hydrogen generation motorcycle.

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by MATTY, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. MATTY

    MATTY BORDER RAIDER

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    #1
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  2. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    Not to my knowledge.

    I suspect that has to to with the complexity of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (HFCVs), and the fact that they haven't been very successful in cars yet. My understanding is that HFCVs will not become viable at all in terms of cost unless and until some breakthough is reached in membrane technology. There is also the inescapable fact that producing hydrogen has a poor enough environmental footprint that you're better off just putting that energy in a battery in an EV.

    My thinking is that HFCVs are only pursued because complexity costs more money, and higher revenues even at the same margins equal higher profits. HFCVs benefit the manufacturers (if they can get that breakthrough, and then convince people to buy them) not consumers or the environment. There is also the continued advancement of solar power which may someday result in many people generating their own energy. That's a HUGE loss for the energy industry. HFCVs would at least give the energy sector something to sell. Again, it's in their interests, not ours.

    EDIT: Wow. I just looked at the video, and got so disgusted with the commentator I had to turn it off. Holy crap - how does that idiot keep his job? Outright lies, misinformed opinions and ridiculously outdated stereotypes stated as fact, glossing over way too much, and an obvious, irrational hatred of EVs. I guess he's just the thing if you prefer opinionated blowhards over genuinely well-informed experts. The only factual advantage of the Clarity he could muster is refill time, which has zero relevance except for long trips, and which is something that will improve dramatically for EVs in the coming years.

    He also conveniently skipped the fact that you can't own an HFCV Clarity - only lease, and I guarantee the lease price has nothing to do with the cost of the vehicle. This is an effort to get customer use data, possibly some benefits to Honda like marketing, branding and ZEV totals in CA (the only place it's sold in the US), using vehicles that will never be owned by anyone but Honda. I'm betting this program is costing Honda much more than what the leases bring in. They're getting their value elsewhere. This isn't really an 'available' car yet in terms of what you and I would think available means.
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  3. BrianTRice

    BrianTRice Nerdy adventurer

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    HFCV seems to attract people who hate EVs. There's a similar mutual antipathy between the "green" movement and the nuclear power industry/profession which I find bizarre.

    HFCV can work at large industrial/fleet scales, like with large bus operators. Individual car ownership is fraught with problems for HFCs, and electric motorcycles are so downscale that it's still a struggle to field a hybrid electric motorcycle - any generator small enough to fit cannot satisfy the powertrain without a specific engineering effort to fit the application that sinks a lot of R&D money. So, DARPA has pursued hybrids, but major manufacturers seem to be quiet about the possibility aside from a few patents.
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  4. sbeadg

    sbeadg Found in Fogo Supporter

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    "I suspect that has to to with the complexity of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (HFCVs), and the fact that they haven't been very successful in cars yet."
    I understand that the biggest obstacle for the proliferation of HFCV's is the chicken-egg problem of a lack of fueling stations. I don't know that membrane technology for fuel cells is any farther behind than ev battery technology at the moment.
    I also viewed the video, ctromley. If you were disgusted by it, perhaps that says as much about your bias as with fuel cell technology. Some very valid points were made, particularly regarding re-fueling convenience. I think there's plenty of room in personal transportation for this technology. Right now there is no fuel cell equivalent to the Bolt or the Tesla. I suspect however that the Elon Musk of HFCV's will emerge and take the technology to the next level. I hope so. My investment portfolio is counting on it....:1drink
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  5. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    I am certainly biased, but because of what I know - not because of what I want to believe. There's a difference. If some fact emerges that shows I'm wrong, my bias will reverse in a heartbeat. I'm not alone. I used to work for a company that makes specialized high pressure gas pumps (trust me, compressing H2 is a specialized process), and they got a major contract from a company that makes H2 refueling stations. With all the hype surrounding HFCVs, it would have been easy to assume they were the Next Big Thing. It would have been easy to jump on the bandwagon enthusiastically, create a task force within the company to pursue and win more contracts, because this is going to take off and then the sky's the limit, right?

    But they didn't. They examined the market and realized that the only thing keeping the entire HFCV industry alive is speculative investors and government grants, all of which exist based only on the hope that HFCVs will one day be technologically and economically viable. For the decades that people have been trying, they are still waiting for whatever breakthrough is needed to make that happen. And the government grants could dry up at any time.

    So in short, my former employer is happy for the work, will continue to be happy with it as long as it lasts, but is not relying on it. That would not be a wise investment.
    As I said above, the only valid point made in the video concerns fill time. Who cares, when today's 200+ mile range EVs are almost exclusively charged at home, so they start every day with a full 'tank'? For long trips there are already far more DCFC (level 3) charging locations than H2 refueling stations, adding more of them is MUCH cheaper than adding H2 refueling, and DCFC can easily be made three times quicker than the fastest Superchargers available today.

    I would be happy and eager to shoot down all the other 'points' made dissing EVs and supporting HFCVs in the video, but I don't have that kind of time. It would be quite a dissertation. Some of his 'points' go beyond sloppy reporting - they're flat out wrong, and reveal his complete lack of understanding of that which he is supposedly reporting authoritatively. Example:

    The hydrogen is compressed into a liquid, so it's a bit like petrol. You fill it just like a petrol car. And the only difference is, because this is under pressure, you have to lock it with this lever. Terribly important, that, if you don't do that you get hydrogen all over your shoes.

    Bullshit. The only way to liquify H2 is with cryogenics, which would render the entire concept of HFCVs a non-starter. (The fact that the H2 is actually a gas is still the source of many of the challenges HFCVs face.) If you want to argue that he was making a joke, it was such an incredibly lame one that I guarantee many believed he was serious. Especially since the rest of the vid seems like such an HFCV fanboy promo. And that isn't even the worst. Other 'points' he makes are mutually contradictory, rendering them meaningless, confusing or misleading.

    Frankly I think such a dissertation is a waste when the commentator is an internationally known blowhard who makes a living by saying obnoxious, opinionated, outrageous things, and not just about EVs. The obnoxious, opinionated and outrageous shtick is the whole point - factual reporting be damned. He's the Howard Stern of car critics - an entertainer, no more, no less. If he made an actual attempt at credibility I would give him a break. He doesn't. The people who think he does aren't well-informed enough to make that call. They're the same kind of people who think professional wrestling is real.
    And there is your bias, staring you in the face.

    Even if HFCVs get their breakthrough and all the necessary infrastructure is built out to support it, there will still be the fundamental truth that making H2 is an inherently dirty, inefficient and expensive process. No matter how you do it, you're better off putting the electricity used directly in a battery. (Right now the cheapest and most common method is based on natural gas - why would anyone choose a fossil fuel when a 100% green and cheaper alternative exists? And no, electrolysis is way too inefficient for producing H2 on a commercial scale. Again, you're better off putting that electricity in a battery.) Even if you wait until some future time when everyone has their own 100% clean and cheap energy (wind, solar, some magical new invention, whatever), converting electricity to H2 and back to electricity again can't compare to putting that electricity directly in a battery to power your car.

    EVs already have a head start in showing how simple and dependable they are. There is so little in the drivetrain to break. HFCVs however, are quite complex. Anyone selling their EV to get an HFCV will think they stepped back into the dark ages when they see their first repair bill.

    Technologically, HFCVs don't make sense. So why are they being pursued? Because industrial gas companies see big profits in them. (Linde is a big player.) And oil companies, who already have a sales network in place in the form of gas stations that could be fitted with H2 fueling equipment. Auto manufacturers like them too, because they know the simplicity and reliability of EVs will lead to lower-cost, longer-lasting vehicles, which means lower new-car revenues and lower profits. Probably double that loss when you consider service and parts. (All of which is not just bad for manufacturers - they'll have 1000s of dealers and parts vendors screaming at them too.) They spent a lot of time making spectacularly complex ICE vehicles somehow acceptable, and HFCVs promise to keep that gravy train going.

    Note that none of these reasons favoring HFCVs is better for consumers. Let that sink in a moment...............................

    I'm a consumer. I prefer to use the technology that works best for me, not the profits of big corporations, and keeps the environment cleaner for everyone. That's my bias.
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  6. EvrythingAwesom

    EvrythingAwesom Long timer

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    Btw, there's another benefit to hydrogen - your health! Got an email from Mercola yesterday re 170 symptoms or diseases cured by the Hydrogen molecule. Haven't read the whole article.

    Anybody can make hydrogen by electric current on water.
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  7. sbeadg

    sbeadg Found in Fogo Supporter

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    Where did I say I didn't have a bias? In fact, I'd say mine is pretty much the same as yours. You make some excellent points. I always appreciate enlightenment when it crosses my path, even when it comes with a strong "Boooyaa!" undertone. That's fine: I have lots of other areas of expertise.

    Thanks. I'll re-think my Ballard stock ownership.
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  8. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    Never heard of a hydrogen bike. It is a viable clean fuel. GM had a dual fuel hydrogen/gasoline 64 Cadillac test vehicle on the road back then. Worked excellent. Problem with hydrogen is two-fold. You can't long term store it so you won't see the infrastructure investment (tank farms, storage tanks) needed. Molecules are so small they slowly permeate through the steel tank walls. Only somewhat semi-realistic option but stupid-insane expensive tech at this time is using an onboard hydrogen producer/generator rather than a 'gas tank'. It'll happen some day when the tech catches up but won't be soon.
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  9. Crilly

    Crilly Long timer Super Supporter

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    Electric to hydrogen to electric is very inefficient compared to lithium batteries.
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  10. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Hydrogen is a terrible fuel. Horrible energy density, leaks through damn near everything. It's ONLY redeeming feature is that fires tend to burn straight up. Same problems as an LPG bike but more so, sure you can do it if you are stupid enough but the fuel tank weighs damn near as much as the bike.

    And no, it's not a viable clean fuel other than POSSIBLY solar->h2->energy through the night. However pump storage or batteries are cheaper.
    #10