How to Promote the Hydrogen Economy Hoax

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

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  1. A fuel cell is only 50%, or maybe 60%, efficient. The Carnot efficiency at the temperature of molten silicon is up around 80%. Plus, you don't have to fiddle around compressing or liquefying hydrogen.
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  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    A recent fuel cell review. Pay attention to the hydrogen supply and costs:

    Bob Wilson
  4. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    One way to promote fuel cell infrastructure is to ask the federal government to do it. While GM was speaking with the Senate to ask for the federal government to promote EV charging infrastructure, Toyota was pushing fuel cells.

    "Robert Wimmer, director of energy and environmental research for Toyota’s North American unit, urged senators to consider the potential of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, not just EVs.

    "To ensure the U.S remains competitive in this space, the federal government needs to take a much more proactive role supporting hydrogen infrastructure growth,” Wimmer said in his testimony. "Without robust federal support for hydrogen infrastructure, possibly part of a national infrastructure program, the numbers of fuel cell vehicles on our roads will remain modest."

    Last year, Americans bought nearly 200,000 electrified vehicles from more than a dozen manufacturers."
    And Americans bought ~3,000 Fuel Cell cars.

    Good luck with that, Toyota! :) While there is little chance this current government will be increasing financial assistance with public charging infrastructure, there is no chance of them paying to build more prohibitively expensive, incredibly niche hydrogen stations.
  5. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    The list of 'cons' is probably all true, although I think workable solutions have been evolved for many if not all of the problems mentioned. Overall efficiency may well be poor, assuming hydrogen produced by electrolysis, but if the electrical power comes from plant with no fuel cost, I submit efficiency is no longer a major concern particularly if the amount of power being produced is in excess of demand (increasingly happening in many countries). Storing electricity in quantity is difficult. Storing hydrogen is relatively easy!

    The main advantage of hydrogen cars is convenience. Not everyone lives in a house with a drive.garage where charging of a battery is possible or convenient. Not everyone wants to have to remember to plug in their cars overnight even if they can. Not everyone is prepared to look for a public charging point if they live in an apartment block.

    As an alternative to conventional cars, hydrogen cars are quite appealing to the average driver. They require little or no change in driving habits and have all the advantages of a battery car with none of the inconveniences.

    At any rate, the Toyota Mirai seems to be doing quite well in terms of monthly sales. It already outsells nearly two-thirds of the plug-ins listed monthly here. Given that it is only sold where there is infrastructure for it, which is a tiny percentage of the country at the moment this is a pretty impressive performance.

    I don't really understand the venom directed at hydrogen cars here. To all intents and purposes, it is an electric car. It is just that the battery has been implemented slightly differently to comply with existing driving habits!

    Also, I wonder if a domestic electrolysis plant (by no means beyond possibility) designed to produce fuel using excess power from a solar roof would make them even more popular? I guess we'll have to wait and see!
    TeslaInvestors likes this.
  6. TeslaInvestors

    TeslaInvestors Active Member

    Excellent post! The venom is easily understandable. Many hold a few shares of TSLA and want to reach the moon riding on them. They swarm internet forums parroting what they hear on twitter and elsewhere from their supreme leader.

    However, I do not agree with the last part. Home hydrogen refueling was good at the beginning. No need to make hydrogen cars look like another science project. A few large scale Hydrogen stations will be enough. Since refueling is fast, there is no need for home refueling. Home refueling at tiny scales will not be cost effective. With grid tied solar, the electricity from the panels are going to the grid regardles and can be used by hydrogen generating plants.

    I think, it's better to locate the hydrogen storage facilities next to large renewable energy farms, like utility scale solar farms. Much cheaper to store electricity this way compared to storing it in polluting, expensive and degrading battery packs. The hydrogen tank will have the same capacity after many years of usage. Can't say the same about the batteries.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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  8. TeslaInvestors

    TeslaInvestors Active Member

    Another good post! PP is completely debunked!
    "If you accept BEV and only BEV then you are forcing a set of people into sticking with gas, and that's certainly not the goal." -> Yeah, that's only 99% of the population :)

    What's really funny is that I don't see the fuel cell fanboys imposing the hydrogen car on everyone. If someone likes to spend time waiting at fast charger stations, be my guest. But the BEV fanboys seem hurt when people talk of the fuel cell cars. Hmm, wonder why.
    BTW, I don't see long range EVs going anywhere mass scale. High commodity prices of scarce materials will take care of it.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  9. TeslaInvestors

    TeslaInvestors Active Member

    That's the funny part. The BEV spammers here don't realize how ridiculous this sounds. The market penetration is hardly 1-2% and we already need to convert half the parking spaces into chargng stations :) This doesn't happen by magic. Maintaining these chargers is also non trivial and certainly not cheap. No, you cannot do these with a flamethrower :)

    I don't see any S curve coming ever.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    That certainly sounds promising, but I'd like to see some data from actual bench tests.

    Seems unfair to me, to compare what has actually been demonstrated with fuel cell efficiency, vs. the merely theoretical maximum efficiency of this molten silicon steam engine. Natural gas fired, combined cycle power plants can achieve ~60% energy efficiency, but that doesn't mean any pure gasmobile will ever exceed ~40% efficiency in real-world driving.
  11. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I see I need to add "Efficiency doesn't matter" to my list of ways that people promote the "hydrogen economy" hoax.

    Really, the claim that "efficiency doesn't matter" is so obviously wrong that it shouldn't be necessary to refute it. But I guess I need to aim my formal arguments at those who really have no understanding of science at all.

    At any rate, it's just a variant on this:

    5. In the future, electricity from solar and wind power will be almost free, so the price of hydrogen will be too cheap to matter!

    This is always a favorite of "fool cell" fanboys. Only talk about the cost of generating hydrogen, and completely ignore the fact that most of the high cost for non-subsidized H2 fuel comes from costs further along the supply chain. Even more importantly, whatever you do, always, always be sure to ignore the reality that if prices of electricity come down significantly, that makes the pure electric car (BEV) even more competitive against the fool cell car! So if someone points that out, change the subject very fast.​

    Sure, but that's no argument in support of fool cell cars. That's an argument in favor of gasmobiles or PHEVs.

    In the horse-and-buggy days, there were no places to park a gasmobile in the city if you did buy one. At larger homes and mansions, livery stables had to be converted to garages for gasmobiles. Cobbled city streets were replaced with asphalt and concrete streets, as the gasmobile revolution continued. It will take time, but we'll see similar changes occur to accommodate plug-in EVs. Changes which won't be nearly as disruptive as the change from the horse-and-buggy era to gasmobiles.

    I expect wireless charging to become the norm for BEVs, which will eliminate the need for charging, for those people who really have a hard time adjusting. Frankly, I consider that to be an EV basher's argument. You could say the same about cell phones: "Nobody will want to use a cell phone because you have to remember to charge it up all the time, and with a land line you don't need to worry about that!" Ummmm... wrong.

    Definitely wrong. Fool cell cars have none of the important advantages of battery-electric cars. Not the low operating cost, not the convenience of charging at home, not the superior acceleration ability, and certainly not the very low well-to-wheel emissions.

    Good grief! Most people would not call sales of only ~3000 in California, in more than two years, to be "doing quite well". Global sales of the car have been quite disappointing for Toyota, far below their sales projections.

    See "Toyota Mirai Sales Eclipse 3,000 In California"
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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  13. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I cannot imagine being worried about the efficiency with which I produce something if I can't sell it. Particularly as there is no extra cost in producing product over the plant lying idle. This is the situation in which wind farms find themselves all over the world and what I was attempting to put over. Mea culpa. I should have made myself clearer.

    I live in the UK, where more than half the population live in terraced houses with no drive or garage. Many more live in apartment blocks. Plug-in cars are therefore unsaleable to about two-thirds of the UK population, even if they want to own one. Nobody wants to have to find a parking point a long way from their home and have to lug a week's groceries through pouring rain and wind. If you could wave a magic wand and provide wireless car charging just everywhere, you might stand a fighting chance of success, but that is not going to happen overnight, and probably not at all. It is no wonder the sales of plug-ins are so poor. After about 10 years of EVs being available in your country, sales remain at 1 or 2%. That is not much of a success.

    You need a technology which mimics that of ICE powered cars. Plug-ins are deficient in many respects. Poor in range, they involve a lot more hassle than a fortnightly visit to a filling station, and charging on a long journey takes too long. Being able to charge them at home ( an option not open to many in the UK) gives a cost saving, but not one big enough for the hassle of doing it for many. Hydrogen cars mimic ICE cars quite well and offer the prospect of far lower city pollution levels. My guess is that they will succeed. I could be right or wrong and don't care much, either way, being only mildly interested in cars. As I said earlier, we shall have to wait and see.

    One point you may wish to consider is that I can - with a diesel car - put a MegaWatt hour of energy into it in around two minutes in perfect safety. This will take me around 700 miles with plenty of power left over to keep me warm or cool, run the radio, lights etc. To do this in electrical form (assuming a 'perfect' battery) involves a power level of 30 MegaWatts. Typically 30,000 volts at 1,000 Amps. You might be happy to be near that. I certainly wouldn't! The point I am making is that there are serious problems with battery-powered cars which are not apparent today due to the deficiencies of battery technology. (You just can't charge them in two minutes) I think this will limit the development of a 'pure' electric cars. It is a constraint imposed by physics and is not really amenable to technological improvements. There seems no such practical limit to how fast hydrogen can be forced into a car of course. You just need bigger gauge pipes!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  14. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    Thanks for your comments TeslaInvestor. I have no financial interests in any automotive businesses by the way.

    I am not holding my breath for the appearance of a home electrolysis kit. My comment was based on the enthusiasm for 'plug-in-ability' here, and it seems the only way this demand could be met was by something like this. It's hardly much of a science project though. Electrolysis of water is simple. Some high-pressure plumbing, a high-pressure compressor, some valves, and a microcontroller to run it all and you are in business.

    Would I buy one? Unlikely, unless hydrogen at the pump proved horrendously expensive and DIY refuelling stations were dirt cheap and maintenance free. I'd fill up when I need to as I do now.
  15. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Yes Martin. The thing is if you set out to make hydrogen for cars as your specific goal then it's clearly not the best. No argument there.

    However, if we come into a hydrogen surplus through other means, say leftover product from other activities that oil and gas are going to do anyways, then it'd be a terrible shame to not use it to replace gasoline. It's never going to be a BEV replacer either. Again no argument. But that it should simply go away and never be looked at to be made better is purely foolish. Just simply devoid of any rationale. Industrial applications or city buses where you don't need an array of filling stations may be a great use case, especially if the hydrogen is inexpensive.

    So who gives a flying fudge if it's researched?
  16. TeslaInvestors

    TeslaInvestors Active Member

    That is exactly a big project for most home owners :) Plumbers are one of the most expensive skilled workers in most of USA. Once you bring in permitting process etc. for these high pressure plumbing lines, it gets even more expensive and lenghty process. Also not practical for renters and apartment people. But I admit, I haven't studied this, so I don't know exactly how much of a DIY it is, or the cost-benefit trade offs. I would like to see small portable systems on sale. I'm in line for a Honda Clarity FCEV, so this is definitely of interest to me.

    If it is easy, neighborhood H2 refueling stations are still better than having one at every home. Some subsidies might motivate people with the knowhow to setup small scale H2 stations. As I said, since refueling is like filling with gas, there is really no need for home refueling, as needed for slow charging electric cars. As I understand, one bottleneck now in H2 station steup is the permitting process in California.

    On an unrelated note, an old news about AC transit H2 buses. The fuel cells have turned out to be extremely durable. 20k hours of bus service (one of the most severe driving conditions, I'd think) is no easy feat.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  17. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    You say " It's never going to be a BEV replacer either. Again no argument.". But this is an opinion, which I respect, but it is not a fact. One CAN argue with it.

    The future of battery-powered cars is predicated on a tenfold - at least - improvement in battery energy density. Lithium batteries - in a practical assembly designed to power a vehicle - have perhaps 1% to 2% of the energy density of diesel. The blunt truth is that this is not good enough for a car with a reasonable range in the opinion of many (whose opinions I also respect).

    Now there just MIGHT be a wonderful breakthrough that will achieve this level of improvement, but given that in the 150 years since the invention of the lead-acid battery, the improvement has been disappointing. You will note that this has been despite considerable efforts by many excellent and well resources scientists. We are now dependent on a battery technology that is only conditionally stable. It is prevented from fire or explosion only by external protection hardware. Fine whilst it works properly, but potentially disastrous in the event of a defect or damage.

    I suspect battery-powered EVs will give way to hydrogen-powered EVs over the next decade.
  18. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Well sure that's an opinion. Nobody can speak to fact about it. I think if they bail some form of day charging that does a full 300 miles in even 10-15 minutes there isn't any argument against BEV really. But there's still places to utilize hydrogen.
  19. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Generating hydrogen and using it on-site as energy storage has about a 50% efficiency at best, when used round-trip. While this is considerably better than a fool cell car's 20-25% well-to-wheel energy efficiency, it's hard to see how the expense of installing and maintaining the equipment needed for that could ever compete on cost with installing a stationary battery storage system. Since round-trip, stationary battery storage is about 85% efficient, you wouldn't have to use that system for very many days before the system would pay for itself!

    Perhaps you need to go back and read the first post in this discussion thread. For example, one of the many disadvantages of using hydrogen as fuel require expensive, special high-pressure pumps and seals. The need for those isn't going to go away just because you're using it for stationary storage.

    Considering the very high cost of self-contained hydrogen generation and storage systems, I'm not at all convinced there is any advantage over battery storage at all. (A SimpleFuel self-contained system for generating and storing H2 fuel costs $300,000, and that's for a system which can generate only 10 kg of H2 per day. Obviously storing a significant part of the energy from a wind farm would cost much, much more. Stationary storage systems using batteries are expensive enough, but the equipment for H2 generation and storage would make banks of batteries look cheap by comparison!)

    I really have to wonder about those who say "efficiency doesn't matter". Very clearly this is wishful thinking -- it just can't possibly be anything else. How can anyone think that this is a reasonable, logical, or plausible argument? Equipment needed to generate energy and store it will never be free, and the less efficient it is, the more it's going to cost to generate and store as much as you need.

    If you really think "efficiency doesn't matter", then just stick a hose into your car's gas tank and drain half of it out every time you fill the tank. If efficiency doesn't matter, then why not? Throwing away half your fuel is logically equivalent to arguing that efficiency doesn't matter.

    In the real world, efficiency matters a lot!


    Why is it that EV haters keep talking about having to walk thru the rain carrying a sack of groceries? Do they really imagine that people will not notice the absolute B.S. of suggesting that drivers of gasmobiles are not rained on, or don't have to carry bags of groceries in from the car? Do they really think everyone else is that stupid?

    Look, if you drive a car, then you must have somewhere to park it at night. If you don't have any place to park it, then you can't own any car -- not an EV, not a gasmobile, not a fool cell car. But if you do have some place to park it at night, then free your imagination and envision a time in which every one of those parking places is going to be within reach of an EV charger. Honestly, is that really hard to imagine?

    If you can't imagine it, then try looking at pictures:




    No doubt in 1907, sales of motorcars were only 1-2% of sales of horses, or even less. So what? Again, is it really that difficult to imagine that things are going to change over the next 20 years or so? And of course it's not going to happen overnight. Nobody ever suggested it would. Stop with the straw man arguments, already.

    I'm going to omit several of your EV-Hater arguments. All of them can be found, and all debunked, here:

    "The EV-hater's guide to hating electric cars"

    Another straw man EV-hater argument. Nobody but EV haters are claiming that BEVs need to be charged in two minutes. Since 90-95% of BEV charging is and likely will remain slow charging at home or at work, there's no need for charging at such a ridiculous and insanely expensive high power level. Generally speaking, when someone needs a charge en-route, it's only on a long trip. A 5-10 minute charge should usually suit their needs pretty well, since they'll at least want to take a bathroom break.

    You have not made any points. At all. All you've done here is to repeat long-debunked EV hater arguments, which all basically boil down to "If BEVs aren't better than gasmobiles in every possible way right now, then nobody is ever going to use them."

    BEVs don't need to be better than gasmobiles in every possible way to replace them, any more than gasmobiles had to be better than horses in every possible way to replace them. Nothing you have said here is new, and quite clearly all you've done is copy what other EV haters wrote long ago.

    I hope that if you post on this subject again, that (1) you'll write something yourself rather than just copy others, and (2) that you'll write what you actually think is true rather than just parroting long-discredited propaganda.
  20. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    Just because other people have made points doesn't mean I can't make them too. You certainly reiterate pro-BEV views I have come across elsewhere.

    In the UK, charging points are both rare and little used. The nearest one to my home is five miles away where two (2) charging points are provided by a supermarket. I have only ever seen one used and that rarely.

    Things may be different in the USA. Judging by your pics they are, but sales in your country remain down at 1 or 2 percent of total sales, much as they do here. The unpopularity of BEVs seems to be unrelated to the provision of charging facilities.

    I think you have to accept that in general, there is no great enthusiasm for BEVs in either country. You are welcome to your own theories as to why this is, but I much prefer to spend two or three minutes once every week or two filling up to fiddling about with cables and chargers at home or in public almost every time I use the car. Nor do I want to spend hours - or even minutes - kicking my heels whilst waiting for the charging process to complete.

    Whether my opinion is shared by others I have no idea, but these things have been around for maybe 10 years now, and that is sufficient time for a trend to be clear. I suspect a lot of people would find a hydrogen car an attractive alternative to an ICE. No real charging hassle, and that I think is the point.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  21. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    Taking a few specific shots of areas with a lot of chargers doesn't at all mean the US is any way shape or form like that, and only 1 of his is in the US anyhow. At best you can find a stall or 4 in an average parking lot. Certain specific mass installations of chargers exist, but not at all normal.

    Nobody can share an opinion different than PuPu's, or he will PuPu on you ;). You will come to learn this. It's his way or you're a foolcell (in this case) or whatever other names he calls people in the news section. Long ranting posts and shouting people down with occasional name calling is the PuPu way. You can be as cordial as you want and try to express your thoughts in as non-confrontational a way possible, but the result will be the same if you're not on his wavelength.
  22. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    Well, I guess, it's up to him as to how he conducts himself, as it is up to me how I do so. I have no wish to come across as one whose enthusiasm has overruled his rationality.
  23. That's a lot of assumptions. I think it's more likely BEV enthusiasts, like myself, have spent a fair amount of time looking at hydrogen feasibility and just found it too lacking. Also, it's a bit much to accuse others of expressing an opinion due to their financial investments, when it's seems clear by your handle that you have a financial incentive behind your opinion. And considering your usage of the term "supreme leader" and your false narrative about battery pollution, I imagine your TSLA investments to be short positions. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with making money from shorting a stock, of course.

    I don't see anyone imposing any kind of car on anyone. To suggest otherwise isn't accurate.

    Companies have found their is a market for electric vehicles, first among those who would like to reduce the amount of carbon and/or local air pollution they produce, and others who wanted to reduce their oil consumption for geo-political reasons. That allowed for enough production to spur more investment in battery and other associated technologies and the scale of production has risen and helped prices to come down.

    This has raised the profile of EVs, and now more people are turning onto other advantages, and the market continues to grow. There is no "forcing" going on.

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