A FCEV uses the same electric motors as BEVs but gets its power from chemically reacting H₂ with O₂ from the air in a way that produces an electric current - a fuel cell. None of this is new technology Fuel Cells were a mature and reliable power source by the time the Apollo program was landing people on the moon. The issue with fuel cells is the same as with Enteral Combustion Engines(ICE) they are most efficient in a very narrow energy band great if the goal is to power the life support on a space craft, but not for the extremely variable loads needed to drive a car.
For this reason, FCEVs are hybrids with the same Li batteries as BEVs and ICE Hybrids like the Prius. Like ICE Hybrids they use the battery to accelerate and as storage for regenerative breaking with the fuel cell providing a constant recharge.
Why I’m skeptical of FCEVs
1) Greenwashing Hydrogen. FCEV advocates will point out that the only tailpipe emission is water vapor. The question is where does the hydrogen come from. By far the least expensive way to produce hydrogen gas is to crack the hydrogen atoms off of petrochemical hydrocarbons. As a mater of basic chemistry it takes far less energy to crack hydrocarbons than it does to electrolize water. And unlike the electrical grid where technologies like solar, wind and nuclear are already deployed and becoming an increasing share of our electric grid. Processes to produce hydrogen from water at anything close the the cost to strip it off fossil fuels is in the same development stage as cold fusion. at least for the next decade green hydrogen will be a premium product only available to the wealthiest buyers.
2) Hydrogen storage is hard. To fit enough hydrogen on a moving passenger car for it to have a 300 mile range requires pressures of 10,000psi (700 bar). The kinds of pressure vessels that can safely handle that pressure are expensive, and need regular inspection. Having had to keep a compressed air tank of just 200 psi in a fixed certified, I can tell you that there will be significant costs to regularly inspecting a 10,000 psi tank full of flammable gas that needs to survive a collision with one of the 2023 lineup of full sized puck up trucks.
But that is just the start. Hydrogen leaks. No matter how good you think your valves and fittings are the smallest molecule in the universe stored under huge pressure will find a way out. Ask anyone who has experience in the space industry where hydrogen is already the fuel of choice and they will tell you that hydrogen leaks are just a fact that has to be engineered around. On a vehicle this will be a small annoyance but at a fueling station this will be significant. The farther Hydrogen is transported and the longer it must be stored the higher the losses. There is also the energy factor of compressing that gas. To the best of my knowledge the prodigious amount of work done to pressurize the fuel is never recovered
FCEVs and BEVs both started to be produced about a decade ago, and while Tesla has scaled out its supercharger network world wide in that time. Hydrogen has less than 100 filling stations all in California. While these stations can fill a car in 5 minutes, they can only fill 2 to 5 vehicles before spending an hour refilling their high pressure storage tanks. One could argue that all Hydrogen needs is an eccentric billionaire ready to lose money for a decade building out infrastructure, however I think the infrastructure challenges with hydrogen exceed even Musk levels of ambition.
3) Cost. My M3 already costs noticeably less per mile that the equivalent ICE vehicle. Baring a huge technological leap, hydrogen will always be more expensive. because the least expensive hydrogen is processed out of the same fuel that runs ICE cars and provides less energy per molecule than those hydrocarbons when reacted with O₂ hydrogen cannot help but be a more expensive fuel.
So why are hydrogen FCEV still a thing? Well the vehicles are lighter, fueling times are comparable to gasoline, and the petrochemical industry is desperate for them to succeed. The oil industry can see the writing on the wall as states like California will ban new ICE vehicle sales in 2030. While holding out hope for a green hydrogen future a generation away, they can continue to have a market for their product as gasoline and diesel phase out. “Hydrogen will become the green fuel of the future” explain their sock puppets knowing that dirty hydrogen from their product will always have a price advantage. And to be fair, turning a mobile source into a point source of emissions does provide the opportunity for carbon capture (so called Blue Hydrogen), but all this still add even more cost while BEVs already have a price advantage in their fuel - not to mention that every home in the developed world has the infrastructure to charge BEVs.
Why write all this? Because when you get down to it most of the #FUD being spread around #EV s is coming from FCEV advocates who are trying not to let hydrogen become the betamax of the transition away from ICE transportation. In doing so they are making it harder than necessary for the world to move away from ICE transportation.
This is a very well thought out and written examination of the proposal to use hydrogen for transportation. Electricity can come from myriad sources, while hydrogen has only one competitive source – the fossil fuel industry.
Why on Earth would anyone want to choose to lock themselves into a single supplier that needs to fight oil wars all over the world to maintain their supply, when you can just use electricity which is available literally anywhere on Earth?
>"You're regurgitating BEV propaganda here. H₂ can also be made from many sources..."
I'm not regurgitating anything, I figured this out on my own long before this even became an issue, using fundamental scientific principles.
This is why I've driven an electric car for many years now. It works much better than using fuel from the fossil fuel industry.
If you want to drive a hydrogen-powered car, nobody is stopping you. But make sure that all of the costs -- the oil wars, oil spills, oil industry subsidies, air pollution -- are all paid for by those who choose to use that fuel.
Hydrogen does not have carbon in it. It is made from water. It is can also be made entirely with renewable energy. FCEVs are literally EVs in fact. They are the same basic idea as BEVs.
As a result, all of this is self-evident BEV propaganda. It's really a clever method of brainwashing. People are just being fooled into believing they came to this conclusion on their own.
@Hypx @richardknott @Pat @antares
Many people in Germany charge their BEVs from their own solar panels with 100% green electeicity. Electricity in Germany generally is about 50% renewable. How many people put hydrogen into their Mirai that they themselves produce? Has the percentage of green hydrogen reached 50%?
The claims of majority renewable energy is an act of severe greenwashing. It's actually closer to 30%, once you realize that biomass doesn't count as renewable, and nuclear is now replaced with fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, you can switch 100% green hydrogen if you really wanted. It is the same concept as green electricity.
@denki @richardknott @Pat @antares The electric grid has ran into a wall. Without energy storage, it will simply fail to reach 100% zero emissions. Everyone, including Tesla has accepted the need for hydrogen for energy storage.
So what you are doing is not far off from denying climate change altogether. It is just science denial and refusal to accept evidence.
And so do I (as I have state to you several times now). It just does not make a lot of sense in cars. It does not make a lot of sense in short-term storage. Where it shines is long-term storage.
You are not making a coherent argument. You are making a purely dishonest argument that hydrogen cannot be used in cars directly, despite it being used in cars anyways. This is simply too pathetic of an argument to respect on any level. You might as well be a climate change denier since you clearly don't care about facts.
True. Just as you can switch to 100% green electricity if you wanted. Actually, switching to 100% green electricity likely requires using hydrogen as a storage medium.
It just does not make sense to use hydrogen in cars (except for niches).
The other point is that fuel cells and electrolyzer systems are also electrochemical systems. They will have the same level of efficiency as batteries. So there is no point in wasting so much resources on a short term efficiency gain.
And when that day (ever) comes, the people who do not mind the maintenance of the high-pressure system will switch to hydrogen.
Fuel-cells and electrolyseurs have been mature technologies for decades. I won't hold my breath for any groundbreaking efficiency-gains in the near future.
@denki @richardknott @Pat @antares More BEV propaganda. We already have hydrogen powered cars. They do not have any sort of problematic high costs. Certainly, no more than BEVs having to worry about battery replace costs.
You are also completely out of date and stuck in the past on the subject of fuel cell technology. Near 100% efficient electrolyzers are here now:
@richardknott @denki @Pat @antares Because a fuel cell is literally an electrochemical system, just like a battery. In fact, they are effectively metal-air batteries. The difference in efficiency is minor and is merely the difference between different cell designs. Future advances will shrink such differences even further. BEV propaganda is the only thing telling us otherwise.
@Hypx @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares Just that it does not. Hydrogen is to fill the gaps of the much-dreaded dark lull, which happens occasionally, but it doesn't last long. Most of the time, you charge your BEV while parking (it's parking 23 hours a day), and because the battery is sized for long distances, much more than the daily commute, you can charge easily just when renewable electricity is available.
V2L/H/G also can help you to use that oversized battery for more good things.
Also, the math was done with existing levels of demand They are not accounting for total electrification of everything, which will radically increase electricity demand, especially in winter.
Eventually, Germany will have to accept hydrogen for a major part of the solution.
If you modify the charger cables of the electric cars and the wallboxes to support V2G, you need nothing but a fleet of some 10 million electric cars plugged in 23 hours a day in Germany to cover them all.
But the solution is to isolate your buildings, because then, heating becomes something that doesn't cost much (energy and money). You just can stop heating a well isolated building for days without feeling uncomfortable, so no dunkelflaute can make your house go actually cold.
Efficiency again is the solution, and the most cost efficient, too.
Once you think realistically, hydrogen is needed for other situations. It is also needed for backup heating too.
Like I said, the cheapest, not the most efficient, is the desired outcome.
Also, it is likely an example of "begging the question" where you assume you have have solved the problem of BEV production already. It is not obvious it can be solved.
Meanwhile, hydrogen completely solves nearly all problems, from transportation, energy storage, industry, etc. It becomes disingenuous to ignore or deny its utility.
I can't produce BEVs. I have to buy them. I only can charge them at home, but I have to buy the PV Panels.
The problem of producing BEVs has been solved. The mass production in billions has been solved this year through the ramping up of sodium ion batteries: They only use abundant stuff. LFP akkus also use widely available stuff, but sodium and Prussian blue are really abundant.
What doesn't work is H₂ fuel stations.
@Hypx @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares When you sell me things thing with 1/5th the size of the fuel cell (20kW), and a 20 times larger battery (30kWh), I might think about it: The fuel cell then is range extender, and only used for long distance travels, where I actually want to refuel fast, and don't care about the leaky H₂ storage (because I'm going to use it up on that trip), the battery could be charged at home for daily commute.
@forthy42 @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares The fuel cell weighs like 50 kg. It is tiny compared to a battery. Even if you want a balance between the two, we will find out that we want larger fuel cells over more batteries. Mass production will reveal that they are far cheaper than you're imagining.
What you are failing to grasp is that water is functionally a free resource. The combination of renewable energy and water is likely to drive the cost of hydrogen to nearly zero. Conventional batteries are never going to see that happen.
@Hypx @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares Sorry, this is all bullshit. The components of a sodium ion battery are available in such abundancy that they are almost as free as water; actually, the name giving sodium is dissolved in the vast majority of all water you can find on earth (and you need to remove it before you try make hydrogen).
This is a solved problem; the production is ramping up, no component needed is rare.
I'm no longer 9 year old, so your argument doesn't work.
@Hypx @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares The prices of conventional batteries are going down and down and down, the price of fuel cells aren't. The price of hydrogen will never go down to zero, the price of renewable energy will not reach zero. Wind turbines need rare earths for their magnets, PV modules are made of abundant materials, but need area. Hydrogen has a lot of problems that haven't been solved well enough so far, and the thread starter had a number of them.
@Hypx @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares And furthermore, fuel cells need rare materials like Platinum or the even rarer Iridium. Both are very, very rare; and though you don't need that much of them (30-40g), it is significant. Production is a bit more than 200t/y (just 7t/year of Iridium), means if you do nothing else with it than making FCEVs, you are saturated with 5 millions/year.
You haven't solved your mass production problem!
@forthy42 @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares Actually they don't. SOFCs require neither. Only PEM FCs do. But only as a catalyst, which means they can be reduced to to nano-thin layers. It is likely it will be reduced to a few grams before long. There is no fundamental reason why this can't be reduced to negligible levels.
One idea requires just renewable energy and water. It's fundamental cost floor is effectively zero. The other requires vast amounts of raw materials.
It's time to admit that hydrogen is basically following the trajectory of PV power. This is fundamentally the end result of a resource that is truly renewable.
@forthy42 @richardknott @denki @Pat @antares Sodium-ion batteries don't exist yet. You have no idea what it would actually take. Not to mention that nothing is going to surpass hydrogen in terms of availability.
You're simply being delusion about where the state of batteries are. You remind me of the obsession with cellulosic ethanol. It too was a "solved problem." It also never materialized in quantity.
Not that a lower energy density battery chemical is actually going to change the situation. This is just a fantasy delusion, motivated by the problems of existing batteries.
This implication makes no sense. I also admit that hydropower makes sense for energy storage, but it obviously does not make sense for energy storage in cars.
@denki @richardknott @Pat @antares Hydrogen has a much higher energy density than batteries. And it is chemical storage so it can directly replace the usage scenario of gasoline/diesel. Hence why it is so self-evidently obvious.
Your hydropower argument is purely a strawman and misdirection. You are being willfully dishonest here.
@Hypx @denki @richardknott @Pat @antares We are not in rocket science here. For rockets, the energy density is what matters, because the burned fuel has to accelerate the rest of the fuel. For cars, it doesn't, they don't even fly. Recuperation is needed, nothing more.
Using H₂ as direct replacement for gasoline/diesel is the most wasteful way of using H₂, only the worst idiots promote THAT idea.
@Hypx @denki @richardknott @Pat @antares We stopped our last 3 nuclear power plants here in Germany, and compensated that loss with new wind turbines and PV panels and higher energy efficiecy. Yes, within that first half yearn of 2023 for which we already have a statistics.
It's not enough, but whatever you are smoking (H₂ only explains your high-pitched tune): green H₂ also needs renewable energy producers, more of them, because less efficient.
@forthy42 @denki @richardknott @Pat @antares This is become a elaborate accounting trick with CO₂ emissions. They're doing things like offsets or buying foreign power. Also biomass in coal plants is considered green, but it is not. In reality, Germany has one of the dirtiest grids in the world, and it is get worse, not better.
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