[oclug] The Sinnister MS Connection Was : Rogers domain
je_linux at kronos.honk.org
Sun Feb 4 13:14:26 EST 2001
At 07:34 AM 02/04/01, you wrote:
>I didn't mention anything about a battery powered car, just an electric car,
>nor did I say the car would *run* off of solar panels. I said it would
>recharge from the solar panels. This is the beauty of hydrogren power. If
>your car hasn't produced enough hydrogen from sitting in the sun, then go buy
>some and refuel it that way. Thing is, if you drive your car for 15
>work every day, and then leave it in the sun for 8 hours, and then drive it
>home, you won't need to.
How would it produce H2 just from sitting in the sun? If via electrolysis,
then are you suggesting that we'll have to install electrolysis equipment
in our vehicles? Let's see, we'd need to carry:
- water storage tank
- electrolysis equipment
- solar panels
- H2 storage tank
- plumbing (pressure and standard)
- fuel cell
- electric motor(s)
How much weight and bulk and systems do you expect to carry? If you're
building a compact or subcompact car and expect to carry all that junk,
where do you expect to put the people and payload? You'd need to build an
SUV to carry all that and still be useful. Nice benefit though is the
driver could have fresh O2 piped into the cabin.
I think this is wholly unpractical compared to a gasoline engine, not even
considering what could go wrong with a complex system like that.
And, H2 powered cars are not necessarily electric cars. In my poking
around for a useful H2 storage tank, I came across an experimental hydrogen
gas powered truck.
>Hydrogen power has made the electric car *very* viable. Ford Canada will have
>a Topaz out this year based on the Ballard fuel cell. _THIS YEAR_. The
>PRESIDENT of Ford Canada specifically said that it will travel just as far
>and fast as the standard Topaz. No differences _at all_. How's that for
>viable? FYI, Ballard fuel cells produce electricity from hydrogen, and
>efficent at doing so (only 7% of the energy is lost in heat). This is
>_incredible_ compared to any other form of conversion.
I can't find the article on Ford's website. In fact, I can't find a
reference to a Topaz any longer being a model of car on ford.com. There's
mention of their concept car, the P2000 program, but that's all. Do you
have the link?
> > H powered vehicles are more likely to make BIG BOOMS.
>Such statements show your lack of knowledge on the subject. This isn't
>horrible, and its understandable. Don't let an accident that occured almost
>100 years ago cloud your judgement.
The Hindenberg didn't explode, it caught fire and burned. I'm considering
more recent (more recently than 1990) examples such as liquid hydrogen
rockets exploding. When they go up, they light up the sky quite impressively!
>Secondly, there are ways to design fuel tanks for H2 that don't cause problems
>if they are literally smashed to pieces. Several issues of Discover (now
>defunct :/) went on at length about these designs over 15 years ago. One of
>the favourites was a metal honeycombed design (to give you a good visual
>of it) that's membranes would slowly release h2 at a controlled rate. The
>way to begin to make explode (and its _very_ hard to make h2 explode, it
>disipates so quickly into the air when released) was to rupture _all_ the
> honeycombed areas at once. Testing showed this to be virtually
I remember this from years ago. The trouble with it, IIRC, was that it was
quite heavy and rather bulky - moreso than a propane or nat. gas
tank. According to fuelcellstore.com, the tank can only store about 1-2%
of it's weight in H2, and that will decrease over time as impurities in the
incoming H2 gas are absorbed. Compressing or liquefying H2 is expensive,
and requires special equipment to chill, deliver and store the H2, robbing
about 30% of it's efficiency just in the cooling and compressing
process. Other means of storage are still being researched.
The current H2 propaganda insists that because of relatively safe
industrial use (which is highly structured and monitored), that it will be
safe for the general public (who typically pays little heed to maintenance
issues like changing one's oil or transmission fluid).
I don't fully buy these pro-widespread-H2-usage arguments... yet. That
doesn't mean, as you've been suggesting through your post, that I'm a
blathering, paranoid, oil-loving idiot. It simply means I have my concerns
based on real-life bad things that have happened. You can go on till the
cows come home about H2 being perfectly safe, and if handled properly,
you're quite right. The fact is, it's more combustible per volume than
gasoline, and that means, more of the product will be consumed. While this
means it's more efficient than gasoline (good!), it's also got a negative
side - that being it's quite explosive if something goes wrong (bad!). If
NASA and the US Air Force and the Chinese (three users who have had recent
rocket explosions) can't have a perfect operational record - and they're
_trained_ in the handling of H2 - then what can we consumers expect when
the number of H2 vehicle applications jumps from a few rockets a year, to
several million vehicles on the road?
I don't know, and you don't know, and so I think we need more information
about the possible risks (we are all well aware of the benefits).
Aside: Nuclear reactors are perfectly safe (not counting waste
products)... until they go Chernobyl on us. Never underestimate the power
of human error (or stupidity) to make a good situation go horribly wrong.
>In short, in 5 years everyone will be driving them. The beauty of it is that
>no matter how you see the h2 being manufactured, pollution in the city will
>drop dramatically. I'm just worried about how humid the summers are going to
I remember something about fuelcells using gasoline to run it's
fuelcells... sec... Okay, the cells themselves use pure hydrogen, but, to
get the hydrogen, you need a source (obviously). You can get hydrogen
from fossil fuels using a converter. Given that there is a huge abundance
of gasoline service stations in the world, I would speculate that this is
how the first vehicles will be produced.
Some final points:
- According to Ballard's FAQ, only vehicles with pure hydrogen systems
will have zero emissions. Cars equipped with fossil fuel converters (to
get at the hydrogen) will have reduced (20-30%) greenhouse gas emissions
and trace smog-producing elements compared to standard fossil fuel engines.
- According to Ford's website (which BTW, contains no reference to a Topaz
being a model of car), a fuelcell car will achieve about 60mpg. Not bad,
but not stunningly impressive. Toyota's ugly little Echo gets about that,
does it not?
- Fuelcell powertrains are heavier, and the only offset in weight comes
from redesigning the car's body to use more composites and plastics instead
- According to DaimlerChrysler, fuelcells are still far too expensive for
consumers and take up to 30minutes to get started (requiring a battery pack
for the interim), which for an inner city commuter vehicle, would prove
In short, I reiterate my original statement: Electric cars are, today,
just a dream.
Fighting a holy war is like killing each other over who has the better
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