Fuel Cell powered cars
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Thread: Fuel Cell powered cars

  1. #1
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    Default Fuel Cell powered cars

    I just found this video about a Peugeot H20 fuel cell powered fire engine. How cool is that!?

    I just thought it would be good to start a general conversation about what will probably be the future of motor car power sources. The video mentions that no other manufacturer has a fully working driveable prototype, except Peugeot. I wonder why that is? It's good to see the French innovating

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    If you've got any knowledge of fuel cells, and the advantages and disadvantages do contribute

    Derek

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    rek
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    I am pretty sure Mercedes-Benz has had a methanol-fueled fuel cell prototype A-class for about 5 years or so now ... the benefit being that methanol could be pumped using the existing petrol station infrastructure, while still being (near-)zero emissions.
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    Hi Derek,

    Not sure what they mean by "fully working prototype", as MB has lots of converted A-Class running around in various places. I suspect they are talking about the 'hydrogen-on-demand' system that the car uses.

    See here for a very good listing of who has done what and when.

    http://www.fuelcells.org/fct/carchart.pdf

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    Default Fuel cell cars

    Hi,

    On British television in a programme called Top Gear, they showed an American fuel cell car, built I believe by Chrysler. The program was broadcast a few months ago. What I don't understand is why nobody is producing something the public can actually buy; albeight in limited quantities and maybe at a very high price. The prototypes shown don't look rough and ready, they look finished and driveable. Price alone isn't the issue; there's always someone who would be willing to pay to have the first fuel cell powered car on the block. In the 1950's through to the 1970's Rover in the UK carried on experimenting with gas turbine cars. They never actually sold anything to the public, although several of the cars were road legal and period photo's showed them carrying number plates. Chrysler though made a very limited `production run' of 50 gas turbine cars that went out to selected Chrysler owners for long term road evaluation. Ok, test results came back and they dropped the project, but that surely is the way to do it. Build it, get it out on the road and see what happens...............

    Jim.

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    Isn't a big problem the hydrogen tanks going bang in a potential crash? I think the latest I read is that research is trying to lock up the hydrogen into chemical 'lattices' with other materials but there are problems with the small amount of fuel that can be stored in these systems (for the size).
    I hope (and do trust) someone/s will work it out eventually. A hydrogen based fuel economy whould be great. Until then bio-diesels might be the go. I wonder if they can crack plant derived oils to give petrol?

    Also what is a methanol fuel cell?

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    Realistically speaking, it's going to be a while till fuel cell technology is going to be of any relevance to the general public - it's still a few decades away. Cost, transport/storage and efficiency are some of the main problems at the moment.

    As eluded to before, hydrogen gives rise to a plethora of logistical problems - how on earth do you transport and store it safely? How do you create enough?

    Efficiency. It's a bit like the electric car argument - can't see the car emitting any air pollution. But where do you get the hydrogen? You need huge amounts of electricity to generate the hydrogen in the first place, and we sure have a lot of coal power stations downunder So you're creating pollution elsewhere. The actual production process I've heard isn't particularly efficient - apparently 75% of the energy used to create the hydrogen is lost in production! Apparently the fuel cells themselves only have a 20% energy loss, but you need the hydrogen to begin with. Don't quote me on these figures, they are third hand.

    Cost - it ain't cheap.

    For the time being, I think we'll see more improvements in current engine technology. Engines have improved more than you think in regards to fuel consumption, the problem is consumers demand more power and cars get bigger - so the greater power eats away at those fuel efficiency gains. Look at the Corolla, 20 years ago, how many people would have thought the base model would be sitting on almost 140HP? What would people have thought 20 years ago about a base model Falcon with...240HP? Weight is the one of the main enemies of fuel efficiency, especially in the driving most people do each day - city driving. At 30km/h, aerodynamics isn't that significant an issue.

    Diesel certainly is an easy way to meet tougher emission standards, especially given the introduction of particulate filters. Whilst diesels fundamentally have been better with regards to CO2 emissions (given their lower fuel consumption), they have struggled with particulates. There well could be a trend in the future towards biodiesel, given it is a renewable resource, something which cannot be said about the diesel we're used to.

    With fuel cells, I feel we are looking way way way into the future. It's probably more realistic to see hybrids in the shorter term - pure electric cars are hardly going to be a solution given their range, the pollution caused in generating electricity and the inefficiencies relating to charging batteries (if we lived in a world where electricity generation were pollution free, this wouldn't be such an issue). One of the advantages of a car based around electric propulsion is that you can regenerate and store energy whilst driving - specifically under deceleration. This is a useful advantage of a hybrid compared to a car purely based on the internal combustion engine. A bit hard to regenerate petrol on the move

    Nevertheless, we're still talking quite some time. There doesn't seem to be any real pressure on manufacturers to move away from fossil fuels. All this new technology needs to satisfy consumer wants and desires and the current batch aren't quite there yet. I suspect we need more range and more power.

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    Hydrogen fuel may eventually come from some fairly left field sources. Check this out.

    http://www.wired.com/news/technology...,54456,00.html

    Almost sounds too good to be true. Of course it is only one link in the chain but I hope that the technology will come. It just always seems to take alot longer than anyone predicts.

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    Default Hydrogen production

    Hello Justin,

    I take on board all you say about polution caused by generating electricity by burning coal, but that's not the only way to make the stuff. In Scotland, a fair amount of electricity is generated by hydro plants; some even `store electricity' by taking surplus power from the grid at times of low demand to pump water back up hill to the storage loch.

    I reckon the way forward is through nuclear fusion; ok it's a hot argument, but fusion reactors are potentially about as non poluting as you can get. Given time and research, plus a shedload of development money we might just get that dream of the 1950's when fission reactors first went on line; electricity that is so cheap to produce that it isn't worth metering.........

    Jim.

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    Icon1 How much oil is left ?

    While not strictly related to fuel cells this article suggests that there is much less oil left than often thought. Of course this means higher fuel prices sooner, meaning alternatives become more financially viable.

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article....rticle_id=2387

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    Quote Originally Posted by combwork

    I reckon the way forward is through nuclear fusion; ok it's a hot argument, but fusion reactors are potentially about as non poluting as you can get. Given time and research, plus a shedload of development money we might just get that dream of the 1950's when fission reactors first went on line; electricity that is so cheap to produce that it isn't worth metering.........

    Jim.
    Fission is not that bad either. Apparently there is more radioactive waste generated by producing a megawatt of electricity from coal than by generating a megawatt of electricity from nuclear fission. Concentration is this issue. Nearly everything has some level of radioactivity. Fission is certainly not the perfect solution, but at the moment it is probably the best we have got.

    Apparently since the first figures were put out about the amount of oil reserves we have (I think in the 1930's or so) we have never had more than 50 years worth of reserves left. But we somehow just finding more and more or the stuff. One arguement is that it is the reducing cost of alternative energy sources and not the increasing cost of dino fuels that will cause us to make the eventual switch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pug307
    As eluded to before, hydrogen gives rise to a plethora of logistical problems - how on earth do you transport and store it safely? How do you create enough?
    This is what struck me as enterprising on that Merc one I mentioned before. It used a fuel tank of methanol, and a reformer to generate the hydrogen before moving it through the fuel cell. I think the methanol can be made from crops, and can be transported/pumped/dispensed with the existing petrol infrastructure.

    Sure, the reformer doesn't end up 100% emissions free, but it was 99.8% or something damn close to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by sdabel
    While not strictly related to fuel cells this article suggests that there is much less oil left than often thought. Of course this means higher fuel prices sooner, meaning alternatives become more financially viable.
    For every study proclaiming an imminent end to the oil era, there's another saying that oil reserves are much greater than before. Plus, there's also a vast amount of oil sands which have been left largely untapped because it's more expensive than digging a hole in the ground instead. And thermal depolymerisation plants, which also hold promise..

    I really don't want to think about what a long-term continued reliance on oil is going to do to the air we breathe though
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    I remember reading a quote some time last year from GM's Peter Harnenberger saying something like "nobody doubts that the industry will be based on hydrogen in ten years, but the big unaddressed issue is the massive petro-chemical infrastructure that you'll be displacing." I'll see if I can find the original words ...

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    You are spot on PUG307 - Hydrogen is shithot - as long as the source of the electricity is suitable. Time to ignore all the idiots in Victoria and build LOTS of windmills (I reckon they look great personally - I remember seeing them in Europe strung along hill tops with sun setting behind them. Very cool )

    Hydro power is good CO2 wise, but tends to do ugly things to ecosystems that rely on the river that is dammed.

    The new solar tower going up in Mildura looks pretty cool - I am stunned at its scope ( 1km high and 7 across!!!) and it doesnt get anymore efficient than this

    http://www.aie.org.au/pubs/enviromission.htm

    I find it bizarre that the car companies are fully aware of how much oil is left and still build ******mobiles like the Porsche Cayenne and other Ubermonsters that make wealthy underequipped idiots feel good about themselves. It amazes me how many people are completly lacking an environmental conscience - well no actually it doesnt, it just pisses me off. In my work see stuff that gives me a very, very low opinion of the intelligence of the general public
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    There are still major technical and practical issues with fuel cell cars. Battery and Hybrid cars hold more promise in the short term.

    A good site with plenty of discussion on this and other alternative fuels is www.evworld.com
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    Icon3 Old Thread Bump

    I did a search before posting and found this thread from 12 years ago. I realise there have been other developments by other manufacturers, this one was featured on the ABC1 news today:

    The technology behind the riversimple hydrogen fuel cell car





    Eta: Riversimple is featured in quite a few Youtube clips.
    Last edited by okalford; 18th February 2016 at 02:08 PM.
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    This looks promising as well?
    NARRATION
    Around the world, the race has been on to develop a better battery than the current lithium configuration. And some of the top contenders are right here in Australia, such as Professor Thomas Maschmeyer. He believes he's just invented the battery that will change everything.

    Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
    This is our battery, it's based on zinc bromide. So, we've got the two electrodes here and what's called a coin cell, and then the key part is that we have a gel that we put on top of the electrode.

    NARRATION
    Zinc-bromine flow batteries exist already. They use a liquid to transport the changed particles, which has its advantages, but they're too big to fit in a phone or computer. Thomas' breakthrough idea was to take a zinc-bromine battery, but instead of a liquid, use a gel. So why a gel? Well, it's neither a liquid nor a solid, but you get the advantages of both. And that includes being able to move ions quickly, so you get rapid charging.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    So how quickly does it charge?

    Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
    We can get it down to just a few minutes.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    Really? So you're saying I could charge my phone in just a few minutes.

    Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
    In just a few minutes. And not just your phone, but also your car.

    NARRATION
    Already the batter is running at 90% efficiency, which is higher than in your mobile phone. It has a longer lifetime and zinc is cheaper than lithium.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    So if this becomes commercialised, it's cheaper, you can charge it faster, it lasts longer...

    Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
    And the gel is made out of a fire-retardant material.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    It's fire-retardant as well?

    Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
    That's correct.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    That's pretty impressive.

    Professor Thomas Maschmeyer
    Well, thank you very much.

    NARRATION
    But perhaps its biggest potential lies in the fact that being a gel, it's bendy. It won't crack. And that's what excites this industry. The potential is for flat pack zinc-bromine batteries to be included in the very fabric of buildings. Lendlease is just one of the big companies that's been inspired by Professor Maschmeyer's vision.

    Steve McCann
    It's very exciting, his work. Our vision is to create the best places. To do that, you have to continue to innovate. And we're thinking about things like working with Professor Maschmeyer to use prefabricated wall segments, for example, as, effectively, battery storage or power storage facilities. So imagine that in a large scale and the impact that will have on the emissions from the built space, which is a very significant impact on the environment.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    Wow. So the very walls of your future buildings would have, or could have, these kinds of batteries inside them.

    Steve McCann
    We don't think that's too far away, actually.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    Really?!

    Steve McCann
    We do.

    NARRATION
    Well, as we all know, the trip from benchtop to big business is not a smooth one, and who can predict if it's Professor Maschmeyer's battery that will make the trip.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    But here we have a view of the future, a view big companies like this are taking seriously. You'd have to think, out of all the research groups around the world focussing on batteries, someone somewhere will make the breakthrough within the next 10 to 20 years. Maybe sooner.

    Kobad Bhavnagri
    One thing that history clearly tells us is that people like me and forecasters and also people in the business community tend to get their projections of how quickly things change wrong and wrong in one direction. They underestimate the pace of change.

    NARRATION
    But all that is well ahead of us. This is where we are now - the first bloom of the early adopters, as they sort out the glitches and show us the way to a future you now feel you can almost touch. Batteries are the thing that will eventually help bring on the ultimate transition to 24-hour renewable power.

    Dr Jonica Newby
    We all know fossil fuels have got to go, and this is a way of you and your family being able to contribute to that, or your business or your local community, and it is a way of contributing to a future that everybody will look back and say, 'Yes, I was in there first
    "The enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it's the illusion of knowledge"
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    Default Hmmm..

    Hi
    This discussion is good so keep going BUT- I follow these sort of things and have done for years, decades centuries . If I had a quid for every one of these new ground breaking ideas I have heard then I would be a millionaire. Where are they all ?? Where are the solar cells we just paint on the roof, where is just one fusion reactor, fuel cells to power everything are as old as me, where is the Sarich engine now ??

    All just press speculation and spin by the researchers. Progress is just incremental.
    Jaahn
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    At present hydrogen is a product of the petroleum industry so this may be why some car companies are attempting to produce these fuel cell cars. A small light fuel cell is expensive to make so may be better in large commercial vehicles. Producing hydrogen with electricity as previously stated is very inefficient. A fuel cell car still have to have an electric motor and battery. So little space saved by also having to have the cell. The SMH journos drove two Hyundai Hydrogen cars in Europe and found they had no power crossing the Alps. Lack of Oxygen you know, ICE engines have same problem (see Mexico WRC).
    The only problem with EV's is "range anxiety" and as batteries become cheaper and charge points more common this will subside. Elon Musk (Tesla) claims it will not be long before an EV can be charge in 15 minutes.
    Now I don't want to encourage you to go out and buy a lottery ticket but when my ticket wins I have my eye on a Tesla Model X!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mk-Q4HMjOU
    Last edited by Burgjoh; 25th February 2016 at 06:12 PM.

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