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Old 03-04-2010, 10:32 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Honda: 'fuel-cells are the future'



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Honda believes that fuel-cell-powered cars, and not hybrids or electric cars, are the ultimate mobility solution of the future.

This is according to its president Takanobu Ito, who was speaking at the CR-Z’s unveiling at the Geneva motor show.
Ito said that the firm would continue to offer a range of low CO2 powertrains for the future, but it would ultimately by fuel-cell vehicles, such as its FCX Clarity, that become the volume sellers in the future.

"We will continue to offer mobility solutions with low associated co2 emissions,” said Ito. "We believe that fuel cell cars are the ultimate solution. We have recently produced a solar powered hydrogen refining unit without a compressor that’s 25 per cent more efficient than previous units. Ideal for home use, so you won't need to buy hydrogen elsewhere."

Ito also confirmed there would be a Jazz hybrid in Europe in early 2011, to make Honda’s hybrid line-up threefold. The CR-Z is its latest hybrid model.

"The CR-Z is for people who want fun to drive spirit as well as low emissions. There will have three mode driving system for driver to choose between sporty driving, everyday driving and economy driving.”

Ito’s comments are in contrast to Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who believes it is electric cars that will provide mobility in the future. His firm is launching four mass-market electric cars in the next two years.

“We want to stretch the boundaries of what is valuable or even possible, whether through an innovative and very competitive global compact car, or the world's first affordable, mass-marketed zero-emission car,” Ghosn told reporters at Geneva.

“We expect annual sales of our global compact cars to top one million units in 2013.”
http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsAr...llCars/247867/
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:47 AM   #2
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"We will continue to offer mobility solutions with low associated co2 emissions,” said Ito. "We believe that fuel cell cars are the ultimate solution. We have recently produced a solar powered hydrogen refining unit without a compressor that’s 25 per cent more efficient than previous units. Ideal for home use, so you won't need to buy hydrogen elsewhere."
great idea....seriously.

You could get a bigger, solar powered unit (electrolysis), IC engine or fuel cell at your house burning some hydrogen to power a generator for your house.

go off the grid for electricity and transportation fuel. I've been behind this idea for years
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:26 PM   #3
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I'd like to see hydrogen powered combustion engines take off as well... that way they still have close to the same "feel" as cars do now but run on hydrogen.
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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Along with 3.7 litre SOHC V6s and 5-speed automatics?
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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How is breaking water down, only to re-combine it, efficient?

Hydrogen is not naturally occurring by itself, it has to be split from other molecules.

Hydrogen storage is not an easy thing, either, especially with any density... and hydrogen can leak through some materials.

Fuel cell membranes are highly expensive components.

I am not seeing the benefit of cycling hydrogen out of, and back into water. Power out cannot exceed power in, by the laws of physics...

It seems like a complicated, expensive, and possibly problematic energy shell game.
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HipToBeSquare View Post
How is breaking water down, only to re-combine it, efficient?

Hydrogen is not naturally occurring by itself, it has to be split from other molecules.

Hydrogen storage is not an easy thing, either, especially with any density... and hydrogen can leak through some materials.

Fuel cell membranes are highly expensive components.

I am not seeing the benefit of cycling hydrogen out of, and back into water. Power out cannot exceed power in, by the laws of physics...

It seems like a complicated, expensive, and possibly problematic energy shell game.
when the process of creating hydrogen is done via a renewable resource, such as solar or wind, it doesn't matter too much that it is inefficient. so long as the renewable energy can sustain the energy you consume...

when you use coal, or something else to create hydrogen, that's something else entirely.

reducing the cost of ownership is key, and really any method that you can use to 'store' renewable energy for use when you want it, and where you want it, that is the whole idea.

right now, we store our energy in the form of gasoline, it is wasteful, and more importantly, it puts us (the US) in the pockets of people we don't like. frankly, I say **** the environment, we need to do this **** for our countries own good. the environmental improvements are a side benefit of moving away from gasoline.

Last edited by samagon; 03-04-2010 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by samagon View Post
when the process of creating hydrogen is done via a renewable resource, such as solar or wind, it doesn't matter too much that it is inefficient. so long as the renewable energy can sustain the energy you consume...

when you use coal, or something else to create hydrogen, that's something else entirely.

reducing the cost of ownership is key, and really any method that you can use to 'store' renewable energy for use when you want it, and where you want it, that is the whole idea.

right now, we store our energy in the form of gasoline, it is wasteful, and more importantly, it puts us (the US) in the pockets of people we don't like. frankly, I say **** the environment, we need to do this **** for our countries own good. the environmental improvements are a side benefit of moving away from gasoline.
I agree with what you said except the f the environment point.

but i just wanted to reiterate that it doesn't matter how inefficient it is if the energy used for electrolysis is clean. We'll have a constant supply of solar energy, as stated in the OP, untill the end of the earth.

you have to think of fuel as more like a battery. you put energy into it, some of it gets lost, then you take energy out of it. The energy we extract from oil was put into it over millions of years by photosynthetic plants that died and decayed into what we now call oil. (also natty gas). It was all pretty much created at the same time too, the permian mass extinction event. So its not like oil is being reproduced naturally at any appreciable rate.

Hydrogen makes a great battery because:
1. it has no greenhouse effect since it recombines into completely harmless water
2. its renewable threw the electrolysis-combustion cycle
3. There is more hydrogen in the universe than all other matter combined, so its long-term-future proof.

also in response to HipToBeSquare:

electrolysis & hydrogen combustion/fuel cell technology is only expensive because it isnt mass produced. Make it the standard, the price will go down. This is the exact same philosophy driving the hybrid powertrain development market.

We have been riding on a high horse, a left over remnant of the Permian Mass Extinction event, its not sustainable. Anyone who knows where oil comes from knows that.

Hydrogen storage isn't easy? it leaks? Since when has humanity not done things because they weren't easy. I could have said the same thing you just said about gasoline 150 years ago.

do you have a better idea of what we should do in the future for transportation needs as we run out of oil?

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Old 03-04-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
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I think the better idea is, instead of using electricity to make hydrogen (which is inefficient), just store the electricity in a battery. As I understand it, you get a much greater % of that electricity back as output. I understand that current battery materials aren't exactly environmentally friendly, but it would be easy to *always* recycle auto batteries.

Plus, we view water vapor as harmless now, but we used to view CO2 the same way. If every car & power plant starts spewing out water - much of which would end up as vapor, what kind of effect will that have on the environment? Water is a greenhouse gas. Will humidity be raised enough to have an effect on temperature and climate? I don't know the answer to this, but I do know that people used to view CO2 as a harmless gas that the Earth could handle via natural cycles - just like water.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by scott_gunn View Post
I think the better idea is, instead of using electricity to make hydrogen (which is inefficient), just store the electricity in a battery. As I understand it, you get a much greater % of that electricity back as output. I understand that current battery materials aren't exactly environmentally friendly, but it would be easy to *always* recycle auto batteries.

Plus, we view water vapor as harmless now, but we used to view CO2 the same way. If every car & power plant starts spewing out water - much of which would end up as vapor, what kind of effect will that have on the environment? Water is a greenhouse gas. Will humidity be raised enough to have an effect on temperature and climate? I don't know the answer to this, but I do know that people used to view CO2 as a harmless gas that the Earth could handle via natural cycles - just like water.
I can't discount your argument because the difference between yours and mine comes down to crunching the numbers. What holds a charge better? H2 or battery? What loses less energy in charging? etc. etc.
Can the environment deal with the extra H20? how much H20 are we talking about?

Cars already put H20 into the atmosphere btw.

My only qualms with electric batteries are the low capacity (low range) and the hazardous materials they're made of. If these two issues were addressed straight battery electric vehicles could be both ecologically acceptable and economically possible.
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:04 PM   #10
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I agree, Hydrogen can burn internal combustion engine and make electricity in fuel cell. LNG or CNG natural gas is the way to go today though. Clean and powerful and lots of it in USA.
EZ retrofit too on most cars.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:06 PM   #11
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Interesting that Toyota is also interested in the hydrogen fuel cell game, but is investing heavily now in hybrid as they feel that that same technology will be beneficial in saving hydrogen, not just gasoline.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:01 PM   #12
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Plus, we view water vapor as harmless now, but we used to view CO2 the same way. If every car & power plant starts spewing out water - much of which would end up as vapor, what kind of effect will that have on the environment? Water is a greenhouse gas. Will humidity be raised enough to have an effect on temperature and climate? I don't know the answer to this, but I do know that people used to view CO2 as a harmless gas that the Earth could handle via natural cycles - just like water.
Dirty25RS is right,'' For every 1 gal of gas burned, 1 gal of water is expelled through the exhaust as water vapor'' "sae text book ".

Really we are already adding some were close to the same amount of water vapor to the atmosphere through the use of gas!

Quote:
I can't discount your argument because the difference between yours and mine comes down to crunching the numbers. What holds a charge better? H2 or battery? What loses less energy in charging? etc. etc.
Can the environment deal with the extra H20? how much H20 are we talking about?
There's not much to argue about batteries contain toxic chemicals that will become a environmental hazard at some point in the future. The only 'known' byproduct of h gas is water. Not to say that some harmful byproduct wont be found in the future.

Iv been playing with a hho generator for two years now and a form of h gas hho (I think its also called dirty hydrogen) can be maid simply with stuff that can be bought from a hardware store for under $200!! Care must be taken because the gas the can be electrolyzed from water this way is highly explosive. If more money was was spent researching this "I think" it has endless potential as a fuel source!

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Old 03-04-2010, 07:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by HipToBeSquare View Post
How is breaking water down, only to re-combine it, efficient?

Hydrogen is not naturally occurring by itself, it has to be split from other molecules.

Hydrogen storage is not an easy thing, either, especially with any density... and hydrogen can leak through some materials.

Fuel cell membranes are highly expensive components.

I am not seeing the benefit of cycling hydrogen out of, and back into water. Power out cannot exceed power in, by the laws of physics...

It seems like a complicated, expensive, and possibly problematic energy shell game.

These are all essentially the same basic issues that batteries face.

Batteries are chemically dangerous. Gasoline is pretty dangerous too. Hydrogen is just a different kind of chemically dangerous.

Batteries are expensive. So are fuel cells.

Electricity comes from somewhere too. Like a wall outlet powered by a coal / natural gas / nuclear power plant. There are losses in the conversion at the plant, the lines and losses in charging a battery. Any vehicle power source is going to pay an efficiency penalty for being able to be safe, mobile and relatively compact.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:49 PM   #14
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Spending millions of dollars drilling 1000s of ft in to the earth and pumping oil out isn't very efficient either then it has to be shipped 1000s of miles at a millions of dollars just to get it here, then refined and distributed further. the transportation of oil consumes the oil. and all at a cost to us. To add, most of the energy from the combustion of gas is transformed to heat only 30% of the energy expelled is transformed to motion.

Energy can come from more local sources this it may come at a cost of energy most likely lower then the loss of energy and money we and wasting now.
Hopefully most the money from the creation of the energy will be recalculated through our country in instead of bought from another. This will be essential to the development of the next car, I would think.

Last edited by dazedone; 03-04-2010 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:02 PM   #15
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Those are all points that I have made in the past. I am going to respond to a slew of comments above, so it might get a bit mixed up...

Even if wind or solar was a high-yeild electrical source... which it really isn't... why would you go through the process of separating hydrogen from water, which is highly energy intensive... only to burn it (oxidizing hydrogen produces water, and loses more energy as heat in the process...) or send it through a fuel cell, which sends the electrons around a circuit before combining back into water.

If you think the membrane and materials to construct a fuel cell is just a mass production issue, I have a feeling that is not the case, otherwise we would already see fuel cells in mass production. There are probably rare or un-friendly chemicals involved there, as well.

Storing hydrogen is not that much more efficient. A proton and electron is so small, even compared to other molecules, that it can leak past larger molecules, right through the molecular "grain" of some other materials. Gasgets, fittings, and all sort of hardware is a possible leak point for hydrogen, as well.

Hydrogen burns in an oxygenated atmosphere. It burns clear, with no color. Fire can break out with little or no warning, and can burn without being noticed until it starts other materials on fire, that burn with visible flame and smoke.

Either you have to have batteries, or an electrical generator on board, to split water into hydrogen, to re-combine it. It is circular, and each step has it's own losses, and inefficiency. - However, if you produce the hydrogen outside of the vehicle, as a fuel, then you have to compress it, possibly cryogenically, to get enough hydrogen in an acceptably small space, to have any kind of fuel duration. That exacerbates the leakage issues, and the auto-combustion issues, both in the vehicle, and in any fueling station. Plus a whole new infrastructure would be required to transfer hydrogen from stationary tanks to the vehicle, without wasting a lot of it, or causing combustion or explosion.

Batteries, especially lithium based, tend to be volatile when over-discharged below ~3 volts per cell. Lithium is also a Column I element, like hydrogen, and is extremely combustible with oxygen exposure.

Small devices have caught fire with lithium batteries, from iPods to laptops, to RC vehicle batteries, and the batteries swell and deform if mis-used.

Do you want to imagine what would happen with exposure to an oxygen atmosphere during the physical aspects of a car accident? Do you want to put your family on a lithium or hydrogen incendiary device?

Liquid petro-chemical fuel, that stores energy in more stable chemical bonds, doesn't auto-ignite if it leaks. It can ignite with an ignition source... but a pool of gasoline, or even LPG or something, doesn't automatically combust or explode, and can be cleaned up, washed/diluted, or otherwise prevented from igniting.

Concillian is right... everything has it's risk. You cannot store energy without the possibility of that energy being released in an unintentional manner.

But until something else makes more sense, from a safety, AND an energy-accounting standpoint... organic chemistry is still the best, most stable medium for energy storage and usage.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:04 PM   #16
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^ you still sound like someone talking about gasoline in 1850......

Quote:
why would you go through the process of separating hydrogen from water, which is highly energy intensive... only to burn it (oxidizing hydrogen produces water, and loses more energy as heat in the process...) or send it through a fuel cell, which sends the electrons around a circuit before combining back into water.


so you can store energy to use it where/when you need it....battery. if you use a source of energy for electrolysis like solar power, its free energy, efficiency doesn't matter (for the 3rd time its been mentioned here)

Quote:
If you think the membrane and materials to construct a fuel cell is just a mass production issue, I have a feeling that is not the case
lets keep this discussion based on facts and not feelings.

Quote:
Liquid petro-chemical fuel, that stores energy in more stable chemical bonds, doesn't auto-ignite if it leaks.
No one here is denying the fact that petrochemicals are a very effective battery, but they aren't renewable. its a "whats next" question. we & nature combined dont produce petrochemicals at the rate we use them today and that rate will only increase.

Quote:
But until something else makes more sense, from a safety, AND an energy-accounting standpoint... organic chemistry is still the best, most stable medium for energy storage and usage.
something else that makes more sense has come along, in fact its always been here, its called hydrogen, and its the most abundant element in the universe, most regular matter in the universe is hydrogen. it burns clean with zero carbon footprint. the electrolysis-combustion cycle is infinitely renewable. All of these safety, containment, cost issues are technological and can and will be solved over time as the investment comes in and great minds are getting paid to solve them. We made gasoline work didn't we? We made ethanol work and its highly corrosive.

do you have a better idea of what we should do in the future for transportation needs as we run out of oil?

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Old 03-04-2010, 09:35 PM   #17
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OK

THE FACT IS... That if Fuel Cells were feasible, they would already be mass produced, and yet they are not, so they are obviously not just an issue of economics of scale.

In 1850 Gasoline was not very common, and most things were coal or wood fired, and automobiles didn't exist in any practical form.

If Efficiency doesn't matter, then this whole discussion is moot, so let's leave that logical fallacy in the trash, where it belongs. Solar energy is not free, as it takes volatile chemicals to create solar panels, which pretty much happens entirely in China. AND efficiency is what determines how many square feet, yards, acres or miles are required to harness enough electricity to perform the task at hand.

Petrochemicals are not a battery. A battery is an electrical capacitance device that stores an electrical charge on a chemical substrate. The voltage may deplete, or be re-charged on some battery formats, but the substrate is not consumed.

Liquid or gaseous organic fuel is not a substrate, but an energy storage medium itself. The fuel is actually consumed and converted to other chemicals plus heat and thus pressure. It is a kinetic machine, not an electrical device, unless you incorporate a generator that converts kinetic energy to electricity.

When a fuel tank is empty, it is empty, and can be re-filled with more fuel. When a battery is depleted, it weighs the same, because it is not physically empty.

The tesla roadster, for instance... uses 900lbs of batteries, for less than 250miles worth of driving range, before it requires HOURS of high current re-charging, from an external electrical source.

A Lotus Elise, on the other hand, holds between 10.6-11.5 gallons of fuel. Each of those gallons weighing roughly 6.073 lb/US gal, totalling about 70lbs, fully fueled, and weighing less as it depletes. With an average rated MPG of 22mpg combined, that gives it a range of about 253 miles... which increases if those are highway miles, with a higher observed MPG. Tesla's combined cycle range is rated at 244 miles.

Even if an empty shell of a tank weighs 20lbs... a full tank of fuel weighs 1/10th what barely equivalent battery storage weighs in a very similar, derived car.

Not to mention that a fuel tank can be refueled in just a couple of minutes, where the batteries require hours of charging at normally available current.

Plus the additional cost of electric drive over ICE, as well as weight.

So far "what's next" is a lot of conjecture, and a fair amount of wishful thinking, while organic chemical fuels are blocked by government regulations, and new caches are being found quite regularly.

If anything is "next" it will be better fuel efficiency via steady-state electrical generation on-board, via improvements in fuel to kinetic energy efficiency, from more efficient fuel-to-electric power units, and electric drive, with a very minimum cache of electrical capacitance.

Redundant dissimilar drivetrains, and external electrical supply, and on-board electrical storage are not efficient enough, and compromised, inefficient methods with a lot of compromise.

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Old 03-05-2010, 01:12 AM   #18
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Your wrong about solar cells there is new technology that makes manufacturing solar panels as easy as printing it out with a special ink. http://www.scientificblogging.com/ja..._panels_really
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:48 AM   #19
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there's all sorts of cool technology out there in all different energy fields, hydrogen, electric, etc.

and hiptobesquare, no one is arguing the merits of gasoline, if it wasn't the best we have, we wouldn't still be using it.

Gasoline is a great fuel!

but it won't last forever, should we compare the next power source against it? Sure, should we expect the first generations of that power source to do any better than the first gasoline powered vehicles?

what's next?

ethanol?
batteries?
hydrogen?
unknown?

until we can make ethanol without impacting the food market, well, it isn't a great idea unless we kill off china and india, and maybe not even then.
I don't think it will be batteries, not until they can charge a battery in less than 10 minutes.
hydrogen, it is really explosive.
unknown, where's my flying car at anyway?
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:56 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Dirty25RS View Post
...if you use a source of energy for electrolysis like solar power, its free energy, efficiency doesn't matter (for the 3rd time its been mentioned here)...
Efficiency matters because you can store *more* free energy in a traditional battery than you can store as hydrogen. It wouldn't matter if we were making more than enough free energy to do everything we wanted, but we're not even close to that point, so efficiency does matter.

Hypothetical example: Would you want a solar powered electrolysis plant, that costs $1,000,000 per year to operate, to provide enough hydrogen for 10,000 cars/year, or the same solar powered plant charging enough batteries for 20,000 cars/year?
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:15 AM   #21
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^it doesn't matter in the fact that we aren't wasting fuel. I agree with you, more efficient is better. But if you aren't buring coal, natty gas, or nuclear material, you aren't using a fuel that you have to purchase.

No matter how efficient it is (within reasonable, already attained, limits) hydrogen electrolysis via free energy is a net gain enterprise. You wont ever be paying more for the input that you can charge for the output.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by scott_gunn View Post
Efficiency matters because you can store *more* free energy in a traditional battery than you can store as hydrogen. It wouldn't matter if we were making more than enough free energy to do everything we wanted, but we're not even close to that point, so efficiency does matter.

Hypothetical example: Would you want a solar powered electrolysis plant, that costs $1,000,000 per year to operate, to provide enough hydrogen for 10,000 cars/year, or the same solar powered plant charging enough batteries for 20,000 cars/year?
I'm thinking about the example given in the article by Honda:

Quote:
We have recently produced a solar powered hydrogen refining unit without a compressor that’s 25 per cent more efficient than previous units. Ideal for home use, so you won't need to buy hydrogen elsewhere.
So think about it on that level. when you consider this possibility, no, efficiency doesn't enter into the picture, the only question you should ask yourself: can you generate energy at the same rate, or quicker than you can use it?
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:25 PM   #23
dazedone
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if it wasn't the best we have, we wouldn't still be using it.
It's not the best or most efficient. gas just has all of the infrastructure to keep it running, that costs billions of dollars for Installation and Maintenance.

Maybe rollin explosive devices would be good, I bet people would pay more attention to what they were doing while driving

. The technology already exists to replace gas. the infrastructure to get every one converted is the issue. This effects corporate bottom line and is the real bottom line for the conversion, Giant corporations care for nothing but how to keep the consumer just happy enough to keep buying there products made at the lowest cost to them, So that more money can be made from making upgraded models and upgrade fuels so the most possible money can be maid from the conversion-s.

Using solar to electrolyze water in to a combustible gas is doable that is fact. It just isn't even close to efficient enough to power a car or fully power a house yet!
This solution is way to simple and it cuts out allot of major corporations and thats the problem, The loss of money would be so great, The richest 10 % of people in the world would no longer be making money on there current finical endeavors related to fueling energy and energy. This is a major hurtle for the development of water to hydrogen technologies to, Because the 10% that have the money for funding science and development don't want to cut themselves out of the money making loop the auto and energy industries are now.

I also see safety of hydrogen as a small concern, ways to make it safe will be found in the future, just like auto safety standards developed the seat belt.

We know burning fossil fuels will continue to destroy our environment and will eventually lead to the destruction of are existence as humans, on this planet at least.
Im not trying to stand on a soap box I contribute the the environmental problem just as much as any one els.

Last edited by dazedone; 03-05-2010 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:38 PM   #24
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gas will not be replaced until a cheaper option takes its place. either from gas becoming scarce and its cost increasing, or another option becomes cheap and available.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:56 PM   #25
WRXGuyInUSA
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Some people think that hydrogen is better, even though you have to PRODUCE it which in itself requires electricity... then you have to transport it, store it, and have large enough receiving tanks onboard every car for a decent range? C'mon... with that same electricity used to produce hydrogen, you could just charge cars!!! Not to mention there's almost NO maintenance with electric cars.
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