Cheap, abundant cathode material found for producing hydrogen fuel (w/ video)

May 10, 2011 by Lisa Zyga feature
Illustration of the chemical solar cell. Image credit: Adapted from Lewis, N. S. & Nocera, D. G. Powering the planet: Chemical challenges in solar energy utilization. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 15729-15735 (2006) and Grey, H. B. Powering the planet with solar fuel. Nature Chem. 1, 7 (2009).

(PhysOrg.com) -- By replacing catalysts made of expensive noble metals like platinum with cheaper, earth-abundant materials, researchers have taken a step toward enabling the large-scale production of hydrogen from sunlight and water. In a recent study, the researchers have demonstrated that catalysts made of molecular clusters based on molybdenum and sulphur can generate hydrogen from sunlight at rates comparable to those of platinum.

The researchers, led by Professor Ib Chorkendorff from the Technical University of Denmark, with coauthors from institutions in Denmark and the US, have published their study in a recent issue of .

As the researchers explain in their study, producing fuels from sunlight could lead to the development of a sustainable energy system, without the need for . Sunlight can be used to produce a variety of carbon-based solar fuels such as methanol and methane, but the simplest solar fuel to produce is hydrogen. In a typical solar hydrogen system, turn sunlight into electricity that is then used to extract hydrogen from water.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
When the chemical solar cell is exposed to light, hydrogen bubbles appear. Image credit: CINF, Department of Physics, DTU.

One type of solar hydrogen system is a chemical solar cell, which can harvest a large part of the and use it to generate hydrogen from water. Chemical consist of many pillars, with the top half of each pillar made of a photoanode that absorbs the blue part of the solar spectrum, and the bottom half made of a photocathode that absorbs the red part. When blue light is absorbed, it oxidizes water into oxygen and . The protons migrate through a membrane in which the pillars are embedded, ending up at the photocathode. As red light is absorbed, catalysts attached to the sides of the pillars reduce the protons to hydrogen.

As the researchers explain, the system depends on two reactions: the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). In their study, the scientists focus exclusively on designing HER catalysts to perform the final step of reducing protons. Previously, platinum and other noble metals have been used as efficient HER catalysts, but they are too scarce and expensive for large-scale energy production.

To find an alternative HER , the researchers investigated biological organisms that have enzymes that produce hydrogen. By analyzing these natural catalysts, the researchers identified the properties that made them efficient, and then searched for related compounds that might work in a chemical solar cell. This process of theory, computation, synthesis, and testing led them to molybdenum sulfide – an inexpensive and abundant compound.

Scanning electron micrograph of silicon pillars. Image credit: Yidong Hou, CINF, DTU Physics (photo). Christian D. Damsgaard, Thomas Pedersen, Ole Hansen, DTU Nanotech, DK-2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.

After applying small dots of the sulfide onto the photocathode part of the pillars, the researchers tested the modified chemical solar cell. They found that, when the cell was exposed to light, it generated with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of greater than 10%, which is comparable to the efficiency when platinum was used instead.

Serving as a HER catalyst, the new compound addresses only half of the water-splitting process. In the future, the researchers also hope to find a cheap, abundant material for an OER catalyst. Although they predict that this may be even more difficult than finding the HER catalyst material, they plan to use the same methods to approach this challenge.

Explore further: New, more versatile version of Geckskin: Gecko-like adhesives now useful for real world surfaces

More information: Yidong Hou, et al. “Bioinspired molecular co-catalysts bonded to a silicon photocathode for solar hydrogen evolution.” Nature Materials. Advance Online Publication. DOI: 10.1038/NMAT3008

Participating institutions:
The Center for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality, CINF, www.cinf.dtu.dk
Catalysis for Sustainable Energy, CASE, www.case.dtu.dk
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, www.slac.stanford.edu
SUNCAT, today.slac.stanford.edu/feature/2010/suncat.asp

4.4 /5 (22 votes)

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LariAnn
1.6 / 5 (7) May 10, 2011
Well, until they discover a cheap OER catalyst, the work described here is like the development of half a wheel!
Eric_B
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2011
very exciting...

glad to see that we have been busy implementing preparations for a hydrogen switchover "manhattan project"..

we are ready when you are (not)!
gunslingor1
3.7 / 5 (3) May 10, 2011
Well, until they discover a cheap OER catalyst, the work described here is like the development of half a wheel!

-No, they have reduced the cost of 1/2 of the device dramatically... probably 25% cost savings total already; that's not a half wheel, more like a motor cycle when you wanted a ferrari.... half "wheels" plural.

-This shows massive potential. 100 mile range hydrogen cars have already been developed and sold to rich people and hobbiests. Add regenerative breaking and you'll be at 200-400 mile range depending on city/highway. If the regenerative breaking happens to be electrical in nature, guess what, you have batteries and can make it a plugin for around $99 thus extending the range, lets say an additional 40 miles as the chevy volt does. If you were then to add heat energy recovery, guess what, you've made a flex-fuel car that will have 1000 miles range, zero pollution and zero loss of performance. It is 100% doable and 100% affordable using existing technologies
FenderFennec
2.8 / 5 (8) May 10, 2011
Regenerative breaking? Does this mean that every time I hit the brake, the car falls apart?
that_guy
2 / 5 (3) May 10, 2011
Regenerative breaking? Does this mean that every time I hit the brake, the car falls apart?


No, it means every time you hit the breaks, the car repairs itself and the tires re-inflate. That does beg the question, what happens when you hit the gas?
that_guy
2.5 / 5 (2) May 10, 2011
I've a couple questions about this -
1. if you are recombining protons and electrons to create hydrogen (SIC) doesn't that mean you can draw an electric current in addition to seperating hydrogen?
2. Oxygen is extremely reactive as well...can't that be captured too? (You can burn oxygen to create O2 molecular oxygen - the stuff we breathe)
3. Silicon crystal substrate? Really? that stuff isn't that cheap, as it is one of the main expenses of standard solar panels.

Based on the process, it appears that this idea has spades more potential to pull out.

As for hydrogen cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb every time you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.

However a home system that constantly generates electricity and doesn't keep a large stock might be interesting.
Eikka
1.5 / 5 (4) May 10, 2011
Why do you need an OER catalyst? The oxygen presumably makes hydrogen peroxide out of the remaining water, which is in itself a useful chemical.

If nothing else, you can run it through a small silver mesh to break it apart and generate lots of hot steam.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) May 10, 2011

As for hydrogen cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb every time you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.


It also needs to be a hybrid in any case, because fuel cells really don't like being throttled up and down. They lose efficiency at peak power, and they break apart with cycling.

So you got an electric vehicle with batteries anyways, hydrogen or not. Might as well dump the expensive fuel cells and recharge from the wall.
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (6) May 10, 2011
As for hydrogen cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb every time you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.

-As for gaslonine powered cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb everytime you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.
-hydrogen pressured tanks have been proven to be safer than your average gasoline tank. If you puncture the H2 storage take, you get a 4 ft flame thrower out the back, not an explosion; conversely, when you ignite a gas tank, KABOOM!
-Both gas and hydrogen are explosive, it is very silly to point out fallacies in one tech without comparing it to the alternatives, especially when the alternative is actually the least desirable result.

..I hit the brake, the car falls apart

Seems to work fine for every 16 wheeler today
gunslingor1
1.4 / 5 (7) May 10, 2011
It also needs to be a hybrid in any case, because fuel cells really don't like being throttled up and down.

-Who said anything about fuel cells? I'm talking about a hydrogen internal combustion engine... only byproduct is water. hydrogen burns hotter than gas, which means heat recovery will be better if implemented. Besides, your average gas car is only about 20% efficient without considering heat energy, only pressure energy. If you consider the heat wasted, they are really only like 2% efficient. A simple heat exchanger + a mini turbine + generator and I bet you could get it up to 75% efficiency total...implying like 500 mpg. You could pump it to the batteries or directly to the motor. Heat recover isn't even looked at in the industry...why?...because it is practical, cheap and will work. Same for plug in hybrids, 99$ for a freaking charging circuit MAX! Yet we are only seeing them now? Technological/Economic progress is low priority compared to immediate profit, very sad.
Eikka
1.8 / 5 (5) May 10, 2011
Gunslingor; go back to primary school.
Bog_Mire
2 / 5 (4) May 10, 2011
Gunslingor; go back to primary school.


why?
that_guy
1.8 / 5 (6) May 10, 2011
-hydrogen pressured tanks have been proven to be safer than your average gasoline tank. If you puncture the H2 storage take, you get a 4 ft flame thrower out the back, not an explosion; conversely, when you ignite a gas tank, KABOOM!
-Both gas and hydrogen are explosive, it is very silly to point out fallacies in one tech without comparing it to the alternatives, especially when the alternative is actually the least desirable result.


Try getting your information from actual facts rather than the movies. When was the last time you heard of a real gast tank explosion? Remember when the cop cars were recalled because being rear ended @50 mph could cause an explosion - because it happened 2 or 3 times a year for the entire country.

Now, go do some actual research and post something intelligent based on that. Your 10,000 hydrogen tank is relatively safe as long as you're not near the flame thrower...but it is still 10,000.
PPihkala
5 / 5 (2) May 10, 2011
-Who said anything about fuel cells?

If you would have done your studies, you would know that fuel cell is more effective at converting hydrogen to electricity (EL) than is ICE converting it to EL or movement. Besides it has no moving parts, which is also plus compared to ICE.
pokerdice1
2 / 5 (8) May 10, 2011
Moderators please check these posts for insults and trolling. If people cannot make their points in a civil manner, I will be hitting the report abuse button on such posts. I don't care who is "correct" or "smarter". I encourage others to do the same and report those who lack decency and respect. Let's keep these boards civil. Enough is enough!
unknownorgin
1 / 5 (2) May 11, 2011
I was suprised at the volume of hydrogen generated in that small area. I am guessing that only distilled water can be used because sodium, chlorine ect would soon destroy the silicon pillars. If the cost per square inch is low enough hydrogen would be a cheaper feul to power engines because it will be years before feul cells and electric motors replace equipment that cost billions of dollars to buy. The big question is can a feul cell power a vehicle for at least 200,000 miles and not cost more than an engine?

Jayman
1 / 5 (2) May 11, 2011
Are we there yet? Is this the Holy Grail of cheap and clean energy?
wwqq
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2011
Are we there yet? Is this the Holy Grail of cheap and clean energy?


No; this is the next generation of dirty fossil fuel energy. If we do go the hydrogen route we'll use underground coal gasification to access vast quantities of coal that could not be otherwise economically mined.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) May 11, 2011
Right. A bit of facts.

In a car crash, you have about 1% chance that your gasoline vehicle catches fire, and in most of those cases it's an engine fire, not because of a ruptured gas tank.

That's because the gasoline doesn't really want to come out of the tank or to ignite inside the tank. It's not under pressure, it's somewhat slow to evaporate and mix with air, and it's relatively difficult to ignite.

Hydrogen has opposite properties: it's in a pressurized tank, it's already gaseous when it comes out in a turbulent jet that mixes with air, and it's very easy to ignite. The only thing going for it is its tendency to rise up rather quickly, but if you have a hydrogen tank rupture that leaks some gas under or into the cabin of the car, you have a big problem because it will explode in a confined space.

Same as if you have the same car leak hydrogen into your garage, or in a tunnel, or under an overpass where a cloud of the gas is slowed down and held in place by a ceiling.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) May 11, 2011
All the arguments I've heard about hydrogen being safer than gasoline hinge on the idea that hydrogen dissapates quickly.

But that's assuming there's one big release of hydrogen without an ignition source already present. Sure, the hydrogen vanishes in to the sky and everybody's happy.

But when you have a leaking tank that spews gaseous hydrogen around constantly, which tends to diffuse and mix with air very quickly, and the updraft is bringing in more air, and you have an ignition source present, it's going to go off in a much bigger bang that what you'd get from a gasoline fire.

In fact, hydrogen rarely burns "nicely", it almost always goes off in a bang because it's so quick to react.

Example: http://www.youtub...KdcUwOTI
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (2) May 11, 2011
Okay, a lot of insults claiming I'm an idiot for not listing sources for my facts, then in the same posts, I here rants of $10K hydrogen storage tanks.

Anyway, its unimportant. What are we taking about here, we are taking about the safety of vehicles, H2 vs. gas. Lets be fair in this discussion.

hydrogen tank rupture that leaks some gas under or into the cabin of the car, you have a big problem because it will explode in a confined space.

-and guess what, if you have a gas leak that ends up in your cabin, you don't even need a spark, you can affixiate. Same with filling your garage with H2 or gas, sure the H2 could explode, but so could the gas vapors, and the byproduct of H2, H20, isn't usable as a method of suicide as the combustion products of a car can be.

If your comparing safety, compare, don't just state safe things about what you like and bad things about what you dont.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2011
http://www.40fire...Hydrogen

There you go, the only real test ever regarding the issue is discussed in the link, there are plenty of tests of hydrogen storage vessals for non-automotive use out there, cheap storage tanks that last 50 years. Hydrogen is used throughout indutry, often in liquid form to cool the generators that bring power to your house. Just like gas, it is explosive and, as a result, dangerous; but stop ignoring the fact that gas is also explosive and dangerous as well. Which is worse? In my mind they are equal, at least comparable and any difference is negligable. But if you really must sit there and point a finger at the least safe highly explosive liquid, lol, it would have to be gasoline. Forgeting the explosive issue, which is present in both products, gas is associated with cancer, smog, heart dissuse, affixiatation, global warming, ocean acidification, all of which affects human health negatively.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) May 11, 2011
affixiatation


It's "asphyxiation", and gasoline doesn't actually evaporate so fast that it would displace all the air. Getting gasoline vapors to violently explode instead of just puff is difficult because the concentration in air where it does so is extremely precise. Hydrogen on the other hand will happily explode over a wide range. In fact the problem is that once a hydrogen rich flame gets started, it quickly draws in air and dilutes, and subsequently explodes.

And you're comparing apples to oranges. The industry using hydrogen isn't the same as putting millions and millions of fast moving hydrogen tanks on roads and hoping that they don't cause dangerous explosions when some of them eventually collide or leak.

And there are cases of hydrogen accidents in industry use as well, not surprisingly connected to the transportation of hydrogen, which have usually resulted in large explosions

There's a good wiki article on the issues:
http://en.wikiped...n_safety
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) May 11, 2011
And furthest of all, the alternatives to both gasoline and hydrogen are inherently safer than either of those. The argument is simply, that if you're going to replace gasoline with something, it should better be something that isn't more dangerous than gasoline.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2011
millions and millions of fast moving hydrogen tanks on roads and hoping that they don't cause dangerous explosions when some of them eventually collide or leak.

-the same safety concerns exist for gas. Gas tanks do explode. Which is easier to ignite, H2 of course, but again, a puncture results in a flame, not an explosion. They are comparable technologies.

And there are cases of hydrogen accidents in industry use as well, not surprisingly connected to the transportation of hydrogen, which have usually resulted in large explosions

-Agreed, but there have also been plenty of gasoline explosions, just look at the refinaries in Japan are the quake.

Thanks for correcting my spelling, I'm not a speller. The wiki article seems accurate. Again though, the only test ever conducted comparing the safety of the two technologies conclusively show'd that, if the gas tanks ignite, the passengers would burn alive in a subsequent explosion; H2, they would survive.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2011
And furthest of all, the alternatives to both gasoline and hydrogen are inherently safer than either of those. The argument is simply, that if you're going to replace gasoline with something, it should better be something that isn't more dangerous than gasoline.

-safety is an issue, but it is not the only issue people care about when buying cars, and should not be the deciding factor... but it is a big factor.
-Look, all I ask for is a real comparison, not just a statement of negatives when discussing the matter. I've heard people complain about the safety of electric vehicals, where the batteries could explode... again, not as bad as gas tank explosion. But he made the same mistake; sure, batteries can explode, H2 can explode, but so can gas and H2 and batteries don't give people cancer and they do not pollute. You like electric over H2, fine by me =), as long as we stop burning complex organic molecules, I'm happy. Read the safety tests though, link above.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) May 11, 2011
Gas tanks do explode.


No, they don't.

Gas tanks are unpressurized and don't contain any oxidizer. They can not explode unless you are using nitromethane for fuel.

Pressurized hydrogen tanks can, they do, and the resulting gas leak has a much higher chance of detonating on its own than any gasoline leak has.

The difference of hydrogen tanks is that if there isn't an ignition source present at the time of the release, then the gas will escape harmlessly. If there is, the result will be devastating.

And that's bad for car crashes, because there will be ignition sources present at the very time of the gas release, and hydrogen will ignite with 1/10th the energy compared to gasoline.
gunslingor1
2.5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2011
Gas tanks are unpressurized

-its still explosive

Gas tanks are unpressurized and don't contain any oxidizer.

H2 storage tanks don't contain oxidizers either, that I know of.

H2 gas tanks, AGAIN, do not explode. Even in industrial environments, the TANKS do not explode, they propel. When a tank is ruptured in an industrial environment, you pretty much have a rocket, with the propellant leaving the puncture, whether it ignites of not (which it usual does). I have seen industrial hydrogen tanks get punctured, first hand, in industry. I'm sure you can find a video of it occuring. Again, read the test reports which you seem to be ignoring...because???

The difference of hydrogen tanks is that if there isn't an ignition source present at the time of the release, then the gas will escape harmlessly. If there is, the result will be devastating.

-lol, same is true for gas.

AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN... read the test reports and tell me why they are wrong
gunslingor1
2.5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2011
Also, you may not be aware, but there are safety inherent hydrogen storage tanks that are 100% incapable of both exploding, propelling or creating an equivalent flamethrower. They pretty much use a simple spongey material in the tank, each bubble in the spong able to withstand the tank pressure upon rupture for a few seconds. What happens in these devices when the fuel ignites is not much more than a sparkler firework. You lose some storage capacity, but if safety is your primary concern it may be a good option. My personal primary concern is that (a) we don't destroy our planet, and (b) we stop negatively affecting peoples health. I mean gezz, if you have 3 children, 1 of them is statistically going to get cancer because of fossil fuels, regardless of what your transportation fuel is. So yes, I am far more concerned about that issue in regards to my kids health than potential fuel explosions, which don't happen often, regardless of the fuel.
Straw_Cat
not rated yet May 11, 2011
So you need a tank for the fuel. That doesn't seem to be a problem with cars and trucks that run off natural gas or propane.
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2011
@ gunslinger - Please, you are trying so hard to prove your point by mouthing off, but you offer no evidence. Just admit that my original point was right, and we move on - I can wait while you google everything and verify that it's correct. A hydrogen tank has to be able to withstand quite a bit of pressure to get good energy density, and to be safe. That is factual. A gas tank is just a metal tank with a little fiberglass and epoxy.

Under most conditions, gas is flammable but NOT explosive. That is why there are so few gas tank explosions. The mythbusters strapped a gas tank to the front of a car and sent it off a cliff, and it did not explode.

No one is disagreeing with you that hydrogen is more environmentally friendly, or saying that it lacks benefits. We are saying that in the real world, hydrogen is impracticle for cars for the forseeable future, and probably always will be, considering the strides that battery/hybrid electrics are making.
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (2) May 12, 2011
A hydrogen tank has to be able to withstand quite a bit of pressure...

-Agreed fact. But the fact that it is a highly pressurized tank is precisely the reason they cant explode. All O2 in the tank is removed while filling, so there is nothing in the tank allowing the fuel to burn. The only possible why to burn it is to either get O2 into the tank or to burn it as it leaves the tank. The only way you'll have an explosion, meaning the tank becomes an effective hand granade, is if you get enough O2 into the tank and then ignite it; since the tank is under pressure, this is not possible. Instead, it is burned as it leaves the puncture wound; plus it is designed for so it is burned off controllably.
A gas tank is just a metal tank with a little fiberglass and epoxy.

-Agreed, but this doesn't imply it is safer, only simpler.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, I find them about equal in safety. Only one comparison test has ever been done which show'd H2 2b safer.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2011
Tanks currently in use for storage of compressed hydrogen (similar to compressed natural gas tanks) have survived intact through testing by various means, including being shot with six rounds from a .357 magnum, detonating a stick of dynamite next to them, and subjecting them to fire at 1500 degrees F. Clearly, a typical gasoline tank wouldn't survive a single one of these tests.

http://www.google...&oq=

Dr. Michael Swain with the University of Miami at Coral Gables attempted to simulate two car fires, one created by a 1/16th inch puncture in a gasoline fuel line, the other by a leaking hydrogen connector.

http://www.evworl...ryid=482

So, if you must point a figure at the safer tech (which I don't think you should), it must be pointed in the opposite direction if you care at all about the scientific method.
Javinator
not rated yet May 12, 2011
Gunslingor:

Your points that hydrogen tanks can be designed in safe ways is true, but what of the cost?

You can't directly compare the expensive H2 canisters you're describing to off the shelf gasoline canisters. If you put the same money and time into an inherently safe gasoline tank you could have similar
six rounds from a .357 magnum, detonating a stick of dynamite next to them, and subjecting them to fire at 1500 degrees F
results to the hydrogen tanks to which you're referring.

I remember us having this exact same argument last year.
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (2) May 12, 2011
If you put the same money and time into an inherently safe gasoline tank you could have similar results to the hydrogen tanks to which you're referring.

-Agreed. That's why I'm not claiming one is safer than the other, I find them to be about the same, at least comparable depending on design factors. I'm saying that if you must point a finger at the least safe product, it would have to be the gas tank primarily because this is what the tests have indicated. The other guy is claim gasoline is inherently safer because it isn't pressurized, I'm saying the fact that H2 is pressurized makes it incapable of exploding.

-As for cost, a brand new industrial grade H2 storage tank will run about $1-2K; Gas tanks are cheap pieces of plastic or fiber glass that cost the MFR maybe $10 to manufacture. $10K for an H2 storage tank, smaller than an industrial one, is unrealistic so I don't know why that number was thrown out there.

-both H2 and Gas are explosive, at least we agree there.
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2011
I threw 10k out there as an illustrative point, but you are correct that it's not a hard number.

However - and industrial grade H2 storage tank is a different application and design. Here's some hard numbers.

A basic hydrogen tank for a car is 4k + 1k for fittings and adapters. It is good for a range of 80 miles. Compare that to the cost and range of a nissan leaf and get back to me.

msnbc.msn.com/id/7893676/ns/us_news-environment/t/hydrogen-cars-ready-roll-price/

I'm not claiming that gas is inherently safe, but I am saying that the potential danger from gas is relatively low, and you picked a movie statistic when you said how dangerous gas tanks are - whereas it doesn't take a lot of imagination to dream up a scenario with hydrogen where it does mix with air. Hydrogen is much more flammable and explosive than gas.

However, all in all, hy and gas are probably about equal in risk of fire/explosion in this applictaion - but you pay 5k extra for far less range.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2011
However, all in all, hy and gas are probably about equal in risk of fire/explosion in this applictaion

-Agreed! Glad we settled that! It all depends on the design as to which will really be safer, and yes, I 100% admit that H2 storage is inherently more expensive than gas storage regardless of the design. That being said, H2 can be designed to be safer than gas... for a price.
-Note also you save in other areas when you use H2. No need for a catalitic converter or muffler, far less oil changes (some don't even use oil), longer life (no carbon build up), tank is pressured so no need for traditional fuel injectors, etc. All in all, an engine running on H2, I SUSPECT, will be much simplier in design... many compromises are made do to the nature of gasoline... H2 is as simple as you can get.

-H2, electric, H2 hybrib, plug-in hybrid running biofuels... all good to me, fossil fuels are not an option in my mind. Although biofuels do nothing for the health issues of fossil fuels.
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (2) May 12, 2011
and you picked a movie statistic when you said how dangerous gas tanks are - whereas it doesn't take a lot of imagination to dream up a scenario with hydrogen where it does mix with air.

I never said anything about gas being any more dangerous, and I reread everything, I never mentioned a statistic regarding the matter. All I said is that only one test has been conducted on real world H2 and gas cars and that test show'd the H2 car to be better, so if you absolutely cannot get by with understanding they are comparable technologies, and you absolutely have to point your fingure and say that one isn't safe, then you simply can't point at the H2 car.

I think this entire thing started because you misunderstood my intent, as I may have of yours. My intent is to debunk those people who are opponents of either H2 or electric because either "H2 is explosive!" or "electric batteries explode", both of which I have heard as a reason to maintain the gasoline system.
Burnerjack
5 / 5 (2) May 12, 2011
Hydrogen powered Ford Pinto's. Oh, the humanity!
Burnerjack
not rated yet May 12, 2011
Ok, How 'bout the Chevy Hindenberg?
To be fair, acytelene is extremely volitile but it to is contained in a "spongey" lattice within the storage tanks used in welding. Haven't heard of one exploding in quite some time. I have been taught that they CAN explode by simply discharging the tank too quickly.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2011
Thanks for the input burnjacker. I think we are all on the same side here, I think the disagreements arose because we were all looking at each other as absolutists or that our statements were absolute. It is very hard to be absolute about anything with only 1000 characters. It is impossible to say gas is safer than H2 or that H2 is safer than gas in an absolute manor because it all depends on design. What we can say, and I hope you agree this is fact, is that only a single test has occured to see which is safer and the hydrogen car won... under different test senarios, gas may very well win there, but I honestly doubt any real comprehensive comparison can be made because they are so closely comparable in regards to safety, both with its unique dangers related to immediate health and safety.
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) May 12, 2011
I'd like to point out that the originally, instead of clarifying my original statement about the expense of hydrogen tanks, you said how explosive gas tanks were, which is incorrect.

That's why I started arguing with you in the first place!

You are right that a hydrogen tank can be designed to be safer than a gas tank, but if you put gas in a hydrogen tank, it would be even safer because gas causes less pressure and has lower volitility. Hydrogen tanks are more expensive because the need to be strong to avoid a pressure explosion (Like a dry ice bomb or popping a balloon)

I'm not so concerned with safety in this argument per se, rather than practicality, but being that gas is more energy dense and easier to work with. I think you can easily prove one way safer than another in a given situation and set up - however I think we've both come to an implied point that the technology used for each would be comparable in relative safety.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 13, 2011
I'd like to point out that the originally, instead of clarifying my original statement about the expense of hydrogen tanks, you said how explosive gas tanks were, which is incorrect.

-Well, I never said that gas is "more explosive". Again, all I said is that if you must point the finger, it would have to be pointed at the gas car because this is what the tests show.

In response to:
As for hydrogen cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb every time you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.


I said:
-As for gaslonine powered cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb everytime you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.


Which I still beleive is a valid response and which meets the intent of implying they are about equal.
bzzzz
not rated yet May 13, 2011
the hydrogen fuel tank would have to be 6000+ psi in order to get the tank size and miles per tank reasonable. A tank breaching crash wouldnt need a flame. it would burst like a bubble. Like a m.o.a.b.(mother of all bombs)(mother of all bubbles)First the breach...... then the gas would flash expand. mega bursting strenth. Very distructive. A spark would just give a more visual shock and WOW!!!!!!! effect
bzzzz
not rated yet May 13, 2011
just produce enough on board to keep the batteries charged in your electric car
bzzzz
not rated yet May 13, 2011
a safe pressure would have the fuel tank as large as the car
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) May 13, 2011
I said:
-As for gaslonine powered cars, there seems to be an issue of a $10,000 fuel tank in order to prevent your car blowing up like a bomb everytime you're rear ended, which has not been adequately solved from an economic point of view.


Which I still beleive is a valid response and which meets the intent of implying they are about equal.


A hydrogen tank has to be made to withstand a lot of pressure. if you made the walls too thin or cheaply, like at the price of a gas tank, you would garantee that it would tear and burst, rather than just puncture like the ones in use will do most commonly. I would assume that they wouldn't do that, but they certainly could. My comment can be true.

You said essentially the same comment about gas tanks "like a bomb every time you're rear ended." Gas tank explosions are extremely rare. So I judged your comment both factually and semantically false.

That's why I believed your comment was invalid.
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) May 13, 2011
So, yes I did say it in a very sensationalist way, which is what set you off, but the way I said it wasn't exactly false (although my number was off by 50%)

And my main point under that was that the expense of implementing that system undermines its practicality.

Not to mention what i learned when i started to research some hard numbers to work with - 80 miles to a tank. Really? that's it? If it can't do better than electric cars, then it certainly isn't going to be competitive.
bzzzz
not rated yet May 13, 2011
a heat engine cycle using nitrogen as the working fluid will smash the hydrogen trans. economy. 78% of our atmosphere is nitrogen
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) May 13, 2011
@eikka
I'm surprised. I thought you were conscientious about research.

The main danger of gasoline is fire not explosion. H2 can collect in wreckage pockets and burn.

"Fuel Fed Fire Statistics
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 300,000 vehicle fires occur annually on our nations highways and roadways. These fires claim the lives of 400 people and injure thousands each year. Fuel fed fires account for a disproportionally large number of these cases of vehicle fire and are thought to be responsible for as many as one in five vehicle fire-related fatalities."

-Tanks of all sizes can and do explode:
http://www.youtub...a_player
http://www.youtub...a_player

"Ford's Pinto also sparked controversy for putting the gas tank in a poorly reinforced area which can cause deadly fires and explosions if the car got into a rear end collision, costing Ford US$125 million."
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) May 13, 2011
Here's a goody:
http://www.youtub...a_player

-Apparently this can happen when the temp exceeds the ignition temp of petrol.

-Oh. I see it was a movie set. My mistake. Let me keep looking. I have actually seen this myself at night.
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) May 14, 2011
@ ghost - I read Eikka's comments, and mine are similar to his. I think you need to read his comments again, because no one is debating that both gas and hydrogen are flammable.

Also, pintos are what, 30-40 years old now. Really?

The debate was on explosions, not fire. Modern cars rarely explode, although anecdotally, I believe that car fires are relatively common.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) May 14, 2011
?

The debate was on explosions, not fire. Modern cars rarely explode, although anecdotally, I believe that car fires are relatively common.
Yah I know what you were discussing and I thought the gist of it was which substance was more dangerous in vehicles? Gas tanks can explode after a fire heats them up to ignition temp. I suppose the same would happen to compressed H2 if a fire increased internal pressure to the failure point of the tank but the valve would most likely fail first creating a torch.

You'll note in the one video how a gas fire streams downhill and ignites several cars. H2 has the propensity to collect in pockets as it rises which can be of concern under bridges, in tunnels and parking garages.

Explosive potential is minor compared to fire in vehicles and storage facilities. Gasoline is far more dangerous in this respect. And I was kind enough to provide explosion statistics. And I am otto.
pauljpease
not rated yet May 14, 2011
-Who said anything about fuel cells?

If you would have done your studies, you would know that fuel cell is more effective at converting hydrogen to electricity (EL) than is ICE converting it to EL or movement. Besides it has no moving parts, which is also plus compared to ICE.


Also, combustion with air (80% nitrogen), due to the high temperatures, inevitably leads to production of nitrogen oxides, a major pollutant.
jfd5xte
not rated yet May 15, 2011
Agree with Pokerdice in request for Moderation.

Also, arguments about hypothetical commercial, production hydrogen cars is pointless because no car manufacturer has put one on the market yet. When/If one hits the market, then there will be some concrete discussion points.

Electric cars are currently on the market... and they suck... badly vs. gasoline. Even at $4/gal, I wouldn't come close to buying one.

The trouble with this ENTIRE argument is that neither new technology: neither Electric nor Hydrogen is ready for mass production, mass market. There is not enough Lithium in the world for Li-Ion batteries-- and Lead batteries is obviously not the solution either. Better batteries haven't been made available yet-- so we'll have to wait and see.

So, why on earth are we having this argument again? Nobody is ready to raise the "Mission Accomplished" banner yet. And if they think we are, then they are both woefully mistaken, and deliberately trying to deceive.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
Gas tank explosions are extremely rare.

So are hydrogen explosions. Look, they design the H2 enclosure so that it can be handled and is fairly tough, they don't do this for a gas tank.

There is not enough Lithium in the world for Li-Ion batteries

-That simply isn't true, there is more than enough. Plus, it can easily be recycled.
antialias
not rated yet May 16, 2011
Just check out what a car looks like after a gasoline fire and after a hydrogen fire. I know which one I'd rather be in.

evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=482
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
Just check out what a car looks like after a gasoline fire and after a hydrogen fire. I know which one I'd rather be in.

evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=482

I agree, If all I cared about was safety in my cars, I would drive a hydrogen car because the tests have shown these to be safer, regardless and preciselly because it is a well designed pressurized tank. And yes, cost for H2 car is comparable to a gas car because, even though you spend more for things like fuel storage, you don't have to spend a lot of money designing your engine to handle the filth associated with fermented dead dinosaur fuel. As long as you folks stop saying H2 is not viable because it isn't safe, I'm happy; but I keep hearing it from you so we go on. H2 is viable, electric is viable. Which is preferable? Tough choice at the moment for me, but I am leaning towards electric as the prefered option (at least until I see a plug-in hybrid H2 car, which we could build tomorrow if we wanted to).
antialias
not rated yet May 16, 2011
Currently I'm leaning toward an electric car, too. Might get one after I move a bit closer to my place of work for that daily commute - and keep my current car mothballed for those occasional long distance trips. If I read my boss correctly he'll be putting up a few recharge stations shortly.

The only real danger I can see from hydrogen cars is the resultant water which will be splashed all over the roads. We might have to deal with permanently icy roads in the winter.
gunslingor1
1 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
The only real danger I can see from hydrogen cars is the resultant water which will be splashed all over the roads. We might have to deal with permanently icy roads in the winter.

-This shouldn't really concern you much. For most H2 cars, most of the water comes as steam and a few drops condense and fall on the roads. If it were to become an issue, a very simple condenser and water holder would solve the issue. We may need to end up doing this anyway, I'm not sure, it depends what effect the added water vapor has on our climate with 6B people driing H2 cars; though honestly, I don't think that is going to be an issue either, H2O is a greenhouse gas, but our atmospher has a much higher concentration of H2O than CO2, so we should have a lot more round to play. If that becomes an issue, the condenser would solve it.

Yeah, and I don't think fuel cells are the way to go. Way to much loss of performance, H2 internal combustion engine I like more.

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