“It is the fuel of the future—and always will be,” sceptics joke. And in recent years it was hard not to chuckle: fuel cells and other promising hydrogen technologies looked like they would remain little more than science-fair projects. But a series of alliances suggests that things are looking up for the lightest of all elements http://econ.st/XSRJLD
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- We can get hydrogen from water ( h 2 o) :)Feb 25, 2013
- Good one. Found the joke there!Feb 25, 2013
- But its more energy intensive to do so (from water). That's why the preferred method is to crack natural gas. 95% of hydrogen comes from natural gas, which is why big oil supports hydrogen.
NG -> Hydrogen is 80% efficient. Burning that to drive a vehicle is about 18% efficient after mechanical loss. Total efficiency is around 14%, and now you have less energy per volume. Plus, hydrogen attacks metals, causing hydrogen embrittlement. Now you need to periodically replace your gas tank, fuel lines, and possibly even your engine. It won't last as long.
Basically hydrogen is bad every every except big oil.Feb 25, 2013
- Info on hydrogen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_embrittlement
The only reason big oil and car companies started pushing hydrogen was to distract and drain funding, research, and media attention away from electric vehicles.Feb 25, 2013
- Yes, I agree, its energy density is lower than gasoline, but still better than most electric alternatives at the moment. You also don't have to stand around for hours to recharge your energy supply when using gas.
I don't think that electric alternatives will be very successful until we see all the energy of a present day car battery squeezed in a form factor of something as small as an AA battery (for example).
As for availability of gas, the last estimate I read said that there is enough NG in the world to power the planet for another century at-least, thanks to fraking techniques making previously unusable gas deposits available for extraction. Right now, NG is about to to become very widely available - and subsequently, very cheap as well.
There are still other technical issues like safety, and even others, such as security.
Here in Israel, if you drive a gas-powered car, you aren't allowed to park it in public underground car parks, for example, for security reasons. I'm sure that there are a few other not-so-obvious considerations as well, but I think that legislation and safety and other challenges can be overcome in the long run - at least more easily than those of hydrogen. Gas can make a viable bridging alternative to hydrogen and other options until they mature a bit more.
I would also invest heavily in battery tech, because that is really what's holding back electric cars right now IMHO.Feb 25, 2013
- That's a bit misleading there about electric cars. The fact is, with today's cars, you'll rarely need to stand around. As was proven back with the EV1, twenty years ago, with twenty year old battery technology. You almost never charge away from your house. Meaning, the need to even go to a charge station is pretty rare.
For most people who are targeted for an electric vehicle, you will simply plug in at night. Unplug in the morning. That's it.Feb 25, 2013