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Hybrid today - fuel cells tomorrow?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,403
edited March 2014 in Toyota
What's going to take place in terms of the evolution of the technology that's going to take us from the current crop of hybrids towards fuel cells?


  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Maybe this newer, denser battery technology coming into Gen 4 or Gen 5 hybrid cars would help extend the usability of Hybrids before Fuel Cells get perfected? Already in the newest Segways:

    ""It's an enabling technology," said Dean Bogues, Valence's president for North America and Europe. "We think, as batteries get better, that reliance on batteries to provide energy in your car will get larger." Lithium ion batteries are more energy-dense than nickel metal hydride cells currently used in most hybrid and electric cars. That means a lithium ion battery can run at a higher power for a longer time than a nickel metal battery of the same weight. But most lithium cells use a cobalt oxide chemistry that can catch fire or explode if the battery is charged or discharged too quickly, or if it is physically damaged."
  • molokaimolokai Member Posts: 313
    Ahhh... segways... I once had one for around 3 months. Perhaps everyone should get those instead of hybrids. Makes a lot of sense for short trips.
  • looking4priuslooking4prius Member Posts: 53
    First, fuel cells have to be made small enough yet powerful enough to both fit into and propel a car over a reasonable distance.

    Second, fuel cells are expensive.

    Third, if fuel cells were to come into common use, there would have to be some sort of recycling in place so that those parts of the fuel cell that might damage the environment can be contained.

    Fourth, for hydrogen fuel cells...hydrogen is expensive to make.

    Would fuel cells be helpful? Maybe. But we need to find out if the cost, both monetarily and to the environment of making fuel cells would be more efficient than using some other technology such as CNG or hybrid/CNG.
  • makakiomakakio Member Posts: 25
    Agree on hydrogen problems. Two issues:

    1) it requires a HUGE infrastructure to support the technology (think not just "converting" all gas stations to hydrogen stations - because that can't be done - it's a complete build-from-scratch proposition from an infrastructure standpoint. The cost would be beyond astronomical.

    2) actually producing and storing hydrogen requires about three times as much energy as it could possibly produce via a fuel cell application. So unless we're totally converted to a relatively "clean" energy (like nuclear - which won't happen until the masses of brain-dead, ignorant boomers die off), producing thehydrogen for FCs is actually more resource/energy intensive (and thus polluting) than alternate ideas.

    I pesonally think we're going to go electric. And if it's not entirely electric, it'll be supported by CNG (existing gas stations can be retofitted for CNG) or biomass or diesel.
  • m4mulveym4mulvey Member Posts: 11
    IMHO Hybrids are way too expensive and complex to be a real solution and don't get tat good mileage either.

    Until fuel cells and hydrogen production/distribution and on-board storage issues are resolved, here's my solution:

    1. Develop an electric car system where the batteries are modular and easily-removable - say a drop-down umit under the vehicle.
    2. The vehicle is sold to the consumer but the battery is leased (possibly subsidised)
    3. Develop an automated system where batteries are exchanged in seconds by stopping momentarily over a robotic device that switches out the discharged unit and replaces it with a fully-charged one while automatically debiting the user with whatever fee is appropriate. Shouldn't be hard to design the process to take less than 30 seconds - way faster and cleaner than stopping for gas. This would be in addition to the ability to slow-charge overnight at home.
    4. As new battery technology becomes available, the new units would be substituted in the dispensing stations.
  • supratunersupratuner Member Posts: 9
    Yeah. But then the EPA would be on out butts about that, because where would we store the used batteries? They also can pose a "environmental risk."

    I think you might be going somewhere. But the whole "recycling of batterities" is holding that back...

    I see the whole recharging thing as a good deal. Sure. Everyone would have to travel less. And if not less, they have to have 2 or more cars, for if the other one runs out, they have another. But even that has its flaws...
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    If someone gets the plug-in hybrid to be workable, that pretty much solves near term problems. Say you get your first 40 or more miles of the day off the battery..that takes care of the bulk of most peoples driving needs.

    40milesx365days=14,600 miles off the battery instead of gas. Of course work vs weekends applies.. but the idea is sound.

    If you went all could probably get more mileage.

    Then, charging stations could be adopted at malls and workplaces and such. Put in your money and charge your car for the x time you have to spare and paid for.

    I don't think the two car thing would fly. Expense, and space, and energy taken to make all those extra cars.
  • f111df111d Member Posts: 114
    Written by Dr. Joseph J. Romm ISBN 155963703x Very well written with sources from every area of science, physics, government, engineering and on and on and on.

    Go to your local library and read the eye opening status. About hydrogen and the huge change needed to America's infrastructure, not to mention education of the public. Another problem is hydrogen is not a fuel source but a carrier of energy. Right now the major and easiest source is producing it from natural gas. However 36% of the energy in natural gas in lost in the conversation process. The electrolyses of water would be ideal and cost effective but only when nuclear fission is developed. Transporting is not very feasible since and tanker like we see today pressurized to 6000psi would only fill sixty fuel cell cars. So production would be on site and not nearly efficient.
    The bottom line fuel cells for transport is more than 50-60 years off. Better use would be fuels cells is producing electric and heat for large buildings, factories and etc. initially from existing natural gas converted to hydrogen.
    He has some notes about hybrids mostly bad and manufactures along with government getting serious. So far they are not trying, they can't even get enough E-85 pumps in the country let along talk think about fuel cells. The peaking oil production is only going to raise oil prices and what new sources are found are going to much more expensive to recover.
    These is just tiny hints much better detail in the book.
    Everyone should read to get the real story instead of all the marketing hype big business has created just to make a profit. For our grand kids and their kids are the poor recipients of a world of diminishing fossil energy. And I didn't even touch on the CO2 problem that goes hand in hand with future choices!

    Thank you for your time.
  • mvandergootmvandergoot Member Posts: 2
    Everywhere I go I see debate about the future direction of motoring. Full electric vs Hydrogen power cells vs hybrid vs etc.
    It seems to me that most folk are missing the point. Over time we will strive to achieve two things. 1) Better fuel economy and 2) Lower emissions. Cost will only effect the speed at which change occurs because the most efficient systems will eventually be the cheapest.
    What most of the electric and fuel cell supporters overlook is that many of us do a great deal of highway motoring rather than simply commuting to the office. A 1000 mile fuel cell or battery is a long way away. Banks of interchangeable cell units will never happen because of the financial outlay and space required by the average highway fuel stop. Not to mention the cost of security and theft prevention.
    E and F might be OK options for a 20 mile trip to work and back but not long range work.
    So we need to look closer to what is already available. Currently the most efficient cars are petrol hybrids followed pretty closely by the newer european diesel units.
    Let's stay within the square but stretch it a little.
    Lets now think biodiesel. It's clean and potentially quite cheap.
    Lets now link that with hybrid technology. Hybrid technology doesn't do anything all that wonderful. It simply reduces fuel usage at inefficient times (traffic lights, traffic jams and downhill runs) while putting some excess energy back into a semi-efficient battery so a car can pretend to be an electric vehicle while the battery is fully charged and speed is low.
    Lets now also imagine that the advances made by our electric enthusiasts can extend the capacity of our bio-diesel hybrid's battery, perhaps even to the stage that we could plug it into mains power overnight for a commute to work tomorrow.
    Let's then imagine a solar panel that could help charge the battery while we were actually on the highway or parked at the shopping centre.
    And finally lets assume that some of the hydrogen injection gadgets actually worked and include one or a couple of those.
    The end result might well be a 1000 mile tank that was powered by canola oil, sunshine and water. For about $5.00 a tank.
    I want one now!!!!
  • cs1992cs1992 Member Posts: 17
    How about bio-diesel from algae? Of all the technologies with any potential, genetically manipulated algae looks to have the highest production capabilities.

    A short term fix is going to require some sacrifices (more than acceptable IMHO). We need plug-in battery-electric vehicles that can run 40 miles on the battery alone. Most people drive less than 40 miles a day and would have no problem "plugging in" at night when electrical demand is lower. Several aftermarket companies are already focusing on this solution. Imagine if the major automakers did the same.
  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Member Posts: 867
    Okay...less than 2 years later we have a demonstrated PEHV ...40 miles electric, 33 HWY after that. In a SUV or light pickup no less. I like this idea...12 gallon tank for trips and after the overnight charge is gone. 360 miles on gas + the original 40 on battery... Range of 400 miles. Runs of electricity all the time, using either battery or 2.0 L IC to run a generator. Demonstated at the SAE show this week. They used a Hummer but the system would fit other SUVs and light trucks. Raser has an order from PG&E for 2 of these for testing.

    I like this idea since my normal communte is about 40 miles, then the golf course is about the same on weekends. This could cut my gas usage to little or nothing on a normal basis. Even when running on the generator 33 MPG is double the normal mileage.
  • mniksmniks Member Posts: 1
    I am moving in just under 4 weeks and have yet to find a place to move with. I am leaning towards ABF since we don't have much stuff (1 bedroom apt with not much stuff at all) I don't mind packing my own stuff. Mayflower is charging an arm and a leg and I can't afford to pay much. Does anyone have any insight on ABF or other good moving company’s?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    Hi mniks,
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  • texasestexases Member Posts: 9,540
    The HHO technology has bee proven repeatedly to be an absolute scam. Forget about it.
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