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pow

What's the deal with hydrogen?

13 posts in this topic

pow    106

There's a ton of hydrogen hype going on, but on an environmental scale, I'm struggling to see how it's any better than, say, an electric car or plug-in hybrid.

Anyone?

Edited by empowah

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Flybrian    0

The entire point is a diversity of our energy sources from the near singularity of today's petroleum-based economy. A nation in which renewable and non-renewable sources of fuel are all used in their own most efficient capacities would reduce the overall detrimental environmental impact and - more importantly to the average person - eliminate the single-source fuel monopoly and lower prices across the board.

Also, if you believe petroleum to be a finite resources, you're going to need to generate electricity for those electrics and use some sort of fuel for the other half of the hybrid. Hydrogen can be that source, and it is almost infinite in abundance.

And on the subject of hydrogen, I read a recent "article" - I struggle to call it that - in a local paper on the future of hydrogen cars. The writer referenced the Hindenburg not once, but twice. What the hell is up with that?

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pow    106

The entire point is a diversity of our energy sources from the near singularity of today's petroleum-based economy. A nation in which renewable and non-renewable sources of fuel are all used in their own most efficient capacities would reduce the overall detrimental environmental impact and - more importantly to the average person - eliminate the single-source fuel monopoly and lower prices across the board.

Also, if you believe petroleum to be a finite resources, you're going to need to generate electricity for those electrics and use some sort of fuel for the other half of the hybrid. Hydrogen can be that source, and it is almost infinite in abundance.

197742[/snapback]

Yes, but hydrogen doesn't float around in nature. It takes tons of electricity to obtain hydrogen from splitting water, or in other words, fossil fuels like coal or natural gas, solar energy, wind energy, or hydroelectric power. Electric cars use these same energy sources (both renewable or nonrenewable), but the technology and infrastructure are already here today.

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Flybrian    0

Yes, but hydrogen doesn't float around in nature. It takes tons of electricity to obtain hydrogen from splitting water, or in other words, fossil fuels like coal or natural gas, solar energy, wind energy, or hydroelectric power. Electric cars use these same energy sources (both renewable or nonrenewable), but the technology and infrastructure are already here today.

197745[/snapback]

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids have their own problems to deal with as well. I'm only arguing for diversification and doing something instead of nothing. Speaking in regards to only the automobile industry, I'd rather have every organization working on several different approaches than just one. Crossover in these technological developments for fuel cells, biodiesel, hybrids, electric cars, and whatever else is inevitable.

Also, with high-temperature electrolysis, hydrogen could be separated using the thermal output of a nuclear reactor. Prototype reactors designed in this country can already yield a heat level consistantly hot enough to economically do this. In fact, this process could almost halve the current price of hydrogen extraction and use our existing power grid at its maximum efficiency, running atomic reactors to generate electricity during peak hours and producing hydrogen at other times.

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pow    106

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids have their own problems to deal with as well. I'm only arguing for diversification and doing something instead of nothing. Speaking in regards to only the automobile industry, I'd rather have every organization working on several different approaches than just one. Crossover in these technological developments for fuel cells, biodiesel, hybrids, electric cars, and whatever else is inevitable.

197750[/snapback]

Agreed. I'm all for diversifying possible solutions. It's just that hydrogen is billed as an environmental cure-all, when in reality it faces the same issues as other alternative fuels: electricity source.

Also, with high-temperature electrolysis, hydrogen could be separated using the thermal output of a nuclear reactor. Prototype reactors designed in this country can already yield a heat level consistantly hot enough to economically do this. In fact, this process could almost halve the current price of hydrogen extraction and use our existing power grid at its maximum efficiency, running atomic reactors to generate electricity during peak hours and producing hydrogen at other times.

Sounds good. It's funny how the fuel has to keep up with the car, not the other way around. When practical hydrogen and sustainable ethanol becomes a reality, GM will have the right vehicle.

(edit = added some bits in bold to clarify intent of post)

Edited by empowah

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Flybrian    0

Also, the challenges faced with hydrogen seem daunting, imagine if we were sitting here in 1900 running out of wood (you know what I mean) and facing the precipice of engineering a petroleum economy from scratch. How impossible would it seem for us to collectively try as a world to develop large-scale drilling, gigantic tanker ships, refining techniques, the internal combustion engine, distribution methods, safety regulations, laws, statues, rules, and also to convince the world it makes good sense to do so. Our luck that it just...happened.

Things are always more challenging if you have to plan them out.

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GM does Hydrogen the right way, BMW should too.

Fixed.

Fuel Cells are much more efficient, and should last longer than an internal combustion engine. Don't bust GM's balls for going out on a limb for once. I think they're right this time.

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Camino LS6    866

Fixed.

Fuel Cells are much more efficient, and should last longer than an internal combustion engine. Don't bust GM's balls for going out on a limb for once. I think they're right this time.

197847[/snapback]

Not busting GM's balls, it's just that BMW's approach is much more viable right now. Not to mention flexible and the existing fleet could be converted at a reasonable cost. Fuel cells aren't there yet.

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pow    106

Not busting GM's balls, it's just that BMW's approach is much more viable right now. Not to mention flexible and the existing fleet could be converted at a reasonable cost. Fuel cells aren't there yet.

197905[/snapback]

Agreed, if only for my love of the ICE. A fuel cell Camaro, GTO, or M3 would be dreadful.

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PurdueGuy    72

I'm curious what you think a "reasonable cost" is.  I dunno how much it'd cost to convert a gasoline car to run hydrogen, but it can't be cheap.

197917[/snapback]

I'd think development costs would be significantly less... thus, BMW's ICE method making it to market before the fuel cell vehicles. IMO, the hydrogen ICE isn't a bad stopgap product, but isn't using hydrogen to its full potential.

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Camino LS6    866

As Fly pointed out, we will be much better off with a variety of solutions rather than a "magic bullet". BMW's program is grounded in reality and very translatable to existing markets and should be pursued alongside fuel cell research. The public will have to want to buy vehicles spawned by these programs and BMW's ICE would be nearly transparent to the buying public while making huge gains in reducing emissons and oil dependency. Other gaseous fuels are viable alternatives as well and would not put the public on a huge learning curve. You have to be able to sell the car to a driving public which doesn't want to compromise on the standard provided by current ICE-powered vehicles. It is infinitely simpler to change the fuel than the entire propulsion system.

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