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Hydrogen cars helping enviroment???

symanticsymantic Posts: 2
edited April 7 in General
I've been working with a team of people run by myself to build a turbine engine, possibly for a vehicle.
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In my research i have been looking for a cheap source of energy. Looking into hydrogen first, i discovered those so called "clean burning" hydrogen cars are actually hurting the environment more than those Eco friendly tree huggers might imagine. (not that i care, but some people do).
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the commercial way of creating hydrogen is through electrolysis of H2O. Basically all you do is just pump electricity through water and collecting the separation of oxygen(O2) and hydrogen (H2) from the electrodes (conductive material that is placed into the water and energized).
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So, how are we currently creating electricity? we are mostly using fossil fuels...
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Hydrogen is nothing but a storage device. so we burn fossil fuels to create electricity to pump through water to collect explosive hydrogen?
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this is not efficient in any sense. Yes, energy is never lost, but the refinement of hydrogen is not efficient because some energy is transferred into heat and also the separation of the oxygen.
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So if you were Eco friendly wouldn't you just rather get a gasoline car? think about it.

Comments

  • I've thought about it for about four years so far here at Rutgers University.

    Today I did some rough stoicheometry and math based on the Honda FCX and a 30mpg gas-powered car, and I got only 1 mole CO produced by the FCX to a little over 6 moles CO2 produced by the gas car. So if you were eco-friendly...well, you'd make a solar car. But from these choices, the FCX is the obvious one.
  • I don't think hydrogen cars are worth it. We're better off cutting out the middle-man and using the electricity as fuel, rather than using the electricity for electrolysis to make hydrogen "fuel" and using more to pump it into gas tanks. Storage is the main problem of both types (aside from politics).

    Compared to the types of cars on the road now (especially Hummers), hydrogen cars seem wonderful. But to me, they're more of a transition than a solution.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    the commercial way of creating hydrogen is through electrolysis of H2O.

    According to the materials I have read, that is not correct. The dominant commercial method for creating fuel grade hydrogen is steam reforming of natural gas.

    Mind you, I'm not saying your overall post in incorrect. Energy is expended to create hydrogen. But electrolysis is not the dominant method and other methods have advantages over it.

    Hydrogen is actually produced as one of the necessary ingredients for petrol fuel refining. They create hydrogen to use as a cleaning agent that eliminates the sulfur in gasoline. In order to make gas, refineries must get hydrogen first.

    So, the answer to your last question - wouldn't you just rather get a gasoline car? - is probably a big hairy "no".

    The data you seek is commonly referred to as the "well to wheel" efficiency rate. Or, more accurately, the well to wheel pollution rate. Frankly, efficiency isn't a big problem. As long as the energy source is inexpensive, clean, and plentiful, we can use as much as we like.
  • The other factor that a lot of people tend to forget about the use of Hydrogen in powering our vehicles is that when used in combination with a fuel cell, it is three times as efficient as an internal combustion engine. So it only requires 1/3 as much fuel! If we ran all our cars on Hydrogen using a fuel cell, we would be putting only a 1/3 as much green house gases into our atmosphere from our vehicles, and my fuel costs would be about $1.35 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. Even using the conventional refining processes in practice today.

    "Storage is the main problem of both types (aside from politics). "

    Though politics may be a hurdle that may never be overcome in our generation. There is a solution to the problem of storing Hydrogen safely. The guys that are trying to store hydrogen in pressure vessels at 10,000psi are a bit crazy in my opinion. I'm not sure which I would prefer more: To get into an accident with a tank full of gasoline, or get blown to smithereens by a tank with 10,000psi inside, forget the fact that it is filled with Hydrogen.

    A safer alternative to both pressurized and liquid Hydrogen storage, is to use Metal Hydrides. One Scientist that I know of by the name of Dr. Roger Billings spent over 30 million of his own funds doing research into storing Hydrogen using metal hydrides. In one particular demonstration he had the Army come in and fire incendiary bullets at a tank filled with gasoline, another tank pressurized with Hydrogen, and another tank filled with metal hydrides charged with Hydrogen.

    The first two tanks exploded violently of course, but the tank with Hydrogen stored with metal hydride had only a small pilot flame come from the holes where the bullet entered and exited the tank.

    You can learn more about his research by going to www.billingsenergy.com or www.rogerbillings.info
  • When symantic mentioned that the commercial way of creating hydrogen is through electrolysis, he stated the belief that most people share -- that electrolysis is the way to produce hydrogen. Granted there are a few more that come to mind, like solar energy or steam reforming, but the problem inevitably boils down to storage.

    Mechengine is on to something. I checked out Roger Billings' website (www.rogerbillings.info) and found a video that tells me he's the man to keep my eye on. He's already made significant contributions in the hydrogen research field. But it's looking to me like if anything really happens with hydrogen and cars, it's going to be through him. He seems to have a way of making real things happen.
  • hello, i am a student from Guatemala and im doing my graduation project about alternative fuels and how would they affected our enviroment... according to what i had investigate alternate fuels would actually benefit our enviroment, but then i saw this forum which said otherwise. I needed to do some interviews to professional people about my topic, but here in Guatemala there are not professional people that can answer the type of questions im asking. As i see, you guys are professional and really know what you are talking about so i would really aprecciate if you could answer some questions for me.. if anyone is interested please tell me so, so i can give you the questions i need you to answer. thanks!
  • neddogneddog Posts: 1
    Without getting into the issues of whether the production of hydrogen, the fuels used building the vehicles, etc are worse...I have a simple question.

    If the output from a car running on fuel cells is only water vapor, has anyone looked at whether massive new amounts of water vapor will impact the atmostpheric conditions? I know it probably sounds silly at first blush, but for a long time, nobody ever thought a little bit of carbon emissions would have any impact.

    If you take all current car owners' future emissions as well as the vast amounts of future emissions coming from China and India, I wonder if that additional water vapor would have any impact.

    One of the things that makes me wonder is a study I'd heard about based on data collected on the days following 9/11. IF I understood it correctly, the researchers showed that the clouds created by the vapor trails of the jets in the air on any given day actually reduces the amount of sunlight reaching the earth in a small, but significant way. Granted, there doesn't seem to be any harm done, but if we add millions of cars pumping out water vapor...would it add to the effect?

    Just curious...
  • I think they hydrogen produced must be made by using renewable energy, such as solar and wind.... then It is really environment friendly solution. :blush:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
    The energy required to produce the hydrogen and lack of an infrastructure to deliver it make hydrogen a real work in progress once you start to look at the realities.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    You are just too practical for this thread. And many of the others here at Edmund's.

    I got to thinking about what someone posted saying that it is impossible to keep hydrogen contained of a long period of time. I may not drive my car for a week at a time. Does that mean I would get into my Civic Hydrogen car and find my hydrogen had all leaked out? I am thinking that the ethanol in our gas evaporates also. Supposedly the systems are air tight. Does that prevent all evaporation?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
    Silly me, I keep THINKING.

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