QnA: Brian Goldstein, CEO of Cyclone Energy
High Country Business Review
Former Vail resident Brian Goldstein is the Chief Financial Officer of Cyclone Energy, Inc. The company is working to spread the gospel of a hydrogen-powered future. It has a a hydrogen-powered Hummer to attract attention. The vehicles was parked in Vail the last few days of the ski season.
Cyclone is working now to establish hydrogen fueling stations in California, and is also working on deals to bring fueling stations to the High Country.
He recently answered by e-mail a handful questions about the hydrogen business.
A: Cyclone Energy is an alternative energy company focused on the commercialization of hydrogen fuel technology for the automotive industry. An experienced management team with a balanced mix of seasoned entrepreneurs and alternative energy expertise founded the company. Management’s vision of providing a closed-loop, pollution-free transportation solution dovetails with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s initiative to expedite the development of hydrogen fueling stations and hydrogen technology throughout California.
A: Cyclone converted an SUV in order to demonstrate to consumers that hydrogen is a viable fuel for all vehicle platforms. Because of the negative stigma associated with SUVs, our Hummer was rejected from an alternative energy auto show despite the fact that its emissions are better than many of the vehicles displayed. Alternative energy vehicles are often portrayed in a technical and futuristic manner, leaving consumers to believe that they must compromise vehicle type for a green lifestyle.
Colorado drivers demand much of their vehicles in the name of recreation. We are demonstrating that there are environmentally friendly choices for all drivers. If green technology is going to succeed in transportation, we have to show drivers that the technology is practical.
Regarding range, hydrogen carries approximately the same amount of energy as gasoline. Hydrogen storage technology is progressing rapidly, providing comparable range to equally sized gas tanks. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is significantly more efficient than modern combustion engines, often providing twice the range on the same amount of fuel.
A: As is the case with any other resource, hydrogen is only as clean as the process by which it is derived.
In this case, hydrogen is an abundant, renewable resource that requires energy for extraction and storage as fuel. Hydrogen production utilizing renewable energy sources such as wind or solar yields the absolute cleanest fuel source. When utilized as a transportation fuel, hydrogen produces only steam as an emission.
A: Cyclone is aggressively buying gas stations in Southern California with the intent of distributing hydrogen and potentially other alternative transportation fuels.
Commercially produced hydrogen is abundant and it is not very difficult to keep stations supplied. “Green” hydrogen however, is a different story.
There currently are no commercial hydrogen production facilities that utilize only clean energy in the production process. That’s why Cyclone plans to build a wind farm to provide the electricity that we need to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. Wind energy and water are the only components that are needed to fuel green transportation.
A: We can currently drive the Cyclone Hydrogen Hummer from Vail to Los Angeles, supplementing gasoline with hydrogen. While there are still some emissions from gasoline consumption, they are dramatically reduced by the introduction of hydrogen.
If we want to only use hydrogen for the drive, we’ll need refueling stations along the way. While there are currently a couple of hydrogen stations between Vail and Los Angeles, several more are needed to connect the two cities. In my opinion, five years is a realistic expectation for hydrogen infrastructure to connect the two. Clearly if we’re able to close in on a cross-country clean fuel infrastructure in five years, we’re even closer to making clean driving a reality in our cities.