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Old 07-06-2005, 07:28 PM
bigdmizer bigdmizer is offline
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Are Hydrogen Powered cars the future?

As I sit here reading an article on Hydrogen powered cars and the hopes of the "greenies" being pinned on them as a pollution free transportation source, I can't help but think of the negatives of this alternative.

Pollution free? yes perhaps as you burn the hydrogen in the car it is pollution free, but the process of producing all of this hydrogen via electrolysis releases 24 percent more green house gases then producing and burning gasoline in a car. Unless of course you use natural gas to provide the energy to make the hydrogen, but then you become dependant upon the middle east again due to the fact that the majority of it sits under their soil. Plus your still polluting with the natural gas process.

Safety issues are quite disturbing. In order for the Hydrogen fuel tanks to be suitable for the afore mentioned application the tanks have to be under pressure to the tune of approx. 5000psi. anyone ever see what happens if you rupture a tank under 5000psi of pressure? Forget about a slow burn like the Hindenburg, your going KaBoom in the event of a serious accident. How exactly are you supposed to trust the general public (who are on average not to bright) to pump hydrogen at 5000psi into their cars safely? I can see alot of catastrophe's coming down the pike in that scenario. I mean it seems people have enough trouble pumping plain old gas without blowing themselves up.
Not to mention it costs about 100 times more to build as a regular gasoline powered car. Not to mention the pathetic power delivery. Hows a 100hp and 200ft-lbs torque for a 4500 lbs car the size of a Yugo? Plus as I understand it temperature extremes wreak havoc on the cars fuel system.
All in all I would say we are a long way off before it becomes a viable alternative.
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Old 07-06-2005, 07:46 PM
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I think things will eventually revolve around solar-electric collection and distribution.

The timeline is anyones guess...

(Barring unexpected events that accellerate the theory of entropy and/or thermal dynamics)


*Pokes at your thoughts, hoping to stir an answer...*
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Old 07-06-2005, 07:51 PM
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Solar would work great, if we had a better way to store the energy, as it is batteries to run an electric car weigh so much, that when you add more, it takes most of the batteries own energy to move itself...
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Old 07-06-2005, 07:57 PM
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There was a high MPG car designed as a class study by MIT -

It stored energy in a hydraulic system, and ran on a 25 HP diesel engine. At traffic stops, it built up pressure in a storage system.

Electricity is by no means the only way to hoard energy potentials...
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:09 PM
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Internal combustion with hydrogen is NOT necessecarily cleaner than burning gasoline. You bring up a good point about production. The current best source of hydrogen is hydro-carbons (crude oil). So we will substitute a product that requires more refining and is more expensive to make but still continue to use the same raw ingredient? Throws the argument for reducing dependance on foreign oil out the window. But back to pollution. If you burn hydrogen you get water right? Yes, in a PURE OXYGEN environment that's true. But we are going to burn hydrogen in an environment that is not pure oxygen. A large component of air is Nitrogen. When you burn nitrogen you get oxides of nitrogen (NOx) ie a major component of smog. There goes the pollution argument.

There is another way to use hydrogen for power and that is in a fuel cell. There are many designs but the technological hurdles are pretty high.

So no, I don't see it happening in the near future.
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:52 PM
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I can hardly wait to see 100,000 little hidenburgs driving around, ought to be real interesting in socal where evertime I have been there there were several car fires.
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:11 PM
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I don't think trying to refine fuel to pure Hydrogen or using petroleum products to create hydrogen is the goal. Hydrogen can be extracted and used in fuel cells from products like ethanol, which can be produced in an efficient manner. I think that's an avenue being explored.
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:28 PM
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I would love to travel on a Zeppelin... But for now I'd like to be able to drive down the street and be able to afford it.

We pay too much for machines that do too little.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:53 PM
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The Hindenburg stuff is irrelevant. The Hindenburg burned so spectacularly because the resin it was covered with was almost as volatile as gasoline. The hydrogen was gone almost instantly, but the body just followed.

A punctured hydrogen tank is not all that dangerous since H dissipates so quickly.(Or so I've read numerous times)

The real prob with H as an auto fuel is that it's almost impossible to make a tank it won't leak slowly from, and the amount of fuel you'd have to store to equal the usual tank of gasoline is huge.

There is a company that is making an add-on kit for a Prius which adds a couple batteries and fools the computer into believing there is more electricity available, thereby saving the gas engine from turning on. It also adds a plug in capability for nighttime charging, again so the engine doesn't have to shoulder the burden. They claim up to 150 mpg with this kit. If Toyota were to adopt this technology with their economy of scale, the option would cost about $3,000.

I'd comment on the government's so-called interest in H, but I'm trying to remain non political.
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Old 07-07-2005, 03:53 AM
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Next summer, I am starting on a project- a full-out tube frame aluminum skinned 4x4, about the size and style of an Explorer, with a bit of a twist. The truck will be moved by electric motors, one on each end, drawing from a battery pack under the back seats and cargo floor. There will be an engine, a little four cylinder Deutz air cooled diesel, but all it will turn is an alternator to charge the batteries. On when the computer needs more juice, off when batteries are enough. I'm still trying to figure out how to control it, ironing out the designs for steering, brakes, and suspension system, as well as overall appearance. I am having a hell of a time figuring out fuel economy, but it looks like I should be able to hit the 60mpg mark.
A setup like this, running on biodiesel is a currently available economical alternative. Hydrogen technology is too far off to count on, and even when it gets here, it's not very usable. Someday, it may be useable in cars, but until then something else is needed.
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Old 07-07-2005, 06:47 AM
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Moved this down here, this is s a great subject...want to get the rest of the Alternative Fuels members involved in this thread.....keep it going guys!
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Old 07-07-2005, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_Six
Next summer, I am starting on a project- a full-out tube frame aluminum skinned 4x4, about the size and style of an Explorer, with a bit of a twist. The truck will be moved by electric motors, one on each end, drawing from a battery pack under the back seats and cargo floor. There will be an engine, a little four cylinder Deutz air cooled diesel, but all it will turn is an alternator to charge the batteries. On when the computer needs more juice, off when batteries are enough. I'm still trying to figure out how to control it, ironing out the designs for steering, brakes, and suspension system, as well as overall appearance. I am having a hell of a time figuring out fuel economy, but it looks like I should be able to hit the 60mpg mark.
A setup like this, running on biodiesel is a currently available economical alternative. Hydrogen technology is too far off to count on, and even when it gets here, it's not very usable. Someday, it may be useable in cars, but until then something else is needed.
This has been done with great success using a diesel fired turbine engine.
They are very efficient at a set engine speed.

Do you have any ideas for energy return in the braking system?
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Old 07-07-2005, 04:42 PM
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What energy shortage?

THis could get little religious, but, what the heck. We don't have an energy shortage, per se, but an energy storage and conversion problem. Presently, we use petrol because it's liquid (easy to store and transport), has lot's of energy per unit weight, and is easy to convert to heat for use in a heat engine. Electric with battery power is way to go. Electrics give unbelievable torque and smoothness. Problem is battery. A few years ago GM and Ford did some experimental vehicles with batteries. They were using lead-acid's then. People loved the cars but the batteries were the problem. GM, FOrd declared failure and said battery technology was not sufficient and went off in search of alternative fuels for the ICE's we been using for 100 years or so. Well, today we have LI-ION's (batteries). They're not up to the job, yet, but with further research they could be. If one takes into account all of the potential problems, especially with infrastructure support, of all the alternative systems, then plugging your car into the existing electric grid using batteries with a quick charge potential would be the most feasible. A research vehicle called the Tzero was produced using existing Li-Ion cells. On the track, the thing blew off a Ferrari F355, Porsch Carrera 4, and a Corvette. The car embarked on a 90 mile test loop. The batteries still had 2/3 capacity afterwards. Check out www.acpropulsion.com .
Have at it, guys.
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Old 07-07-2005, 05:18 PM
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At $265,000 I would want it to do windows too.
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Old 07-09-2005, 12:31 AM
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Yeah, but don't forget economies of scale, meaning that once mass produced the cost drops way below that of a prototype.

Ford_Six, what you're building is what some call a "serial hybrid" right? Seems to me that's a great way to go, basically an electric car first, plugged in at night to off-peak generation (or your home biodiesel genny) with the backup petroleum engine to add charge when needed on longer trips.

Have you checked out the Yahoo group "electric vehicles for sale" ? Some oddballs and conspiracy theorists there, but some good info too on peoples experience with motor, controller, and battery companies.
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