Skip to comments.SHIFT: Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a fraud (!?!)
Posted on 08/01/2008 12:29:29 PM PDT by Red Badger
Who wouldnt like the idea of a fuel cell car running on clean, pure hydrogen, the universes most plentiful element? Its byproduct is sparkling, drinkable water, with none of that pesky pollution spewing out the tailpipe. And then if there's any energy left over when you're done driving, why, you could use that car's fuel cell to power your house! We can get rid of gasoline! And fuel cells, hey, they use those in spacecraft, don't they? This is some modern stuff, and at first glance, hydrogen appears to be a viable solution to all our energy problems.
Well, think again. Hydrogen fuel cell cars are a dumb idea, and those who are pushing them are frauds. They want to advance their own agendas, and couldnt care less whether their cars are practical or not. They just want to make more money. In fact, their tired ideas for fuel cell vehicles have already been left in the dust by electric and hybrid vehicles, and there are a lot of good reasons why.
Not for Sale Fuel cell cars are available today. But wait, you cant really buy the Honda FCX Clarity you must rent it for $600 a month. Why? Because if this wasnt a publicity stunt, youd have to buy the FCX for its real cost. The car makers are secretive about how much it's costing to build these vehicles, but you can bet it's well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece.
To give you an idea, mass producing a fuel cell-powered bus is going to cost $200,000 extra just for the engine, according to its designers at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Pretty good, though, considering that just two years ago, the average cost of a fuel cell vehicle was a cool million dollars.
This huge cost issue is just the tip of this expensive iceberg. While some companies that are seeking funding for their fuel cell vehicle schemes say otherwise, the cars are notoriously impractical. I smell boondoggle.
Is Hydrogen a Fuel? No, hydrogen is not really a fuel, but an energy storage medium. It's more akin to a battery that soaks up energy when its extracted from something else, and then delivers that energy when its used. And, it takes a lot of energy to create that hydrogen. The energy must come from other sources, such as natural gas, or elaborate electrolysis using platinum membranes that separate the hydrogen and oxygen in water, using, um, electricity. What? Using electricity to make hydrogen that's then turned back into electricity? Yes, its the laws of physics at work, where you have to put in energy to get some out. So you must use electricity or gas (or maybe solar energy) to make this stuff. So yeah, it works like a battery, except a whole lot more expensive. Why not just charge up an electric car instead?
Cant we just mine hydrogen from the ground? No, there's no such thing as a hydrogen well. It doesnt just gather in one place like oil or natural gas does, but quickly dissipates into the atmosphere because of its simple atomic structure. Because of that number-one position on the periodic table, hydrogen is difficult to store and corrodes pipes. Its a clever escape artist, and can even slip between the molecules of steel or aluminum containers. So hydrogen can't be stored long-term it must be created on the spot by stripping it from other molecules.
These fuel cell cars need four times the volume to store an amount of energy equal to that of gasoline. Even though the energy-generating equivalent of hydrogen is lighter than its gasoline counterpart, you need a 60 gallon tank to store the same amount of energy thats in 15 gallons of gasoline. These cars wont go far before its time for more hydrogen.
Where will you get that hydrogen? The oil companies would like to provide the infrastructure for such a hydrogen economy. The oil companies say to you, "No, dont use electricity from your house to charge up that electric vehicle depend on the oil companys filling stations to get where you want to go, as youve always done."
Good luck with that, though, because so far theres just one retail hydrogen station in the U.S. (run by, you guessed it, an oil company), far short of the thousands needed to make this hydrogen economy anything more than a pipe dream. The other experimental stations are nothing but showboat propaganda fronts that expend far more energy than they create. Anyway, the oil companies would be happy to invest in that costly infrastructure, because they know they'll get their money back. But it'll be coming out of your hide, just like it always has.
Plenty of Guff bush_hydrogen_00.jpgThere are a variety of impractical ideas for using hydrogen to propel cars, but they're years and maybe even decades from being cost-effective. Most of these schemes seem to suspiciously somehow involve the oil companies keeping their greedy paws in the hydrogen economy. To give you an idea, one great proponent of the hydrogen economy is energy expert, former oilman and conservation guru George W. Bush.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow We're all for innovation, but the fantasy of cost-effective hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is just a distraction from the real work that needs to be done: perfecting electric and hybrid natural gas/electric vehicles, charged by electricity generated by clean and renewable nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power. These technologies are here now, and the associated batteries are getting more efficient at a rate thats significantly faster than the snail's pace of impractical fuel cell technology. Maybe someday hydrogen fuel cells will be practical for personal vehicles, but not today, and not for a long time to come. Dont be fooled by the self-serving frauds that keep trying to tell you otherwise.
Sometimes, some criticisms of President Bush are correct.
There being no source from which one can pump hydrogen gas, hydrogen is not an an energy source, but an energy storage medium.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars indeed produce only water as byproduct, but unless the hydrogen was generated using solar, hydroelectric, wind, tidal, or wave power, there are other byproducts from the energy production.
Anyone who portrays hydrogen as an energy source is selling snake oil.
That, too, has byproducts: remember Yucca Mountain?
Remember long before they decided to vilify carbon dioxide, the ‘watermelons’ (green outside, Red inside) were tossing road blocks in front of the American nuclear power industry at every opportunity.
Additional Nuke planets be required though.. Electric cars are much more efficient and are getting even more efficient.. I would like to see micro mini nuke plants for sale..
Hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy storage medium that provides a way to efficiently store excess solar, wind, etc.
It is also an efficient and safe way to very quickly recharge an electric (fuel cell) vehicle.
Hydrogen will go nowhere until we have that excess electrical generation capacity online, however.
Sure, hydrogen fuel cells are expensive now. You could also say the same for computers, which used to cost millions.
Nuclear wastes can be disposed of safely......launch them into the sun.......................
Take a look at this site and give your opinions. http://water4gas.com/2008.htm
This guy trashing the cost of the FCX sounds a lot like the Democrats for trashing the cost of the first B2 bomber to roll off the assembly line.
If the FCX went into a full run production, the costs associated with the engine would likely plummet.
As for batteries being the best thing, I’d like to remind folks that the batteries for long range electrical cars add up to $60,000 to the price of the car. I read an article just a few days ago, where the manufacturer was addressing the cost of the batteries, and his car’s range was rather paltry.
I’m not sure what the cost of the batteries in the Tessla are, but the car itself is selling for $100 to $120k.
I’m not sold on Hydrogen yet, but I’m not convinced that it is a waste of time either. And personally, that comment about a hydrogen well was infantile.
Hydrogen will go anywhere it wants to until you come up with a material dense enough to stop its migration.
So, it's like an illegal immigrant?..............
From what I read, these engine are not very efficient. Because of the volatility of hydrogen, there are pre-ignition problems. Then there is the matter of storage. The prospect of a low cost internal combustion engine powered by hydrogen is not going to happen soon.
The idea of hydrogen fuel cells is also a long way off. Fuel cells generate a lot of waste heat and requires larger sized radiators than gasoline engines of comparable kilowatt capacity. No one has yet built a low cost fuel cell that is small and efficient.
Did you know it takes a lot more reaction mass to launch something into the sun than the other direction?
Isn’t burnt hydrogen (water) a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide?
That pesky dihydrogen monoxide, again.
Doesn’t really matter where it goes. There is more raw radiation out in space, a mere 100 miles above your head than in all the nuclear waste in the world. It could just as well be launched into a parking orbit around the moon.............
Yup, just like the helium migrates out of my Birthday balloons. Next day they're half deflated and laying on the floor, and I'm all depressed.
Oh wait, my mylar Birthday balloon stayed inflated for months!
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