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Hydrogen powered cars

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by derekt75, May 3, 2013.

  1. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    I just heard on the radio that Toyota is still moving forward on a fuel cell car for 2015.
    Toyota cuts cost of hydrogen-fuel cell cars

    I thought that after years of research, we haven't been able to efficiently produce Hydrogen, and that therefore Hydrogen cars cause about as much CO2 emissions as gasoline cars.

    I'd still like some fast-fueling green vehicle, but is Hydrogen the answer to that?
     
  2. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    No, I don't think it is.
    I do think hydrogen fuel can play a role in our transportation.
    But it is energy intensive, difficult to move and handle, expensive, and has a low energy density.

    For the light vehicle fleet I see national security as the only advantage.
    Don't get me wrong, national security is a great advantage, but when you can get that advantage plus a slew of others with electric...
     
  3. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    If you think hydrogen has a low energy density, batteries are much worse.

    Electric is still slow-fueling. It's only a problem on road trips, but we Americans like the possibility of road trips even if we only take them once every few years. (yeah, I know some of you love your Teslas for road trips. An hour of charging for every 3.5 hours of driving isn't for everyone, though.)

    but a $50k fuel cell Prius that causes more CO2 emissions per mile than a Plug-in-Prius and can only be fueled at a handful of stations, well I don't see the point.

    Out of curiosity, you do see that hydrogen could play a role in fueling our 18 wheelers? Do you think hydrogen there makes more sense than natural gas power?
     
  4. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    Agreed, batteries are much worse in terms of energy density. But electricity is cheap and can come from 100% renewable sources.

    I do think natural gas makes more sense than hydrogen for 18 wheelers. Hydrogen really will struggle to find a niche that isn't better served by another fuel. It may be better than natural gas, but again it would require a lot of advances which frankly, I don't know if they would ever come.

    This balance may change as technical advances are made if hydrogen can be produced more easily, and or stored/transported easier.

    The technology may prove very useful for other applications, such as one energy storage, grid storage, etc. right now it certainly isn't, but with a few discoveries I wouldn't say it can't happen.

    For light vehicles, I think it is a dead end though.
     
  5. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Hydrogen could have legs. Speaking to the Ontario, Canada electricity market, we have a fair bit of wind power, but because of it's intermittent nature, wind generation is often out of sync with demand. Wind generators are paid a fixed price (much higher than market price) for the power they generate, but sometimes this disconnect between supply and demand can drive the market price of electricity so low that it has actually gone negative for some hours. In other words, we pay big bucks for power that gets dumped into the market and is then literally given away. I believe using wind power to generate hydrogen makes much more sense than dumping unwanted and unneeded electricity into the grid. The hydrogen could be run through fuel cells to feed power back to the grid when it is actually needed, and create a hydrogen economy for other uses (such as vehicles). Hydrogen can be transported through existing natural gas infrastructure, so there is the added benefit of moving the resource closer to the load centers, rather than dumping power into a remote part of the grid (where these wind farms typically are).
     
  6. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    One might make hydrogen with extra waste power, store it and reuse it in a fuel cell generator later. Problems start when trying to downsize the system for transportation, with compressed hydrogen tanks, and fuel cells that will stand vibration. A fixed site is much cheaper.

    As to pumping through existing nat gas pipelines, I don't think so. Hydrogen is a whole nother chemical than nat gas, corrosive, leaks easier, harder to keep moving. And the nat gas lines are being used.

    In some countries they pump water to high lakes and drop it down later through hydro generators. Same thing. The costs are marginally worth it because the power would have to be wasted otherwise.
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I was surprised to learn (and admittedly don't have all of the technical details) that it is possible to inject hydrogen in with the natural gas creating "Hydrogen Enriched Natural Gas" to allow the deployment of hydrogen within an existing energy infrastructure.
     
  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    You can pump a certain amount of hydrogen into NG lines without a problem. The problem with the renewable-hydrogen argument is that you don't take that much of an efficiency hit going one step further and adding heat and CO2 and converting it to methane (and of course cheap H is made from methane) and you can then pump as much methane as you like out to pipelines.

    A hard chase of HFCV may make sense to the Japanese, but it doesn't make near as much sense in other places. It still needs massive cost breakthroughs and the research could be brought to a crashing halt by a breakthrough in metal-air that would limit the market to large commercial vehicles that could just as well run on NG or electricity.
     
  9. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    I went to a presentation by Mercedes about a year ago on their Hydrogen fuel cell program. They have a 100 or so fuel cell cars on the road in Southern California. The Mercedes is similar in size to a small mini van. The hydrogen system takes a lot of space so interior room was not so great. The car was unimpressive to drive and unimpressive in appearance. If I remember right, the cost of fueling the car was around $8.00 per gallon gas equivalent. They include the fuel if you lease one of their current cars. There are a couple of places to fuel in So. Cal. and the range is somewhat decent. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about the Hindenburg. Mercedes has spent a lot of money on something that needs some major break technological improvements to be viable.

    I left wondering why they were doing this when the battery technology seems much more viable.
    Tesla= best looking sexiest car on the road
    Mercedes fuel cell = mini van
    Tesla = expensive but electrons are cheap
    Mercedes = expensive but fueling is more expensive
    Tesla= convenient, plug in at night
    Mercedes = inconvenient to fuel
    Tesla = eats Porsches
    Mercedes = mini van performance
    Tesla = safe in accident
    Mercedes = Hidenburg

    Maybe I am simplistic, but I do not see fuel cell vehicles having a market.
     
  10. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    If a site for alternative energy vehicle enthusiasts can't see the point to a particular alternative energy vehicle, why is there still so much development in them?

    In fairness, this site is for Tesla, not for all alternative energy vehicles, but still, if you can't convince us, who will you convince?
     
  11. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    About a dozen years ago I started reading about fuel cells and how awesome they were and I was convinced they were the future. I was wrong.
    One very important difference between an FCV and a BEV is that chemical fuel companies can keep selling you chemical fuel.
    I feel very strongly that that is their true purpose. I'm not interested in helping the chemical fuel companies survive the end of gasoline.
    Why pump chemicals through a pipe when you can run electricity through wires? Electricity is so much more elegant.

    If I could choose between 2 cars - a BEV and an FCV - that had all of these features:
    1) super green ( BEV and FCV using hydrogen produced in some clean way )
    2) are quick and fast ( FCVs currently are not and likely wont be )
    3) are long range
    4) conveniently have a full tank every morning at my house ( FCVs wont have this )
    5) can take me on long trips ( BEV requires many superchargers, FCVs require many H2 stations )
    6) have tons of interior space and cargo volume ( FCVs have to overcome their large cylindrical tanks )
    Then I would have an interesting choice.
    But I dont think FCVs will be able to match BEVs on all those points and will never catch up.
     
  12. Bonken

    Bonken Member

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  13. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Stopping fuel purchase was part of the attraction to EV for me as well. I'd like to be done with it (transported fuel).
     
  14. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Some questions I want answered about refilling H2:

    How fast does the 3000 PSI H2 tank in my car actually fill?
    Can the H2 station take H2 from an input pipeline and directly compress it into my car or is there an intermediate tank?
    What PSI does the station have to hold the H2 at to do that? I assume its more than 3000PSI.
    How big is that tank?
    How fast can it fill that tank?
    What is the maximum throughput of the H2 station filling cars? If a dozen cars appear and line up at the H2 pump, how long until they have to wait for the compressor to take the H2 from whatever pipeline it is coming in at and get it to the >3000PSI so it can fill it into the car?
     
  15. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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  16. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The hydrogen station across the street from DallasMakerSpace has two 15-20 metre towers to hold the hydrogen. It also has gates, surveillance, and big warning signs.

    The big advantage that hydrogen has is that the car manufacturers can get billions from the government for research without ever having to come up with an actual product. This leaves their current business model intact and still makes them appear to the public to be trying.
     
  17. IceWendigo

    IceWendigo Member

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    Imo, Hydrogen for cars is a diversion, a Wild Goose Chasing a Red Herring.
    (Its reasonable to project that batteries will improve, that charging stations will be more numerous, that solar panels will be cheaper, and that photo-voltaic paint is not very far off.)
     
  18. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Photovoltaic paint may not be far off but I doubt it will be capable of generating any significant charge for an EV. If it could that would mean significant currents and voltage flowing through a thin layer of paint :scared:
     
  19. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Where's TEG when you need him most?
     
  20. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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