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hydrogen

I don't really understand fuel cells. Construction and operational theory, yes; economics, no. Isn't the efficiency extremely low and the cost very high? If tens of thousands of cars were producing only water vapor emissions, wouldn’t that become pollution in itself? Geeze, it’s humid enough during a FL ‘summer’ without all that extra water. Who will control distribution - the oil companies? I’m either overlooking some important concept or I'm just paranoid.
 

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Promise of Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are far more efficient that ICEs, 80% to 20% respectively. ICEs turn gasoline into wasted heat, both from the engine and out the tail pipe. This heat is energy lost.

Fuel cells are more expensive than ICEs. ICEs are mass produced while fuel cells are not. However, ICEs have thousands of parts and are mechanically and electronically very complex (we take this for granted because ICEs have been perfected over the past 100+ years). Fuel cells are relatively simple in comparison with almost no moving parts. The relative simplicity of fuel cells and mass production should bring the price down below that of ICEs. Of course, there are still technical challenges that need to overcome reliability issues.

Water vapor is not pollution and is far better than smog. Smog is responsible from many premature deaths every year, primaily the elderly and asthmatics. If you have seen the haze over Phoenix you would know why it is so dangerous.
 

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Hydrogen tech sux so bad, its useless

Hydrogen is made with the use of electricity and natural gas presently.In CA its 20 bucks a gallon.
Its extracted and pushed into a tank at 10 thousand psi to run a hydrogen powered battery or so called fuel cell which then converts it back to electricity to run a hydrogen powered cars electric motor. I think the government hopes we the people of the USA are dumb enough not to realize this is a scam to make you pay at the pump for something you don't need, just buy the electricity firstly and run your electric motor and bypass the BS hydrogen fool sell scam.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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Ah! OK - 'on the road', an electric vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell would be more efficient that an ICE vehicle powered by gasoline. Maybe hydrogen fuel cells aren't all that bad depending on the method used to generate the hydrogen and if whoever distributes the hydrogen isn't free to screw us at the pumps. I’m still not sure about dripping water on the highways. That still sounds like a form of pollution to me albeit not as bad as what is currently spewing out of my exhaust. I envision the need to always have my wipers on to clear the mist :)
 

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New Technology for Hydrogen

Apart from fuel cell advances, there will be other advances in hydrogen production and onboard storage. Nanotech advances will make onboard hydrogen storage practical without the pressure mentioned in the previous post. http://www.physorg.com/news4843.html

We are also moving toward more efficient electricity generation both on and off grid. New solar cell technology will allow hydrogen to be created at home so you can become your own fueling station.

Last, there is an incredible amount of research going on into the science of free hydrogen production. The possibility of a breakthrough in the next 10-15 years is quite good.

So, the question isn't if fuel cells will replace ICEs, but when will it happen. I'm guessing that $200/barrel oil and the Bush administration bombing Iran will make it happen faster.
 

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Greenman, Your numbers for fuel cell efficiencies are way off. For those seriously considering fuel cells it's important to read the following links. They should be required reading and have all the numbers needed to make intelligent comparisons:

http://www.efcf.com/reports/E18.pdf


If you have doubts about those results you can turn to Ulf Bossel's complete analysis (this docked the hydrogen ship and it has not set sail since):

http://www.efcf.com/reports/E21.pdf)


The truth is that hydrogen has nowhere near the efficiency as a BEV system. It's even worse than air car technology efficiency and that is very bad.

There is a very lively (excuse the drama) thread on this forum that talks about and compares many of the options people are talking about these days including hydrogen, air car and BEVs.

http://www.gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15


If you read though to the end you will certainly hear passionate debate on both sides. Some of the posters (me included) have dug their heels in the sand and will probably never be convinced otherwise but to all new readers try to read with an open mind an make your own conclusions.

How much energy a system can store and it's ability to convert that stored energy and the difficulties in storing that energy should be a person's first concern. You cannot, for example, count on high technology to get you out of efficiency losses that are tied to the laws of physics. The compression of real gases and the resulting heat losses can only be minimized but never eliminated. They are a fact of nature and 50 more years of technical advances will not make much of a difference. For example look at the modern ICE. Everyone knows that they have horrible efficiencies of around 40 percent despite a 100 years of refinement. When you are converting energy from one form to another and especially when dealing with heat conversions or working with compressible gasses there are inherent losses. If someone is trying to convince you otherwise please go talk to a physics teacher or maybe check out the following primer on energy by Rick Miley. He has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) and the lessons are geared at the absolute beginner. Great stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/user/SmileyOil


This will give you the basic tools to analyze different options. The first questions you should be asking are energy and efficiency questions. Then you should be comparing other proposed options. Sometimes a poor efficiency system is chosen like our current petroleum systems. This happened because oil is an amazing liquid (just watch the video by Rick) that stores unbelievable amounts of chemical energy. Most other alternative energy options do not have this luxury. It will take great effort by many scientists and engineers to come up with a workable alternative to oil.

If you can't decide on a clear winner we should continue to aggressively fund all worthy challengers. Some say hydrogen is a smoke screen. I'm not so sure about that and feel it has great promise for some niche markets. When hydrogen supporters do not acknowledge the worthiness of advanced battery technology that should put up a red flag. Ask why. Ask about the energy!
 

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COOL! I mean REALLY COOL!!!!!

The more options we have to not use petrolium the better. GM is on the right track... They are designing a system that is flexible enough to use many different fuel technologies to extend the range of the batteries and even use different/better batteries as they become available.

Rather that find fault with hydrogen, or any other alternative fuel, let's cheer the efforts. I for one am greatly encouraged by this announcement.
 

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Is this thread about the 2007 Shanghai auto show?

The MSNBC news link in the original thread is about the Volt at last year's (2007) Shanghai auto show?
 

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COOL! I mean REALLY COOL!!!!!

Rather that find fault with hydrogen, or any other alternative fuel, let's cheer the efforts. I for one am greatly encouraged by this announcement.
pennor1, I agree that we should not only cheer the efforts but help fund aggressive research. However, we need to be very diligent that interested parties do not use hydrogen as a way to divert funds, hinder consensus or delay transition from our oil economy. Do you think it's not important to get the facts correct?

Let me ask you a question: what would happen if tomorrow hydrogen was proven and agreed on by all the world's scientists to not be a worthy challenger to battery technology and that 2nd generation biofuels would never reach the efficiencies and costs of battery technology. Heck, imagine if tomorrow that not only EEstor but 10X lithium-ion batteries were proven to not only be for real but were going into full production next week at a cost savings of more than 5 times. That all specifications exceeded engineering requirements for the freedom car by several times. What would happen?

I'm guessing that politicians, company leaders, oil companies, etc. would all announce huge projects to get us off of oil. Within a decade America would not be importing a drop of oil. That seems to make sense right? That is why we need to keep working the numbers, testing all viable options, figuring out what method is best to move forward.

Look at our past. The zero emission requirements that California passed were reversed mostly because of the promise of a workable hydrogen car. A hydrogen economy is not very compatible to a BEV economy is it? With hydrogen you will most likely have to purchase a liquid fuel from a energy company or have a complicated mechanical and chemical device at your home rather than have a simple solar panel and home battery to recharge your car. Back when the electric car was killed for the first time (might be killed again) they said a practical hydrogen car would go on sale in 10 years. Funny how they say the same thing today. Don't you think?

The result is that not only have us Americans not started building electrical charging stations we have actually dismantled the ones we already built! Just watch Who Killed the Electric Car. You don't have to blame any one person or company. Just look at what happened and try to understand how to keep it from happening again. "Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it." Sound familiar?

Many people are angry and upset about what happen with the EV. Not me. We now have a tragic event in history to point to when interested companies try to pull the same tacit again. OPEC dropping the price of oil to stop alternative energy research? No, I don't think so. Not this time. The auto companies recalling green technology and destroying all evidence (just about every auto company did this)? No way.

So, I ask you should we not try to find faults with and seriously debate all options to the oil economy to weed out the very best solution as fast as possible? To get consensus and move forward in a meaningful way? I'm ready to get to work on the new system. If everyone says hydrogen then lets go. If people say lets wait 10 years to see if hydrogen will be the way to go then I say. No!

Let's continue to research hydrogen with great passion but not wait for it. It may never come, and that just might suit some people quite nicely. Think about it.
 

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Texas,

No surprise, you hear about some undeveloped techs in the lab and want to decide for all of us that those are the solutions we must have. You are the one trying to shut down all the parallel alternative fuel development efforts in the world today.

Right now, people are trying to tear down ethanol, without understanding that many production plants are moving to switch grass and other cellulous sources.

Right now, people are trying to tear down hydrogen, without understanding that generation and compression techs are being demonstrated to show feasibility.

This is no different than those poo-pooing battery tech before Li-ion was demonstrated to provide significant efficiency gains for a hybrid vehicle.

Let all paths be explored, as new techs emerge everyday that make each alternative feasible for their respective market niches.
 

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Texas,
I have a link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell where a direct carbon fuel cell is listed as 80% efficient. This technology is still research but I don't see how Ulf Bossel can proclaim maximum efficiency of 50% for hydrogen fuel cells any more than we can necessarily assume only 20-25% efficiency for ICEs.

Yes, I understand that BEVs are more efficient than fuel cells but look at the cost of the battery pack of the Tesla. People seem to want to come up with arguements against fuel cells (e.g., too expensive being a favorite). However, if fuel cells are only twice as efficient as ICEs and can be manufactured at a cost of less than an ICE, wouldn't it be possible to make ICEs obsolete and deliver 200 mpg vehicles using batteries and fuel cells? Couldn't this even be a step toward an all electric vehicle or fuel cell vehicle?

Seems like some of the brightest at GM think so.
 

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Texas,
I have a link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell where a direct carbon fuel cell is listed as 80% efficient.

Seems like some of the brightest at GM think so.
According to that Wickepedia article, hydrogen fuel cells have theoretical max efficiency of 83%. Even though the pratical efficiency for fuels for automibiles will be significantly below this it will still be quite good. Also, fuel cells capable of displacing the genset in the Volt are very expensive today but it is very conceivable there costs can come down to below the genset. The difficult issues that do not have good answers for yet are effectively isolating, storing, and distributing the hydrogen. This is where the efficiencies and costs are difficult to resolve. Personally, I believe hydrogen fuel cells are very cool and will have their places, just not in my car. I have no interest in trading gas for hydrogen as my feul until we have a surplus of inexpensive, clean energy that would otherwise be wasted.

Don't kid yourself. GM and the other automakers saw Hydrogen feul cell research and prototypes as a lesser of 2 evils: this or significant production runs of EV's. By the way, the taxpayers are footing the majority of this bill.
 

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Jason, Please show me where I tell anyone to stop hydrogen or other forms of research (maybe compressed air as a range extender because it's impossible for a practical sized car - see air car thread) and I will provide many links where I write to not only fund them but increase R&D spending. Do you take this challenge? Oh and I feel we can move forward with existing technology that's in production today (www.nanosolar.com, A123, etc.). You like air car technology, hydrogen, etc. Do you see the irony? I don't want to get into another ridiculous hissy fight with you. It's almost a complete waste of time.

Greenman, They SAY 80% efficient but that has never been demonstrated in a real product. Does that include wall plug-to-wheel efficiency? I have said many times that we need to continue hydrogen research. I don't feel it will be practical for normal drivers but maybe specialty applications. I have written this so many times I can't even count. I love hydrogen and the research!

I'm betting on BEV in the long run and plug-in hybrids in the short term. I just feel battery technology will advance quicker than hydrogen technology and the efficiencies of the overall systems are not even close. If I see a hydrogen fuel cell beating out a pure BEV in the next 10 years I would be extremely happy because that would be an amazing advance. Can we at least agree to move forward with the electrification of the automobile and not wait for the hydrogen car, again (reference to where California's zero emission legislation was killed in order to make way for the hydrogen car - it's still a long way out)?
 

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Texas,

You totally did not get my cheer for hydrogen! I'm not proposing that GM or anyone else drop batteries and move over to fuel cells. Actually I'm cheering GM for doing both at the same time. It's all about developing technologies that are out there to get us off of petrolium. It's possible to poo-poo any technology and tell us why it won't work. I'll take a crack at it right here and now. Let's explore all the roads ahead. Perhaps more than one will mature and be a part of our future. One thing is for sure, oil is going away. If we aren't going to use new technologies, then let's all find a horse and buy it.

Anyway, here's my crack at discrediting everything:

OIL: It's easy to fuel up with. The technology is mature. But it's running out. It's terribly expensive. I't dirty and polluting. It allows our nation to be held hostage by foreign governments that don't like us very much.

BEV's:They are clean, and the battery technology is maturing quickly. But, they have limited range and the time required to refuel (i.e. recharge) them makes it difficult to see how BEV only vehicles will ever fully replace a vehicle that can be fueled quickly.

Hydrogen: Can be burned directly or used in fuel cells to make electricity. It's relatively easy and quick to refuel a hydrogen car. The only polution from from combustion is water. It can be made from water using electricity. But, curretly it's "cracked" from fossil fuels releasing lots of CO2 in the process. There's no fueling infrastructure setup. To "crack" hydrogen from water requires a whole new electricity generation paradigm of solar, wind, wave or nuclear power to make the product without polution.

Bio-Fuels: Renewable and sustainable (maybe). That's the best we can say for it. But, using food stocks to create bio-fuels is driving up food costs and starving people in 3rd world countries. The UN is already taking the West and the US in particular to task for diverting food to fuel production. It may turn out to be a stop gap at best.
 

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Hydrogen: Can be burned directly or used in fuel cells to make electricity. It's relatively easy and quick to refuel a hydrogen car. The only polution from from combustion is water. It can be made from water using electricity. But, curretly it's "cracked" from fossil fuels releasing lots of CO2 in the process. There's no fueling infrastructure setup. To "crack" hydrogen from water requires a whole new electricity generation paradigm of solar, wind, wave or nuclear power to make the product without polution.
I think, when discussing hydrogen, we focus too much on the hydrogen that is generated from electricity. There are other forms of generating hydrogen. I'm not 100% sure of the processes in these chemical reactions, but check out : http://www.millenniumcell.com/fw/main/Overview-27.html and http://www.millenniumcell.com/fw/main/How_it_Works-31.html

This company has a system which you use Sodium Borahydride as the base fuel, add water, it releases hydrogen and a Sodium Boride. Then you can replenish the Hydrogen in the Sodium Boride in another chemical reaction. I'm not sure what that reaction takes, so in the end, may have the same efficiency problems, but I think it's promising as an alternative way to get hydrogen to the fuel cell.
 

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Texas,
Right now, people are trying to tear down ethanol, without understanding that many production plants are moving to switch grass and other cellulous sources.
Am I wrong or does Archer Daniels Midland not have a multi-hundred-million dollar contract to produce ethanol from corn? Yes, cellulosic ethanol is a much more efficient way to go than corn. But where is the evidence that production plants are moving to these methods over corn? If you have some specific information on this transition from corn to switchgrass, please share it.

Archer Daniels Midland still produces the VAST majority of our ethanol, and they do it using corn. Not to mention they are one of the single largest welfare recipients in the world. I see the potential for cellulosic ethanol, but I see the actuality of corn-based ethanol... Same thing with hydrogen... the potential for clean fuel with positive EROEI is there. but the reality is that it's less profitable to do it that way and huge companies are taking huge government subsidies to produce bio/alterna-fuels using polluting and inefficient (though profitable) methods. The potential is there. The reality is not. When are we going to get there? Are we even moving in that direction?
 
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