Hydrogen Vehicles

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Mick F
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Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby Mick F » 26 Jun 2019, 1:22pm

It could be, that in the near future, the electric vehicle thing will be too costly. Range inadequacies, lack of charging facilities, battery longevity and cost ....... to name a few.

Hydrogen power seems the way ahead, but I have a few questions about it.

How much hydrogen do you need for (say) a 300mile journey?
How does inflammability compare hydrogen vs petrol?
Do you need a big heavy steel cylinder to hold the pressure?

The only hydrogen vehicles I've seen are busses in Plymouth. Big unit on the top of their roofs.
How can they do this with cars?
0_Plymouth-Citybus.jpg
Mick F. Cornwall

merseymouth
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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby merseymouth » 26 Jun 2019, 1:28pm

Hi MickF, Remember the cars in WW2, with large gas storage envelopes on the roof, like Zeppelins?
Try and get through the toll booths under the Mersey with that lot!
Me, I'd rather use the Oxygen powered transport, a Pedal Cycle, simples. TTFN MM

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Mick F
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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby Mick F » 26 Jun 2019, 1:30pm

merseymouth wrote:Hi MickF, Remember the cars in WW2, with large gas storage envelopes on the roof, like Zeppelins?
I'm obviously not as old as you! :lol:
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby PDQ Mobile » 26 Jun 2019, 1:35pm

There is also wood gas!
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas

Youtube has vids.
Last edited by PDQ Mobile on 26 Jun 2019, 1:35pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby merseymouth » 26 Jun 2019, 1:35pm

Ruddy young whippersnapper! :twisted: . Bring back Civil Defence duties. MM

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby kwackers » 26 Jun 2019, 2:11pm

You know hydrogen vehicles are just electric vehicles with a fuel cell?
So the only costs are the hydrogen / fuel cell plumbing vs the cost of the battery.

Hydrogen is more dangerous than petrol, being the lightest atom it's also the hardest to keep contained - almost everything leaks hydrogen.
Storing it is therefore expensive and whilst it may get cheaper I doubt in the long term it can compete with batteries.

Then you've got to produce your hydrogen. Electricity is one of the main ways, but turning electricity into hydrogen and back to electricity is far less efficient than simply storing it in a battery.

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby Vorpal » 26 Jun 2019, 2:40pm

IMO, *cars* will become too costly for many folks, and the world will be a beter place when that happens.

Hydrogen cars will probably never make sense. The biggest barrier used to be separating Hydrogen and Oxygen efficiently. Science has provided use with some interesting alternative in the last decade, but there are still a number of technological barriers to running many vehicles on Hydrogen.
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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby kwackers » 26 Jun 2019, 3:00pm

Vorpal wrote:IMO, *cars* will become too costly for many folks, and the world will be a beter place when that happens

For that to happen it won't be that cars will become costly so much as people will become poor.

Manufacturing tech is going through some pretty big changes.
Manufacturing is becoming more and more automated. Composite manufacturing methods are becoming mainstream and as always there's a relentless march upwards in terms of what one hour of manual labour will buy in consumer terms.
Also cars are incredibly complex and feature rich items, if they started getting expensive there are a multitude of ways they can be made cheaper and more affordable and electric vehicles hardly hinder that with their simpler tech.

The biggest driving force for less cars is car hire and that will get a huge boost when automated cars start taking to the roads wholesale.
In the meantime we've pretty much moved from outright purchase to rent for our car fleet I doubt its going to diminish in real terms any time soon.

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby Vorpal » 26 Jun 2019, 3:01pm

kwackers wrote:
Vorpal wrote:IMO, *cars* will become too costly for many folks, and the world will be a beter place when that happens

For that to happen it won't be that cars will become costly so much as people will become poor.

Manufacturing tech is going through some pretty big changes.
Manufacturing is becoming more and more automated. Composite manufacturing methods are becoming mainstream and as always there's a relentless march upwards in terms of what one hour of manual labour will buy in consumer terms.
Also cars are incredibly complex and feature rich items, if they started getting expensive there are a multitude of ways they can be made cheaper and more affordable and electric vehicles hardly hinder that with their simpler tech.

The biggest driving force for less cars is car hire and that will get a huge boost when automated cars start taking to the roads wholesale.
In the meantime we've pretty much moved from outright purchase to rent for our car fleet I doubt its going to diminish in real terms any time soon.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I wasn't talking necessarily about the purchase cost of cars so much as the cost to run them.
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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby PH » 26 Jun 2019, 3:08pm

kwackers wrote:So the only costs are the hydrogen / fuel cell plumbing vs the cost of the battery.

When comparing the systems the cost and efficiency of transporting themselves needs to be included. It's no surprise that the current applications are for vehicles where the weight of batteries would be an issue, I'm thinking of buses and drones.
Some years ago I went to an open day at a local company that specialise in this field, fascinating and worth a look around their website for anyone with an interest.
https://www.intelligent-energy.com/hydrogen-landscape/

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby kwackers » 26 Jun 2019, 3:46pm

PH wrote:When comparing the systems the cost and efficiency of transporting themselves needs to be included. It's no surprise that the current applications are for vehicles where the weight of batteries would be an issue, I'm thinking of buses and drones.
Some years ago I went to an open day at a local company that specialise in this field, fascinating and worth a look around their website for anyone with an interest.
https://www.intelligent-energy.com/hydrogen-landscape/

How many battery buses vs hydrogen?

A quick google seems conflicted. London apparently is getting both, Guilford was on the news this morning as having battery.

Hydrogen's problem (if it is one) is that the energy density is well defined, i.e. we know what it is and it isn't getting better.
Battery otoh is still at a stage where we don't know what we'll end up with.

A blob of refined uranium is where it's at. I believe there's a growing amount in the middle east...

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby roubaixtuesday » 26 Jun 2019, 4:21pm

Far from an inevitable development, I think it’s becoming quite widely accepted that improvements in battery technology are rendering hydrogen vehicles increasingly unviable as an alternative. Hydrogen, even in best case scenarios, is much, much less efficient than battery technology.

In a low carbon future, hydrogen needs to be
(i) Produced from electricity generated from renewables
(ii) Compressed to very high pressure
(iii) Stored
(iv) Distributed
(v) Converted in the car back to electricity in a fuel cell

Right now, hydrogen is made from fossil fuels via steam reforming, which is obviously not low carbon and there is no infrastructure for distribution.

The other big advantage of battery powered vehicles is the ability to use them as part of an intelligent grid, so they charge when power is available and balance supply and demand.

The big minus of batteries is the time it takes to charge them. That’s coming down rapidly, maybe 40 minutes now for a fast charger, which makes very long journeys feasible, if significantly less convenient than a fossil fuel powered vehicle. But as your picture makes clear, the volume needed for hydrogen storage in a vehicle isn’t trivial either.

It’s very hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but my money would be on batteries rather than hydrogen.

Quick (Australian) read here with some more specifics http://theconversation.com/why-battery- ... gen-106844

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby rjb » 26 Jun 2019, 4:39pm

And as recently announced we have hydrogen powered trains in the uk.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48698532

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby kwackers » 26 Jun 2019, 4:51pm

I'm glad that illustration isn't to scale, I only have a 24" monitor.

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Re: Hydrogen Vehicles

Postby RickH » 26 Jun 2019, 9:02pm

Mick F wrote:It could be, that in the near future, the electric vehicle thing will be too costly. Range inadequacies, lack of charging facilities, battery longevity and cost ....... to name a few.


Range inadequacy is somewhat of a red herring really for most people. If you have somewhere you can leave the car charging at home (or work) it is a non-issue most of the time. It is like having fuel piped to your home so you can start each day with with a full tank (of really cheap) fuel. It's a bit like the days before smartphones - we charged them up maybe once a week & would have mocked the idea of the smartphone with its frequent need for charging. But many folk now have them & just habitually put them to charge at night so they are ready to face the next day with a full battery.

Lack of charging facilities. Yes this has been a problem but is being addressed & the pace of installation of new chargers is increasing. Several of the big oil companies are rolling out charging on their forecourts quite rapidly. I've heard figures quoted that something like 85% of charging is done at home so it is only providing for that 15% (those who can't charge at home & top ups on long journeys) that is needed.

Battery longevity has been found to be much better than initially expected (& was never thought to be likely to be as bad as Jeremy Clarkson mocking the Nissan Leaf saying you would have to "throw away the battery" after 3 years!). Current (if you'll excuse the pun) estimates are around 10 years life in a car followed by another 15 years in a power storage setup - in homes & businesses to use power generated by solar, powering football stadium lights, etc.

Cost? Early electric car batteries were around $10,000 per kWh. It is anticipated that the cost will soon drop below $100 per kWh. Combined with the greater simplicity of electric cars, far fewer moving parts than an internal (infernal?) combustion engine (ICE), combined with economies of scale and electric versions should soon become cheaper than ICE ones to make.

Mick F wrote:Hydrogen power seems the way ahead, but I have a few questions about it.

How much hydrogen do you need for (say) a 300mile journey?
How does inflammability compare hydrogen vs petrol?
Do you need a big heavy steel cylinder to hold the pressure?

The only hydrogen vehicles I've seen are busses in Plymouth. Big unit on the top of their roofs.
How can they do this with cars?0_Plymouth-Citybus.jpg

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles do need heavy tanks for the hydrogen so it seems to be a technology that is better suited to larger vehicles such as trucks, buses & trains. That's assuming battery technology, particularly energy density (how much power you can get in a given volume) doesnt render them obsolete.

Nikola are claiming a range of 500 to 750 miles for their fuel cell truck (link). On a truck scale they are also claiming significant weight saving over battery.

Personally I doubt that there will be many cars running fuel cells.