Hydrogen motoring too heavy for pundit
Plug-in tech is the way to go, apparently
'Leccy Tech As a way of getting yourself crossed off Honda President Takeo Fukui's Christmas card list, a recent LA Times story about the Honda FX Clarity hydrogen EV is going to take some beating.
Writer Dan Neil's bottom line is that “hydrogen is a lousy way to move cars”, a view based on two main criteria.
Honda's FX Clarity: fuelled by hydrogen and hot air?
Firstly, getting hydrogen into a car is horrible inefficient. By way of rough illustration, Neil reckons that getting 1kg of hydrogen from water takes about 60kWh of electricity. The Clarity's fuel tank takes 4kg of hydrogen which gives a range of 270 miles from 240kWh of electricity.
Compare and contrast, he suggests, with a plug-in Tesla Roadster that can do 220 miles on a full charge of its 53kWh lithium-ion battery.
Arguments about how far a Tesla Roadster will actually go on a full charge aside, the cost and efficiency honours seem to go to the plug-in EV by quite some margin.
Neil's second, and more obvious, point is that the cost of setting up a hydrogen filling station infrastructure of any meaningful size is going to be Biblically expensive. The odd filling station dotted about Southern California is one thing but, let's be honest, we aren't going to be seeing hydrogen pumps in Swindon or Sheffield any time soon.
Still, it's not all bad news for Honda - Neil clearly loves his Clarity. He just wants one he can plug in. Frankly, so do we - because it would be a car we could drive today and not in some mythical hydrogenized future. ®
Next page: Honda FX Clarity Picture Gallery
I call BS on that. Unless Mr Dingel has somehow broken the laws of physics!
The amount of electricity required to crack hydrogen from water FAR exceeds the energy that can be harnessed from said hydrogen, be that in a Fuel Cell, or by burning it.
IF (and it is a HUGE IF) he has figured some way of doing it, then he has done the impossible and created the perpetual motion machine.
You see, even if someone devised a 100% efficient method of cracking water, AND a 100% efficient method of harnessing the energy from the Hydrogen (Both of which are completely impossible), you would still only get back the same amount of energy you put in. (In this case, a 12V battery)
I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But that will also make Newton, Einstein, Hawking and every other physisist in the world wrong too.
Hydrogen Filling Stations?
There are many people around the world already running their cars on hydrogen and there is no need for any filling stations. The name Daniel Dingle comes to mind, who has been running his cars on hydrogen for more than 30 years, in the Philippines.
There is no need for a filling station, because you don't fill with hydrogen, you just fill water. You have an onboard hydrogen generator which is powered by the car's standard electrical system and extracts the hydrogen from the water. It's a very simple process and there is much information online regarding how to convert any vehicle to hydrogen. There are also kits available (although most of them only go half way, in that they allow you to convert your car to a hybrid).
There are online groups and forums for those interested in persueing this. On such group that springs to mind is the Yahoo! group "Watercar".
The technology is available, it's just that car manufacturers won't admit it yet. I beleive the reason for this is political.
In what way does that help the environment? If you burn ethanol you still produce C02. And how is the ethanol in E85 produced anyway?
What the world is looking for is a way of powering cars that reduces the emissions of greenhouse gasses. Using electricity whether directly as a plug in or indirectly via hydrogen generation, is favoured because there is a lot of research into producing electricity with low greenhouse gas emissions. Hydro, tidal, wave, wind and geothermal generation are all getting a lot of attention at the moment.
What the US is looking for is a way to reduce it's reliance on oil from the middle east. E85 is not a green alternative to derv and petrol, just an alternative.