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What’s The Future of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars?

  1. ngureco profile image82
    ngurecoposted 8 years ago

    What’s The Future of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars?

  2. dabeaner profile image56
    dabeanerposted 8 years ago

    None.  It will take a whole new fueling infrastructure and expensive technology to use it in cars.  And the total costs are not efficient.  Bio-diesel, ethanol, and methanol have more promise.

    Most people are not aware, but in the early 20th century, Fords could run on either gasoline or alcohol.  The problem was, ANYONE could make alcohol fuel.  Can't have the little people NOT be dependent on huge corporations.  So, the oil companies financed the religious anti-alcohol wackos, and so got Prohibition passed.  That destroyed the alcohol fuel market, and Ford and others stopped making dual-fuel cars.  By the time Prohibition was repealed, the oil companies had consolidated their petroleum fuel monopoly.

    Most diesels, right now, can run on bio-diesel.  And most cars, with a conversion kit can run on alcohol as well as gasoline.  The problem, as always, is government regulation and protection of established monopolies.  (That is because the monopolies, because of their monopolies, have a lot of money to pay off congressmen and senators to vote to maintain their monopolies.)

  3. hublim profile image78
    hublimposted 8 years ago

    There would need to be an extreme amount of investment put in place to provide the infrastructure to distribute and supply hydrogen for use in fuel cell cars.

    I see it as a vicious cycle, the fuel cell cars will not be mass produced without a demand for them, if there is not a good infrastructure in place to provide the hydrogen for the cars then the demand will not be there. The infrastructure expenditure will not be viable if there are no cars demanding a supply of hydrogen.

    Another issue with the cars is hydrogen storage, there has been a lot of research done but a viable method of storing hydrogen is still not available.

    It's not as simple as filling your tank with hydrogen!

  4. LiamBean profile image87
    LiamBeanposted 8 years ago

    I have to diverge from the answers provided by "dabeaner" and, less so, with hublim. As with any technology it's expensive at first. Yes, even gasoline was expensive even though it was thought of as a waste product of oil production. A waste product? Yes, oil was originally used for lamps, not cars.

    With that said the oil companies knew they had a winner if they kept the prices down and the convenience up.  If you think about it cars really didn't "catch on" with Americans until after WWII. Before that much of the population used mass transit and only the upper middle-class and rich could justify car ownership.

    Hydrogen fuel manufacturing can be set up right where you buy your gas. They are already doing that, as a test project, in Greenland. The structure, though as large as a store, is nowhere near as large as an oil refinery.

    The real problem is storing hydrogen in the car.  And the best way to do that right now is with a metal-hydride matrix.  More hydrogen can be stored this way than storing the gas under pressure at 5,000 PSI or even as a liquid. The problem is the expense.

    I think eventually someone will come up with the metal-hydride matrix that is cheap, easy to manufacture, and easy to mass produce. Once that happens everything else is likely to fall into place....even the production of hydrogen.

    As for fuel-cells they are inefficient. They will eventually be more efficient, but right now the more power you draw from one the less efficient it is.

    I think the intermediate step will be what Ford is exploring. Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines. They've found they can build cars that run on hydrogen with a standard engine block, by making some rather minor changes to the engine as a whole. The basic block is unchanged, but valves, injectors, spark plugs, and the lubricant will have to be able to withstand higher temperatures and pressures. These changes add an additional 1/2 to the price of the car making a $20,000 car more like $30,000 to run on hydrogen.

    For that the Hydrogen I.C.E. burns cleaner, produces three hundred times less carbon dioxide, four times less nitrous oxide, and no sulfur oxides. And when mass produced that 1/2 will likely come down...way down.