Ok, Let’s talk about Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles () as an alternative to Battery Electric Vehicles ().

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 being spread around 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.



@antares As I pointed out elsewhere, this is just BEV propaganda. Why must there be only one possible answer to zero emission? It does not take much critical thinking to realize that this is marketing FUD.

@Hypx @antares
"Why must there be only one possible answer to zero emission?"

Nobody is demanding that. You are free to buy an FCEV. As soon as the hydrogen has to be green, it will be very expensive, but that would be your problem, not mine.

@denki @antares Then why are spamming BEV propaganda? What is your problem with people suggesting or promoting FCEVs?

And it will be cheaper than BEVs. Even now, the cost difference is negligible. In the long run, green hydrogen will join wind and solar at being extremely cheap sources of energy.

@Hypx @antares
I have no problem with people being enthusiastic about FCEVs.

My problems are:
1. Your unsubstantiated claims that FCEVs are efficient; especially the unsubstantiated part.
2. Your unsubstantiated claims about several statements (made here in the thread, for example) being propaganda; again, especially the unsubstantiated part.

@antares plus, energy efficiency, production, transportation, storage and use in generating electricity to move an ev is 4 times the energy to transfer and power an EV

@richardknott @antares This is BEV propaganda. It's basically made up with the goal of dissuading honest discussion. The real purpose to dupe everyone into think there is only one possible answer.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
If this is just Propaganda, it should be easy to point out the factual mistakes in the diagram.

@denki @richardknott @antares It's pulling coefficients out of thin air, plus ignoring vast reams of other factors. Charge a BEV on the right time and it will literally be hydrogen powering the charging port. Efficiency of the BEV can be the worst of them all. None of these factors are ever taken into account. Just recently, heat pump fanatics were caught overstating the energy needs of hydrogen heat by a factor of five. So these claims are basically works of fiction.

@Hypx @denki @antares I know how much energy per mile I’m getting in my EV, and the statement from the electricity provider matches.
Given the Ev numbers match, where are the Hydrogen numbers wrong to make it better?

@richardknott @denki @antares It doesn't matter because they aren't telling you how much was lost or curtailed during production. You can just easily claim that the energy consumption of a hydrogen car is _zero_ because it is using wasted energy.

@Hypx @denki @antares surely the electricity generation lost or curtailed rate is the same for EV and green Hydrogen, where else are you going to get the green electricity to produce green hydrogen?

@richardknott @denki @antares Curtailed electricity is unavailable for BEV charging, and always will be. It is the definition of curtailed. It can only be solved via energy storage, and that can only be solved at scale via hydrogen.

In the end, you are just attacking green energy just like fossil fuel companies attacked wind and solar. Even BEVs too. You are basically acting like a climate change denier, and that is the sad truth.

@Hypx @denki @antares ok, the UK like many other countries has an curtailment issue due to the Grid not keeping up with generation sources, however we do have storage and have done for many years in form of hydroelectric, and we are increasing battery storage for electricity both at point of generation and general for the grid. Evs with V2G can also help with storage and there are several trials in progress. Hydrogen storage isn’t planned or practical

@richardknott @denki @antares You are repeating more BEV propaganda. The infrastructure costs are immense. The UK does not have sufficient pumped hydro storage. Batteries are just a short-term solution and is basically an extension of BEV propaganda.

It is going to be hydrogen for this purpose. Outside of some random holdouts, officials in the UK government have pretty much accepted this fact. It's time you accepted the truth too.

@richardknott @denki @antares That's completely irrelevant to this conversation. You are plainly trolling now.

In reality, the UK government has already accepted reality. It will be hydrogen for energy storage. Everything else you hear is bullshit from BEV companies or some of those holdouts. Not even Tesla disagrees with the conclusion of hydrogen energy storage.

@Hypx @denki @antares it’s proposing to use hydrogen for storage, it’s not doing very much about it.
The depressing think is they see anti green policies as vote winners after the Uxbridge by-election and the anti ULEZ expansion campaign (ULEZ being a Boris policy and a requirement for funding by the conservative government on London)
But we’re getting off topic

@richardknott @denki @antares It's admitting that the UK is not hitting net zero without it. A fact you are in total denial over.

@richardknott @denki @antares That's someone accusing the UK of not subsidizing hydrogen enough...

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"Curtailed electricity is unavailable for BEV charging, and always will be."

That is true; by the definition of curtailment. But equally, curtailed electricity is not available for generating hydrogen. If it were used to produce hydrogen, it would not have been curtailed.

You could say that electricity that would OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN CURTAILED can be used to produce hydrogen. But equally, it can be used to charge BEVs.

@denki @richardknott @antares Wrong. You can just attach hydrogen to the renewable farm in question. Sometimes, not even connected to the grid.

But ultimately, without energy storage curtailed electricity will be lost pretty much completely. And there is no way of avoiding this without large scale energy storage.

@Hypx @denki @antares anyway, what has using hydrogen for energy storage at point of production got to do with hydrogen fuel cel cars? There’s still a higher energy cost to transfer it and more energy is lost to heat etc when generating electricity to move a car than a pure ev

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
That is not what the article says. The article says that it is 10 times cheaper to build a pipeline from North Africa to Europe than building an electric cable. This has nothing to do with having an electric grid INSIDE Europe.

@denki @Hypx @antares of course, the UK is building a cable from Morocco direct to the UK, bypassing Europe. I'm not fussed how the energy gets here, but nothing about this looks like the cheapest option:

@richardknott @denki @antares These types of things will either never get built or end up being giant boondoggles. Economics strongly suggest a hydrogen solution is much cheaper. It will also be a working solution with energy storage alongside it too.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"Economics strongly suggest a hydrogen solution is much cheaper."

Could you please provide evidence of that?

@denki @richardknott @antares I just did. Now accept facts or admit you're a liar this whole time.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
You throwing around accusations of lying and propaganda while misrepresenting facts yourself will not convince anyone. I doubt that you are convinced yourself.

You are arguing in bad faith. It is clear that this discussion is pointless. I will therefore block you.

@denki @richardknott @antares As an example of what is possible. It is still true inside Europe. You are just lying to yourself.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"You are just lying to yourself."

Actually, YOU were lying to me by misrepresenting what the article says.

@denki @richardknott @antares What you are doing is as pathetic as climate change denial. You are just a BEV fanboy and don't give a shit about facts. It just promoting whatever it is you have a personal interest in, whether it's an investment or a job or something else. It's time to accept facts or admit you never cared about the environment.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"You can just attach electrolyzers to the renewable farm in question."

If you use the electricity for electrolysis, then it would, by definition, not be curtailed.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"And there is pretty much no way of avoiding this without hydrogen."

I agree. (You would also need batteries as buffers to keep the electrolyseurs in an efficient mode.)

This does not make a case for FCEVs though.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
Curtailment has nothing to do with the (well-to-wheel) efficiency of a car. Curtailment is an inefficiency of our power distribution system.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
Could you please point to concrete coefficients that are incorrect and supply the correct ones with source?

@denki @richardknott @antares How about this: Curtailment means 0% efficiency. Everything is lost. Meanwhile, hydrogen can actually use that energy, making it infinitely more efficient.

You can pound the table and spam bullshit all you want, but hydrogen can always be the more efficient idea. In some cases, infinitely more so.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"Meanwhile, hydrogen can actually use that energy, making it infinitely more efficient."

So can a (BEV) battery, also making it infinitely more efficient. While also being more efficient than the hydrogen solution.

@denki @richardknott @antares Again, YOU CAN'T. You cannot store that energy via batteries. You will run out of capacity. Not to mention consuming vast amounts of resources to even try to do it with batteries.

In the long run, batteries will be seen as another unsustainable and environmental destructive idea. It will face the dilemma as CFL lightbulbs.

@Hypx @richardknott @antares
"ignoring vast reams of other factors"

What factors are missing in the efficiency calculation?

@Hypx @richardknott @antares It is by far the most efficient answer. What did you learn about free market in school? The most efficient answer wins.

And there's one thing all these FCEV proponents always forget to mention: you can charge your BEV most of the time from the very cheap PV-panel current from your roof or balkony. Not only is it the most energy efficient solution, it is also by far the most cost efficient one.

And the low-price battery problem has been solved this year, too.

@forthy42 @richardknott @antares The cheapest solution usually wins, not the most energy efficient. You need to update your own knowledge about economics.

FCEVs also runs on PV power. Hydrogen is made from electrolysis of water. But unlike batteries, you don't need vast quantities of metal for the batteries.

Mostly, this a fantasy from BEV fanatics. In reality, BEVs are still far more expensive than ICE cars.


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?

@Hypx @richardknott

@Pat @antares @richardknott You're regurgitating BEV propaganda here. H₂ can also be made from many sources. It is identical to electricity. BEV companies are doing all they can to make you not realize that, because it would represent a disruptive threat to batteries.

Remember, it is the battery that is the fundamental weakness of the BEV. Anything that removes the batteries and replaces it with something more plentiful is a potential replacement for BEVs. And that is what H₂ cars represent.


>"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.

@antares @richardknott

@Pat @antares @richardknott No you didn't. Whatever principles you used, it was affected by BEV propaganda.

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.


As I said, no one is stopping you from driving a hydrogen car if you want.

Everybody's free to do what they want as long as they don't harm others or the environment.

Good luck.

@antares @richardknott

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