Hydrogen Digest: July 1, 2014

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
hydrogen digest july 1 2014

In today’s hydrogen digest: Toyota asks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a two-year exemption on its FCV; the automaker banks on subsidies to help the FCV leave the showrooms at home and abroad; and ammonia may be the secret to hydrogen’s success as a fuel.

Bloomberg reports Toyota is asking the NHTSA for a two-year exemption from FMVSS No. 305, which requires automakers to isolate high-voltage parts in electric cars in the event of a crash. The FCV doesn’t meet this rule in full because said isolation would render the vehicle inoperable, opting instead to use insulation on high-voltage cables and related components to protect first responders and occupants from potential electrical shocks in the event of a low-speed accident. Toyota claims the protections will be at least equal to those in compliance with the agency’s rule.

Meanwhile, Automotive News says the automaker is banking on subsidies at home and in markets such as the United States and Europe to help the FCV leave the showroom toward the path of success. The ¥7 million ($69,000 USD) will need a sizable credit to match its Lexus-esque pricing when it goes on sale in Japan next April; the highest subsidy is ¥850,000 (approximately $8,400). As for the U.S., where fueling infrastructure is woefully inadequate, Toyota may instead opt to lease the FCV, details of the plan still in discussion.

Finally, Autoblog Green reports ammonia may be the way toward the hydrogen future. The Science and Technologies Facilities Council in Swindon, England have discovered a process which cracks ammonia into nitrogen and hydrogen using sodium amide as the catalyst. The lower-cost process could be conducted on-board an FCV via an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a 2-liter bottle of Coke, providing enough power for “a mid-range family car” while easily handling NOx-free tailpipe emissions. The STFC is now in the process of building a low-energy demonstration system to prove ammonia’s viability as a source of hydrogen fuel.

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  • Redav Redav on Jul 02, 2014

    I'm not really concerned about a crash leading to a hydrogen leak. I am more concerned about a crash leading to a leak of anhydrous ammonia. There's a reason it's not used as a refrigerant in normal consumer applications.

  • Kosmo Kosmo on Jul 02, 2014

    Well, to be fair to the 300 scientists that bought into this report, they did so at least partially based on the false data NOAA utilized. I have run into this kind of thing in my career a few times. Most notably when the state of CA initially demanded that I use accepted dust modeling parameters for a large expansion permitting project at an existing facility. When the modeling showed that every dirt road at the facility would lose over 8 feet of thickness in 10 years, they had to reluctantly back down from this, and use real data (of which we possessed 7 years).