How to Promote the Hydrogen Economy Hoax

Discussion in 'General' started by Pushmi-Pullyu, Jan 7, 2018.

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  1. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    One thing I'd love to see, and soon, is an end to the abuse of the term "MPG" on EV forums. "MPG" means "Miles Per Gallon", as in "the number of miles driven per gallon of fuel, in a vehicle is powered by gasoline/diesel". It doesn't mean "miles driven when powered by some form of energy which can be vaguely but not accurately equated to the amount of energy in a gallon of gasoline". Nor does it mean, as it's misused on Volt forums, "miles driven on a gallon of gasoline plus a variable and unreported number of kWh of electricity".
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  3. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Taking an obviously extreme position like this does not prove anything. Those kinds of arguments have always struck me as intellectually lazy.

    The reason I posted in this thread is that it's all about scuttling what could be an alternative for some situations and people. Maybe it won't be, maybe it will be, I don't know in the end (and truly, neither do you) but the world is full of cases where people thought something was a terrible idea and it turned out to be incredible.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    There were past proposals to use waste, exhaust heat in a Rankin cycle to provide 12V power.
    Sorry, I should have typed "MPGe". Personally I prefer the new terms from For example our 2017 Prius Prime:
    • 25 kWh/100mi - 133 MPGe
    • 1.9 gal/100mi - 54 MPG
    The only problem is MPGe appears to be more precise because we see several cases of identical "kWh/100mi" but different MPGe. For example:
    • 31 kWh/100mi - 106 MPGe - Chevy Volt
    • 31 kWh/100mi - 109 MPGe - BMW i3-REx
    • 31 kWh/100mi - 110 MPGe - Honda Clarity plug-in
    The Wiki article has more details:

    Bob Wilson
  5. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    Companies are installing thousands of L2 chargers every year in places like workplace, shopping, and condos. Maybe you won’t be able to cheaply retrofit your home due to unique circumstances, but 1.) people can often get by on a daily basis with just 120v charging. 2.) can make use of pUblic L2 or DCFC charging while parking for work, or shopping. 3.) consider it an investment in your property as it will make your home more valuable and easier to sell if it is already “EV ready”.
  6. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    What's intellectually lazy is criticizing an argument without even trying to refute it.

    I think the "If you believe fool cell cars can someday become practical, then why not steam-powered cars?" is an excellent argument. The ball is in your court to demonstrate otherwise.

    The problem with arguing against it, as I suspect you've already realized, is that any argument against using steam powered cars would be equally valid against fool cell cars. And I suspect that's why you haven't even tried to refute it.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    There seems to be a consensus among the Usual Suspects posting to comment threads at the InsideEVs news site, that the term "MPGe" includes charging losses. That is, that the kWh are measured from the wall, not from what's stored onboard the car in the battery pack. Note this is directly contrary to what the Wikipedia article says about MPGe. Of course Wikipedia isn't always right, any more than any encyclopedia is always right, but when they ask you what their source is, they point to one single reference in a FAQ at a government energy agency site.

    I don't know who is right, but if there is a discrepancy in the figures, that might account for it.

    Given what the Wiki article says, it may be that the term "MPGe" is used to mean different things by different people or different agencies. Perhaps some mean it to be -- as the Wiki article claims -- only a measure of how efficient the energy stored onboard is, and thus about as close to the MPG metric as we can get with EVs. Perhaps others, as the Usual Suspects posting to the InsideEVs news article comments insist, mean it to be a measure of electricity drawn from the wall, which includes charger losses.

    So far as I'm concerned, it's not a settled point, altho the Usual Suspects over on the news site disagree.

    * * * * *

    My opinion:

    I have a personal distaste for the term "MPGe", not only because it's confusing -- and we're having this discussion precisely because it's confusing, in that we're not really sure exactly what's being measured -- but also because it seems to be a crutch aimed at the general public, who have been educated in the ways of gasmobiles and what "MPG" means, but not in the ways of EVs and what such things as "watts" and "kilowatt-hours" are. Also, sadly, the general public has not been educated in school about the difference between power and energy, which you would think would be part of basic introductory science courses in elementary school, or at worst in middle school, but it's not.

    As I've said elsewhere, it's as if back in the days of the Model T, the government had instituted a measurement of BHDe (Bales of Hay per Day equivalent), instead of MPG, to ease the transition from those familiar with the horse-and-buggy but not motorcars. If we had introduced that crutch back circa 1908, would we still be using it today? Unfortunately, I kinda think we would.

    As they say: "Begin as you mean to go on." If the idea is to educate people in the ways of EVs rather than gasmobiles, then we shouldn't be using the crutch of "MPGe", which seems to suggest that EVs are just a kind of gasmobile which uses a special fuel.

    Again, all this is just my opinion, and obviously many disagree.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    We're good as we understand each other. No need to beat the spot where the dead horse was dragged away. <grins>

    Bob Wilson
  10. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Your "argument" refutes itself. It's nonsense from the start.
  11. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Thousands a year ain't gonna cut it when there are 250,000,000 cars just in the US.
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  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Indeed. At some point, at the steepest rise on the "S-cure" of adoption, installation of L2 charge points and DCFC charge points are going to have to be at the rate of millions per year.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  14. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The ball is in your court to show where or how it's nonsense.

    Once again: If you believe FCEVs powered by compressed hydrogen fuel can someday become practical, then why not steam-powered cars?
  15. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    So once again, using an extreme example like 'hey lets bring back steam cars' is logical fallacy. It's pure strawman.

    You've taken a step to the side, presented something absurd that everyone knows is a non starter as a 'like or equal' situation (steam:hydrogen), and then said 'well steam can work too then now prove me wrong, and if you cant then the like (hydrogen) also can't work'. No, it doesn't work that way, sorry. Not if you want to form a logical argument at least.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I can appreciate what you're trying to accomplish:
    When trying to discuss something outside the boundary of someone else's understanding, you might as well be speaking a foreign language. I used to get so frustrated when discussing subjects with clear, unambiguous empirical data only to see the 'honorable competition' dig in their heels with more zeal. Then I realized that reality will win ... just be patient.

    The hydrogen experiment is in full effort, a great money burn pit. Eventually someone with 'green eye shades' will explain why there is no raise because the money was spent on hydrogen. The money has to be spent before the lesson can be learned.

    Bob Wilson
  17. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    That's certainly one position to take.

    I take the position that you never know what discoveries may come, either directly or tangentially, unless you perform the actual work. You can theorize about it all you want, but the world is full of discoveries that people said were never possible, or discoveries that came from other people observing something in a research project that fills a hole in theirs, and presto some side discovery. It's the theoretical vs experimental argument really. Theorists always think they're right, but they never know without the experimentalists.

    And to that there's a whole wing of scientific endeavors whose aim is to connect studies that individually seemed to arrive at dead ends, but when connected come to something else never thought of before.

    You just never know. You think you know, but you don't know.
  18. Steam isn't such a bad idea. There were some moderately serious efforts to revive steam cars in the 1960s. One possibility is that you don't even have to use combustion: Just use molten silicon as the energy carrier and make steam as you go. (Of course, there are problems that have to be overcome.) I'm not sure if it can be better than a BEV but I suspect it would be better than hydrogen.
  19. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Cogen cars here we come!!
  20. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    From my viewpoint it's entirely valid, and you are the one side-stepping the issue by labeling it a "strawman argument".

    No, you're trying to paper over the actual issue. The reasons steam powered cars can't compete with gasmobiles are exactly the same reasons that hydrogen-powered cars can't compete. The impracticality and the lack of efficiency are the same issues.

    Furthermore, fuel cell cars have been in development about as long as modern EVs have. The reason why EV tech has progressed and FCEV tech has not, isn't because of lack of time and resources. It's because there are real-world constraints, due to physics, thermodynamics, and basic economics, that make it impossible for compressed hydrogen to be a practical fuel for wheeled vehicles. The very same constraints which have cause auto makers to abandon steam engine tech in favor of ICEVs and (now) plug-in EVs.

    Feed The Trees, perhaps if you knew more about how much time and effort has been put into developing FCEVs, then you'd realize that the analogy with steam powered cars is a pretty exact one; much closer than analogies usually are.
  21. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Steam engines, like all heat engines, are limited in efficiency by the amount of temperature difference between the hottest and coldest parts of the engine. If using silicon as the operating fluid, rather than water, will allow a higher operating temperature for the hottest parts of the engine, then that would at least potentially allow a higher energy efficiency.

    But you're still going to be limited by the fact that external combustion engines (like steam engines) are inherently less efficient than internal combustion engines, because there is inevitably some loss of heat between the firebox (heat supply) and the pistons/turbine.
  22. No, don't use silicon as the operating fluid. Use it as heat storage. Silicon melts at a high temperature and it has a monstrous heat of fusion. Of course, you'd need very high pressure to take good advantage of that; that's one of the problems I mentioned. Better would probably be a Stirling engine. There is still the problem that we don't have much experience at those temperatures.

    I also said I didn't think it could be as good as a BEV. But after keeping this idea in my back pocket for years I was interested in seeing someone else actually propose it recently.

    But would it be better than hydrogen?
  23. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Doesn't seem to be much point in trying to claim you could make a steam engine powered automobile that's as energy efficient as a FCEV. A hydrogen-powered FCEV isn't a heat engine. Admittedly the Carnot efficiency limit does still apply, but a fuel cell has a better theoretical efficiency than any heat engine, even an ICEngine, which in turn has a better theoretical efficiency than the maximum theoretical efficiency of any steam engine. Well, hopefully most alert readers will observe that last statement of mine contains some glittering generalities. But it should be true that any well-engineered ICEngine of the size appropriate for powering a passenger vehicle should be more energy efficient than any well-engineered steam engine of the size appropriate for powering a passenger vehicle.

    Obviously steam engines in some cases -- such as the steam turbines in natural-gas-fired power plants -- can be more energy efficient than mass produced automobile ICEngines. Energy efficiency favors larger engines, especially when it comes to heat engines. That applies to both ICEngines and steam engines.

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