By on September 24, 2017

hydrogen fueling

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in our universe and hydrogen-powered vehicles produce only a single emission: water. It’s no wonder a handful automakers have touted it as the next-step in “sustainable” transportation, because it looks great upon a cursory examination. But it hasn’t held up under increased scrutiny and numerous manufacturers have been highly critical of fuel cell cars.

Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director called hydrogen-powered vehicles a disaster in practical efficiency. Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk went even further, calling the technology “incredibly dumb.” More recently, VW Group also hinted that it thought there wasn’t going to be much of a future for fuel cells. Matthias Mueller’s address at the Frankfurt Auto Show was heavy on electrification and light on hydrogen, with Audi spearheading the technology.

Although, if president of Audi of America Scott Keogh is to be believed, it looks to be a rather dull spear they are using. 

“The worst thing you can do is kind of half bake electric, then go off on another science project with fuel cells, then go running to another science project,” Keogh told Automotive News at the show.

Post dieselgate, Volkswagen Group has billions wrapped up in developing electric vehicles, using its Electrify America subsidiary to improve the EV infrastructure in the United States, and collaborating with other automakers to do the same in Europe.

After, and only after, VW has established itself as an electrified dynamo will it bother pursing hydrogen fuel cells with any earnestness. Keogh estimated that Audi would have “limited fleets” of hydrogen-powered test vehicles on the road within five years and would consider vehicles for consumer use sometime after that.

However, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda are pursing hydrogen as a potentially viable energy source while other automakers are snubbing it. So what’s the problem?

Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director Wolfgang Ziebart described the issue as one of practical efficiency. Hydrogen-powered cars are not yet a green solution and extracting their energy source, abundant as it may be, requires quite a bit of energy. The processed hydrogen is then stored, shipped, and consumed by vehicles that are electrically driven.

“You end up with a well to wheel efficiency of roughly 30 percent for hydrogen, as opposed to more or less well to wheel 70 percent efficiency for a battery electric vehicle,” explained Ziebart. “So the efficiency of putting the electric energy directly into a battery is about twice as high as the efficiency of producing and using hydrogen.”

“If there was a strong reason to have a hydrogen infrastructure, then I think it would be set up, but with this disastrous well-to-wheel relationship, it doesn’t just make sense,” he concluded.

Musk would agree. He has condemned hydrogen fuel cell technology as wasteful in the past, going so far as to suggest other gasses would be easier to live with. “If you’re going to pick an energy storage mechanism, hydrogen is an incredibly dumb one to pick — you should just pick methane, that’s much much easier, or propane,” he said.

With a vested interest in battery-electric vehicles, Musk would obviously prefer drivers get their car’s energy via wires. But, he seems particularly uncharitable toward a hydrogen-based alternative. As compressible gasses go, he says it’s just about the worst one.

There also isn’t much of an infrastructure for hydrogen fueling outside of Pacific Asia. While some areas of Europe and the United States (California, mainly) have small pockets of them, they don’t extend beyond urban centers. That would make it impossible for any hydrogen-powered vehicle to leave the confines of their home territory. Meanwhile, electric charging stations are cropping up everywhere and a carefully plotted course means a BEV would eventually make it across the entire continent.

The only advantage the hydrogen car would have is the time it takes to “refuel.” While a battery-powered car needs hours upon hours to recharge via a standard outlet, even a fast charging station could leave you immobilized for over an hour. Comparatively, gassing up your ride with hydrogen would only take a few minutes to achieve the same range. But you’re not going to find any H-Stations on a road trip and the gas doesn’t come trickling out of the walls of every home that paid its gas bill that month.

Audi says, even after it starts dabbling with hydrogen-powered test vehicles, it won’t be pursuing Honda or Toyota’s plans to help establish an infrastructure to fuel them. It’s far more interested in backing VW Group’s battery-powered cars.

“Every time another manufacturer starts to lean more on EVs and throw more resources at them, it pushes the momentum more towards that solution,” explained Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Hyundai have all scaled down their hydrogen-fueled dreams of late. Chevrolet’s Bolt has proven GM knows what its doing with electrification and Mercedes-Benz has promised a slew of mild-hybrids in the years to come. Hyundai, which looked poised to follow Toyota and Honda, may have developed the Tucson Fuel Cell — but has stated it will be gradually abandoning the technology to focus on battery power.

[Image: Daimler AG]

 

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78 Comments on “Further Proof That Hydrogen Cars Are Stupid...”


  • avatar

    A good friend of mine, Robert Buxbaum, holds a number of patents in hydrogen separation and purification and his Mr. Hydrogen (he’s a BTTF fan) brand of methanol/water reformulators (http://www.rebresearch.com) are used by many of the leading companies doing research on hydrogen and fuel cells because it’s cheaper to use one of his gizmos than to pay Air Liquide big bucks for 5 nines pure H2.

    Dr. B tells me that hydrogen isn’t a fuel, it’s at best an energy storage material.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      Right- it’s like electricity, or steam, or springs. All are good for transporting energy and putting it to use. But none of them are energy sources themselves, and neither is hydrogen as long as it takes so much energy to capture and distribute it.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Ronnie – – –

      R: “Dr. B tells me that hydrogen isn’t a fuel, it’s at best an energy storage material.”

      Not a unique distinction.
      All fuels are “energy storage materials”. It just depends on the time scale over which they are considered.

      ================

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      Your friend, Mr. Buxbaum, gave two definitions for the same thing as though they were distinct.

      Fuels are materials with potential chemical or nuclear energy that can be liberated to do work.

      • 0 avatar

        My definition of a fuel is something that gives you more energy than you expend to extract and refine it. By that definition, uranium is a fuel, petroleum is a fuel, coal is a fuel, and natural gas is a fuel. Electrons and hydrogen are not fuels.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I remain convinced that continued interest in hydrogen fuel cells by the Japanese is predicated on some concept of reformulation, either from a liquid or a gas, like methanol or ammonia. This would make refueling quick, but I wonder about efficiency issues.

  • avatar
    Zane Wylder

    Why waste all this $$$ on alternative fuels when we’re not gonna be running out of fossil fuels for at least a couple hundred years or so (more oil here in America that the middle East)

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I don’t know about a couple hundred years’ worth, but there’s no real rush for a couple decades. Maybe these alternate fuels should be researched by labs, not automakers. It may keep pressure groups off automakers’ backs, but the spending is paid for by car buyers.

      Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and carbon is the sixth most abundant. Nature has already shown us that combining the two into a liquid form is more efficient than hydrogen alone, so when we begin to run out of the nature-made version, we can produce synthetic versions, yes?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        My personal favorite alternative energy idea is a biofuel derived from human waste.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          Interesting tidbit: only about one third of humans have the archaea in their gut that allows them to produce methane.
          Gastric CO2 and hydrogen sulfide, however, are another story.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Lorenzo – – –

        Actually, the Audi E-gas Project (with its production plant) is an excellent way to combine CO2 (harvested for the atmosphere) and H2 for hydrolysis of sea water to do exactly what you suggested:
        https://www.autoblog.com/2013/07/08/audi-opens-renewable-energy-e-gas-plant-in-germany/

        And that combination creates a really neat way to bundle hydrogen atoms close together around a central hub. That hub is carbon, and that resulting gas (that could be liquified) is methane (CH4). Methane can be used in fuel cells, too; it can be burned in ICE’s with current technology; it can heat buildings; and the O2 from the seawater can be used in hospitals.
        The removal of CO2 for the atmosphere during this his process means that the net greenhouse affect is close to zero

        ====================

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        Because labs rarely resemble the world outside the walls.

        It’s why there are bugs in software that have been released to the public. No better way to actually test a concept or implementation than to subject it to the world.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      There is a lot of political and social will there for reduced emissions and the technology as far as electricity is concerned has matured to the point that the public at large feels it’s nearly seamless compared to thier gasoline counterparts.

      In the case of electricity it makes going “green” painless or nearly so.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Well at some point, less than 200 years I’m sure, gasoline is going to start getting very expensive. You can’t just turn a switch and now run on something else. Better to start now and be ready for a smooth transition.

    • 0 avatar
      markogts

      First, there is a carbon budget, the atmosphere simply can’t hold more carbon dioxide without dangerous alterations to the climate. Secondly, don’t be do sure about the fracking propaganda. Try to distinguish between reserves and resources and realize that once the tipping point will be reached, nobody will want to invest in the fossil industry. There will be no soft landing for late investors.

    • 0 avatar
      HahnZahn

      Global warming, the geo-political messes we get ourselves into due to dealing with the basket cases where the fossil fuels lay, and that it’s human habit to try to shift the paradigm. Also, think of petroleum like toilet paper. Do you wait until you’re out of TP to get more? Or do you try to plan ahead for something with which to wipe your anus?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      What the others said. Also note that hydrogen is still friendly with the oil companies. You need oil to create H2 and you need diesel for the trucks that deliver H2 to fueling stations. Pipelines are too leaky for these small H2 atoms.

      In contrast, EVs have very little to do with oil companies. Electricity can be made from clean natural gas, dirty coal, or renewable resources, depending on the part of the country. Hence, EVs will be attacked by those who have a vested interest in oil, whereas FCEV are more or less promoted as the future.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        WheelMcCoy – – –

        W: “You need oil to create H2 and you need diesel for the trucks that deliver H2 to fueling stations. Pipelines are too leaky for these small H2 atoms.”

        1) You do not need oil to create H2. See Audi E-gas process described to Lorenzo above.

        2) CNG (CH4) is transported through pipelines all over the country, without appreciable leaking. Yes, H2 is smaller than CH4, but not by much, — not even 2-to-1:
        Kinetic Diameter of H2 = 289 pm;
        Kinetic Diameter of CH4 = 380 pm.
        (Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_diameter)
        Any additional leaking (beyond CNG levels) would be small. In unaltered (current) pipelines, It would be 380/289 times, or about 1.3X as much.

        Nonetheless, It may still be true that initial transport of H2 may be by truck, like gasoline is now.

        ====================

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Science nitpick: “hydrogen-powered vehicles produce only a single emission: water.” Um, they produce trace amounts of oxides of nitrogen, just as air breathing gasoline engines do. That’s sorta like saying that gasoline engines have *only* water and carbon dioxide in their exhausts, which, of course, they don’t. A better statement would be to simply say hydrogen-powered vehicles don’t emit carbon dioxide.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s a big nit to pick. Nitrogen is 78% of the air we breathe and oxygen is a bit over 20%, so anything we burn will produce oxides of nitrogen and various oxygen compounds. Carbon based fuels add carbon compounds to the mix.

      Our entire civilization is based on the principle of heat exchange, so we need a new trick to get beyond the pitfalls of burning fuels. If only Gene Roddenberry had explained how di-lithium crystals worked!

      • 0 avatar
        markogts

        If you use hydrogen in a fuel cell, there is no combustion. Nitrogen oxides form only above certain temperatures, so in the exhaust of a FCV there is none. It is different of course if you *burn* hydrogen in an ICE, but this is plain stupid already because of the terribly poor knock resistance.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          markogts – – –

          M: “If you use hydrogen in a fuel cell, there is no combustion. Nitrogen oxides form only above certain temperatures, so in the exhaust of a FCV there is none.”

          Absolutely correct.
          Here’s a cute little video showing how an H2 fuel cell works:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imV_ufIzxPY

          =================

  • avatar
    Fred

    It’s good to do all these science projects and learn from them. Knowing what doesn’t work is often more important than knowing what does. What’s important is not to let the politicians get all excited and providing some kind of pork barrel support to one or the other. I mean I’m okay with providing a zero emissions credit to the buyer, just don’t pick hydrogen or solar as the only source of credit.

    • 0 avatar
      Petra

      Yup. I think Toyota will get their money’s worth out of the Mirai one way or another. Regardless of whether hydrogen becomes a popular fuel source or not, there is knowledge and technology they have discovered that can be passed on to other Toyota products.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    Oh please, the well-to-wheels relationship is irrelevant signaling. The problems are what they’ve always been: 1. fuel cells are hideously delicate and hard to service 2. Hydrogen is a bear to store.

    1. As for the fuel cell’s delicate nature, the Japanese are making great strides in improving fuel cells and making them more robust. There’s a long way to go, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

    2. Hydrogen likes to diffuse through things at tremendous speeds and causes a lot of damage on the way. There’s not many great materials to store it in, and even if you use an “ok” one, you’re still storing hydrogen as either a cryogenic liquid (energy expensive and requires active cooling) or a compressed gas (very large volume, high mass)

    I think the Japanese will solve #1 well enough for just about everyone. I have no idea how they’ll get around #2, since it seems like some pretty fundamental physics at play.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I think the best idea is generating the hydrogen on board. Some people at Stanford developed a system of using a gallium liquid to allow aluminum to absorb oxygen from water without forming a surface layer of aluminum oxide on the surface. This could create a very energy dense battery, requiring a hydrogen fuel cell to complete the process.

      Talking to engineers, the issue always seemed to be the cost of producing the fuel cell itself. When I last was able to discuss this with an engineer from Ford, about 6 years ago, the necessary fuel cell still cost over $100,000. They estimated that they could get the price down to about $10,000 if they created large scale demand with that technology.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      anomaly149 – – –

      a: “As for the fuel cell’s delicate nature, the Japanese are making great strides in improving fuel cells and making them more robust.”

      True. But another problem has been the high cost of rare catalytic metals like platinum and palladium. Recent advances have made H2FC’s both more robust and have used surface-active insoluble salts as the agents of reaction catalysis.

      a: “Hydrogen likes to diffuse through things at tremendous speeds and causes a lot of damage on the way.”

      Not true. See the molecular-diameter data for H2, listed for “WheelMcCoy” above. Molecular H2, surprisingly, acts like an inert gas, doing no harm at all in the absence of oxidizing agents. You may have been confusing the H2- molecule with atomic or ionic hydrogen (H+), which is both very small and very reactive. Molecular H2 is the form used for transport; and ionic H+ never leaves the fuel cell.

      ================

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        Your “not true” is not true.

        Hydrogen embrittlement is a significant issue. Molecular size vs pore size are not the only indicators of whether a given species will diffuse through a crystal structure.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          notapreppie – – –

          nap: “Hydrogen embrittlement is a significant issue. Molecular size vs pore size are not the only indicators of whether a given species will diffuse through a crystal structure.”

          Your “not true” is not true is not true (^_^)….

          Actually it is true, — in some cases. It is one of those effects that does occur significantly under restricted conditions at high-temperatures in certain steels. It does not occur appreciably in unstressed CNG delivery steel pipes in cold ground; nor in steel H2 storage-cylinders at 2500 psi kept at room temperature (which we have had in labs for decades without even leaking); nor does it occur in cool pure copper pipes and tubing.

          In addition, any embrittlement processes are kinetic phenomena: they are rate dependent. So, yes, theoretically, after 50 years, a steel H2 storage cylinder at 2500 psi could rupture or leak from reduced burst strength caused by embrittlement, but it would be more likely that a 500 years would go by before a thick-walled, cold, high-carbon steel pipe at 50-degree (F) pipe in the ground at 10 psi would have an issue.

          Further, if H2 delivery-pipes become more common (as opposed to pressurized tanker trucks), and CNG steel pipes do show issues that make a direct swap with H2 a problem, do you honestly think that alternative metals and/or coatings would not be developed to handle that,— especially if H2 delivery becomes a cornerstone of the economy?

          And do you believe that the Japanese have not already explored these things and have solved them even now? After all, they are already making the cars that use H2 Fuel cells, and need the delivery infrastructure to handle H2 on a larger scale in Japan.

          —————–
          From your reference:
          1) “If steel is exposed to hydrogen at high temperatures, hydrogen will diffuse into the alloy and combine with carbon to form tiny pockets of methane at internal surfaces like grain boundaries and voids. This methane does not diffuse out of the metal, and collects in the voids at high pressure and initiates cracks in the steel. This selective leaching process is known as hydrogen attack, or high temperature hydrogen attack and leads to decarburization of the steel and loss of strength and ductility.”

          2) “Copper ALLOYS which contain OXYGEN can be embrittled if exposed to hot hydrogen.”
          ——————

          =========================

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      My guess is that if the storage issue is resolved, it will be resolved by some kind of metal-organic framework where the H2 can be chemisorbed or physisorbed in a way that is easily reversible.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal-organic_framework#Hydrogen_adsorption

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Japan is doing it for non economical reason: they want to promote nuclear power and use thermo-chemical cracking to generate hydrogen.

      Why they want to promote nuclear energy? Depends on who you ask, it could be for energy independence to the revival of their nuclear weapon program (they want the N bomb).

      • 0 avatar
        spw

        uh, Japan is shutting down all of their nuclear plants. Where did you get that nonsense? (which is stupid IMHO)

        As to the why are they doing it – pretty simple, they dont have enough electricity, they have to import most of their energy.

        They also push EV, Japan has more public fast chargers than USA, and they subsidize research into batteries as well.

  • avatar
    markogts

    “With a vested interest in battery-electric vehicles”

    You keep getting this wrong. The only interest of Elon was to speed up the transition to zero-carbon transportation. Since he is clever, he noted this stuff about the disadvantages of hydrogen many years ago, while most of us either had no clue about it or were mesmerized by Jeremy Rifkin’s books. He also correctly forecasted that battery prices would drop dramatically.

    So he put his bets there. Since when is being right something to condemn?

    • 0 avatar
      anomaly149

      There was plenty of literature about both fuel cells and batteries around decades before Musk was even born. Fuel cells didn’t just spring forth in the early 90s like Pallas Athena; their history reaches back to the 1800s. GM even made some fuel cell vehicles in the 1960s. There was no divine inspiration in noting well established literature, and it’s quite disingenuous to credit Musk with some sort of deep cleverness here.

      It’s also deeply cultish to assume Musk is purely altruist. He’s got a fairly substantial financial tie to BEVs of a very specific type here. He has far more interests than just “speed[ing] up the transition,” some of which you can see at work every time he interacts with a union, or a dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “He also correctly forecasted that battery prices would drop dramatically.”

      Because all technology doesn’t get cheaper as it becomes more common place, mass-produced, and evolved. That’s why we still pay $900 for a VCR, right? And why fuel injection still only comes in expensive sports and luxury cars, along with LCD screens, LED lighting, HID headlamps, need I go on?

      ” Since when is being right something to condemn?”

      Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

      -Sustained-

      All praise be to Lord Elon. For He so loved the world, that He gave us His begotten technology, decades before He was born to the Like A Virgin.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.”

        Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner in physics and Obama’s energy secretary, also dissed hydrogen fuel cells… and rightly so. I believe Musk and Chu came to their conclusions separately.

        What *is* in evidence is that FCEV has, is, and will always be… the future.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Stereo equipment doesn’t seem to get cheaper.

  • avatar
    Southern Perspective

    As we know, hydrogen is produced by a process called electrolysis, which is splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The hydrogen can then be used in fuels for fuel cells in cars.
    Electrolysis requires the use of A LOT of electricity. This could be a “green” process only if all the electricity involved were generated by wind or solar panels. This of course is not anywhere near the case.

    At present, steam reforming, which is combining high-temperature steam with natural gas to extract hydrogen, is the way most of the hydrogen produced in the United States is produced. But again, this is an energy/environment use-intensive way to get hydrogen, but not as bad as electrolysis.

    Forgetting about making hydrogen by way of electrolysis, which seems more wasteful and environmentally destructive right out of the box, consider: If the water for steam reforming is heated by propane, methane or liquid natural gas, wouldn’t it be better for environmental AND cost reasons to use the propane, methane, or liquid natural gas to power vehicles directly? Again, using electricity to heat the water would be “green” only if all the electricity in question were generated by “green” means.

    It seems to me that the electrolysis process is the worst idea, the one the petrol industry would prefer because they would then make money on fueling electrolysis plants in addition to vehicles. Is that why the electrolysis process is/was being pursued?

    • 0 avatar
      fazalmajid

      Electrolysis might be a way to solve the solar electricity storage problem (it doesn’t matter how inefficient the process is when California actually pays neighbors to take its excess solar power away). The low energy density makes it a low-likelihood candidate compared to other technologies like redox flow batteries or molten salt storage, however.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Nobody seems to be addressing the elephant in the room.

    Car companies are pursuing hydrogen as a fuel source because some governments are subsidizing it, especially the Japanese government. It’s not just a coincidence that Japanese car companies are leading the charge on this.

    Strip that away and see what happens.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Hydrogen on Earth (and not roaming around free as an intergalactic bird in the universe beyond our atmosphere in NEGLIGIBLE usable concentrations, but we always get the wild blue yonder wowee-just-imagine-it introduction in a hydrogen article) is practically like electricity, a mere method of transmitting energy already produced. Free hydrogen atoms in the earth’s wild are as scarce as hen’s teeth, so it cannot be regarded as an energy source. Its disadvantages in storage are well-documented in others’ comments above.

    The Japanese have hypnotized themselves on the matter, believe in hydrogen, but have accomplished nothing to try to produce it in a less energy intensive manner in the first place. Talk about useless. They cannot even explain why it’s a good thing so far as I’ve read. They’re just trying to invent a new industry that they can dominate for a while and b*gger the rationale.

    Still, in a world where about one person in a hundred has any technical clue worth talking about, the drum beaters can get the dimwit public on side by the usual propaganda methods – which is to merely repeat the message over and over until the average dullard believes it’s true. Governments have been particularly good at this for centuries to promote patriotism and fear of anybody or anywhere “different”. Keeps the elites comfy at night to know you can call on the ravening chest-beaters for a bit of mind and body re-altering of the “enemy” if they get a bit too stroppy.

    Whether hydrogen succeeds as a “fuel” will not depend on reason, merely perception. Of that I’m convinced, and whoever stands to make a wad of money on hydrogen will push it until the rational opposition just gives up or is bought off. Pass the smokes, Mac. Only took centuries to bring that cabal down and it’s still not out.

    • 0 avatar
      anomaly149

      In the defense of the Japanese, there are a lot of ways to generate hydrogen, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense to try to shave percents on hydrogen production efficiency if you’re still working out fuel cells and storage. Worst come to worst you can crack just about anything short of straight up asphalt into syngas.

      Hydrogen’s ability to be shipped around like gasoline is something that shouldn’t be downplayed. BEVs need “The Grid” in a very TRON sense, while fuel cell vehicles don’t. That’s about all it has though.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        That last paragraph is the crux of the matter. If any “alternative” fuel is going to “prevent global warming”, it needs to be a superior alternative to burning fossil fuels everywhere. Not just down the street from one of Musk’s adobes.

        H2 could conceivably, at least if those in Musk’s neighborhood are sufficiently convinced CO2 emissions are bad enough to not mind subsidizing it heavily, serve that role. Pipe dream for sure, but a lot more likely than a 24/7-forever available power grid, supporting the vehicles guerillas will need to do what it is they do, in every corner of the world where they ply their trade.

        Otherwise, all you really accomplish by electrifying San Francisco and Norway, is to lower demand, hence prices, for oil; leading to increased use in places where electricity is not a realistic alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      @conundrum:
      “whoever stands to make a wad of money on hydrogen will push it until the rational opposition just gives up or is bought off.”

      And relative to Europe, this is exactly how North Americans came to be so much more dependent on private car use, compared to the much more efficient mass transit systems. The conditioning that life isn’t worth living unless you own and operate a car is particularly evident on this website.

  • avatar
    4123dlc

    All of you who think hydrogen technology is stupid please answer these questions:

    1. What kind of car do you drive do you drive today? Is it an electric?
    2. If batteries were a real solution, what about,

    • In places of the world where clean energy and nuclear are not viable,
    coal will continue to be used in increasing amounts to satisfy the
    increasing demand electric cars create. THIS IS NOT A CLEAN
    SOLUTION! (https://www.wired.com/2016/03/teslas-electric-cars-might-
    not-green-think/)

    • In emergency situations, such as what was realized this summer as a result of
    hurricanes, where will
    electric vehicles get electricity when the range Of an electric vehicle goes from
    100 miles to 5 miles in never-ending stop-and-go traffic?

    3. How efficient were gasoline powered engines in their infancy?

    4. Did you know that when hydrogen powered motors were first invented/created, OPEC bought the patent? Why do you think they did that?

    For all of you who worship Elon Musk, when was the last time you receive a check from him and his company? You haven’t received a check? But you paid for his company! Elon Musk and Tesla is just another case of government cronyism. He didn’t pay for his company. He helped to create massive government loopholes, kickbacks and incentives so that he could drive his Tesla right through without paying a dime, while collecting all of the profits. Of course he doesn’t like hydrogen powered cars! They are contrary to his business plan and his portfolio.

    So, if everyone was driving an electric car today, what kind of bind would that put on a power grid? 65% of the energy created in the U.S. is through burning coal and fossil fuels. Have you ever seen what a coal electricity plant puts into the air? Try looking at a satellite view photo of China. Even with the technology of “scrubbers” to help clean that byproduct, harmful pollutants are still being put into the air. With every new electric, there will be that much more fuel burned to power that car.

    Hydrogen powered vehicle will only get better. But first it has to be embraced. There are hurdles to overcome, but that is all they are and every great technology that we take for granted today also had hurdles to overcome in their infancy. Using those hurdles as excuses to otherwise ignorantly divert attention to notions that will only cause further damage down the road, i.e. Tesla and electric cars, is as stupid as an NFL player associating a small, hateful few with the very fabric of this great nation, and then turning his back on all of those who have lost their lives in defense of that fabric, through his ignorant and attention-seeking protest.

    What we need is for the masses to realize what the ultimate agenda of their chosen leaders are and what they actually care about most. What we need is to use our brains for something other than repeating the stupidity spoken by those individuals.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      I will only bother to point out only a couple of flaws in your reasoning.

      The range of electric vehicles does not go from 100 miles to 5 in traffic jams. They use little power when not moving and regenerate power during the slowing portion of every lurch in traffic. This is also true of hybrids.

      In fact their range increases in stop and go traffic because of the lower wind resistance of the lower average speed.

      If ev’s will cause increased use of coal power plants, something that has been thoroughly explored on ttac, then hydrogen propulsion will cause an even greater use of coal simply because hydrogen fuelling is a less efficient use of electricity.

      Denouncing Musk does not change the laws of thermodynamics.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        brandloyalty – – –

        In order for a new propulsion technology (in this case, EV), in either cars or trucks, to be MORE than competitive and gain market share, It can’t just “pull even”: it has to be the “bestest” with the “mostest”, (to paraphrase an old marketer rather badly).

        Here are some criteria, which a general purpose an E-vehicle would have to meet to make that happen, IMO. I should emphasize that it really seems that EV’s will be neither practical nor accepted for general-use in America for the foreseeable future, because of these factors:

        a) They would need a range of greater than 500 miles.
        b) They must charge fully in 10 minutes or less.
        c) They must cost LESS than a comparable ICE vehicle.
        d) They must be supported by charging stations all over the country (America).
        e) They must have a supporting electric grid capable of powering more than 25% of all customers who would drive all EV’s (which does not yet exist).
        f) They must not depend on exotic metals like indium and cobalt, which are rare and rapidly depleting.
        g) They must have adequate VERY cold-temperature performance (which they do not now).

        And right now, into the foreseeable future (10-20 years out), the market will still favor ICEs at about an 80% take rate, because of engine advances:

        http://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/12-propulsion-technologies-that-will-increase-future-cars-efficiency

        ===========================

      • 0 avatar
        4123dlc

        Awe, did I hurt your Tesla-loving feelings? Brandloyalty, you would be wise to be a little more judicious about when you open your mouth, or keyboard, as they case may be.

        First, explain the laws of thermodynamics, as it applies to your response.?. What in Hell do those laws have to do with anything you said, or the matter at hand? And, how is hydrogen fueling “a less efficient use of electricity”? As compared to what? Also, how would inefficiencies in hydrogen fueling have an impact upon coal? Aside from the fact that if fuel cell technology was embraced and refined further and further, with the net effect being less coal power being used in general, for every fuel cell vehicle manufactured and used instead of an electric vehicle there would be a net gain, concerning coal being used.

        Next, hybrids are uniquely different, and have nothing to do with what we are discussing. They are still primarily gasoline-powered vehicles.

        Third, the stop-and-go traffic that I spoke of, that people face in times of great emergency such as was created by the recent hurricanes, which would be more accurately described as stand-still/very little movement for hours on end COULD NEVER CREATE THE SUFFICIENT MOMENTUM NECCESSARY to be converted into storable energy through braking to have any useful effect upon the range of an electric vehicle. By your logic, anything greater than the long hours of very little movement that I was referring to, such as typical around-town driving, would create a far greater range than electric vehicles have ever realized. Regenerative braking is more a nice sales pitch, in a technology where every little bit more is desperately needed. By the way, this was not a theory that I manufactured. It was a real issue in Texas and Florida for EV owners when the hurricanes struck in recent weeks.

        Finally, wind resistance? The sheer stupidity of that statement illustrates the greater problem (aside from your ignorance) – that you do not want truth and correct principles, you just want to sound smart in attempt to win an argument.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          4123dlc: …COULD NEVER CREATE THE SUFFICIENT MOMENTUM NECCESSARY to be converted into storable energy through braking to have any useful effect upon the range of an electric vehicle.

          That’s not true. I actually drive an EV in stop and go traffic (and I’ve evacuated a long distance for a hurricane in heavy traffic) every day and regen does contribute. I typically see a jump from about 4.3 miles per kWh to about 6.5 miles per kWh in heavy traffic. Don’t know where you got your incorrect information – maybe you could tell us. I’d like to see your numbers.

          “Did you know that when hydrogen powered motors were first invented/created, OPEC bought the patent? Why do you think they did that?”

          What’s the patent number on that? I’m curious. I see 9,038,595 and that’s not owned by OPEC. There’s 3,608,529, owned by Combustion Power Corp from 1971. I’m not finding anything owned by OPEC. Maybe you could help us out.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          So, for starters, there’s even less of a hydrogen fueling network than there are recharging stations, so the recent hurricanes wouldn’t be kind to hydrogen vehicles either.

          Second, it’s an over-simplification, but does an idle electric motor really consume any energy? Obviously there’l be ancillary drains (lights, climate control, radio), but compared to the energy consumed in propelling a vehicle, it’s negligible. So beyond that, as said, regenerative braking makes a difference. It’s not miracle tech, but it does allow some energy to be recouped, compensating for the extra energy that goes into reaccelerating. Ultimately, this isn’t subjective, most EVs (and hybrids, because of the same principles) perform better on the EPA city cycle rather than the highway.

          And to one point, where exactly in the world are there absolutely no clean energy options? Is there somewhere that’s constantly cloudy, lacks running water, and is virtually windless?

          Also, as a hypothetical, consider the manufacturers who’ve dabbled with hydrogen-powered concepts. Considering it’s still accepted as a green technology, if it’s genuinely the better solution, than why have they generally moved on? It makes sense why certain players have the self-interest to back EVs, but was there a conspiracy to get other manufacturers to turn their back on the development they’d already done?

          • 0 avatar
            4123dlc

            They haven’t turned their back on fuel cell technology. I am aware that Honda and Toyota have been working on the technology for years. In fact, it was only seven years ago that Honda worked with one of the governments in California to put Hydrogen filling stations in a chosen postal code area in California, to create a test market.

            Since that time, Mercedes, Hyundai and Audi (Audi, according to this article) have focused on fuel cell vehicles. And, but I cannot remember if it is Toyota or Honda, is doing once again the same thing in California in further attempts by those manufacturers to get the word out.

            Yes, the barriers to entry are large. However, the numbers posted concerning those prices are relatively not that high. My father started a chain of gas stations in Northern Utah when I was young (and at one time I was GM of them, and the price of a gas station is not that far off the numbers stated in this article to install a Hydrogen filling station.

            Ultimately all of the reasons that individuals have used in this write-up are simply excuses to not embrace this technology. But the technology is here, and it has been for several years. The Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity EXIST. These cars are driving around wherever there have been Hydrogen filling stations installed.

            You better believe that there are ulterior agenda reasons for this technology not being embraced by governments. The price of one F-35 jet would place roughly 400 of those filling stations within the U.S. So government help in creating the necessary infrastructure here in the U.S. would be a drop in the bucket. ESPECIALLY considering how much the government paid for Tesla, and how much the government spends/gives as incentives for electric vehicles. So, the simple fact that the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity do exist, and have so for several years, yet the masses are clueless to this implies harsh truths about governments and corporate agendas.

            Also, all of those excuses as well as the high barriers to entry/establish would begin to disappear if the technology was embraced. That is just economics.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Maymar and 4123dic – – –

            Here is an article on this morning’s “First Shift”, on exactly this topic:

            http://www.autonews.com/article/20170926/VIDEO/309269983/first-shift-ferrari-cracks-list-of-best-global-brands?cciid=email-autonews-firstshift

            It appears that the VW group is putting H2FC vehicles on the back burner for now, in favor of EV’s. And that corresponds wth my comment below that short term profits DO dominate their thinking**, whereas the two “Biggies” in Japan may be thinking 25 years ahead.

            ————-
            ** Of course, with the “Dieselgate” failure, VW can’t afford another goof-up, so it must default conservative and win a short term success.
            ————

            ===================

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @NMGOM “It appears that the VW group is putting H2FC vehicles on the back burner for now, in favor of EV’s. And that corresponds wth my comment below that short term profits DO dominate their thinking**, whereas the two “Biggies” in Japan may be thinking 25 years ahead.”

            Some would argue regarding EVs, “what profits?” Ok, snark aside, EVs are viable, here and now, and address a problem.

            FCEVs are somewhere in the future… so far in the future that Toyota has also put theirs on the back burner… or at least has not ruled out EVs. Honda persists for now, but the Clarity isn’t a very impressive vehicle.

            The cynic in me suspects the pursuit of the FCEV is just to spread FUD about EVs… and maybe for carbon credits. The more charitable side of me thinks the cost of electricity in Japan is higher than the worldwide average, making EVs a little less practical and FCEVs a little more attractive there.

            It’s not as simple as short term thinking vs. long term thinking though.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          • And, how is hydrogen fueling “a less efficient use of electricity”?
          —- The mere act of cracking hydrogen from a hydrocarbon uses almost as much electricity as the hydrogen itself would supply in a fuel cell for the same range. Moreover, electrolysis of water would use even more electricity than cracking, in both cases of which using the electricity directly is by far the more efficient use of energy.

          • Also, how would inefficiencies in hydrogen fueling have an impact upon coal?
          —- The same inefficiencies would apply to coal as applies to liquid petroleum products, only more so due to the coal itself needing to be liquified before being ‘cracked’.

          • Aside from the fact that if fuel cell technology was embraced and refined further and further, with the net effect being less coal power being used in general, for every fuel cell vehicle manufactured and used instead of an electric vehicle there would be a net gain, concerning coal being used.
          —- You’re right; far more coal would be used at a very low, if any, net gain in electricity produced.

          • Next, hybrids are uniquely different, and have nothing to do with what we are discussing. They are still primarily gasoline-powered vehicles.
          —- Very true. They do offer the benefit of electrification but in requiring the use of gasoline, they’re only a net gain in fuel mileage while adding complexity to the drivetrain that could result in higher repair costs later.

          • 0 avatar
            4123dlc

            Okay, we are going to handle the stupidity one point at a time:

            How would more hydrogen vehicles equate to more coal being used??? You misread what I said, because I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT infer that. You misread what I said, most definitely at my expense. So, once again, How would more hydrogen vehicles equate to more coal being used???

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            No, 4123, that was a direct quote from you.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      4123dlc – – –

      Very good and balanced comment. Thanks.

      ===============

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Hardly good or balanced, NMGOM. Where are his explanations of his arguments? Refuting statements by calling them bull**** is not offering any evidence to oppose BrandLoyalty’s statements.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Further Proof That Hydrogen Cars Are Stupid”

    This is a real title?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Some are forgetting all ans any form of energy used by humans must potential energy.

    This is the main problem using unreliable green energy. The green energy must be stored, like gasoline, coal, water for hydro-electricity.

    The advantage of our existing energy sources is they are the cheapest and most efficient means for energy storage.

    Even EV require a massive battery that greatly reduces efficiency.

    Hydrogen is another expensive energy to store.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The cost per mile of H2 cars is terribly high, such that buying gasoline would cost the same in a car that got about 10 MPG.

    So a Hellcat and a Mirai have the same fuel cost per mile, and you can buy the Hellcat for about the same price.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Let’s understand some things about hydrogen and its use a propulsion method for vehicles in this article:

    TTAC: “Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover’s technical design director called hydrogen-powered vehicles a disaster in practical efficiency.”

    1) Why would a “design director” be qualified to make any comments at all about thermodynamic efficiency of motor fuels?
    2) What is he defining as “practical efficiency”? Does that imply there is an “impractical efficiency”? (^_^).
    There are only two efficiency “bottlenecks” in the Audi e-gas process (link above):
    …a) Energy for hydrolysis of sea water to get H2. (Solved by “free” wind generation of H2 from the Baltic.);
    …b) Storage of H2 both in on-site warehousing and in vehicle tanks. (Solved by conversion to CH4.)

    TTAC: “Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk went even further, calling the technology “incredibly dumb.””

    While I have great respect for Elon’s entrepreneurial, manufacturing, and business skills, his background in physical-and-electro chemistry doesn’t exist; he has flip-flopped from one superficial curriculum after another**; and he has a vested financial interest in disparaging any competing technology that may challenge his Tesla automobiles.
    He is hardly a credible source to project what may or may not happen in the future of H2FC’s, IMO.

    ———–
    ** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk
    ———–

    TTAC: “Hydrogen-powered cars are not yet a green solution and extracting their energy source, abundant as it may be, requires quite a bit of energy. The processed hydrogen is then stored, shipped, and consumed by vehicles that are electrically driven.”

    Nonsense. Audi solved that. Where has Mr Ziebart been over the past 5 years? See the E-gas link above (or others). Yes, H2 for Audi process is transported by vehicle that are driven — or will be driven — and which are themselves powered by H2 or the resulting CH4! It is H2 that has come from cracking of petroleum that has used conventional ICE transportation methods.

    TTAC: “Hyundai, which looked poised to follow Toyota and Honda, may have developed the Tucson Fuel Cell — but has stated it will be gradually abandoning the technology to focus on battery power.”

    Several companies will be scaling back H2FE R&D for economic and business reasons in the short term, because EV’s have gotten to be a “thing” right now in the consumer’s eyes, and not just for environmental reasons. Even trucks are being developed as EV vehicles, like the Bollinger and Workhorse (neither of which make sense as general purpose pickups for individual consumers.)

    But if there are four things we should have leaned by now about the two primary Japanese vehicle manufacturers, they are these:
    1) They are not dummies;
    2) They have rarely been misled;
    3) They make excellent, quality products of great reliability;
    4) They think, research, develop, and test technologies that are 25-years out, not 5 years out.

    So, if Toyota and Honda come up with H2 fuel-cell vehicles, especially suited for Japan, we should not be at all surprised. The Audi e-gas process would be perfect for Japan, which has no petroleum sources and few minerals for exotic battery-EV”s; but it surely has plenty of wind and sea water! And it would make Japan
    energy-independent in its own right (since the nuclear plant meltdown at Tokaimura in 1999 shut down respect for nuclear power there).

    ============================

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Nothing you say changes some simple facts:

      1. Hydrogen is difficult and therefore costly to contain.

      2. Because it leaks easily and is explosive, it is an unneded hazard. Would you want a bunch of them in your underground parking? Would your building’s insurer charge you extra for that?

      3. There is no way to avoid the conversion losses as you go from electricity to hydrogen to electricity to propulsion. Better to go from electricity to propulsion.

      4. And #3 applies wherever you get the eletricity from, even clean sources. Why bother to obtain sustainable electricity and then waste it fooling around with hydrogen?

      5. The technology, including the filling stations, is very expensive.

      The only advantage is the quick refuelling aspect.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        brandloyalty – – –

        BL: “Nothing you say changes some simple facts:”
        What I have said changes everything, and your so-called “facts” are neither unique nor “simple”.

        BL: “1. Hydrogen is difficult and therefore costly to contain.”

        a) We have been making an storing H2 successfully and economically for more than 100 years. Check with Linde (http://www.lindeus.com/en/index.html).
        b) If a higher BP version of H2 is needed, the Audi E-gas process (which you did not address and just ignored) can convert H2 to CH4.

        BL: “2. Because it leaks easily and is explosive, it is an unneded [sic] hazard. Would you want a bunch of them in your underground parking? Would your building’s insurer charge you extra for that?”

        This is more of what I call “Hindenburg Hysteria”. H2 diffuses/dilutes more rapidly in air than CH4, and has about 4 times the required concentration to “flash” (explode): 28% vs 8.5% for CH4.
        Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flammability_limit

        BL: “3. There is no way to avoid the conversion losses as you go from electricity to hydrogen to electricity to propulsion. Better to go from electricity to propulsion.”

        Nonsense. EV’s get their “E” from CH4 and ‘or Coal Power plants, so they go from:
        a) drilling (uses petroleum), to
        b) burning (uses petroleum), to
        c) electricity, to
        d) battery production (uses petroleum), to
        e) vehicles though power lines (power loss), to
        f) propulsion.

        So, where is the massive efficiency that you are alleging? There is no free lunch in this universe. It all has to come out of somewhere, whether we “burn” gasoline or diesel or CH4 or H2 or electricity to get our propulsion.

        BL: “4. And #3 applies wherever you get the eletricity from, even clean sources. Why bother to obtain sustainable electricity and then waste it fooling around with hydrogen?”

        You’re kidding, right? Assuming you aren’t: Because H2 is a convenient energy carrier that refuels quickly; is less susceptible to low temperatures degradation; is a clean earth-friendly fuel (Audi E-gas Process); and provides vehicles with a large operational range.

        BL: “5. The technology, including the filling stations, is very expensive.”

        Which technology? The making of H2? It’s now nearly “free” (^_^)..(Yes, nothing is absolutely free). Check the Audi process that I already referenced and which you obviously did not read.
        Filling stations will be more expensive than gasoline or diesel stations alone (although they have sometimes been “bundled”) only by virtue of having to install H2 storage tanks and H2-handling pumps and nozzles. Not a huge deal.

        ======================

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Hydrogen won’t fail because it’s too expensive, or because it’s inefficient, or because the fillers don’t always work right, or because the current H2 cars are weak – but these are all important.

    Hydrogen will fail because it doesn’t have a private company promoting and paying for a network of filling stations. Tesla has shown that much of its appeal lies in its self-funded Supercharger network, enabling their vehicles to be used anywhere in the country, and much of Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      As I mention below, hydrogen filling stations are so expensive that no private company is willing to build them. I recall the number 20 years ago was one million per station.

      It was clear that unless governments bore the massive expense, they would not be built. A few were, but thankfully very few. Remember the “Hydrogen Highway” along the west coast? Ev charging stations are dirt cheap by comparison.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Back in the late 90s the concern was where do we get all the precious metals to make the fuel cell from?

    At the time there were not enough raw materials to replace all the internal combustion engined cars with a FCV.

    That may be different now as relationships change between nations and I haven’t researched it lately.

    I think the FCV is a dead end because by the time they get the infrastructure and the rest of the technology in line with prices of other forms of transportation the EV will be down to 15 minute per 300 mile range of charge.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Ahem. I worked for a utility that had a group devoted to hydrogen vehicles. They had, and probably still have, at least one hydrogen fuelled pickup, and a filling station. This was at least 20 years ago. At the time I decided it was a stupid idea and wondered why people far more qualified than me could not figure that out. I decided it was more likely they were just happy to have the nice well-paid jobs and let someone else worry about the ethics.

    Besides the issues of efficiency and safety, there was the matter of filling stations. It was clear that hydrogen vehicles were going nowhere unless the government paid for the very expensive filling stations. Thankfully governments had the wisdom to decline this boondoggle.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_vehicle

    “A 2017 analysis published in Green Car Reports concluded that the best hydrogen fuel cell vehicles consume “more than three times more electricity per mile than an electric vehicle … generate more greenhouse-gas emissions than other powertrain technologies … [and have] very high fuel costs. … “

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    About 12 to 14 years ago, Toyota stated that electric cars were a dead end path, and that hybrids were a bridge to the hydrogen economy. They saw companies like Tesla as doomed to fail, and projects to build electric cars by GM and Nissan as wasted resources.

    I gave that a lot of weight – they had gotten hybrids right, but full electrification seemed like the logical path.

    The predictions of hydrogen (and companies like GM and Honda put fleets in the market) haven’t come to fruition, nor the promised investment in very limited infrastructure for hydrogen filling station.

    GM stated they’re walking away from hydrogen was in part because natural gas was a key source of hydrogen fuel and that just didn’t make sense.

    So — who knows.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I’m happy to see that the understanding of idiocy of hydrogen fuel has arrived to automaker executives. We used to discuss this among B&W at TTAC years ago, and not many were convinced back then, even though the physical properties of H2 haven’t changed. I have to admit that back then I wasn’t sure that Elon Musk was not being a bit too self-serving in his antipathy, but I examined the anti-hydrogen argument made by Dr. Robert Zubrin and found it substantiated. And what do you know, Musk and Zubrin were right all along. That said, Zubrin’s preferred energy carrier was ethyl alcohol C2H5OH aka C2H6O. It is even easier to handle than Musk’s favourite, CH4. But it’s partially oxygenated already, so… Well, as long as the idea of H2 is buried, I am okay with either of those.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The only way I can see using hydrogen as a fuel is if it is used AS a fuel, not converted into some other form. Every conversion uses–wastes–energy that could have been used in a more direct means.

    Hydrogen can be burned, and burning itself would be more efficient than feeding into a fuel cell. But the greatest waste is in cracking the hydrogen in the first place, using as much or more electricity than feeding said electricity into a battery first. You want hydrogen? Get it raw, don’t pull it from hydrocarbons which would release other toxic gasses into the air. You want to burn a hydrocarbon, then burn it in a centralized location where the emissions can be properly trapped and treated and use the electricity generated from such to power vehicles. That serves the purpose of making the pollution more remote AND makes the whole process more efficient than burning them in hundreds of millions of vehicles every day.

  • avatar
    makuribu

    Ye cannae change the laws of thermodynamics, Jim. – Scotty

    It takes a lot of energy to liberate hydrogen from water, methane, methanol, whatever. You also have to make it at 99.9999% purity because any contaminants could poison the fuel cell catalyst, which at the moment is platinum. Platinum isn’t cheap or plentiful, and you need a lot more for a PEM fuel cell than you need in a catalytic converter.

    Hydrogen is the lightest, least dense element in the universe. Unless you want every fuel cell vehicle towing a Hindenberg size gas bag behind it, you have to compress the gas. A lot. To get hydrogen compressed to a density that makes sense (around 10,000 psi) takes 30% of the energy that the hydrogen produces in burning it. That’s a hell of a penalty, even if you use it in a modified internal combustion engine, as Ford has done.

    To liquefy hydrogen (as BMW has tried) is even more energy intensive, and then you have a cryogenic liquid at -432 F, with constant boil off from a massively insulated tank. You can vent the hydrogen gas when you aren’t driving, or run it through a fuel cell and help power your house when you’re parked. The infrastructure is complex.

    So unless leprechauns and unicorns can exhale 99.9999% pure H2 @ 10,000 psi, and poop platinum for free, it ain’t gonna be viable on a global scale.

    He’s dead, Jim. – Bones

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