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Hydrogen car system


Walsingham

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8103106.stm

 

You lease the car. You gain from the company aiming to provide low maintenance, and high fuel efficiency. essentially the same argument as is now being used in a lot of military kit. Not sure I buy it, but it's undeniably interesting.

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Very cool. Of course, the problem isnt the technology, which has been freely avaiable for years, its the infrastructure. There just arent any stations to refuel at. Even this program suffers the fatal flaw of only providing stations in the city where the cars are sold. What happens when you need to travel in excess of 200 miles?

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What happens when you need to travel in excess of 200 miles?

cars like this really don't make sense outside of urban environments (not yet at least). imagine driving across 70 through the hell that is kansas in one of these and you'll quickly understand my point, refueling stations or no!

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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This scheme is being rolled out in Australia at the moment by some Israeli entrepreneur: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5il6f9U...0sQ-Ccd8vh5VANA

 

Oh, except ours is batteries instead of catalytic fuel cells.

 

What happens when you need to travel in excess of 200 miles?

cars like this really don't make sense outside of urban environments (not yet at least). imagine driving across 70 through the hell that is kansas in one of these and you'll quickly understand my point, refueling stations or no!

 

taks

 

But that's exactly the point: cars like 4WD don't make sense inside urban environments. Want to travel 320km and you've got a an electric car? Take a train or bus until the battery replacement network gets set up (and even then public transport just makes more sense, IMHO). Want to drive around an urban area 90% of the time? Use on of these, and definitely don't use a dangerous (for pedestrians and other vehicles) and petrol-guzzling 4WD.

 

I bet people were saying the same thing about petrol guzzlers when they had horses and carts. "But what happens when the petrol runs out?!"

 

A 4WD will always be better at handling horrid terrain than any urban car, of course, but I'm assuming that's not at issue here.

 

Very cool. Of course, the problem isnt the technology, which has been freely avaiable for years, its the infrastructure. There just arent any stations to refuel at. Even this program suffers the fatal flaw of only providing stations in the city where the cars are sold. What happens when you need to travel in excess of 200 miles?

 

Yep, but you've got to start somewhere right? In the past, you had to refuel at your house. Now they're penetrating major cities. Eventually it'll be suburban areas and then rural ones.

 

It'll be interesting to see how this hydrogen network compares to the electric network in the early stages of roll-out over here. Will we end up seeing Britain on hydrogen and Australia on electric? Two mutually exclusive infrastructures and car models, no?

Edited by Krezack
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Looks like they have competition (both in Australia and Britain) from a Europcar-Nissan partnership. Nissan plans to also rent and build charging stations in these countries plus a bunch of others: http://www.greentechmedia.com/green-light/...ric-rental-car/

 

My main concern is open standards and (obviously) standardisation. They guys will all have to get together and come up with a common method and form of recharging. E.g.: what battery specification will be used? What voltage? If we have 1 recharging station for ever petrol station, but only ever second one matches your battery type that would not be terribly good.

 

I'm not sure there's any way to reconcile hydrogen and electric. Letting a hydrogen user park their car in an electric station to crack water into hydrogen would probably take hours (and be less efficient than cracking hydrogen industrially). I didn't even think they'd opt for hydrogen outside somewhere like Iceland (abundant geothermal) since the catalysis is amazingly energy intensive.

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Will we end up seeing Britain on hydrogen and Australia on electric? Two mutually exclusive infrastructures and car models, no?

 

I think this is one of the major reasons why governments (and companies) are not moving significantly faster towards building the infrastructure for alternative fuels/power sources. To put it simply, nobody wants to bet on a loser. Building a new transportation infrastructure network is very expensive and building multiple transportation infrastructure networks is unconscionably expensive. Some sort of international agreement may be useful to standardize interfaces of each type of infrastructure (be it hydrogen, or battery, or biofuel, or whatever), but even then it is unclear which of the technological solution will be the ultimate winner and building infrastructure for all of them is prohibitively expensive. As a result, the waiting game continues, as governments don't commit to an infrastructure system until it becomes clearer which one will ultimately prevail.

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Use on of these, and definitely don't use a dangerous (for pedestrians and other vehicles) and petrol-guzzling 4WD.
Just to differentiate: 4WD doesn't mean SUV or anything. I life in a 4WD-dominated country (thanks to a lot of snow :() and despite the recent run on truck-like vehicles, there are still many Subaru Justy and the weaker versions of the Impreza around. 4WD but normal sized an acceptable use of fuel.

 

 

I find the concept pretty cool and hope that one of the approaches will be a clear winner soon (like, finally, bluray vs. HDDVD has ended), so we'll see useful distributions of stations :*

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But that's exactly the point: cars like 4WD don't make sense inside urban environments.

a) what part of what i said was contrary to this?

b) what does a 4WD have to do with anything i said anyway?

 

70 across KS is a loooooong, flat, boring drive on an interstate highway, i.e., a 4WD ain't the optimal vehicle there, either. it continues on into UT, at which point you run into a sign that says "this is your last chance for gas, next gas station 300 miles" (or something like that). it is also your last chance for electricity, unless you bring your own pedal power.

 

the highways usually contain large vehicles, and more importantly, 18-wheelers pulling 55 ft. trailers doing 70 mph (in KS, 75 mph in CO). the point is that these little electric jobs are great for tooling around town, but not so great on a highway (or anywhere rugged). you want a bigger vehicle on the highway for longevity (they have larger gas tanks) as well as control and safety.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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taks makes a good point - they need to develop infrastructure for long range car travel, not just city travel. Otherwise, most people won't buy the electric car. I know I wouldn't buy an electric car if it was for city use only (and having two cars is too expensive). Whereas most travel might be within the city, the flexibility the car provides for out of city travel is also crucial to its appeal.

 

Example:

 

Let's say I want to go to my family's cottage in the mountains, which is 320 kilometers from Bratislava, where I live. Your suggestion of using public transportation is workable, but much less convenient. If I take a bus, my trip will take more than twice as long as if I travelled by car (exact multiple will depend on how much waiting there will be when changing buses) and will be constrained by schedules and require me to change buses twice. On top of that, if I travel by car, I will have flexibility when I am at the cottage and will be able to visit other places in the region easily. Plus, when going to the cottage, I generally want to bring some supplies and perhaps some new things (e.g. new chairs or something) and then bring some things back on the return jourbey. Using a bus, this would be much harder to do (at best). To top it all off, I rarely go to our family cottage alone - I generally go there with... family. We calculated that two people taking the bus will cost about the same as two people going by car. If three of us are going, the car is the cheaper option and if 4 of us go and we want to take a dog too...

 

Obviously, that's just one example, but I think it illustrates the appeal of having a car that can do both urban travel and long-distance travel, as essentially all cars can do these days - apart from those using innovative propulsion technologies. Someday, the infrastructure will be there for these cars too, but the lack of flexibility of short and long range travel will constrain the appeal of these new vehicles in the meantime. Let's hope the transition is as swift as possible. :)

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Obviously, that's just one example, but I think it illustrates the appeal of having a car that can do both urban travel and long-distance travel, as essentially all cars can do these days - apart from those using innovative propulsion technologies. Someday, the infrastructure will be there for these cars too, but the lack of flexibility of short and long range travel will constrain the appeal of these new vehicles in the meantime. Let's hope the transition is as swift as possible. :)

 

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Obviously, that's just one example, but I think it illustrates the appeal of having a car that can do both urban travel and long-distance travel, as essentially all cars can do these days - apart from those using innovative propulsion technologies. Someday, the infrastructure will be there for these cars too, but the lack of flexibility of short and long range travel will constrain the appeal of these new vehicles in the meantime. Let's hope the transition is as swift as possible. :)

 

Ford Nucleon :nuke:

 

The sheer brilliance behind the idea of a car carrying a nuclear reactor as a power source is only rivaled by stunning intelligence of the notion of the Nuclear Plane.

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But that's exactly the point: cars like 4WD don't make sense inside urban environments.

a) what part of what i said was contrary to this?

b) what does a 4WD have to do with anything i said anyway?

 

To both points: it doesn't. I wasn't arguing with you, but building on the thread in general. Quit being so anxious.

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Quit being so anxious.

then learn how to reply properly. if you aren't replying directly to me, then don't quote me.

 

it is an automatic consequence of quoting someone that implies you are replying to them.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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Wasnt he just trying to say that there are a whole bunch of 4WD cars out there who are not SUV-sized and dont burn 2 liters of petrol per 10km (miles per gallon is a silly measurement)? Every brand from Lamborghini to Saab has a normal-sized AWD car in their line nowadays.

 

 

But to stay on topic; are hydrogen fuel cells really energy efficient? If you're clever and look at the resources required to produce and distribute the fuel, instead of just focusing on the small picture.

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But to stay on topic; are hydrogen fuel cells really energy efficient?

 

Batteries are more efficient than hydrogen fuel cells:

 

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficie.../fuel-cell3.htm

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficie.../fuel-cell4.htm

 

There is also an energy loss involved in the production of hydrogen, which I believe is substantially greater than the loss when charging a battery, but I cannot recall where I read that.

 

Of course, hydrogen fuel cells can store much more energy per unit mass, so there is a trade-off. Battery technology is improving, however, and it is entirely possible that batteries will win out in the end with fuel cells proving a dead-end technology for the majority of automotive applications. Then again, fuel cell technology is improving too.... This lack of clarity about which will turn out to be better illustrates the difficulty/danger of commiting to a technology/infrastructure too early.

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are hydrogen fuel cells really energy efficient? If you're clever and look at the resources required to produce and distribute the fuel, instead of just focusing on the small picture.

 

Hydrogen is only viable somewhere like Iceland where you have so spare much geothermal and hydro electricity that the word 'inefficient' is pointless (which is also why the smelt so much aluminium there, produce so much fertiliser, and heat their footpaths in the dead of winter). In places where you don't have abundant access to renewables, I don't think it's such a good idea, as Magister points out (hydrogen costs a ****-load of electricity to make, and is very hard to store).

 

Here's a good read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy

Edited by Krezack
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There's an ambitious project under way here in Denmark where all goverment cars (elder care, ambulances etc) in Western Jutland will be powered by hydrogen in the near future..

 

The goverment will then help fund the construction, which is being directed by a private company called H2 Logic, of enough Hydrogen stations to cover the area. My brother designed the stations and pumps they'll use (on the front page) which is why I'm pimping this info on you >_<

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My brother designed the stations and pumps they'll use (on the front page) which is why I'm pimping this info on you :)
So they better be good or we know who to blame :)

 

Great news, as long as the electrical energy it takes to produce the hydrogen could not be used to load batteries more efficiently instead, see above.

Edited by samm

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Battery weight stays with you, and they have to be charged. Oh, and making batteries is fiendishly unhealthy.

 

Top Gear told me hydrogen is the way, and if James May is wrong then the whole world is fallen apart.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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