Origin of this web site. The simulation work that forms the basis of this web site grew out of a summer retreat of the Board of Directors of the National Hydrogen Association in 2007. The NHA directors decided that we needed to develop a credible model to compare all the alternative fuels and vehicles, so that others could judge the relative merits of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, biofuels, battery electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles.
After the retreat, Frank Novachek of Xcel Energy, a major mid-western electric utility, organized a task force to develop what became the NHA’s “Energy Evolution.” This web site reports on the computer simulation model (as updated with 2012-2013 AEO data) that was developed to support the NHA work.
Previous simulation work. Some of the computer programs are based on alternative vehicle simulation work conducted by Directed Technologies, Inc. (DTI) of Arlington, Virginia during the period from 1993 through 2001. DTI was the lead contractor for a joint Department of Energy/Ford Motor Company project to explore the efficacy of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles. Dr. C. E. (Sandy) Thomas led projects in hydrogen on-board storage, hydrogen safety and hydrogen infrastructure for the Ford/DOE project. In the course of that multi-year, multi-million dollar project, Dr. Thomas and his colleagues realized that making hydrogen by reforming natural gas at the fueling station is the least costly method of providing hydrogen initially for fuel cell electric vehicles. He, Dr. Frank D. Lomax and five of their colleagues subsequently founded H2Gen Innovations, Inc. of Alexandria, Virginia in 2001 to manufacture small scale steam methane reformers (SMR) to convert natural gas and water to hydrogen at the fueling station. H2Gen earned $23 million in revenues from selling these systems in 2009, and sold the SMR technology to Air Liquide, a French industrial gas company. Air Liquide resumed manufacturing and selling these SMRs in 2012.
Previous systems analysis work.While still at DTI, Dr. Thomas also led several systems analysis projects for the Department of Energy, comparing the attributes of various alternative vehicles including hybrids, biofuels, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles. These analyses utilized several computer simulations models developed in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company research department. These same simulations models have evolved over the years and form the basis for some of the simulation results reported on this web site.
Author’s resume. C. E. (Sandy) Thomas has over 50 years experience in scientific research and related engineering activities. He started his career in coherent optical data processing (the subject of his Ph.D. thesis) and holography, and was the Director of the Laser and Optics Division of KMS Fusion when they were the first organization in the world to successfully demonstrate a controlled thermonuclear reaction with a high power laser system on May 1, 1974, beating the Russians and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Thomas has also been involved with a project to commercialize amorphous silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar cells for SOHIO/ECD, and worked for eight years as a legislative assistant to Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) handling national security, energy and environmental activities for the Senator. He was a founder and served as the only President of H2Gen Innovations, Inc. and was a member of the Board of Directors and served on the Executive Committee of the National Hydrogen Association.
In May of 2010, Dr. Thomas was awarded the Jules Verne award for “superior service” by the International Association of Hydrogen Energy at the 18th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Essen, Germany. The inscription on this award reads “for his leadership in system studies, analyses, and entrepreneurship in development and commercialization of hydrogen technologies.”
Dr. Thomas earned BSEE, MSEE and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Anne have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and currently reside in Alexandria, Virginia.