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I'm sure this has been debated on here before but this article caught my eye on the BBC website and it makes interested reading.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29459999

Seems that Toyota are pushing ahead and if you wanted too you could buy a fuel cell vehicle ( FCV ) as early as next year.

Did you know that the UK has 13 hydrogen fuel cell filling stations, In the UK, the H2Mobility project, a government-industry initiative set up in 2012 to assess the needs of FCVs, has identified that an initial network of around 65 hydrogen refuelling stations would be sufficient for basic national reach in the early years.

So, hydrogen fuel cell, is 'it' the future? I'm sure it will have the backing of the big petroleum companies.
 

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Pretty much all the hydrogen available in the UK (and in fact the world) is made by steam-reforming of natural gas. The process is limited such that it is not possible to be more efficient than just powering a car by natural gas directly. For some reason companies like Shell and BP are very keen that we stop looking at electricity (which they don't sell) to power our vehicles, and switch to hydrogen (which they make from the raw materials that they control the sources of). There is a major greenwash slapped over hydrogen that you can make it from renewable energy electrolysing water, but a) that's not how any significant quantity of hydrogen is actually made and b) it is embarrassingly inefficient compared to simply putting the electricity into a car.
 

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As an alternative highly concentrated energy source it has advantages. But its expensive to produce, store and distribute. The vehicles require a high pressure containment tank that has to be able to withstand damage in accidents. This has proved expensive to do in reality. Hydrogen has a great usage as off grid/ difficult situation power supply, where solar or wind is not an alternative. Such as an infrastructure control or monitoring facility mles from a main power line. This has been tried in locations over East Anglia, many rural areas can be a considerable distance from power.
The energy contained in the tank is staggering. My son worked for a company who were testing some for a vehicle maker, and they had to have a large RSJ based support to live with the damage, scaffold and box sections were just blown apart upon penetration damage.
I can see the use of hydrogen for Taxis, but then you could get a BYD EV that will already do the sort of distance required. WIthout all the energy losses of creating the Hydrogen.
A technology, that has yet to find its ideal usage.
 

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It's ideal usage hasn't changed for 5 decades, go look up the fuel cells used in the Apollo program. Apollo 13? Yes, it was the hydrogen. Hindenburg? Yes, also hydrogen.
 
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Pretty much all the hydrogen available in the UK (and in fact the world) is made by steam-reforming of natural gas. The process is limited such that it is not possible to be more efficient than just powering a car by natural gas directly. For some reason companies like Shell and BP are very keen that we stop looking at electricity (which they don't sell) to power our vehicles, and switch to hydrogen (which they make from the raw materials that they control the sources of). There is a major greenwash slapped over hydrogen that you can make it from renewable energy electrolysing water, but a) that's not how any significant quantity of hydrogen is actually made and b) it is embarrassingly inefficient compared to simply putting the electricity into a car.
Yes I always read time and time again that Hydrogen is an energy store, not an energy source. But then again so is electricity i guess. Just depends on what is the most energy efficient to use to to date i guess.

Until they figure out cost effective machines that you fill with seawater and out pops hydrogen and oxygen then electricity seems better.

M
 

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Toyota, will shift and self publicise as much as the rest. A few years ago they were all for EVs and had TESLA involved with the RAV4, they even sold TESLA the building they are in and then promptly invested many millions in TESLA stock. But now they no longer intend to pursue EVs. So I personally dont see this as in anyway suggesting they will actually do this, and it ultimately relies on others pushing out the infrastructure to deliver it. No Vehicle maker is likely to deliver the infrastructure, and they can just sit back and say Its governments who are to blame for no Hydrogen cars, in the same way they are blaming others for the lack of infrastructure for EVs. Whilst still selling highly profitable ICE vehicles.
For publicity on EVs I think VW can take the medal, look back over the last two years and they are to be the leading EV maker with dozens of new models for sale. Oh they are not, but they said they were and would be. How can that be?
 

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Most likely a tactic to delay/divert funds from EV infrastructure so that they can continue to maximise their Ice profits as long as possible.

.....and the answer is only 10 years away ;-) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-29168381 but seriously, I can't believe a company the size and might of Toyota would be chasing a fools' errand so they must be eyeing a practical solution to the hydrogen making - storage - transporting problem, even if currently it doesn't seem to stack up.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I don't see any advantages with hydrogen fuel cell compared to a pure EV. We already have numerous ways of creating green electricity and Mr Musk keeps showing us the way forward and that EVs range can head towards 300+. Likes of Ecotricity are creating green electricity here in the UK.

Surely hydrogen fuel cell is a non starter
 

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Hindenburg? Yes, also hydrogen.
There is plenty of research pointing to the Hydrogen only being the initial ignition, and that the fire was the Aluminium powder coated skin going up. One report said that that if only the original rear hydrogen tank exploded, with a different skin it may have simply descended and lasted long enough for everyone to stroll out. Oh, the Humanity.
 

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Hydrogen from sea water....

Now, I get that we have an awful lot of sea water. But I also get that it is pretty important....not only from the rain it gives us to feed us....but for the life that lives in it too.

And it is finite...at least till the next meteorite impact.

So if we rely on changing water into hydrogen and oxygen for our energy needs it is not....albeit perhaps over milennia....not sustainable.

So. As I asked in class to my geography teacher when I was 12 in 1981, and she was explaining that oil would run out one day....

Why don't we just do the sustainable thing now...?
 

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So if we rely on changing water into hydrogen and oxygen for our energy needs it is not....albeit perhaps over milennia....not sustainable.
I am not sure that is correct...

Sure, you would use up water to get the H2 but when it is used to generate electricity guess what it produces? Water! So, water isn't permanently lost.

I am not sure what it would do to the climate but it wouldn't use up water in the long term and so providing the power used to split it is sustainable (solar?) then the process is pretty sustainable. That though is about the only good thing about the H2 economy :)
 

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I am not sure that is correct...

Sure, you would use up water to get the H2 but when it is used to generate electricity guess what it produces? Water! So, water isn't permanently lost.

I am not sure what it would do to the climate but it wouldn't use up water in the long term and so providing the power used to split it is sustainable (solar?) then the process is pretty sustainable. That though is about the only good thing about the H2 economy :)
Actually, understanding this issue is key to understanding why hydrogen is not the answer. There is plenty of hydrogen on the planet, indeed hydrogen proponents love quoting that it is the most abundant element, however there is almost none of it as pure hydrogen - it is almost always bonded to other elements, often oxygen to form water. These bonds are very strong and hydrogen "wants" them. If you bring a pure hydrogen H2 pair close to oxygen it only takes a small kick for the hydrogen pair to take on an oxygen atom forming water. Energy is released in this reaction, and this is the energy we get from burning hydrogen or from converting if to water in a fuel cell. However the amount of energy released is exactly the same as the energy you have to feed back in to break the bond and return to separate hydrogen and oxygen. This means you can never "gain" from a hydrogen system, it is impossible to get more energy out than you feed in, in fact you will get considerably less out because of inefficiencies.

So, if you have:
Electricity + Water --> Hydrogen + Oxygen --> Water + Electricity
Each of the arrows loses a vast amount of energy and you get much, much less electricity out.

It turns out that:
Electricity --> Battery --> Electricity
Is a far superior way to move energy around unless you can change some fundamental laws of physics.

Of course the thing that is really going to happen is:
Natural Gas + Lots of Energy --> Hydrogen + CO2 (released into atmosphere) --> Water + Electricity + Fat profit for fossil-fuel company
 

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The more I read, the more I see hydrogen as a technological dead-end that only really suits those who control the technology.

It's just a straight swap for the fossil fuel distribution model and the endless misery of visiting garage forecourts to top up; the infrastructure is going to cost a fortune to implement... and there aren't any prizes for guessing who will end up footing that bill (either through margins or indirect taxation via government grants).

Electricity produced from renewable sources has to be the answer - and it's here today: from where I'm sat I can see my leaf parked up & charging in the foreground, and about a mile away two beautiful grey-purple HUGE solar arrays glint in the sun, absorbing energy & whacking it into the grid. Some of that energy is probably going into my batteries.

The big oil companies must absolutely HATE the fact they're not involved in that process.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The more I read, the more I see hydrogen as a technological dead-end that only really suits those who control the technology.

It's just a straight swap for the fossil fuel distribution model and the endless misery of visiting garage forecourts to top up; the infrastructure is going to cost a fortune to implement... and there aren't any prizes for guessing who will end up footing that bill (either through margins or indirect taxation via government grants).

Electricity produced from renewable sources has to be the answer - and it's here today: from where I'm sat I can see my leaf parked up & charging in the foreground, and about a mile away two beautiful grey-purple HUGE solar arrays glint in the sun, absorbing energy & whacking it into the grid. Some of that energy is probably going into my batteries.

The big oil companies must absolutely HATE the fact they're not involved in that process.
Great post, well said!!!
 
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