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Electric, Nope, Fuel Cells Is The Future

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Coss, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Coss

    Coss Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    ehwatt likes this.
  2. johnsnownw

    johnsnownw Elio Addict

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    Not in the light duty segment they aren't.

    Just to point out though...FCs are "electric" as they convert H2 into electricity. Which is why there is such a large efficiency gap between FCEVs and BEVs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  3. Coss

    Coss Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Light duty segment? If a Toyota isn't light duty, what is it?
     
  4. johnsnownw

    johnsnownw Elio Addict

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    It is light duty. Toyota has pumped billions of dollars into making vehicles that sell at less than 5k/year...of course they're going to talk them up.

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again, physics is against FCEVs in the light-duty segment...both for motive power and refueling.
     
  5. Coss

    Coss Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Let's see: "how many cars does Toyota build a year?"

    Toyota produced nearly nine million vehicles in the fiscal year of 2018.

    Seems like a little more then the 5K you mentioned. Remember, Toyota is a global car company.
     
  6. johnsnownw

    johnsnownw Elio Addict

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    I was, uhh, discussing their FCEV program.
     
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  7. Coss

    Coss Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Behind the wheel of a hydrogen-powered car
    By Fergus Nicoll BBC World Service
    • 5 November 2019
    Climate change
    [​IMG] Image copyrightGetty Images
    Image caption Asian car makers lead the hydrogen car market
    It's a question I couldn't avoid as I drove across central England in a borrowed car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

    The Hyundai ix35 was fast, eerily quiet - they've installed a little electronic jingle so you can tell when you've switched it on - and there was a reassuring 230 miles (370 km) left on the clock.

    And best of all, I drove with the smug knowledge that when a vehicle is powered by hydrogen, the only exhaust product is water.

    Quite a difference from my own 13-year-old, one-litre petrol engine: noisy, slow and undeniably dirty.

    So why, I wondered, is this clean, green technology lagging far behind the hybrid and all-electric sectors?


    The relatively small hydrogen market is dominated by the Asian giants: Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.

    [​IMG] Image copyrightGetty Images
    Image caption Toyota's hydrogen-powered car - the Mirai
    In early October in Tokyo amid great razzmatazz, Toyota unveiled its latest fuel cell Mirai saloon, which it hopes to launch in late 2020.

    European brands including BMW and Audi are also fine-tuning their own hydrogen vehicles.

    But this is a sector in which the upstart start-up can claim a modest place too.

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    inRead invented by Teads
    Outside Llandrindod Wells, a small market town in central Wales, Riversimple aims to lease, not sell, its futuristic hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to a strictly local market.

    They have just two cars on the road so far, with Numbers 3 and 4 under construction in Riversimple's meticulously clean production facility.

    "The car's called the Rasa - as in tabula rasa, or clean slate," says the company's founder and chief executive, Hugo Spowers.

    [​IMG] Image copyrightRiversimple
    Image caption Riversimple's fuel cell was originally designed for fork-lift trucks
    "We're using fuel cells off the shelf: ours was made for fork-lifts for Walmart warehouses."

    The Rasa will do a tidy 60mph (100km/h) and has a range of around 300 miles (480km) on a single 1.5 kg hydrogen tank.

    "In purely calorific terms," Spowers concludes, "our car is doing the equivalent of 250 miles to the gallon."

    That sounds impressive - so how do hydrogen powered cars work?

    At the heart of the car is a fuel cell, where hydrogen and oxygen are combined to generate an electric current, and the only by-product is water. There are no moving parts in the fuel cell, so they are more efficient and reliable than a conventional combustion engine.

    While the cars themselves do not generate any gases that contribute to global warming, the process of making hydrogen requires energy - often from fossil fuel sources. So hydrogen's green credentials are under question.

    [​IMG] Image copyrightGetty Images
    Image caption Using hydrogen and fuel cells is a very clean tech
    And then there is the question of safety. Hydrogen is a notoriously explosive gas.

    That's why manufacturers disclose plenty of reassuring detail on their websites.

    The Toyota Mirai, for example, boasts triple-layer hydrogen tanks capable, the company says, of absorbing five times as much crash energy as a steel petrol tank.

    The twin hydrogen tanks in the Honda Clarity are similarly robust featuring layers of aluminium and carbon fibre and designed to resist both extreme pressure and extreme heat.

    Still, not everyone is convinced.

    EuroTunnel does not allow "vehicles powered by any flammable gasses", including hydrogen, to use the link between the UK and France.

    [​IMG] Image copyrightRiversimple
    Image caption Riversimple cars have a range of about 300 miles
    The Riversimple business model - a three-year fixed price lease aimed at short-distance local drivers - is designed to negate the biggest problem affecting hydrogen cars: range anxiety.

    With just 17 pumps across Britain, refuelling is a challenge, so the industry is stuck.

    The public won't commit if they can't guarantee a refill wherever they need to drive, but hydrogen production companies are reluctant to install expensive pumps unless there's likely to be a consistent take-up.

    [​IMG]
    More Technology of Business

    [​IMG]
    According to Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, secretary-general of the pro-hydrogen group H2Europe, a country like Germany has around 75 hydrogen fuelling stations - but there aren't enough drivers.

    He blames car markers for being slow to produce hydrogen-powered cars. He points out that BMW isn't launching one until 2022 and Audi in 2025. "This is definitely quite late," he says.

    Mr Chatzimarkakis wants to prioritise a pan-European network of 20 to 30 pumps aligned along a "north-south corridor" to enable hydrogen-powered vehicles - especially larger freight-bearing lorries - to travel freely where business needs dictate.

    The Hydrogen4ClimateAction conference in Brussels in mid-October led to investment pledges by European governments of more than €50bn (£43bn; $56bn) in hydrogen research and infrastructure.

    "We at H2Europe are match-makers because this is a co-operative job - it cannot be done by industry alone; it cannot be done by politics alone," Mr Chatzimarkakis says.

    [​IMG] Image copyrightJohnson Matthey
    Image caption A lack of fuel stations is holding back hydrogen vehicles
    That collaboration is evident in California, which is experiencing the flip-side of the car/pump imbalance: there are queues at filling stations.

    If you visit the website of the Alternative Fuels Data Center, part of the US Department of Energy, and click on "fuelling station locations", you'll get 42 results - all in California.

    "We are laser-focused on building out an infrastructure to refill zero-emission vehicles," says Patricia Monahan, science and engineering specialist on the California Energy Commission (CEC).

    As importantly, California is committed to incentives for both producers and consumers in the fuel cell sector, she says.

    Anyone buying a new hydrogen car will get an incentive of $2,500, with similar subsidies from both the CEC and the state's Air Resources Board aimed at persuading heavy-duty vehicle companies to look into zero-emission alternatives.

    "We are really testing out for the world," Ms Monahan says, "how to develop an infrastructure to refuel these vehicles, and policies to incentivise their production."

    [​IMG] Image copyrightGetty Images
    Image caption Chinese firms have been investing heavily in hydrogen-powered cars
    In fact, even California may be behind the curve.

    According to Andy Walker, technical marketing director at Johnson Matthey Fuel Cell in the UK - itself a sector pioneer since 2003 - several Asian nations are making dramatic commitments to hydrogen.

    "The Chinese government has a target of more than a million fuel cell vehicles on Chinese roads by 2020, serviced by over a thousand hydrogen refuelling stations," he says.

    To that end, Beijing has reduced subsidies to the battery sector and, in 2018 alone, invested $12.5bn on fuel cell technology and related subsidies.

    While Japan's commitment is relatively modest - a mere 800,000 new hydrogen vehicles - we can expect to see a big showcase of hydrogen technology at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    And South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has endorsed a big expansion of the country's hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to 660 pumps by 2030.

    If these ambitions are even half-way realised, the rest of the world will be playing catch-up.

    You can listen to Fergus Nicoll's report on hydrogen-powered cars on World Business Report here.
     
  8. johnsnownw

    johnsnownw Elio Addict

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    I don't really understand the point here. There are a lot of lofty goals from a few Asian manufacturers. Hydrogen vehicles have been around since the 60's...with very little change to their hardware.

    Japan has over 100 H2 stations that cover the entire island, great incentives...and yet fewer FCEVs on the road than California. And the majority of FCEVs that are on the road were purchased by Govt. and fleets...not consumers.

    Here's some less than rosy H2 publicity:


    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/hydrogen-fuel-cell-car-california-explosion/

    An explosion at a hydrogen fuel production facility shows the industry has a long way to go before fuel cell-powered vehicles can truly be considered a reliable alternative to the internal-combustion engine.

    Green Car Reports reported Thursday that hundreds of fuel-cell vehicle owners had no choice but to park their cars due to a hydrogen fuel shortage. The explosion, which happened in Santa Clara, California, this past June, effectively choked the supply of hydrogen to fueling stations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The stations have been dry ever since.

    Per interviews with owners, the website said Toyota, Honda and Hyundai have provided rental vehicles to some customers while the hydrogen supply comes back online. One named owner, Vivian Knits, said she had no choice but to trade her Toyota Mirai in early for a Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Paying for "luxury car insurance" became too much for a car that sat parked, per Knit's comments.

    Toyota told the website it was not involved in a buyback for the Mirai and said whatever deal Knits worked out was likely between her and a local dealership. Although she said goodbye to the fuel cell-powered car, Knits added she loved the vehicle, but the hunt for fuel became a chore.

    In an additional statement to Roadshow, Toyota said, "We sincerely regret any inconvenience our Mirai customers may experience, and we are working with them to help identify alternative fueling options if needed. We are also engaging with Mirai owners directly on a case-by-case basis to address their concerns. Despite these short-term challenges, we remain committed to working with stakeholders to expand California's hydrogen refueling infrastructure and to continuing our investment in the future of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology."

    Honda told Roadshow in a statement the company is aware of the supply and delivery issues and is in communication with Air Products, which operates the production facility. "They have not yet provided a specific date for resolution, but we will provide updates to Clarity Fuel Cell customers as they become available," a Honda representative added.

    Honda further stated that it encourages any impacted Clarity Fuel Cell lessee to utilize the free luxury car rental program offered to each driver if they are unable to refuel their car during this shortage.

    The Santa Clara Fire Department reached out to Roadshow to clarify Air Products is not awaiting final inspection from the fire department. Updated information beyond the fire department's clarification was not immediately available as to when supply will return to normal.

    Hydrogen fuel infrastructure remains in its infancy, even more so than electric-car charging infrastructure. The vast majority of stations are in California, to serve the few production fuel-cell vehicles on sale today. While topping off with hydrogen is far quicker than waiting for an electric car to charge, it's clear there are many additional hurdles to clear before fuel-cell vehicles are ready for prime time.

    Hyundai did not comment on the matter but directed Roadshow to the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  9. johnsnownw

    johnsnownw Elio Addict

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    And:

    https://qz.com/1641276/a-hydrogen-fueling-station-explodes-in-norways-baerum/


    A hydrogen fueling station explosion earlier this week in Norway, one the world’s most electrified countries in transport is worrying.

    On Monday, a hydrogen refueling station located in Bærum, a suburb of Norway’s capital Oslo exploded around 5:40 pm local time. The fire was contained within three hours, said Nel Hydrogen, a hydrogen supplier which formed the joint venture Uno-X to operate the station. Two people were sent to the hospital after the explosion due to an airbag triggered in a car nearby under the explosion pressure, local media Tu reported (link in Norwegian).

    Founded in 1927, Nel operates one of the largest hydrogen fueling businesses in Norway. It has 50 fueling stations in nine countries. After the explosion, the company has shut down 10 more stations, which are located in multiple countries including Denmark and Norway, local news E24 reported (link in Norwegian). Quartz has reached out to the company for investigation process and will update the piece when hearing back.

    In an email statement to Quartz, Nel’s chief executive officer Jon Andre Løkke said that no unit exploded at the site. The company’s initial investigation showed that hydrogen gas that had leaked caught fire in the open air. And that created a pressure wave.

    Japanese carmaker Toyota and South Korea brand Hyundai have also both halted sales of Fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) in Norway after the incident.

    The explosion has left fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) owners few options to charge as Uno-X, is the leading supplier in the country. And the situation has a broader global implication. A chemical explosion last week in California’s Santa Clara has also put local drivers in a similar situation where they face a hydrogen shortage after the explosion.
     
  10. johnsnownw

    johnsnownw Elio Addict

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