward as part of our national energy policy.

Those who have followed my career know I have been a serious student of this question for over four decades.  I have driven hydrogen cars, lived in a hydrogen house, operated hydrogen buses, supported hydrogen mail delivery and much more.  (More information is available on the website: 

In recent years, I have devoted my hydrogen research efforts to developing an affordable and reliable hydrogen fuel cell with enough endurance to outlast the life of cars, to perfecting a safe method of storing hydrogen on board the vehicle, and, most importantly, to developing a commercially viable strategy for integrating hydrogen into the commercial energy "mix".  

In order for Hydrogen to emerge in it full potential of a pollution free fuel, affordable, and available to all, we will need the stars to align in the heavens, the price of fuel to continue to rise, more affordable sources of energy to extract hydrogen from water, and most important, a major breakthrough in a way to convert hydrogen efficiently into electricity and rotational energy.  I believe that this goal is achievable but not by the means that we are going after it.  It is going to require a genuine breakthrough, a real "new approach" to doing things.  For over 100 years the automobile engine is basically the same it was before.  It is not an efficient device.  It is time for something new -- something much better.  I believe it is coming.

While government has a role to play, in making workable regulations and even providing incentives when warranted, I believe that the way for Hydrogen to emerge into the mainstream is on the shoulders of the free enterprise.  It needs to be better -- safer, cleaner, and more affordable.  Then it will catch on overnight.  After watching and studying this for so long, I think that day is finally coming.  The world situation is right.  The problems with air pollution and greenhouse gases are beginning to get serious attention.  The economics are becoming the driving force.  Most important of all, the long lacking technologies that have been missing are beginning to emerge.  Yes, the stars are aligning, and the day of hydrogen is at hand.

There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come (JulesVerne).

I have spent a lot of time thinking, working, testing, and dreaming about this technology.  I can only pray the pieces will come together while there is still time...Dr. Roger Billings