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The Chinese Volt?

10133 Views 17 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  &eye
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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.
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.

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.

I have a link to 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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