How to Promote the Hydrogen Economy Hoax

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

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  1. BEV spammers? This is a Forum dedicated to plug-in vehicles. Please.

    To your point, though. Yes, the market penetration is currently low. Last year it was lower. The year before that, much lower, the year...well, I hope you can see where I'm going with this. When a new item enters the market, it doesn't typically go from 0 to 100% immediately. It's quite simple to see a steadily rising amount of market penetration by EVs since the first lithium battery vehicles were available for sale. So, to say EVs won't sell because they only hold X percentage of market share at this static moment in time is ridiculous on its face.

    Regarding curbside charging, while this is being done in some places, it's too expensive to blanket a city with it, and I don't think anyone is advocating for that. With 5-to-10 minute charging said to be coming within the next few years, we'll most likely see a mirroring of today's transportation energy distribution in place. Except that electricity can be generated on the spot or sent via wire, rather than truck deliveries.

    Obviously, electric vehicles are not a good solution for those who don't have a place to charge them. I'm quite confident that these people will have a way to charge in the relatively near future, though.
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  3. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I doubt many potential buyers of either battery or hydrogen cars are likely to take a lot of notice of enthusiasts in either camp. In general, people buy cars that suit their needs and most are bright enough to look at problems and advantages and weigh them up fairly.

    We have two cars. A small petrol city car which we use for pootling around town. Easy to drive, cheap to run, and easy to park, and a larger diesel which we use for long trips. Neglecting costs, I could replace the little one with a BEV, except that I can't be bothered with plugging it in and charging it. A BEV would be quite useless as a replacement for the diesel. I don't relish having to find a charging point, probably wait for one to become vacant, and then wait for it to charge. A hydrogen car would be OK were it not for the fact that there aren't any charging points, and I'm not sure if they are sold in the UK anyway. So we will stick with ICEs for the time being.

    Whether my logic is typical of average Brits or Americans I have no idea, but I note that whilst plug-ins seem to be growing (on average) at about 30% to 50% a year, that the one hydrogen car that is sold in the US seems to be growing at about 250% to 300% a year. If this differential is maintained it will be selling more than any plug-in within a year or two. Time will tell whether this happens or not I suppose.

    As a matter of interest, I have a narrowboat powered by a diesel. I would love to change it to a plug-in battery boat, replacing much of the tons of ballast with batteries, were it not for the fact that power sockets are not generally provided along the tow-path. Gliding through the English countryside in silence rather than accompanied by a chugging diesel. would be a big improvement, and worth the battery nannying involved. Perhaps this makes me a partial BEV enthusiast!
    Domenick likes this.
  4. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    "I'm quite confident that these people will have a way to charge in the relatively near future, though."

    Well, I'd be very happy to see wireless charging points - or rather NOT see them - installed, but would take to the barricades to oppose hitching posts everywhere. Too many of our towns have been disfigured by ugly street furniture - signage, parking meters, street cabinets, etc. I'd like to see less rather than more.

    Unfortunately, these are a lot more costly, so I can't see it happening whilst there is an alternative.
  5. I expect what we'll see, instead of widespread curbside charging, is a gas station-type model, where you just go to fill your battery with a few hundred miles worth of charge in 5 to 10 minutes. Not only that, but I suspect eventually, people won't need to get out of their car in the cold/heat/rain to do it either. It will either be wireless and/or a robotized lead will plug itself into your car.
    (this is actually a system Fisker is working on, though Tesla has mentioned similar systems in the past)
  6. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    Sounds expensive to me, and a lot more complicated than a hydrogen pump. I would welcome it, though, if it kept more rubbish from cluttering the streets.

    Be aware though that as the time taken to put a given amount of energy into a car is reduced, the power levels needed to do it climb rapidly. For example:
    100kWh in 30 minutes requires a power level of 200kW
    100kWh in 10 minutes requires a power level of 600kW
    100kWh in 5 minutes requires a power level of 1200kW
    100kWh in 2 minutes requires a power level of 3000kW
    At some point it becomes too dangerous to allow people anywhere near it. The last example might be done with 10,000 volts at 300 Amps for instance. I'm not sure I'd want to be in a car with that sort of power applied to it, thanks. I guess you'd have to draw a line somewhere after investigating the risks, but I think it would be well below the last example.

    100kWh, by the way, is roughly the same amount of energy contained 10 litres of diesel in thermal form. Not that I am suggesting diesel is better or more preferable, but rather that it is important to get a feel for what is involved in attempting to emulate filling a tank in electrical form.
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  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I live in Huntsville AL. This is why I would buy a hydrogen fuel cell car today:
    The tires would age out waiting for the local hydrogen fuel cell station to open up.

    In contrast, we have two plugin hybrids and both have traveled further and faster than any BEV cars: 1,200 mi, 700 mi (twice), and 463 mi.

    Around town, our plugin hybrids are as cheap per mile as any of today's BEV cars.

    I'm reminded of the old joke: "Congratulations, you won first prize a brand new hydrogen fueled car. Second prize is two new hydrogen fueled cars."

    Bob Wilson
  9. TeslaInvestors

    TeslaInvestors Active Member

    I still think > 50% have financial interest. and may be BEV fans too. But being a BEV fan doesn't mean one should become blind or one sided, or has to develop an imbalanced view, and/or start hating all other alternatives.

    Not sure why you call that an accusation. It's just my educated guess. Nothing wrong in holding Tesla shares, as long as arguments are based on facts and reasoning, no one should care. I wasn't talking of just this forum though. My comment was for internet forums on EV and other auto blogs in general.

    Cannot agree with 'false narrative' part. Here are the links. if you do a fair and balanced analysis of whole life cycle, I'm quite sure the small efficient hybrids will come on top compared to long range EVs.

    About "supreme leader": OK, I got carried away a bit! This is not the first time I hear "fool cells" repeated by Tesla fanboys and fan girls. This could be the mantra they learnt somewhere.

    That's an odd statement, given the title of this thread and repeated use of derogatory words like "fool cells" by some frequent posters on insideevs. A hydrogen car is an FCEV, so technically it is also an EV, just 'fuel cell' added in front.
    Seems you are a staff. So how about getting a word in to add FCEV sales statistics to the monthly sales chart from this year for completion?

    You certainly have your right to be optimistic. I'll agree to disagree on this. To me, it seems more of a government push than a naturally growing demand. I have been a BEV driver for multiple years. I'm fully aware of its pros and cons. I can give you a long list, but my guess is you aren't interested.
    But I will be interested to know what key weaknesses you have found to claim that hydrogen cars are not viable. What PP has presented in this thread are mostly opinions and anti-hydrogen propaganda, but very little actual data.

    I think, the fuel cells took long but now their days are arriving. I at least see a path on how they can become viable for the masses. Batteries not so much, unless there are some giant leaps. There is simply not enough raw materials to convert all the cars to long range BEVs.

    PS: OK, to give this thread the benefit of doubt, I went back and read the first post. The title and use of terms like "fool cells" in the anti-H2 propaganda piece doesn't come out as balanced. It comes off as an H2 hater's rant.

    And the points in the first post don't even make any sense. "Hydrogen has very low energy content by volume" ? Come on, that's really funny. What's the energy density of electrons in the giant and heavy batteries that lose capacity over time? Hydrogen tanks are hollow; so when you store H2 in larger tanks, cost of storage falls by an order of magnitude. That's high school math. Electric batteries being solid, the cost of storage doesn't come down significantly. This alone is a huge advantage for the hydrogen based systems.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    The difference is that my pro-BEV views are based on facts, science, and basic economics. Pro-FCEV arguments are based on at best wishful thinking, and at worst on a science denier mindset or even (pointing at "Teslainvestor", not at you, Martin) outright deliberate FUD attacking Tesla or EVs in general.

    Sadly, I've never even had the chance to visit your Green and Pleasant Land, let alone live there. So it would be ridiculous of me to claim I know as well as you do what the state of public charging infrastructure is in the UK. But what I can say is that some BEV drivers in the UK seem to take, as a matter of course, the use of pubic EV chargers to take long trips in their BEVs. And not just Tesla car drivers, either.

    For example:

    On a recent quick two day trip from Scotland to Cheltenham and back I managed to get south without any battery overheating problems, possibly because traffic was heavy. Coming back the next evening, with the outside temp at 18C, I was running into ten bars, just short of red, after a mere two rapid charges, and starting to get seriously concerned if I could get home.
    The outside temp dropped slowly as I drove North. I reduced speed down to 60 mph, and by midnight it was about 8C outside. The car never got into the red, but I was getting very nervous.
    No charger failures at all, but I would be concerned about repeating this journey in July or August.
    [source: Speak EV forum]

    I note that in the USA, a lot of BEV drivers comment that PlugShare maps are very useful in locating public EV charge points. Do PlugShare's maps cover the British Isles?
  11. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    We may need perhaps a five-fold decrease in battery price, but the energy density of EV batteries is already sufficient for that not to be a major factor in BEVs competing with pure gasmobiles. Sure, it would be nice if they were smaller and lighter, but then it would be nice if ICEngines were smaller and lighter, and didn't need so many Rube Goldberg kludges, like water jackets and oil pumps and mufflers, to make them work in powering a car without melting or tearing themselves to pieces.

    It's a fallacy to compare the energy density of the battery pack alone to gasoline alone. What should be compared is the entire powertrain of both types of vehicles, including the gas tank. Swap out the ICEngine, transmission, and exhaust system for an EV powertrain, even with the heavy battery pack, and the BEV isn't at that great a disadvantage on size and weight. The real problem with battery packs is the high cost, not the size or the weight.

    I see a lot of comparisons from people, who appear not to be educated in matters of science and technology, comparing the rate of advance of battery tech to the rate of advances in computer/microprocessor tech. Those people do not understand that the rate of advance indicated by Moore's Law is astoundingly faster than the rate of advances in, quite literally, any other field of technology.

    Since circa 1965, the rate of advances in battery tech have been orders of magnitude faster than just about any other field of technology except electronics.

    Well, you've finally made a point that I agree is valid. It is of great concern to read about a stolen Tesla Model S flying through the air due to reckless driving, getting cut in half by a pole in a horrible accident, with the batteries coming out of the cut-apart pack being described as "exploding like firecrackers". Sure, we can point to the danger of gasoline or diesel catching fire after an accident, and argue that batteries are no worse. But the ideal would be a power storage technology which has little if any danger of causing a fire. That's one reason why I'm so hopeful about Ionic Materials' solid-state "plastic battery". It is actually made of fire retardant materials!

    However, it seems more than a bit strange to see any talk about reducing the danger of fire from someone who is advocating use of cars powered by highly compressed hydrogen! I'm not going to repeat the fallacy of comparing a fool cell car to the Hindenburg, but H2 compressed to 5000 or 10,000 PSI is very far from safe!

    Well, if after reading all the comments in this thread you still think that's a realistic possibility, then I guess there's no point in further discussion with you on the subject.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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  13. Your first two links point out that production of batteries contributes to a 50% higher carbon footprint than the manufacture of internal combustion cars. This is not disputed, though, those numbers will come down over time, with similar amounts of battery material able to hold more energy. Once vehicles are in operation, though, EVs produce a lot less CO2, and their carbon footprint becomes smaller than that of internal combustion vehicles. The time frame is pretty short too.

    Can agree that the term "fool cell" is provocative and not conducive to calm, reasoned discussion. It was amusing exactly one time.

    InsideEVs keeps its focus, primarily on plug-ins. There aren't many articles on fuel cell vehicles or non-pluggable hybrids, so I could bring it up, but I don't believe they have a lot of interest in adding stats of a non-plug-in.

    Thanks for the offer, and please, if you'd like to start a thread dealing with the pros and cons of EVs, you are very welcome to do so. That's what we're here for. I think I have a good handle on these, but I'm happy to learn of an advantage or disadvantage I might not have mulled in the past dozen years or so I've been studying or writing about them. (To be clear, I'm not being facetious here.)

    Efficiency is probably the number one problem of many. It's just an inefficient way to store electricity. If you are using renewable sources, for instance, would it be wiser to use kWh to go 2 miles in a FCEV or 5 miles in an EV?

    And realistically, mass-produced hydrogen uses/would use steam reformation of natural gas. So, why not just burn natural gas? It's quite close in efficiency and it's a lot easier (and cheaper) material to handle. The vehicle and fuel would also be a lot cheaper for the consumer.

    That's fine. People can look at the same available information and come up with different likely future scenarios. Happens all the time.

    I thought fuel cells were going to be huge and was quite excited about the work Ballard was doing in the late eighties. But then, I didn't know anything about the efficiency (or lack thereof) associated with producing it and making it a "pumpable" product. Since BEVs have a much better efficiency profile, and battery technology remains to have a lot of potential for improvement, I am much more confident that they will be the primary way we store electricity. At least, for the foreseeable future.
  14. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    "...battery technology remains to have a lot of potential for improvement..."

    This is true, in the sense that a near collapsing house is described by the vendors as having "...much scope for improvement...".

    We shall have to see if any improvement actually takes place though. I am far less optimistic about this than you. On the other hand, I am more optimistic than you about hydrogen cars, particularly after noting the 150% January year on year growth in sales for the one hydrogen car on sale as opposed to what looks like a five or ten percent January year on year growth for all 40 or 50 models now being fielded.

    It will be an interesting competition to watch, that's for sure!
  15. No, I mean in the sense that cells with over 200 Wh/kg are being used widely now, and that some have 240 Wh/kg, while Telsa and Panasonic are (from what I could glean) up over 300 Wh/kg. Meanwhile, another company flying low under the radar for the past decade will begin manufacturing 500 Wh/kg cells later this year. Also, just about every automaker and battery company are within a few years of commercializing solid-state batteries, which will combine these larger energy densities with power density that will significantly reduce charging times.

    And while these energy densities are great, they still don't approach theoretical potential, which well over 1,000 Wh/kg.

    The truth of it is, batteries have made incredible progress over the past ten years or so, and the number of dollars and people working on even greater progress is not getting smaller.

    Nothing wrong with being skeptical, though. Just need to be aware of what's out there that may affect your outlook.
  16. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    Well, we shall see. I hope in a spirit of friendly rivalry rather than descending to ad hominem abuse.

    I wish you luck with 1000 Wh/kg. Whilst this may be true if you consider only the electrodes and electrolyte, by the time the battery has been assembled into a practical assembly, including casing, wiring, protection circuits, cooling and heating etc. it will be well below that. At best 500 Wh/kg.

    Hydrogen has an energy density of around 40,000 Wh/kg. even if you assume 50% efficiency in its use, it is a one or two orders of magnitude better than any battery. I am happy to sit back and wait to see what prevails, but I will make a promise now to admit defeat if battery cars win out. I don't think we'll have too long to wait. Maybe two years?
  17. That's more or less irrelevant. The key measure for hydrogen is Wh/l. Actually, I think that may be true for batteries as well, but there it doesn't make much difference.
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  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Chemically based energy storage methods, such as batteries, have about two orders of magnitude room for potential improvement in energy density. That's the amount of potential represented by a storage method with the energy density of gasoline. At least in theory, there's no reason why batteries can't attain that high a level of energy density. Those two orders of magnitude is why we can be pretty confident that battery tech will continue to improve over time. Contrariwise, the potential for use of H2 is already about maxed out, due to the physical limits which I and others keep pointing out, but which fool cell fanboys keep refusing to admit are real.

    On the (now defunct) TheEEStory forum, I kept arguing with those who wanted to believe Andrea Rossi's "E-Cat" LENR (aka perpetual motion) device really worked. Eventually, someone else pointed out that I was just wasting my time, because the hopes of these E-Cat "fanboys" were based on wishful thinking, and so logic and facts and thermodynamics and physics were irrelevant to them.

    I'm getting the same impression from a least a couple of people posting to this thread, so I'm going to try to cut back on repeating what I've already said. Those who believe the world really is flat, or reject evolution in favor of creationism, or believe global warming is a "hoax", are not going to be convinced by being shown evidence they have already rejected.

    Sadly for them, as well as fool cell fanboys, reality follows the laws of nature, and not wishful thinking.
  19. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I submit that, at the current state of battery tech development as it applies to BEVs and PHEVs, volumetric energy density of batteries is a lot more important than gravimetric energy density. Larger batteries require more space inside the car, which drives up the size of the car, and larger cars are considerably more expensive than smaller ones.

    Contrariwise, heavier batteries merely requires a more robust frame/unibody and perhaps a stronger suspension system. Tesla has already shown that a large car can carry 1200+ lbs of batteries while still being very competitive with gasmobiles. With the Model 3, I think it will show that's now true for a mid-sized car. Battery energy density may have to improve a bit more before we can say the same about compact or sub-compact cars. But I think almost everyone will agree that further improvements in li-ion battery energy density are inevitable. The trend over the past several years is quite clear, and there's no evidence it's going to stop.
  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I'm reminded of the "brown hydrogen generator" frauds that call water "HHO" and claim amazing properties. Pseudoscience claims have always been around and the Internet seems to amplify their voice but it also leads to steady work, like Sisyphus, for fraud debunkers. After a while, I have to use 'ignore user' to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. In the meanwhile, look for ways to make it fun.

    Bob Wilson
  21. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Yes, "Brown's Gas" or "HHO generators" are another type of perpetual motion scam. Of course, these days the scammers avoid the use of the term "perpetual motion" because it has finally sunk into the public psyche that perpetual motion can't work. These days perpetual motion scammers use terms like "free energy" or LENR or "zero-point energy" to promote their scams.

    And to be fair, it's not always a scam. Sometimes it's crackpottery; people who really do believe their delusions. One of the problems with identifying scams is that there isn't any bright line between self-delusion and outright scam. Self-delusion means, essentially, scamming yourself. Once you've accomplished that, the transition to scamming others is a heck of a lot easier, and in many cases inevitable.

    Case in point: The "cold fusion" process invented by Fleischmann & Pons. They were both respected scientists in their field, and I have no doubt they honestly thought they had achieved a genuine breakthrough. As time passed after their initial announcement, more and more laboratories announced they had tried but failed to repeat the experiment, and others pointed out where F&P had likely made an error in their measurements. Despite this, F&P continued to claim their invention really worked. Both of them wound up working for several years on trying to commercialize the tech, at a laboratory funded by Toyota. But of course since it was bogus science, they couldn't produce any results, and eventually their sponsor finally pulled the plug. I have to think that at some point, both Fleischmann and Pons must have realized that there wasn't anything real there, and that they were collecting a salary for extending research on what started as an honest mistake, but ended as a scam. Neither of them ever admitted it didn't really work.

    You can still find people posting claims to the internet, to this very day, claiming that cold fusion is real, and that continuations of the experiments of F&P should continue to be funded.
  22. Martin Williams

    Martin Williams Active Member

    I think Hyundai is to introduce a fuel cell car this year - the Nexo - that claims 500 miles on a single charge. I will - like you - keep my fingers crossed for a breakthrough in battery technology that allows a BEV to match or exceed this. In my case in the hope of extending the interval between charging my phone.

    Good hydrogen cars are here today. Good BEVs have yet to come. I would query the wisdom of basing huge amounts of investment into producing battery cars in the hope that some breakthrough will make them good enough for popular acceptance.
    TeslaInvestors likes this.
  23. Funny, I would say just the opposite.

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