Hydrogen fuel is a bigger joke than ethanol...
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  1. #1
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    Default Hydrogen fuel is a bigger joke than ethanol...

    Yeah I have read the ethanol thread here and can't let this go either. I am an engineer, my senior design project at the University of North Dakota was the desing of a PEM hydrogen fuel cell and drive line for a two passaner car. Yeah we made it work and built the car in 2004. My presentation to the department however was that any idiot can buy proton exchange membrane, bulit a fuel cell stack and control its operation, but it will take the next nobel prize winner to make enough hydrogen and store it to be used in cars. Consider the the energy needed to compress H2 to 10,000 psi in a cylinder, what is running the compressor? There is research in other chemical storage methods for hydrogen and even if they get that to work reliably there is another probelm...

    A major car company made a solar h2 genrating station and they showcased it fueling a family car powered by a fuel cell. What they forgot to mention was that it took the entire week for that stattion to fuel that one car. Short of buliding nuclear reactors to generate the hydrogen to fuel cars, this technology ain't gonna work. AND why convert the electricity to hydrogen???? why not ..... just use the elcetricity???

    The coroporate propaganda surrounding hydrogen as a fuel makes me sick. I think it is to gain empathy from the cutomer so they don't feel guilty buing a freakin hummer as long as the company has happy alternative fuel adds on TV... I swear they think we are all children...

    Anyway I may be preaching to a chior here...

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    Yep,

    You reached the choir. "Aaaaahhhhmmeeennn.

    Hydrogen got its best bump 7 years ago when GW was on TV bragging it up. Bartending college student I read about remarked to a newsman in the bar, when he made his announcement, that, "Wow, that George Bush is OK. He's an oilman and he wants to put us on a hydrogen economy!"

    Yeah, BUT, to an oilman, hydrogen means to split off the hydrogen from OIL.

    Today, we don't have enough free energy to make enough hydrogen to replace the energy used to make it, nor a way to store it in quantities large enough to propel any vehicle far enough to compete with gasoline.

    We bitch about electric cars, that can only go 60 to 100 miles before recharge, but root for hydrogen, which will take, either, a 1 ton bottle to hold it under pressure, or a metal hydride that will hold much less.

    Very few of us are young enough to see the hydrogen economy of the future, and I could put Dmitri in that list.

    We will be burning solid, liquid, and nuclear fuels, with a little wind added, for the forseeable future. After that, we will either die, or we will go back to caves.

    300 million of US, now, when there was 10% that population, we denuded forests for many miles around any settlement, for firewood.

    Might come again. I'll not be here, but some of you youngsters might think about that. Might also go build up some muscle before it becomes needed.

    Cheers,

    George

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    Here's your hydrogen economy at work... Hydrogen forms very volatile mixtures with air.

    George is correct about hydrogen sources. I've read that most of the hydrogen in the US is generated from natural gas. Electrolysis accounts for a tiny portion, mostly for reagent purposes.

    Gene

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    George is correct about hydrogen sources. I've read that most of the hydrogen in the US is generated from natural gas. Electrolysis accounts for a tiny portion, mostly for reagent purposes. Gene
    ... and producing Hydrogen by electrolysis has energy production taking from our fresh water supply. Much like the way the government has inserted ethanol production into our food supply.

    Unintended consequences... sure, but unforeseeable? .... well maybe for the political class.
    Steve

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    If a class 8 truck were hauling a tanker trailer of hydrogen fuel, and the engine was burning its cargo, it would go about 300 miles before being empty. This doesn't even begin to go into the energy losses of getting it into the tank in the first place.

    Richard

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    I'll agree with that statisitic. I will have to find my old research info, it took a flat bed full of hydrogen cylinders but they did run the car long distances. We used a compressor to fill five cylinders to 10,000 psi, then a high pressure regulator to fill the carbon filiment wound tank in the car. I think the steady state when full was like 7,500 psi. The car would drive off and the compressor would return the fill cylinders to 10,000 psi. I for got what the exact numbers were, but the compressor took more energy than the compressed hydrogen produced in the car. PEM fuel cells have fantastic efficiencies, burn h2 in combustion engine... that is even worse. I truly believed hydrogen fuel would be the wave of the future. After building that car I think it is just a fad, like solar powered cars were in the early 90's. Point of fact the Sub-Zero solar car project and UND was scrapped to run the H2 fuel cell car.... Sould have been replaced with an electric car.

    H2 is alot safer then most people think. It burns with alot of energy but has very little radiant heat. The real danger is just having highly compressed gasses on a vehicle, the energy released when the tank ruptures is fantastic. Anyone seen Mythbusters when they launch the air tank through the brick wall?

    Interestingly enough the Energy, and Environmental Research Center at UND is working in producing hygrogen "On Demand" from coal, that shows promise. They produce the gass at high pressure solving a big piece of the puzzle. BUT you still need coal, and I am shure there has got to be some CO2 produced in the process.

    My problem is not with the research in Hydrogen technologies, it is good science and solid engineering. My problem is the bullshit the media and big businees dump all over everyone. I laugh my ass off everytime I see a TV commercial for a concept car powered by hydrogen or when they show a hydrogen powered pickup and a guy tells the little girl "It just makes water so clean you can even drink it." AWWWWHHHHHHH it pisses me off because I am an engineer and I have an obilgation not to misslead the public, my employer, or my profession...

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    I don't know what's wrong with all you folks.

    I run my vehicles on hydrogen. Granted it comes with those handy
    carbon atoms included so it stores all sloshy and splashy.



    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by bentwrench View Post
    My problem is not with the research in Hydrogen technologies, it is good science and solid engineering.
    Yeah, but it seems like lousy economics. Thanks for the background on the energy consumption to process hydrogen, and to transport it.

    Then we have cryogenic storage of hydrogen.... Oh Good Lord!

    There is only one good reason to liquefy hydrogen - it makes a dandy rocket propellant. Well that and making Helium-2 liquid.


    Quote Originally Posted by bentwrench View Post
    My problem is the bullshit the media and big businees dump all over everyone. I laugh my ass off everytime I see a TV commercial for a concept car powered by hydrogen or when they show a hydrogen powered pickup and a guy tells the little girl "It just makes water so clean you can even drink it." AWWWWHHHHHHH it pisses me off because I am an engineer and I have an obilgation not to misslead the public, my employer, or my profession...
    Guys like you become Global Warming "deniers". You better watch yourself or you'll be blackballed by the Green Commissars.

    Gotta wonder how much pollution those hydrogen cars generate in terms of oil blowby and nitrogen oxides? I don't REALLY think you want to drink that water.

    Gene

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    Talking U-Boot

    Well face it, it's gonna be the solution to get rid of the arabs and their oil,and what you can do with it, well the germans built an submarine with hydrogen engine.
    http://www.danmil.de/10211.html

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    "You better watch yourself or you'll be blackballed by the Green Commissars."

    Or passed over by people who think outside the box and make huge money off new technology who are not driven by continued thinking of 'its' always been this way'. But mostly the 'Green Commisars' don't give a hoot about your lack of vision, they are too busy counting cash.

    Sorry you are missing out.

    Cheers for 2008!
    Last edited by ColoradoBoy; 01-06-2008 at 12:48 AM.

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    Question

    Why hasn't anyone gone after mass produced LP gas powered vehicles? Isn't LP supposed to be a bit cheaper than regular liquid fuel and increase fuel millage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneH' View Post


    Hydrogen forms very volatile mixtures with air.

    Gene
    so does gasoline, natural gas, and most of the other sources of fuel that we use...

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    Storing hydrogen under pressure is only one option. There are other methods of storing hydrogen in a compound. A friend of mine was working with a company while he was in college in Hawaii where they were researching compounds that could store as much hydrogen as if it were solid. I dont know the details but they used some really odd chemicals. Expensive too. My friend was working with the electronics end.

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    Have a look at this link:

    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images....110648&org=NSF

    Promising technology that doesn't consume oil to create hydrogen.

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    Okay, when the hydrogen is burned, and there is now more water to show for it, how will the oxygen come back into the atmosphere? With electrolysis, there would be water split up, then reunited when the burning occurs, I'll grant that. Now, how about the use of hydrogen from whatever other source? Once it is water how do we get oxygen back?

    Richard

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
    so does gasoline, natural gas, and most of the other sources of fuel that we use...
    Is that the Hindenburg? Didn't everyone on board that live, except for one guy that jumped out?

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    What a coincidence! This thread came to my rescue at the perfect time. To explain:

    Here is an article I wrote about the use of hydrogen as a fuel for personal transportation:

    http://users.moscow.com/oiseming/lc_ant_p/Menu.htm

    If you care to read it you'll understand why I wrote it.

    This piece has been languishing since March in want of an audience; then, an e-conversation made me realize the road to readership had been staring me right in the face, all along.

    So, I took the easy way out, took my essay, added some slap-dash formatting changes, saved it as an HTML document and threw it up on our Web site.

    A distant relative (a retired engineer) told me there is nothing new in my article. That may be, but the main points of my essay have not been discussed in any way, shape or form in the numerous on-line hydrogen discussions I've seen; and, I've never seen or heard any of these things (except for the bit about H2 not being an energy source) on TV or radio programs.

    If you ever get into a discussion about this topic you are more than welcome to make use of the above link.

    Yes, I'll admit that ego plays a role in my posting this, but not as big a one as you might think. There is a rather lengthy "rest of the story," but you would probably find it boring.

    Regards,

    Orrin

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    WHY HYDROGEN
    The groups pushing hydrogen fuel cells are looking for 'massive federal subsidies' to build the infrastructure.

    There are now working fuel cells that use LP gas, natural gas, ethanol, methanol, kerosene/diesel, and even gasoline. just Google the fuel of you choice and fuel cell.
    All have higher fuel energy then hydrogen meaning that they would get higher mpg then hydrogen. most can use existing fueling systems.

    All run even cleaner then bio-fuels when used in fuel cells

    All of these already have a infrastructure in place.
    without the need for massive federal subsidies.

    Plus many of the non hydrogen fuel cells can with small changes design of the support equipment be used to power homes and with the waste heat from the cells heat homes at the same time.

    The LP fuel cell system could be built in a power unit the size of a microwave oven and used as a replacement for many small gas generator plants. having a generator for camping that put off no noise and runs on a LP gas bottle great for travel trailers, boats, construction.

    A fuel cell system for LP or natural gas depending on what your area uses would make a good emergency power unit for homes. how are you going to haul a tank of hydrogen for a mountain cabin
    How much of the mid west could have used one during power outages due to ice storms.

    In RVs with fuel cells you would be able to use the fuel cell system to power the electrical system when the RV was parked.

    The US Navy is looking at many of these non hydrogen fuel cell systems for use in combat zones and for use on ships.
    Hydrogen would not be a fuel of choice in combat.

    What we are going to end up with hydrogen is a very expensive one use (motor vehicle) fuel . Part payed for at the pump. And part payed for out of taxes.
    When we should be looking for a multi use fuel cell fuel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoBoy View Post
    "You better watch yourself or you'll be blackballed by the Green Commissars."

    Or passed over by people who think outside the box and make huge money off new technology who are not driven by continued thinking of 'its' always been this way'. But mostly the 'Green Commisars' don't give a hoot about your lack of vision, they are too busy counting cash.

    Sorry you are missing out.

    Cheers for 2008!

    You evaluate a "green" solution that same as any other design concept and all of a sudden your evil because you didn't change the rules. I am sorry but the same rules apply, you need a net energy gain, you need an abundant source, and you need to have a profitable industry. Sorry just becasue it is "green" doesn't mean it can silde on one of those criteria.
    I am very evrionmentally consious, I beleive in the crakpot ideas of eco-effective design and sustainability... far more effective ways of changeing mankinds effect on his home.

    "The groups pushing hydrogen fuel cells are looking for 'massive federal subsidies' to build the infrastructure."

    Yup because of condition 3 above

    We burn oil, and coal because because they are abundant, produce a net energy gain, and are profitable. Nuclear is the wild card, because there is alot of federal $$$ in it, but it produces a lot of power and makes plutonium, something our government used to need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorman View Post
    so does gasoline, natural gas, and most of the other sources of fuel that we use...
    Yeah, but....

    Hydrogen requires huge amounts of energy to compress. Liquefying hydrogen requires not just large amounts of energy but catalytic reformation - there is something about the energy states of different forms of liquid hydrogen.

    Hydrogen in a liquid form requires intense cold, only helium requires a lower temperature and if memory serves correctly doesn't liquefy at all until it reaches 25 atmospheres of pressure. I just don't see people driving around in cars with liquid nitrogen barriers.

    Hydrides? You're carrying around large quantities of exotic materials that are always along for the ride.

    Hydrogen, like helium, is very good about finding escape routes. It "leaks" very very easily. I imagine for onroad use we're talking special fittings that would require periodic inspection, are vulnerable to salt corrosion and would probably be pretty pricey to buy and maintain.

    I don't have experience with natural gas but gasoline vapors tend to hug the ground. Hydrogen rises to the ceiling where people often put electrical fixtures such as lighting and heating. This implies that if hydrogen ever became popular enough we'd have to retrofit places where cars sit with "explosion proof" fixtures, or have special detectors with the means to "purge" the atmosphere.

    Otherwise just turning on the lights could be a pretty dramatic experience.... as I've said here more than once, once enough people have their garages blow up hydrogen isn't going to look like a good deal. Insurance companies certainly will agree.

    In contrast gasoline requires crude vapor barriers. Natural gas in a liquid state is already transported and used today in automobiles. Alcohols normally are liquid at room temperature, at least the lower molecular weight stuff. Indeed, they tend to freeze in "northern" climates.

    Hydrogen is a pain in the dupa for automotive use. In a risk aversive culture like the US or the EU it won't fly. Either that or we'll see an end to personal surface transport which also ain't gonna happen.

    No matter how you slice it, hydrogen isn't practical for personal use and it's not even necessary. There are better ways to get the job done.

    Gene


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