GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Such a shame, as hydrogen fuel cells are net energy losers. Takes more energy to compress the hyrdogen and get it into a fuel cell than you get from burning the hydrogen. Not to mention the process of extracting pure hydrogen is horribly polluting... Seems totally misguided when the electric car is a technological possibility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,916 Posts
Media ain't always so savvy. More like GM et. al. betting on Hydrogen with our money given by US gov.

I'ld rather put it on "black", much better odds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I find this paper to be interesting on this topic.

http://www.apec-conf.org/2006/APEC_2006_Plenary_3.pdf
As usual, these numbers are cooked to make batteries look better than hydrogen. There are companies offering solar catalytic hydrogen generators and other offering high efficiency compression / storage systems and cheap efficient fuel cell tech.

It was only a few years ago that people stated fuel cells only needed a 4X reduction in unit costs to be competitive with a gasoline ICE, and with the discovery of platinum / nickel alloy catalysts, the price dropped by a factor of 6. Further strides by other companies have beaten that, so the fuel cell cost is below that of an ICE, not $100K.

Oh well, the writing is on the wall, as the biggest automotive companies in North America, Asia and Europe are moving towards hydrogen. You are free to keep your slow charging EV's, but I will take a quick charge hydrogen vehicle any day.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,689 Posts
I'm all for funding hydrogen research. The government gives a lot of money for the purpose. Who knows where this will lead us.

The biggest benefit of all the hydrogen automotive research is towards the electrification of the automobile. Most of the systems that are required for the hydrogen vehicle can easily be utilized by series hybrids as well as pure EVs.

I will never buy a hydrogen car. Why? Because I don't want to replace one liquid fuel with another, even if they figure out how to make it cost effective with today's gasoline. Of course it will never be that cheap because hydrogen is only a carrier of energy. Oil already has the energy stored in it but hydrogen must be generated first.

Thus, I say keep the research going because hydrogen might be good for some applications (trucks, planes, base load storage for intermittent alternative energy sources, etc.) However, for personal transportation I will take my nice, clean and simple EV (or hybrid running a biofuel), charge it with my very inexpensive solar cells (www.nanosolar.com), and be very satisfied. Hydrogen is simply not needed. I don't even understand why people think this will be a good idea for personal transportation. Do you want to go to a hydrogen station and buy hydrogen? Have a hydrogen electrolyze at your home that takes the solar energy from your roof, converts that electricity to hydrogen, compresses it some storage system, transfer that to your complex automotive fuel cell with associated high pressure storage system? Why? By the time they have reduced the price of the fuel cell 4 times what do you think the price of good batteries will be? Fuel cells are much farther out than battery technology and battery technology is a much better solution!

I know it's impossible to argue with hydrogen loving people but I hope people that are not sure either way consider both sides and decide not vote for spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a new hydrogen infrastructure that will be controlled by the oil or electric companies. House and company - solar panel - battery - electric motor. What the heck could be easier than that?! Remember, I love hydrogen and think we should do tons of research and development. I just think it is better suited for niche markets, not that there is anything wrong with that. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
Texas,
I agree with you.
Extracting H2 out of fossil fuels (HC) leaves CO2 in the atmosphere. Aren’t we supposed to reduce CO2 emissions? Then, break the water into H2 and O2 by electrolysis, hydrogen loving people say. If you have such abundant electricity, be it solar, wind or nuke, why don’t you store the electricity in batteries or capacitors and drive the car directly rather than using an intermediary energy carrier? Besides, platinum (essential catalyst for fuel cells) is scarce and expensive. Of 200+ tons of annual production (plus 15 tons or so recycled) automotive industry already consumes about 50% of platinum and its family metals for cat converters. Demand will increase rapidly as European automotive manufacturers start using platinum to clean diesel exhaust and Chinese and Indian automakers increase their production. Major suppliers of platinum are Sough Africa and Russia. Do you want to drive your car at their mercy? (if you use hydrazine in place of hydrogen to make fuel cells you do not need platinum, though. But, that's another story.)

I think GM, Honda et al are showing and talking about fuel cell automobiles as political ploy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Texas,
I agree with you.
Extracting H2 out of fossil fuels (HC) leaves CO2 in the atmosphere. Aren’t we supposed to reduce CO2 emissions? Then, break the water into H2 and O2 by electrolysis, hydrogen loving people say. If you have such abundant electricity, be it solar, wind or nuke, why don’t you store the electricity in batteries or capacitors and drive the car directly rather than using an intermediary energy carrier? Besides, platinum (essential catalyst for fuel cells) is scarce and expensive. Of 200+ tons of annual production (plus 15 tons or so recycled) automotive industry already consumes about 50% of platinum and its family metals for cat converters. Demand will increase rapidly as European automotive manufacturers start using platinum to clean diesel exhaust and Chinese and Indian automakers increase their production. Major suppliers of platinum are Sough Africa and Russia. Do you want to drive your car at their mercy? (if you use hydrazine in place of hydrogen to make fuel cells you do not need platinum, though. But, that's another story.)

I think GM, Honda et al are showing and talking about fuel cell automobiles as political ploy.
Same ole arguments -

- batteries and supercaps are far more expensive than fuel cells, which are already cheaper than a gasoline ICE, due to reduction / replacement of platinum with nickel or nanocompounds pioneered by more than one company

- GM will field 1,000 fuel cell vehicles to meet CARB's quotas, so it is far more than hype
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Jason, have you heard/seen any new research that shows a positive EROEI for hydrogen fuel cells? Everything I've seen shows it as a net energy loser.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,689 Posts
- batteries and supercaps are far more expensive than fuel cells, which are already cheaper than a gasoline ICE
Can you give us prices? How about where interested individuals can buy them? I would like to make a fuel cell car. If they are cheaper than batteries and ICE technology I should be able to spend less than $2000! Thanks for the accurate information Jason. You are doing people a great service. <sarcasm>

Also, even if they did get the cost of the fuel cell itself down you have to look at the whole system cost. I'm talking about the fuel storage system and the temperature control system. Are you also claiming that with today's technology a fuel cell system is cheaper than A123's batteries (that are now on sale - not the auto packs - equivalent power)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Also, even if they did get the cost of the fuel cell itself down you have to look at the whole system cost. I'm talking about the fuel storage system and the temperature control system. Are you also claiming that with today's technology a fuel cell system is cheaper than A123's batteries (that are now on sale - not the auto packs - equivalent power)?
That's exactly what I am claiming. Prior to the breakthroughs in platinum catalyst reduction / replacement, GM and other automakers insisted that fuel cells had to drop 75% in cost to be competitive with gasoline ICE's. Using nickel platinum alloy and nano compounds, more than one company has surpassed this goal. Moreover, fuel cells only need to be 70 hp in E-REV configs, instead of the currently equipped 140 - 220 hp that similarly sized vehicles have today, so fuel cells are much, much cheaper, by automakers own stated targets.

If you want one, you can buy one in the Cadillac Evok, which will be produced in small numbers in CA by 2012 - 2014.

BTW, what do you mean by temp control system?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
782 Posts
Jason, you did seem to imply that the fuel cells were already cheaper than batteries. If they are not available until 2012....
Texas, I'd have the same issue with "my cheap solar cells" from nanosolar.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,689 Posts
Jason, Did you just write 2012? LOL! Before you wrote “today“. Who knows what the price of technology will be in 4 years. More importantly, who knows how far battery technology will progress in the same amount of time. I'm betting on batteries, you go right ahead with betting on hydrogen. I guess we’ll just have to wait... Four years!

However, A123 battery technology can be purchased today. Yes, TODAY. Also, advanced thin-film solar panels are being produced on high-volume manufacturing lines TODAY by nanosolar. Tagamet, I hope I didn't imply that a private customer could purchase panels from nanosolar today. Firstly, they are making the product specifically for utilities and secondly they are sold out for the year. However, they just got another $50 million and are building another line. I did however imply that the technology is here and in high-volume manufacturing TODAY.

Having Jason compare the current state of battery, ICE or even solar cell technology with today’s fuel cell technology and conclude that fuel cells are cheaper is laughable and ridiculous. Heck, if we are going to talk about 4 years in the future I'll say that the 10X silicon nanowire lithium-ion batteries beats your fuel cells by a huge margin in every possible way. However, I won't say that because both are not in production and many things change when you try to get something to volume manufacturing. The devil is in the details.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
It really makes no difference to Chevrolet's Volt. They are doing this car right. It will be electric. They will be able to use whatever source of stored or generated electricity comes along. So for 2010 it will be LIon batteries and a generator. Maybe in 2012-15 they may have a fuel cell version. Who knows, maybe zero point energy or some other form of electricity may pop-up, and when it does GM will have a platform that can simply use that new source. Don't loose sight of the fact that it's the all electric drive platform that makes this possible. Toyota will be scrambling to keep up with new power sources because thier current hybrid platform is stuck with 1999 technology.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
Pennor1,
I think GM should not underestimate the engineering power of Toyota. Although mechanically EV is much simpler than ICE vehicles its motor control software (PWM and VVVF - pulse width modulation and variable voltage variable frequency) is very complex. Also, to make the battery pack last as long as 10 years, management of SOC is not so easy. Certainly Toyota must have acquired a lot of practical knowledge with the Prius in these areas in the past more than 10 years. When Toyota feels Li-ion battery is safe and long-lasting enough it will surely replace the current NiMH battery with Li-ion at the same time giving it plug-in charge capability. For long-distance trips the Prius type parallel design is more advantageous, therefore, it should not be dismissed so easily.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Requires more energy to compress hydrogen and fuel cells to do that you get from burning hydrogen. Not to mention the process of extracting pure hydrogen from a terrible pollutant ... It seems to be completely wrong, when the electric car is a technical possibility.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top