Roger E. Billings

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Dr. Roger Billings
"Dr. Hydrogen"
Born January, 1948
Provo, Utah
Nationality American
Fields Hydrogen energy
Known for Hydrogen energy

Roger Evan Billings (born January, 1948, Provo, Utah) is an American businessman and scientist, best known for his pioneering work as a developer of hydrogen energy technologies.

Billings is the CEO and Chairman of Billings Energy Corporation, a new start-up company focused on the development of hydrogen energy technologies. The new company bears the same name as the predecessor Utah corporation establish in 1972. The company is headquartered in Independence, Missouri. The company plans to build upon privately funded research and development efforts conducted over the past ten years to bring to market commercial hydrogen energy applications.

Billings is the author of two books on hydrogen energy technology, Hydrogen from Coal: A Cost Estimation Guidebook (1983) and Hydrogen World View (1991), and the co-author of a technical networking book, WideBand Networking (2000). He has also authored numerous technical papers on hydrogen energy and on computer networking.

Early life[edit]

Billings was one of two sons and four daughters born to Mr. and Mrs. Evan A. Billings. His scientific aspirations led him to enter school and regional Science Fairs all three years of high school. He tied for first place for his project on treating seeds with high frequency sound waves the first year, he took second place for his voice-controlled amplifier for laser communications the second year, and he achieved first place as a senior in high school for his hydrogen-burning engine.[1]

After high school, Billings served a mission to Brazil for the LDS Church & then later established his own company (Energy Research Corp, later Billings Energy Corp) in his hometown of Provo, Utah, in 1972,[2] which he later moved to Independence, Missouri (1979), to take advantage of the steady supply of byproduct hydrogen near Kansas City, as well as to be in closer proximity to the hydrogen city he was planning to build in the state of Iowa.[2][3]


Billings with hydrogen engine.

Billings received his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in 1974 with a composite major in physics, chemistry, and electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering.

After his university studies, Billings was selected by Bill Lear, the creator of the Lear Jet, to be his protégé. Lear moved Billings and his young family into the Lear home in Reno, Nevada, where, for nearly a year he shared his knowledge of high-tech entrepreneurship.

Hydrogen energy[edit]

Billings' involvement in hydrogen energy began when he converted a car to run on hydrogen in 1965 as a high school student, which won him a Gold and Silver award at the International Science Fair and a scholarship to Brigham Young University. Billings generated interest in hydrogen technology by demonstrating a number of working prototypes, including cars, buses, forklifts, tractors, and a hydrogen-powered home.

In 1971, as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University (BYU), Billings received a research grant from the Ford Motor Company and his own lab to continue his studies of the hydrogen-fueled automobile.[4] In the summer of 1972, Billings headed a team from Brigham Young University that won first prize for low emissions at the Urban Vehicle Design Competition held at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their winning entry was a hydrogen powered Volkswagen.

Between 1966 and 1982, Billings successfully converted 18 vehicles of various types to run on hydrogen. After the initial family car-sized vehicles, Billings turned to larger means of transportation. Billings’ hydrogen powered buses – converted to hydrogen first in 1976 and running in Provo, Utah, then in Riverside, California – were successful demonstrations of hydrogen as a fuel for mass transit vehicles. The Postal Jeep project in 1977 demonstrated the potential use of hydrogen as a practical and advantageous fuel for fleet vehicles.

In 1975, Billings and his team built the “Hydrogen Homestead” prototype, a home which included hydrogen-run heat pump, water heater, oven, range, fireplace log, outdoor grill, a car and tractor. The Homestead project resulted in the development of some innovative hydrogen applications and demonstrated that hydrogen was compatible with existing home appliances. Originally part of the Hydrogen Homestead Project, the hydrogen-fueled Cadillac Seville featured a dual-fuel system, hydrogen and gasoline, which could be switched back and forth. This made the vehicle practical for everyday use at a time when hydrogen availability was not abundant. Its improved metal hydride storage system operated at a lower temperature than previous units, allowing a cost saving on construction material. The Cadillac was featured in the 1977 inaugural parade for President Jimmy Carter.

In 1991 Billings developed the first automobile to be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The vehicle converted hydrogen into water and electricity and was more efficient than the internal combustion vehicles Billings had converted during his earlier years. The improved efficiency of the fuel cell made the commercial application of hydrogen cars more feasible.

Billings demonstrated this next-level innovation in the practical development of hydrogen as a fuel for transportation—the hydrogen fuel cell car. The Philadelphia unveiling of the car — LaserCel 1 — is the first reported functional fuel cell application in a small transportation vehicle.

Billings was touted in the press for his contributions in developing hydrogen energy. The Enterprise business journal called Billings “The Father of Hydrogen Technology.” (Bentley, 1975) An Omni Magazine report on his work in 1982 dubbed him “The Hydrogen Man” (Rose, 1982), and an article in the July 21, 2003, issue of Time Magazine referred to him as "Dr. Hydrogen". (Barlett, Steele 2003).

Computer networking[edit]

Billings has been involved in the development and launch of a number of computer technologies and products.

He established the Billings Computer Corporation in 1977, which manufactured one of the first Personal Computers, the Billings Computer. The same year, Billings Computer Corporation paid the New Mexico start-up company, Microsoft, $330,000 to acquire usage rights for EBasic and to fund the development of Fortran and Cobol compilers. In 1982 Time Magazine featured a photo of the young Bill Gates in his office with the Billings Computer on his desk.[5]

In 1978, Billings Computer Corporation hired BYU professor Alan Ashton to help develop the Billings Word Processor, an award-winning program offered for the Billings MicroSystem, which provided a user friendly and intuitive interface. After the launch of the IBM PC in 1981, Alan Ashton released an enhanced word processor called Word Perfect.

Later, Billings founded Caldisk, Inc., which was instrumental in the development of the "double-sided floppy drive." Caldisk was later acquired by World Computer Corporation.

Billings invented a method of sharing data on a computer network known as Functionally Structured Distribution (FSD). This method was the forerunner of today’s client-server computing.[6]


In 1972, Roger Billings founded the Billings Energy Corporation, his first publicly traded company. It gained worldwide attention with the development of numerous hydrogen vehicle prototypes. Billings also developed hydride-filled hydrogen storage tanks, and a homestead that was hydrogen powered. By 1979, he was working on coal-to-gas conversion plants. (Mother Earth News 1979)

In 1985, Billings sold the Billings Energy Corporation and joined with Dr. Geoffrey K. Pardoe, Chairman, General Technology Systems in London; Dr. Alexei A. Tupolev of the Tupolev Design Bureau in Moscow; Willis Hawkins, President of Lockheed Corporation in California; and Olof Tegström, Founder and President of Tebetron in Sweden, to establish the "International Academy of Science", a not-for-profit organization for the advancement of applied science and scientific education. The International Academy of Science (Academy) operates the International Institute of Science and Technology—a Graduate School University that offers the Doctor of Research and Master of Research Degrees.

The International Academy of Science is host to the Science Information System (SIS), an Internet-accessible repository of scientific information, which includes three major components: the Scientific Community Registry, the Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, and the Journal of Science. The Journal of Science is a peer-reviewed, electronic publication forum that allows members of the scientific community to expeditiously publish reports of their research.

In 1994, Roger Billings founded the WideBand Corporation, one of the first companies to develop a gigabit data rate networking product. WideBand came up with a pre-standard design that could operate over standard Category 5 cable. Later, when IEEE established the 802.3ab workgroup to create a gigabit data rate networking standard, Billings served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Ethernet Alliance and also contributed technical presentations in the development of the standard. WideBand Corporation began to manufacture a standards-based Gigabit Ethernet product that could operate over conventional cabling, instead of requiring users to rewire their premises to Category 5e or better cable.

Billings established fs[ix] Corporation in 1995 to manufacture a commercial line of computer storage products based on the fs[ix] network operating system. fs[ix] Servers ship with the software pre-installed, which allows them to be tuned for specific hardware installations, increasing storage and retrieval performance. fs[ix] Servers are primarily used to handle large data storage needs such as Hollywood animations, military applications, and substantial library projects.


  1. ^ Perry, Leo (April 27, 1966). "Youth's Hydrogen Motor Wins Trip to Dallas". Deseret News. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Farewell, Billings Energy", The Daily Herald, October 3, 1979 
  3. ^ "Billings to Appear on TV Monday", The Daily Herald, January 6, 1980 
  4. ^ "Student inventor granted funds", The Daily Universe, June 22, 1971 
  5. ^ Time Magazine, June 7, 2007, retrieved 2010-03-28 
  6. ^ U.S. Patent 47,149,891,986


External sources[edit]

  • Books
    • Hydrogen from Coal: A Cost Estimation Guidebook (1983)
    • Hydrogen World View (1991)
    • WideBand Networking (1996)

External links[edit]