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New program driven at developing hydrogen fuel cells
AP ^ | 1/9/2002 | Ed Garsten

Posted on 01/09/2002 3:40:24 PM PST by John Jamieson

DETROIT -- The Bush administration launched a partnership today with domestic automakers to spur the growth of hydrogen fuel cells for the next generation of cars and trucks, hoping to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil while reducing tailpipe pollution.

The new program, called Freedom Cooperative Automotive Research, will also focus on developing a hydrogen refueling infrastructure, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said.

"The long-term results of this cooperative effort will be cars and trucks that are more efficient, cheaper to operate, pollution-free and competitive in the showroom," Abraham said at the North American International Auto Show.

The government hopes fuel cells will spur industry efforts to develop motor vehicle power systems that eventually will replace the internal combustion engine.

The new program replaces the Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle that was started by the Clinton administration to develop a vehicle that could attain 80 miles per gallon fuel efficiency.

The Energy Department and senior Bush administration policy officials have expressed little enthusiasm for that program, which was aimed at quadrupling automobile fuel economy by the middle of this decade.

"This new initiative that the Department of Energy is launching is exciting not only because it can replace gasoline as a way to power vehicles making America more energy independent, but it's pollution-free," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

Fuel cells produce electricity from a chemical reaction in which hydrogen and oxygen are combined without a flame. The only byproduct is water.

In recent years, the cost of fuel cells has dropped sharply. Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas aboard vehicles or pure hydrogen can be used, though that would require development of a supply infrastructure.

Automobile fuel economy likely is to be a major issue when the Senate takes up energy legislation next month. Democrats are calling for the government to require increased auto fuel efficiency, especially for popular sport utility vehicles.

The New Generation partnership had pushed industry development of hybrid gasoline-electric cars now just entering the market. It also had focused industry attention on finding ways to improve fuel economy without reducing car size and zip.

Using advanced aerodynamics, new engine technologies and lighter composite materials, the automakers in the program developed prototypes of vehicles capable of getting more than 70 mpg, three times better than most cars now on the road. But commercial development of large numbers of these cars in the next few years, as once envisioned, was not expected.

Although Abraham supported the program as a senator from Michigan, shortly after he became energy secretary he said the program had outlived its usefulness because the auto industry was going in a different direction.

The Bush administration proposed slashing funding for the program as part of its first budget a year ago. However, Congress kept it alive, even as some environmental groups and the watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense called the program an unnecessary subsidy for the car industry.

This new government-industry partnership "will further the president's national energy policy, which calls for increased research in hydrogen technology to diversify and enhance America's energy security," the Energy Department said.

Although several automakers -- including DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. -- have said they expect to have fuel-cell vehicles in showrooms within the next four or five years, wide availability of such cars is probably a decade or more away.

On the Net:

Energy Department: http://www.energy.gov/

Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous
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This is a big mistake. If you don't like $2 gas, how you gonna feel about $10 a gallon hydrogen? Hydrogen is derived from oil, natural gas, or electricity; it don't grow on trees.
1 posted on 01/09/2002 3:40:24 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: John Jamieson
Money spent on opec oil is money sent to the Satan for Satan's purposes. Hydrogen would be a bit more expensive at first but would ultimately be cheaper and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper when you add the cost of rebuilding another western city every other year or so into the cost of oil.
2 posted on 01/09/2002 3:58:07 PM PST by medved
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To: medved
You get hydrogen by throwing away the carbon in Hydrocarbons. Thats about two thirds the energy content. Or you make it from electricity powered by hydrocarbons (very ineffecient).

We're better off buying all the cheap energy we get from the middle east as long as we can. When theirs run out, we'll still have ours. Meantime we use just enough of ours to control their prices.

3 posted on 01/09/2002 4:08:57 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: John Jamieson
This is a big mistake.

I agree. My MS thesis (not too many years ago) was on advanced vehicle technologies. Part of my MS requirement was also to write a proposal for this DOE project.

Although several automakers -- including DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. -- have said they expect to have fuel-cell vehicles in showrooms within the next four or five years, wide availability of such cars is probably a decade or more away.

Fuel Cell vehicles won't happen any time soon. The next evolving vehicle will be hybrid electric. People are not going to sacrifice PERFORMANCE for an expensive toy. Watch 'em in Califonia starting to back-up on their emmissions and "ZEV's" (Zero Emmision Vehicle) mandates they set forth back in the early 90's for this year.

A natural gas - Electric hybrid is what I predict when they get through playing with the gasoline-electric hybrids. There is already a fair infastructure in place for this. Fill your car up in your garage! Hybrids are on the market and the market for them will expand.

4 posted on 01/09/2002 4:15:28 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: John Jamieson
"This is a big mistake. If you don't like $2 gas, how you gonna feel about $10 a gallon hydrogen? Hydrogen is derived from oil, natural gas, or electricity; it don't grow on trees.

Even if you derive the hydrogen from oil or natural gas, the increased efficiency of the total fuel cell-electricity-electric motor-mechanical energy combination cycle is still sufficiently more efficient than the thermal engine-mechanical motion (gasoline or diesel)cycle to make it cost effective.

5 posted on 01/09/2002 4:18:58 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: Down South P.E.
What ever happened to LP or LNG cars? I know several of the taxi fleets here switched to these vehicles years ago. It sure looked like a promising technology. It was clean and it was easier on the cars than gasoline.
6 posted on 01/09/2002 4:20:00 PM PST by Straight Vermonter
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To: medved;medved
Hydrogen is not readily available and is also a "bit" more volatile as a fuel.
7 posted on 01/09/2002 4:20:37 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: Straight Vermonter
It is still used in fleet vehicles. The infrastructure already exists and it is practical in some vehicles. eg. LP gas delivery trucks (large vehicles) run off of the LP gas.

When compared to gasoline powered vehicles, LPG (light vehicles) emit about the same level of carbon monoxide. Results are better for larger heavier vehicles such as buses.

The primary safety concern is that LPG is heavier than air and tends to "pool" (in the event of a leak or accidental release). This makes it more susceptible to fires or explosions compared to other gaseous fuels such as natural gas (which is lighter than air and dissipates when released).

Propane (LPG) works best for heavier fleet vehicles relative to light vehicles primarily due to emissions. A primary focus of the DOE project above was to reduce the emissions of passenger vehicles - not larger heavier vehicles.

8 posted on 01/09/2002 4:36:12 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: Down South P.E.
I agree that natural gas would make an excellant next step.

However, hybrid cars make very little sense. People that are now buying hybrids are paying about $11 a gallon for the gas they don't use!

9 posted on 01/09/2002 4:41:29 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Wonder Warthog
I'd love to see your calculations on that one!
10 posted on 01/09/2002 4:42:29 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Straight Vermonter
Big power loss and lost interior space (trunk) and reduced range.
11 posted on 01/09/2002 4:43:34 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Down South P.E.
Wait til you see your first hydrogen powered crash and fire. Self cleanning hiway!
12 posted on 01/09/2002 4:45:25 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: John Jamieson
Hydrogen is an energy carrier... it takes more energy to make and store the H2 than you get out of it....Period!!
13 posted on 01/09/2002 4:50:08 PM PST by OregonRancher
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To: Wonder Warthog
Even if you derive the hydrogen from oil or natural gas, the increased efficiency of the total fuel cell-electricity-electric motor-mechanical energy combination cycle is still sufficiently more efficient than the thermal engine-mechanical motion (gasoline or diesel)cycle to make it cost effective.

But you first have to as you say "derive" the hydrogen from oil or natural gas. Remember most of your electricity produced in power plants is also derived from oil and natural gas. This factor was consider in many efficiency studies for those developing electric vehicles (so called Zero Emission Vehicles) because you gotta make the juice (burn oil, gas and coal) to charge the batteries.

Overall energy efficiency (from the power plant through the vehicle) was a little better. The problem was the technology for the batteries ain't there. Pure electric vehicles were argued to be "cost effective". Problem is they lack the PERFORMANCE of today's vehicles. In addition, the MAINTENANCE cost were also determined to be incredible. I wouldn't look for mass production of fuel cell or electric vehicles for several decades.

This is more likely a diversion from more promising near term solutions (hybrids - which are on the market)so the oil kings can continue to pull in the money. They don't want you to buy less.

Believe it or not there are also safety concerns with these vehicles (electric and fuel cell). Just a couple examples: you have to lighten the body of the vehicle and most are too "quiet" (can't hear em coming).

14 posted on 01/09/2002 4:57:49 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: Wonder Warthog
In case you don't have those calculations right at hand here's my simple take:

Gal of gas weights 6 pounds and produces 120,000 BTUS

Gal of gas contains about 1 pound of hydrogen C(n)H(2n+2) C=14 H=1.

Assume you can seperate the two for free. (You can't)

Throw away the 5 pounds of carbon and just use the 1 pound of hydrogen.

1 pound of hydrogen generates 61,000 BTUs.

You just doubled your cost, if you could do it at 100% eff.

Feel free to check my math.

15 posted on 01/09/2002 4:58:19 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: OregonRancher
You got it!
16 posted on 01/09/2002 4:59:38 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: John Jamieson
When we worked in the gas industry, we used to joke about the incredible gullibility of environmentalists to buy into the argument that natural gas is a better fuel to burn environmentally than more complex hydrocarbons.

Considering there's a finite supply of both, but that hydrocarbons break down into methane later in the process, the more intelligent choice is to break the plentiful number of hydrocarbons available. This would leave plenty of methane available for chemical feedstocks without the threat to quantity of methane available to future generations.

I've wondered if the hydrocarbons weren't actually formed in ancient history by fallen angels or their bodies from some condemnation. It might explain the natural inclination of so many environmentalists to oppose their man made consumption.

17 posted on 01/09/2002 5:13:22 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: John Jamieson
There are different types of hybrids. The trick is in when you use what energy. The hybrid I propose uses a small to medium size combustion engine(same as in current vehicles - established conventional technology) operating off natural gas with a small auxiliary electric motor and battery pack. You run the vehicle on natural gas normally.

When driving in the city or accelerating say for example to pass another vehicle the electric motor kicks in on a universal drive system to compensate. These driving conditions are where your biggest emission problems occur. Starting and stopping frequently and accelerating.

You only use the electrical motor for short distances in the city and when accelerating. The combustion engine,when used, runs at its peak operating point constantly - further improving efficiency. The key is targeting the biggest inefficiencies in operating conventional vehicles.

18 posted on 01/09/2002 5:19:58 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: John Jamieson
"I'd love to see your calculations on that one!"

Geez--do a Google search! There is plenty of documentation available on this. If you don't understand the efficiency advangate of non-thermal conversion that bypasses the Carnot thermal cycle engines, a dialog is hopeless.

19 posted on 01/09/2002 5:21:00 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: Cvengr
Our economy is built on HC fuel because it is far and away the cheapest source of energy in large enough supply to support our needs. The switch will only occur when we are finally forced to adopt nuclear. Nothing else is even close. Solar would be nice (it's nuclear too and in a strange way I guess HC is too!), but the equipment costs are much too high. It takes energy to build equipment, and not a whole lot more.
20 posted on 01/09/2002 5:21:20 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Down South P.E.
All good points.

My impression has been that the automotive industry at both the professional and trade level is so competitive and widespread that if a truly more efficient revolutionary idea or method exists, it would have hit the market a long time ago.

Paraphrased, the vehicles we have right now HAVE been optimised to give us the form and functionality demanded by the market.

My only complaint is that there isn't a lower end, such as a $2000-$5000 1 ton truck simply for utilitarian use by intelligent owners who display responsible behavior. Seems to me that those designs have been precluded by "safety" and common law now embedded in regulatory law "to help us all out".

Only problem is that younger generations pay more for a car than the boomers paid for a house. It gets old, fast.

21 posted on 01/09/2002 5:23:39 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: Down South P.E.
The equipment cost and weight hurt you more than it helps. Rip the $7,000 batteries (aren't those going to fun to replace in 8 years) (and motor/generators) out of today's hybrids and both (H & T) would get just as good mileage, probably better. Cost per mile would drop big time.
22 posted on 01/09/2002 5:25:25 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: John Jamieson
"It takes energy to build equipment, and not a whole lot more."

It takes work and power to fabricate equipment. We still conserve energy.

23 posted on 01/09/2002 5:26:02 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: Down South P.E.
Hadn't thought about the 'too quiet' angle, but culturally I suspect you're correct. Undoubtedly a safety regulation would require boom boxes to be installed and heard a block away, over a 1.0 quake.
24 posted on 01/09/2002 5:28:52 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: Everyone
The real reason for this program is get the automakers some federal cash to avoid more big white collar layoffs. It's a welfare project.
25 posted on 01/09/2002 5:28:58 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Down South P.E.
"But you first have to as you say "derive" the hydrogen from oil or natural gas. Remember most of your electricity produced in power plants is also derived from oil and natural gas. This factor was consider in many efficiency studies for those developing electric vehicles (so called Zero Emission Vehicles) because you gotta make the juice (burn oil, gas and coal) to charge the batteries."

Completely irrelevant. The conversion from gasoline or natural gas to hydrogen is done by a thermal reformer directly in-car or by a similar thermal process (coal gasification, for instance). We aren't talking about charging batteries.

"Overall energy efficiency (from the power plant through the vehicle) was a little better. The problem was the technology for the batteries ain't there. Pure electric vehicles were argued to be "cost effective". Problem is they lack the PERFORMANCE of today's vehicles. In addition, the MAINTENANCE cost were also determined to be incredible. I wouldn't look for mass production of fuel cell or electric vehicles for several decades."

WHAT batteries?? The only "battery" in a fuel cell car will be the relatively small (compared to pure EV's) battery that will run the accessories, electronics, soak up current generated by the regenerative braking, and provide booster current for passing acceleration. You seem to have confused the pure EV with a fuel-cell/EV car--the "high maintenance cost" disappears with the need to regularly replace all the batteries. Fuel cells require no maintenance to speak of, and of course the electric drive motors are far more reliable than a gasoline engine. Probability is that the fuel-cell/EV will be far MORE reliable than a gasoline/diesel fueled vehicle.

I don't think pure EV's will EVER happen, as the battery technology won't ever be developed sufficiently. Fuel-cell EV's will leapfrog that problem. I fully expect to see fuel-cell cars on the road in less than 10 years. Fuel-cell BUSES are already there.

26 posted on 01/09/2002 5:29:17 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: John Jamieson
Maybe a giant Peterbilt "IT" will be the next fad...;^)
27 posted on 01/09/2002 5:30:15 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: Cvengr
Work & Power = Energy. Energy costs determine the cost of everything (Including the cost of human labor).
28 posted on 01/09/2002 5:31:09 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Wonder Warthog
What to those onboard reformers do with 5 pounds of carbon? Burn it?
29 posted on 01/09/2002 5:33:00 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Wonder Warthog
Got my copy of "The Internal Combusion Engine in Theory and Practice" right here on the desk and my MIT degree on the wall. I think you may be the one that doesn't understand.
30 posted on 01/09/2002 5:36:02 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Wonder Warthog
Even if you derive the hydrogen from oil or natural gas, the increased efficiency of the total fuel cell-electricity-electric motor-mechanical energy combination cycle is still sufficiently more efficient than the thermal engine-mechanical motion (gasoline or diesel)cycle to make it cost effective.

Show me some numbers; the fuel cell is still an exothermic reaction, AFAIK.

31 posted on 01/09/2002 5:36:32 PM PST by Old Professer
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To: John Jamieson
"Feel free to check my math."

No need. Your premises that are the basis for the math are wrong. I say again--go study up on the efficiency comparison of fuel-cell/electric motors vs. thermal cycle motors.

If you burn that gallon of gas (120,000 BTU) in a thermal cycle plant that is 3-10% conversion efficient to mecahnical energy to drive the car vs. direct conversion of the hydrogen released (60,000BTU) in a reformer/fuel-cell/electricity cycle that is 30-50% conversion to mechanical energy efficient, which is better?

32 posted on 01/09/2002 5:37:14 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: John Jamieson
Propane has good storage features. You can store a lot of "energy" in a small volume. It is a gas at atmospheric pressure and at low and moderate pressures (100 psi) it becomes a liquid.

It is also better on emmisions during cold starts because it enters the combustion chamber premixed as a gas. On larger commercial vehicles the power difference wasn't that noticable. At least on the ones I drove. But never-the-less there is some power loss.

It works good for the larger vehicles though - I think.

33 posted on 01/09/2002 5:37:48 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: Wonder Warthog
Modern gas engines are about 25 to 30% eff. deisel a little more. (Deisel fuel also has more energy. A BTU is a BTU.
34 posted on 01/09/2002 5:40:25 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Down South P.E.
Energy Source BTU Content
Propane 91,547 per gallon
Natural Gas 1000 per cubic foot
Electricity 3,412 per Kilowatt Hour
#1 Fuel Oil 136,000 per gallon
#2 Fuel Oil 138,500 per gallon
#3 Fuel Oil 141,000 per gallon
35 posted on 01/09/2002 5:50:54 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Wonder Warthog
Not confused. I was only making an analogy with Electric Vehicles. Their proponents had "wonderful" visions of them as well.

Fuel cells require no maintenance to speak of...

They last forever? Never require maintenance or "none to speak of" (that is a new engineering feat)? Do they provide the same power, performance and handling as your SUV, pick-up truck, BMW, or even a mini-van or little ford escort in handling and power? What is their life cycle cost? What is their initial cost? What is their operating cost? What safety concerns do they pose? What kind of infrastructure will they need for support? I can go on ... but...

I think you will need some major technological break throughs before you see these used in mass produced passenger vehicles.

People will not buy an expensive toy that doesn't give them equivalent performance to what they have now. Which major car manufacturer is going to stick their neck out in mass production first while you have your good ole reliable combustible engine in your car in the yard. The auto makers are in bed with the oil kings.

36 posted on 01/09/2002 5:54:07 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: John Jamieson
I do not know anything about Hydrogen or fuel cells, and as I read this thread I found conflicting information, and so I did a google search on the subject.

I found several different sites (you can do your own search) but this seems to be a fairly clear cut description of Hydrogen and fuel cells.

http://www.humboldt.edu/~serc/h2fuel.html

Link

37 posted on 01/09/2002 5:54:48 PM PST by CIB-173RDABN
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To: CIB-173RDABN
A lot of very humorous claims are that site!

Fuel cells are real of course and can work well in some applications (space shuttle).

We'll see them running on natural gas in big electric plants long before we see them in afforable cars.

38 posted on 01/09/2002 6:02:54 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: John Jamieson
Energy Source BTU Content Propane 91,547 per gallon #1 Fuel Oil 136,000 per gallon #2 Fuel Oil 138,500 per gallon #3 Fuel Oil 141,000 per gallon

Which burns cleaner and more efficiently?(propane - excluding natural gas from your list) - is really the main point I was making.

With respect to storage I was really addressing capacity compared to natural gas which is generally compressed to 3600 psig to get an appreciable amount relative to propane's 100 to 130 psig.

Nothing like the smell of that good diesel exhaust though right? If I remeber correctly No. 1 fuel oil is aka kerosene. I think No. 2 is for farm equipment and highway use.

39 posted on 01/09/2002 6:06:59 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: Cvengr
Lack of sound was a concern with regulatory agencies on electric vehicles. I don't recall the specifics of the paper (or proposed solution) but it was. No boom boxes please - I have enough coming by my house at 3 in the morning now.
40 posted on 01/09/2002 6:12:44 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: John Jamieson
Only 5 good ole lead acid batteries, a small electric motor and a little bit of regenerative breaking. Not a pure EV with a large heavy battery pack. Battery replacement cost was something I addressed in my thesis (it is not practical for pure EV's or medium to large electric to hydrocarbon fuel ratio hybrids).

It is efficient for small hybrids that target specific inefficiencies of our good old combustible engines and drive systems.

41 posted on 01/09/2002 6:24:37 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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To: John Jamieson
Hi John,

As I said, I know nothing about the subject, but do note the conflicting claims.

I know some things are impossible such as perpetual motion machines and going faster than the speed of light.

However, I also know that when some new technology is first advanced, there are contemorary authorities around who say it is impossible (plenty of examples but the easiest if Wright Brothers and their airplane.)

When the first power flights were being made the technology was very primative. If someone would have said within 80 years we will be flying across the Atantic in a commercial airliner in less than 3 hours they would think you crazy.

So, is the hydrogen fuel in the same category as perpetual motion machines, never to really exist?

Or, are we at the Wright Brother stage where we do not even know what we don't know but in time it will become practical?

Again, I don't have a dog in this fight, just curious.

42 posted on 01/09/2002 6:29:48 PM PST by CIB-173RDABN
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To: John Jamieson
"Work & Power = Energy. Energy costs determine the cost of everything (Including the cost of human labor)."Colloquially, I understand such language from MIT engineers. Down at Rice we usually weed those fellows out by the 2nd semester of their freshman year. (just kidding you a bit.)

Back in the 70's alot of discussion went into advocating a BTU dollar, but economics is a bit more complex. I agree that from an engineering perspective, a heat metric unit of economy is materially fundamental.

Another problem with hydrogen based systems is that hydrogen embrittlement in many materials will still limit many more practical innovations. There's alot of gas tanks out there which haven't been replaced for more than 20 years. Hydrogen storage probably won't be as forgiving. Systemically, there's alot to be said for time tested technologies which frequently isn't even identified or named until a replacement system highlights forgotten practical features and functionality.

43 posted on 01/09/2002 6:30:12 PM PST by Cvengr
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To: John Jamieson
Exactly, but you see the function of government is to prevent breakthrough technology in the name of pursuing it, not actually break through to better energy sources.
44 posted on 01/09/2002 6:30:36 PM PST by AmericanVictory
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To: John Jamieson
This is just a Bush administration gift to their oil industry friends. Hydrogen powered cars in sufficient numbers are at least decades away. And you still need energy to produce the hydrogen if hydrolysis is used.

The first rule the administration could and should make, by fiat, is to stop exempting light trucks and vans from the CAFE requirements. The average miles per gallon of all vehicles on the road would pretty quickly rise by a considerable fraction, perhaps 15-20%.

45 posted on 01/09/2002 6:33:48 PM PST by Magician
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To: Cvengr
Rice is AOK. Almost went there......free instead of very expensive. Brother went to UT did great. My son is headed for A&M, oh well.
46 posted on 01/09/2002 6:34:03 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Magician
We could just let the market forces do their thing. When gas hits $3, the cars and trucks will change. Enjoy the cheap energy while it lasts (40% of the price is tax anyway). Most of the public won't pay 10c for a little more fuel economy but thousands for more performance. Automakers know this.
47 posted on 01/09/2002 6:38:52 PM PST by John Jamieson
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To: Down South P.E.
"They last forever? Never require maintenance or "none to speak of" (that is a new engineering feat)?"

The relative maintenance level of fuel cells is orders of magnitude lower than either batteries or gasoline engines. What is there to wear out??

"Do they provide the same power, performance and handling as your SUV, pick-up truck, BMW, or even a mini-van or little ford escort in handling and power? What is their life cycle cost? What is their initial cost? What is their operating cost? What safety concerns do they pose? What kind of infrastructure will they need for support?"

All this info is available on the net. LOOK IT UP, DUMMY!!!

"People will not buy an expensive toy that doesn't give them equivalent performance to what they have now. Which major car manufacturer is going to stick their neck out in mass production first while you have your good ole reliable combustible engine in your car in the yard. The auto makers are in bed with the oil kings."

So that is why ALL the auto makers are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop fuel cell cars?? Don't make me laugh!!

48 posted on 01/09/2002 6:43:33 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: John Jamieson
"A BTU is a BTU."

Yes, but the important factor is how much of that BTU is converted into mechanical energy on the way to its final rest as waste heat. The fact remains that the reformer-fuel-cell-electric-motor cycle is far more efficient at doing so than either gasoline OR diesel engines. THAT is the reason that all the major car manufacturers are spending multiple millions of dollars on research to develop fuel cell cars. Do you REALLY think that all the folks at Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, etc., etc. are really that stupid.

49 posted on 01/09/2002 6:45:12 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: Cvengr
Seems to me that those designs have been precluded by "safety" and common law now embedded in regulatory law "to help us all out".

Our legal system "helps" us out big time on that. The probability of a law suit in a traffic accident now is high in the cars we have.

The probability for a law suit where a new design is involved is substantially higher in the event of an incident - more "flaws" to work out.

Engineering has to consider what is an acceptable level of risk to society when designing a product. (Right or Wrong)Law suits with big dollar payouts are one of the things regulatory agencies use to determine what is an acceptable risk level.

There will always be some risk however. It is not technologically or economically feasible to eliminate all risk in a product.

I am a big believer in safety through design. We must use the best technology to design the safest product we can (while maintaining the technologically and economically feasible criteria).

Only problem is that younger generations pay more for a car than the boomers paid for a house. It gets old, fast.

Affirmative

50 posted on 01/09/2002 6:49:08 PM PST by Down South P.E.
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