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Bye bye spark plugs

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Attila, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Attila

    Attila Registered User

    For some years the fuel cell has been limited to military and space use.
    We have reached a point where they can be used to replace the internal combustion motors in automobiles.
    The cells run on hydrogen, and emit only water and heat - no pollution.
    The big auto makers have invested millions in this research, and are trying out test vehicles.
    So where is the problem? Big oil and the conversion units to extract hydrogen from another fuel (natural gas, methane. etc.)
    I think we need to get the oil companies to do the conversion of gas stations, and make money doing it; or there is no way we will achieve this very desirable goal.
  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Agreed. But the boys here do not want to give up their oil toys. :(
  3. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Hydrogen PEM fuel cells are indeed non polluting. No matter what you do to pull hydrogen from methane, you produce CO2...another non pollutant, yet it is a greenhouse gas. There are two reasons that natural gas is the preferred fuel source for fuel cells.

    1. Natural Gas far more available and an infrastructure exists for its transportation and availability.

    2. The oxygen/hydrogen nut is a hard one to bust and takes as much or more energy to accomplish as what is returned...not a good tradeoff.

    I've been doing substantial research on natural gas supplies and availability. Everything I've seen points to a sustained natural gas shortage in the coming decades...at least a shortage at the prices we've been paying. Natural Gas prices will hit a sustained doubling of price within 18 months and will most likely see a sustained 400-500% increase in cost at the consumer level within 3 or 4 years...dependent on weather patterns.

    Converting vehicles to this fuel source, whether IC engine or fuel cell isn't a good option. Investing in technology to free up hydrogen from the oceans makes much more economical sense.
  4. Scott

    Scott Some Assembly Required

    exactly :).

    i can't own a vehicle that i can't add insane amounts of power to. i'm sure there will be ways to modify newer technologies for more power, but i like the tried-and-true. nothing beats slapping on a pair of heads and a cam in one afternoon and seeing a 70 horsepower increase ;)
  5. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Then maybe both options should be available?

    Leave the natural fuel available for those willing to pay the extra costs for it, and put out alternative fuels for those who seek to pollute the planet less. Give us the choice of what fuel we'd like to use.

    I personally don't need nor want such a powerful beast (unless you're talking about a Harley, in which case, I want the biggest baddest ride I can control with my weak little back :) ), so a Hydrogen fuel cell powered car, for me, would be perfect. As long as it can go up to 110 miles an hour, I'm happy. Any little 4 cylinder car can do that. I would like it a little more powerful than a 4 cylinder - say the equivalent to a 6 cylinder - for consumer use? That would be wayyy more than enough. For industrial and enthusiasts, leave the natural gas.
  6. EMIG

    EMIG Yup

    I actually looked this up for a post in the 'cooler of all places:

  7. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    If Coot's predictions about the cost of natural gas going up, even by 4, then hydro at off peak rates looks the cheapest.
  8. EMIG

    EMIG Yup

    The problem is there's only so much hydro to go around, so someone would have to pay the higher prices somewhere.
  9. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    I'll buy an alternative power source vehicle if it allows me the option of burning rubber in a car or doing wheelies on a bike. ;)

    Is there any research being done on nuclear powered vehicles?
  10. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Well, it doesn't look promising for that kind of performance...fuel cells generally convert input energy to electricity. The electricity feeds either a cap bank or a battery or both and then the DC is fed to an inverter (variable speed drive) to drive an AC induction motor. Current inverter technology will give you upwards of 200% torque at zero speed. Given that induction motors are substantially heavier per horsepower than IC engines, you won't get a lot of power.....you could, via gearing, get some appreciable low end torque, but it would mean getting through a lot of gears to get up to highway speeds.
  11. mikeky

    mikeky Member

    Another small step in the direction towards feasible:

    Which begs the question, will one day Big Oil be replaced by Big Gas?
  12. Attila

    Attila Registered User

    Some places for info that I forget to include;
    Ballard Power (Canada) hold most of the patents on fue cells and makes FC power plants.
    Fuelcell Energy - into hydrogen generation, primarily from methane (Garbage, cows gas, etc)

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