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did you know H2 can explode?

 
Old 06-12-2019, 12:41 PM
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daveo4porsche
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Default did you know H2 can explode?

who'd of thought!

https://electrek.co/2019/06/11/hydro...uel-cell-cars/

hmmmm - not drawing a conclusion here - just noting - all the paths forward have both pros & consůH2 is fairly dangerous and physical distribution has some challenges in the hands of the average driver.

gasoline is much more stable in normal use - H2 is downright dangerous and difficult to handle.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:30 PM
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Funny, in a gallows humor sort of way... I can't think of a fuel more ill suited to automotive transportation use than hydrogen. Besides the safety and storage challenges, H2 is not a naturally-occurring element on our planet - it's either bound up in hydrocarbons, or as H2O. The vast majority of hydrogen is produced through the breakdown of natural gas, which has as a byproduct, you guessed it - CO2. So from a climate change perspective, it has no advantage as a fuel over natural gas. BEV's are a much better option.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:05 PM
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What gets me, this is not the only time a hydrogen storage unit has exploded, yet when reported there are all sorts of complaints about picking on fuel cell cars.

When Tesla cars burn or crashes the news is everywhere, now the problems start with the hydrogen systems yet on many (not here) web sites there are all these people suddenly complaining about the problems being pointed out.

Earl Colby Pottinger (Tesla, Bollinger, Rivian and other BEVs fan.)
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:20 PM
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Yes, the fact that several automakers have invested millions of dollars in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle research baffles me. Among its many other drawbacks, hydrogen also has a horribly low energy density by volume. Its energy density by mass is very high, which is why it's such a good rocket fuel, but it's so sparse that you need a huge tank to store enough of it to give you any amount of range, which is why all hydrogen-fueled vehicles are hybrids. It just has "bad idea" written all over it.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Cloud9...68 View Post
Yes, the fact that several automakers have invested millions of dollars in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle research baffles me.
They were just drunkenly throwing darts at a problem. And from that, we'll get some decent busses and probably a French car company (that forgot to confirm a supply chain for batteries a few years ago, when they still could...) racing at Le Mans as a back-marker in a few years.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:09 PM
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Fuel Cells are wicked cool tech - and useful in certain circumstances - they are also "zero emission" at the tail pipe, but the source to motion efficiency is quite low, and the source of H2 is fundamentally fossil fuel based (although water could be used as a source but it drops the overall efficiency even more).

I read once that Ford also has modified ICE engines that run on H2 just like normal fuel again with "zero" emissions...

I believe the car manufactures gravitated to it because it's a close model to their existing products and doesn't require them to rethink the automobile quite as much - and the oil companies like it because it keeps them loop for "fuel" since H2 is simply a refined product from Hydrocarbons…again a familiar business model.

and if it was the best we could do I'd prefer a whole bunch of H2 based ICE or FC vehicles running around metro areas since it would move the polution/emissions from the metro areas to the refineries - allowing for potential sequestering of the emissions from H2 refining in the localized refinery - but the efficiency is simply awful and it's electricity intensive, and we know the raw electricity can be more efficiently used directly in a BEV vehicle.

I do see applications for H2 transportation:

1. shipping
2. off road low infrastructure use to carry "fuel" with you
3. air transportation (jet's)
4. trains?

I don't see a 100% BEV transportation system anytime in the next few years, I'm looking forward to a more intelligent mix of different types of vehicles with a motive system tuned for their primary use.

But H2 is far from a universal or simple solution and has significant down sides.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:46 PM
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Dave,

Well said. BMW also had some ICE engines modified to run on hydrogen several years ago, but abandoned the idea a long time ago, as far as I know.

Personally, I'm rooting for a breakthrough in cellulosic ethanol as a way to augment the conversion to BEVs. It's essentially a carbon-neutral means of producing relatively conventional liquid fuel that could be used in pretty any mode of transportation, including aircraft, with minimal modifications. Reduction to practice has proven to be vaporware so far, however.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by daveo4porsche View Post
...
I believe the car manufactures gravitated to it because it's a close model to their existing products and doesn't require them to rethink the automobile quite as much - and the oil companies like it because it keeps them loop for "fuel" since H2 is simply a refined product from Hydrocarbons…again a familiar business model...
In part. It all dates back to the early 2000s - when the infamous California Air Resources Board (CARB) lost the lawsuit mandating that auto manufacturers build a certain percentage of their fleet as zero emission cars. To recap:

0a.) California has a smog problem. Beginning in the 1960s, California was allowed to impose more regulations on the automakers than any other state with respect to engine emissions. CARB goes wild imposing mandates on everything it can think of.

0b.) In the early 1980s, GM CEO Roger Smith purchases Hughes Aircraft after Howard Hughes passes away. Despite its name, Hughes hasn't built aircraft in many years. They do build a lot of satellites - so have a lot of expertise in solar arrays and batteries.

1.) Holden Australia, a GM division, learns about an upcoming race across Australia (Darwin to Adelaide) using solar power. The head of Holden and Smith think it would be a cool idea to enter the race using Hughes technology. They also hired Paul McCreadys AeroVironment to help. A young engineer named Alan Cocconi is involved. The resulting solar car, Sunraycer, wins by a huge margin.

2.) Buoyed by the success, Smith decides GM should build a concept car showcasing some EV technology. Again Hughes and AeroVironment are involved. Cocconi develops the inverter technology to control an AC induction motor from DC. Leads to the Impact show car - a somewhat sporty and lightweight 2-seater. Even though it is driveable, it isn't even close to something that can be produced in quantity and sold.

3.) Harebrained CARB regulators see the Impact and decide "EVs have arrived". Demand all large automakers build some percentage of their new car sales as "zero emission" vehicles with very unreasonable dates attached.

4.) GM develops the EV1 - based on advancing concepts from Impact. First ones are delivered in 1996. Well over 1000 are eventually built and leased. GM loses about a billion dollars in the program. Ford, Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota deliver some lame minivan conversions in very small quantities, that show they know how to stick a DC motor in a van and load it down with some battery packs.

5.) Meanwhile GM and the other automakers file a law suit against CARB because the tech simply wasn't there to build a compelling car that could meet the mandate.

6.) CARB loses. GM and the others let the leases expire, and most get crushed. Some EV1 lessors are so incensed that they hold anti-GM protests. Notably, Toyota allows their RAV4 EVs to be purchased - saving a bunch of them from the crusher. (I used to know a guy who had one.)

7.) Toyota introduces the Prius, Honda the Insight, CARB gives their owners carpool lane stickers and calls it good for the moment.

8.) Gov Schwarzenegger appoints Mary Nichols, a long-time H2 proponent, to head CARB. This is akin to Jimmy Carters bonehead decision to put Joan Claybrook (who didn't even hold a drivers license) to head the NHTSA... Nichols is still there.

9.) As EV1s are being crushed, Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard, fresh from selling off a company were looking to start something new. Tarpenning had previously worked in Saudi Arabia, and wasn't impressed with the results of how all the oil money was being spent. So they took on 'oil' as a problem. They evaluated lots of alternatives, including H2, before deciding on EVs. Noting that most of the EV1 lessors came from (very) high-income demographics, they worked with Alan Cocconi, Lotus, and others to develop the Tesla Roadster. Elon Musk is an early angel investor.

10.) CARB eventually comes up with their "carbon credit" scheme. While it doesn't mandate manufacturers build zero-emission vehicles, it does state that they have to either earn, or buy, credits to offset the cars they build that do have emissions. Mary makes sure H2 cars get a huge number of credits vs pure electrics, and pure electrics get more credits than PHEVs. "Non-plugin hybrids", like the P**us, don't get carpool stickers anymore. Nissan builds Leafs, GM builds Volts (though initially they didn't get carpool lane stickers), and others start making "compliance cars". Tesla sells all the credits they earn to the other automakers who need them.

11.) Plug-in sales have grown hugely. Model S was a massive success for Tesla. GM comes out with the Bolt EV - range-wise the first to approach Tesla-like capabilities. Toyota eventually comes out with Mirai. H2 is expensive, and infrastructure is extremely limited. So sales have been tepid, at best. Nonetheless CARB continues to give preferences to H2.

12.) Model 3 dominates. In less than two years, they've already built and sold over 400,000 of them. Approaching Corolla, Accord, Civic, Camry sales volumes. Still way more demand than supply.

13.) H2 explosions in Santa Clara and in Norway. Is this the end for H2 in cars?
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:44 PM
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whiz944 super fun posting whiz!! thanks - that was great!
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Old 06-18-2019, 03:42 PM
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Great summary. Thank you!
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by daveo4porsche View Post
whiz944 super fun posting whiz!! thanks - that was great!
No prob. I did forget to mention another enabling tech of modern EVs - Li-ion batteries. Being Silicon Valley guys, Tarpenning and Eberhard were well acquainted with their use in laptops and handheld devices of all kinds. So part of the Roadster project was to engineer and validate their use in EVs. They struck a deal with Panasonic and the rest is history.

There is a H2 station a couple miles from my house. I drove by there a couple times today and each time there was a Mirai filling up. So it looks like they are back on line.

Also took one of my ICE cars to the gas station today. Dropped $50 in the tank. The same $50 would power my Model 3 over 1500 miles (at non-prime PG&E EV-A rates).

Last edited by whiz944; 06-18-2019 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:33 PM
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To whiz944: Thanks for your posts. Nice summary of events.

Earl Colby Pottinger (Tesla, Bollinger, Rivian and other BEVs fan.)
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by whiz944 View Post
... Also took one of my ICE cars to the gas station today. Dropped $50 in the tank. The same $50 would power my Model 3 over 1500 miles (at non-prime PG&E EV-A rates).
Of curiosity I was wondering how far that $50 would power a Mirai - assuming "free" H2 was not bundled into the lease. Googling around a bit, the Mirai is rated to go 65.9 miles per kg of H2, and a kg of H2 goes for about $14-$16. Let's split the difference at say $15/kg. My $50 would buy 3.333 kg x 65.9 or about 220 miles of range. Terrible.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:37 AM
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doh - brain fart running the calculator! - see whiz944 posts

Last edited by daveo4porsche; 06-20-2019 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by daveo4porsche View Post
well we know EV’s are about $0.05/mile for fuel
we know ICE at 28mpg is about $0.15/mile for fuel

$50.00 / 220 miles is about $0.07/mile
My EV costs are more like $0.032/mile for power. Off-peak is $0.129/kWh, and I am right at 4 miles/kWh. (Lifetime average on my car is 248 Wh/mile after 9700 miles. And I have a fairly heavy right foot.) Of course we also have a bunch of solar panels on the roof of the house - so they offset a lot of what the cars use.

$50 divided by 220 is $0.227/mile with H2. Factor of 7 difference in cost.

H2 proponents may claim that a few percent efficiency improvement is possible here or there. But given that H2 has been commercially produced for over 100 years, I don't see the Big Breakthrough.
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