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  #1  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:20 PM
ronwilll ronwilll is offline
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Smile I wonder why?

I love my F350 psd, but I wonder why scientists and engineers in America, the most creative country in the world, cannot or will not design and develop a hydrogen engine (I know some engines presently existing CAN run on hydrogen although not terribly efficiently) and a process for extracting hydrogen from water at a "reasonable" cost?

How high must the cost of fossil fuel go to make it a necessity?

Rhetorically speaking, why doesn't some "green" venture capitalist promote a $10 million prize for the development of such an engine/extraction process that could be commercialized and distributed across the country? I know this is no small feat. Some VCs have already proposed such a prize to send passengers into space in a private rocket ship.

The engine I have in mind is not one that would be competitive with my 275 HP diesel but one that would efficiently power a small 2 or 4 passenger commuter car. That's where much of our fuel is "wasted" - in the trip to work in large SUVs and other gas hogs with only one passenger.

Of course the commuting public will have to be convinced that a commuter-sized vehicle is just as status-enhancing as the large SUV - no small task, I admit.

Any opinions out there amongst you opinionated Ford people?
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:28 PM
kermmydog kermmydog is offline
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Because the oil companies control what we use to fuel our rides. They also pay big money to the corrupt leaders we have in Washington DC. We can, but won't. Money talks BS walks.
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Old 11-07-2007, 06:43 PM
ronwilll ronwilll is offline
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I know, but what I'm talking about is an end-run around the oil companies that would make their monoply less so.

I accept that this proposal is a little bit starry-eyed, but it seems like some of the former Microsoft billionaires would be interested in funding research into this idea.

Great inventions have obsoleted other american institutions in the past.

This one has two components. One is the development of the technology and the other one is educating and changing the mind of the consuming public.
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Old 11-07-2007, 07:00 PM
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:36 PM
Corey872 Corey872 is offline
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Designing a hydrogen engine is relatively easy. The quickest thing is to just go with a fuel cell and run directly to electric motors or batteries. If you want a true combustion engine, there are some issues - flame speed is faster than gasoline, hydrogen is so small, the flame can "sneak" past the valves, hydrogen can blow past the piston rings and light off in the crank case, plus a few other quirks.

The big issues are: Cost - call around and price a fuel cell with even 1/4 the power of your gas engine, then team that up with power controllers and electric motors and you'll soon have 10's of thousands of dollars invested in your power plant. Availability of the 'fuel' - call some gas stations and see how many have hydrogen, you won't be able to drive very far from your home base. Availability of the raw material - hydrogen isn't ever found in it's free form. At best it is extracted from natural gas or oil, or (in the lowest efficiency) - water. Storage - If you want to store any appreciable amount you're either looking at ultra high pressure tanks (dangerous), metal hydride (expensive, slow to fill, slow to release, may require external heaters and coolers, etc), low pressure tanks (bulky, low energy density) or cryogenic (requires large energy input to liquefy hydrogen, don't plan on parking your car for a week at the airport and having a full tank when you get back, etc)

Then there is the minor issue that water vapor (result of burning hydrogen in your engine) is itself a greenhouse gas, so if you are willing to put aside the global warming hysteria and pump it directly into the air, that is one option. You could condense it and just let it drip onto the ground - although it would probably be like driving in a permanent rain storm with thousands upon thousands of cars running down the road with a constant drip coming out of the tailpipe. I suppose you could trap it in a tank and dump it at every fueling like dumping an RV toilet, but that doesn't sound like much fun.

Bottom line is, even if we had a perfect hydrogen engine today, hydrogen is pretty far from a perfect motor fuel.
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Old 11-08-2007, 05:26 PM
aurgathor aurgathor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey872
Then there is the minor issue that water vapor (result of burning hydrogen in your engine) is itself a greenhouse gas, so if you are willing to put aside the global warming hysteria and pump it directly into the air, that is one option. You could condense it and just let it drip onto the ground - although it would probably be like driving in a permanent rain storm with thousands upon thousands of cars running down the road with a constant drip coming out of the tailpipe. I suppose you could trap it in a tank and dump it at every fueling like dumping an RV toilet, but that doesn't sound like much fun.
While I mor or less agree with rest of your post, this paragraph is mostly non-sense.

The issue of the water vapor is really non-existent, or irrelevant. First, for starters, a usual fuel (i.e. gasoline) actually contains more hydrogen atoms than carbon atoms, so a significant portion of the exhaust is already water, and as far as I know, it's not making roads excessively wet. You might argue that twice or thrice as much water would cause problems, but I don't think that would be the case.

As for water vapor being a greenhouse gas, while that's true on paper, the amuont of water in air is not dependent on human activity (except on a very small and local case) since other, natural effects dwarf the amount of water released in the air as a result of a human activity; and on top of that, excess water from the atmosphere will normally precipitate out in a very short amount of time.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:08 AM
Corey872 Corey872 is offline
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Originally Posted by aurgathor
While I mor or less agree with rest of your post, this paragraph is mostly non-sense.

The issue of the water vapor is really non-existent, or irrelevant. First, for starters, a usual fuel (i.e. gasoline) actually contains more hydrogen atoms than carbon atoms, so a significant portion of the exhaust is already water, and as far as I know, it's not making roads excessively wet. You might argue that twice or thrice as much water would cause problems, but I don't think that would be the case.

As for water vapor being a greenhouse gas, while that's true on paper, the amuont of water in air is not dependent on human activity (except on a very small and local case) since other, natural effects dwarf the amount of water released in the air as a result of a human activity; and on top of that, excess water from the atmosphere will normally precipitate out in a very short amount of time.
You're right - no more drinkin' & postin' for me! Strike that paragraph. As for your first point I dug around and found:

2 H2 + O2 -> 2 H20 + 572KJ/mol
C + O2 -> CO2 + 393KJ/mol

These numbers are a lot closer than I envisioned, so I guess we won't be producing 'that' much more water from burning pure hydrogen. I would still have to wonder, instead of smog would we have just pure fog in roughly the same amount?

As for your second paragraph, I would contend that almost the exact thing could be said about CO2, and look what a stir that causes.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronwilll
Rhetorically speaking, why doesn't some "green" venture capitalist promote a $10 million prize for the development of such an engine/extraction process that could be commercialized and distributed across the country? I know this is no small feat. Some VCs have already proposed such a prize to send passengers into space in a private rocket ship.
There actually is such a prize. It's called the Automotive X-prize.

http://auto.xprize.org/

There are a bunch of teams competing, but so far I don't think anyone has come anywhere close to winning.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Corey872
I would still have to wonder, instead of smog would we have just pure fog in roughly the same amount?
No we wouldn't have fog instead since smog (photochemical smog, to be precise) usually effects warm, sunny, and dry areas. Of course, there would be no effect on classical smog that's been usually linked to coal burning.
Read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smog
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:15 PM
 
 
 
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