Toyota Just Doubled-Down on a Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV Future

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by DooKey, May 25, 2018.

  1. DooKey

    DooKey [H]ardness Supreme

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    Hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles seem to be what most automakers and consumers are looking for when they want to go green. However, Toyota hasn't given up on their idea of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and is predicting a tenfold increase in sales by 2020. This isn't a huge number of cars, but the fact that a hydrogen refueling infrastructure only exists in California kind of limits what they can do. All I can say is go for it, Toyota. If we can expand the infrastructure to other states and bring costs down this could be a very legitimate competitor to plug-ins. As a matter of fact I think the advantage of quick refueling is a major advantage for hydrogen fuel cells. Bring on the competition.

    Fuel cell electrification takes advantage of the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. The only output is pure water, in fact, which the Mirai vents from a small port underneath the car. The hydrogen itself is stored in a high-pressure tank, which Toyota says can absorb five times the crash energy of steel without rupturing. A full tank is enough for 312 miles of range, and can be refilled in around five minutes.
     
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  2. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    No, I've seen the terminator movies, I know what those things could do if ruptured!
     
  3. Drakeniir

    Drakeniir [H]Lite

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    Pshht. You groundlings just don't understand the elegance of my hydrogen airship. Four wheels on the ground? Preposterous!
     
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  4. BHenry

    BHenry Limp Gawd

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    I’d hope that hydrogen gets cheaper because it is more expensive to fill up with that than gas. Though you get so many years free from Toyota unless that has changed.

    Hydrogen price example
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  5. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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  6. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    Hydrogen is not the answer. Pure EV will win out as batteries are an exponential technology.

    If people think batteries are dangerous just wait until you have pounds of pressurized hydrogen under your feet!
     
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  7. nightanole

    nightanole [H]ard|Gawd

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    So 6 times more expensive, and last time i checked converting water to hydrogen using electricity was horribly inefficient.
     
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  8. nightanole

    nightanole [H]ard|Gawd

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    Vs lion cells that have their own oxidizer?
     
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  9. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    The main benefit of going electric is disconnecting yourself from the refueling industry and their price gouging. That and fully electric cars need much less maintenance than gas powered cars. Hydrogen doesn't come from clean sources, and electrolysis is a inefficient method. Electricity on the other hand is really easy to create, and can be clean if you want. Electric motors are fast and efficient as well.

    The only reason to look at hydrogen fuel is to make big oil happy. Tesla took away BMW's and Mercedes spot light, so Toyota maybe next.
     
  10. Retronym

    Retronym Something big is coming.

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    Just as long as they continue to make the land cruiser.
     
  11. PigLover

    PigLover [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hydrogen for transportation use is new and costs will come down. Yet to be proven that production costs can go down enough to make it competitive with ICE or BEV.

    On the renewability comments above: today, the CA Fuel Cell Partnership requires that stations in their subsidy program deliver at least 33% "renewable" hydrogen, either using electricity from Solar or Wind to to generate the H2 or using newer direct solar conversion technologies. While a great goal, this requirement actually explains part of why the current retail pump price is so high compared to other commercial hydrogen prices. So clearly the economics are still speculative and the fuel network only survives on the state subsidy. But this is not uncommon with new technologies.

    Several commercial-scale demonstration projects of direct-solar 100% renewable hydrogen production are underway. An interesting problem with doing this at scale is that the process still requires water. Reliable sunshine and the land required to collect it are found in the western deserts - the water required to refine H2 isn't. Obviously lots of work left to make this viable.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  12. seanreisk

    seanreisk Gawd

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    Hydrogen might be expensive, but it has a lot of zero-pollution advantages that pure electricity doesn't have. When people only talk about price they miss the big picture:

    Hydrogen is much easier to store than electricity. If you produce an excess of electricity you can put it into industrial battery farms, but it's doubtful that battery capacity is ever going to be greater than 24 hours of need.

    Hydrogen can be moved through pipelines without loss, although there is some energy loss returning it to a liquid form for storage.

    Hydrogen for fuel cells works with atmospheric oxygen, not liquid oxygen. Those videos of rocket explosions are misleading, because it's the volatile liquid oxygen that is causing the hyper expansion and bleve. Commercial compressed hydrogen is actually safer than gasoline.

    In my part of the country, the Pacific Northwest, we have a huge hydropower infrastructure (dams) for providing electricity. Since the 1990's we've lost a lot of efficiency in the dams because water needs to be spilled during the seasons when electricity demand is low (in particular, the fall) to maintain the natural salmon and steelhead runs. Sometimes these releases are so great there isn't enough water in the reservoir to profitably make power during the high demand seasons. But a hydropower system could easily be converted to make electricity and convert it to hydrogen for storage, meaning that you could protect your salmon runs and still store power for later in the season.


    There is enough renewable energy potential in this country that we don't need coal or gas power plants. Once we start to reach that peak we can look at using excess electricity to make hydrogen. With an oversized electrical capacity hydrogen could become a waste product, drastically reducing it's cost.
     
  13. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    Supply and demand. Hydrogen is expensive because there's not a lot of commercial use for it. Most of the current supply is generated as a byproduct of oil/gas production.

    In a hydrogen economy you could use whatever energy source is availible to maintain a hydrogen reserve. You could use unreliable solar/wind as long as you had enough capacity to maintain the reserve.
     
  14. pentiumiiislota

    pentiumiiislota Limp Gawd

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    This seems very exciting since i think most electric vehicles claim around 100 miles of range on a charge.
     
  15. Zumino Zufeilon

    Zumino Zufeilon Gawd

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    The honest answer is Electric has some fundamental physical limitations that will be probably impossible to overcome. Only so fast you can charge the batteries without damaging them, and at the end of the day, the batteries are rather dirty to make.

    Hydrogen Fuel Cells overcome most of those (though they have their own problems, storage being a big one).

    The reality is Hydrogen/Fuel cells actually represent one of the possible energy storage routes that could make large scale solar/wind more viable.

    Overproduce when possible, power the grid, and use the rest to electrolize water.
    Save the H2, store it, and when the wind/solar goes off line, the Fuel Cells can have an instant response that is needed for grid applications.

    Also, the process is completely source independent. Doesn't matter where the electricity comes from. We figure out Fusion, cool beans, can be used to electrolize water, Solar not viable where you live, Wind/Hydro/Geo/Biomass can be used for electricity generation.

    Lastly, for cars, no exhaust gases, and you can pull up and refill in 5 minutes, getting another 300 miles.



    At the end of the day, long term, I think Hydrogen is the only real viable option. I think electrics/plug-in hybrids are great in-between's, and all the electric tech is directly applicable to Fuel Cell vehicles, but they aren't long term sustainable. Hydrogen might be.
     
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  16. clockdogg

    clockdogg Gawd

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    I'm waiting for Helium Fuel Cells. Not only will it be environmentally-friendly to power my clown car, but could sell party balloons out of the trunk to the grumpy bastards in their gas/hybrid/EVs when stuck in gridlock.
     
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  17. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Bingo. As unobjectionable as a Prius or Tesla seem, battery production (lithium ion in particular) is horrible for the environment, is not sustainable if production really kicks up, as is politically troublesome because the biggest lithium deposits are in Chile and Bolivia AFAIK.

    It's like oil all over again, except the oil is in a endangered rainforest.

    While it has issues (efficiency is a big one), hydrogen is not nearly as resource intensive to store, and it can never run out. The transition for auto makers is also eased by the fact that you can burn hydrogen in an internal combustion engine, just like gas (though a fuel cell + electric motor makes more sense most of the time).
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  18. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    New tech is always going to be more expensive that old tech, otherwise the old would be rapidly replace. Look at EVs it took gas getting to stupid high amounts before the electricity cost made them feasible, then enter the electric company if you live in places like California to spank you for using too much, and poof no longer affordable unless gas takes another huge hike. Same can be said for wind and solar power, in many places (not named California) electricity is so damn cheap that they arent economically viable
     
  19. griffinhart

    griffinhart [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hydrogen Cell based vehicles ARE electric vehicles. They use the same electric motors that an EV uses. The difference is where the electricity is produced. It can come from the power grid and stored in batteries, or it can be generated by a fuel cell from the hydrogen stored in the vehicle.

    Hydrogen typically doesn't come from a "clean source" because the cheapest way to generate it is from natural gas, but it certainly isn't limited to it. It can also be generated through hydrolysis. It is possible to have a nuclear plant generate electricity and during periods of off peak power usage generate hydrogen. It can also be created from bio materials and even solar. It also doesn't require rare earth elements, mining etc. Making batteries is not generally a green process.

    Hydrogen is pretty safe too. It's actually safer than gasoline. People often associate hydrogen as being super dangerous because of the Hindenburg disaster, though the real problem was the aluminum oxide paint used on the airship. There are also a lot of good possibilities of hydrogen storage other than high pressure tanks.
    https://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/dangerous-hydrogen-fuel2.htm

    With batteries, fires cause significant challenges for fire fighters and EV's have been known to re-ignite days after the fire was put out.
    https://electrek.co/2018/05/10/tesl...ng-fire-crash-ntsb-investigate-fire-response/

    In my mind, the biggest advantage is the convenience factor. Running low on fuel? Just like a conventional car, it only takes a few minutes to fuel up and be on your way. The big challenge right now is distribution. We just don't have the facilities out there, but that isn't insurmountable.

    Currently, fuel cells are expensive though. A battery powered EV is cheaper right now, but fuel cell vehicles have much more potential than batteries.
     
  20. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    You are a victim of or are deliberately spreading misinformation. They extract Lithium-rich brine water out of the ground and evaporate the water. There was an effort some years ago to make it look dirty compared to 'clean' fracking and horizontal drilling, but it's BS.

    Cobalt production is the dirtiest part, but it doesn't take very much per battery.
     
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  21. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's just like saying electric isn't clean cause coal power, but it can be clean if it's from wind power or solar. But electric is cheap where hydrogen is not.
    You're using electricity to generate hydrogen, but that electric power would be better used to charge a battery and power a car, simply because electrolysis is inefficient.


    Gasoline is safer cause gasoline doesn't explode. You need to atomize gasoline with air to get an explosion, and that's a hard thing to do. Hydrogen though needs to be in a very strong tank because it doesn't take much to make it go boom. Batteries do go boom, but in Tesla's they just catch on fire.



    Keep in mind there's only 31 hydrogen refueling stations in USA. Most are in California. Electricity is everywhere. It won't be long before we can recharge our cars in 5 minutes, cause the technology is progressing.
     
  22. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Main problem with an electric car is the batteries.
    Dirty and inefficient to build, slow to charge and expensive to replace when the wear out.
    All negatives in my opinion.

    Plus all you are doing is switching from the oil industry to the electrical generation industry. Both are equally guilty of price gouging here in California.

    I'll stick with hybrids for now. Small battery that's much cheaper to replace (if it ever wears out), no range issues, no waiting hours for the battery to charge, only a small price premium over an ICE car, and almost 2x the mileage around town.

    Just wish they would stop shrinking the gas tanks on the hybrids.
    Love the 600+ mile range on my Hybrid Camry. (17 gallon tank, 40mph*15 gallons = 600 miles)
    I can go weeks between filling the tank. :D
     
  23. griffinhart

    griffinhart [H]ard|Gawd

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    You said hydrogen doesn't come from a clean source, I was pointing out, while it's currently mostly from natural gas due to it being a cheaper source, it isn't limited to that. I never made the claim that electricity can't be clean.

    You are, but storing hydrogen is far more environmentally friendly than creating batteries. Like folks have pointed out. Making batteries is pretty bad for the environment.

    Gasoline is more dangerous because its vapor is very explosive. A gasoline leak is far more dangerous than a hydrogen leak because the vapors are heavier than air and will linger, creating a higher likelihood of a fire or explosion. Hydrogen tends to find the quickest way up and out and doesn't linger as it is lighter than air.

    Those Tesla's that catch fire also can't be put out with water. They are a much harder thing to deal with.


    [/quote]
    And I pointed out that the distribution infrastructure isn't currently there. That said, Electricity may be everywhere, but that doesn't mean it is accessible everywhere. Charging stations aren't ubiquitous yet and there is a large portion of the population that simply wouldn't have access to charging stations at home. Apartment dwellers immediately come to mind. People that need to use on-street parking as well.

    I'm not saying that Battery powered cars are evil or anything. I'm simply saying that Fuel Cell technology has much more potential than batteries.
     
  24. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    Pressurized hydrogen immediately rushes out and rises whereas gas hangs around as a fire hazard.

    Most of the current FUD about hydrogen and electric vehicles emerged from less enthusiastic members of the auto industry back when the G.W. Bush administration started investing in these hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles. Unfortunately the lies about the supposed dangers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles or supposedly dirty lithium ion battery production have stuck around in the popular consciousness. I used to believe it, too.
     
  25. Zepharus

    Zepharus Gawd

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    Hydrogen Fuel cells ARE the answer. tbh plug in and EV is a stop gap that the masses just follow like Lemmings.

    Fuel cells are clean, getting safer and independant of a plug. Where do you think that electricity these fools are plugging into come from? YUP COAL burning plants! lemmings...
     
  26. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    I mean I've said it more than a few times now, I firmly don't believe EV's are the future..or at least the next several decades future. While they are fine for some situations, the drawbacks batteries have are well documented and just do not work in certain areas. Hybrids of various types I firmly believe are the future. This bridges the gap between being super efficient and having a backup system to cover most of the drawbacks batteries have.
     
  27. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thing is hydrogen is already expensive. It costs about $70 to refill a Toyota Mirai, where a Tesla will only cost you $15 on your electrical bill to recharge it, depending on the cost of electricity in your area. You won't get a clean source if the cheapest unclean source is $70.

    Is it though? The electrical efficiency of creating hydrogen is 70-80% while a Tesla car battery is 92% efficient. That does not include the efficiency of hydrogen fuel which is certainly also not 100%. Overall you're using twice as much electricity to power a Toyota Mirai than you are using a Tesla. In a perfect world where everything is solar or wind powered, this wouldn't be a problem, and even if you were you'd still need batteries to store that energy. You are literally wasting twice as much electricity for a vehicle that isn't fast at all, just to make refueling companies happy.

    https://insideevs.com/hydrogen-fuel-cell-toyota-mirai-energy-efficiency-compared-to-bevs/

    fcv-ev.jpg

    Hydrogen is already a vapor which is why it ignites really easily, while gasoline needs to be a vapor which is harder than you think. To illustrate my point hydrogen is stored in heavy duty tanks while gasoline is usually stores in plastic containers. The Tesla batteries are just covered with a metal sheet for protection from rocks.


    Most of what you said can be solved by running an extension cord outside your home. Apartments just need charging stations in their garages, and Tesla already has plenty of supercharge stations around. Hydrogen though requires a massive infrastructure that isn't going to happen.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  28. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    We know bullets shot at containers don't make them explode. Video game logic doesn't apply to the real world. But hydrogen tanks do explode.

     
  29. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    So do gas stations...



    Any fuel is dangerous. The real-world evidence indicates that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are actually safer than ICE vehicles.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  30. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    Solar for me ;)
    -before your retort yes i do charge from my house during the day so it is directly from my panels

    Hydrogen i wonder where that comes from? Oh right petrol. Let's keep drilling because that's a limitless resources. Oh wait! Let's get it from pure drinkable water so that we can now decide to drink/live or drive! :rolleyes:

    For someone who calls others lemmings your ability to analyze shows you to be the lemming.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  31. Reimu

    Reimu [H]ard|Gawd

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    Lemmings? In BC Canada, where we export electricity to CA, OR and WA, 97% of electricity is from hydro. It is actually more costly to build electrolytic plants to produce hydrogen here given that BC has no major hydrocarbon industry.

    It is just a matter of what makes sense in the given jurisdiction.

    I dont think there is a one size fits all answer. Frankly, hybrids are compromise to BEV and ICE and we know that ICE is the best choice for long distance commute. Hell, if the highways are fully electrified as with some rail infrastructure, then we wouldnt even be here discussing this enormous headache that is energy storage density!
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  32. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Gasoline needs a certain mixture of air otherwise it can't ignite. For example my leaf blower wouldn't ignite the gas cause the piston rings were stuck to the piston, and therefore wouldn't compress the air to ignite the fuel. That doesn't mean it won't explode, but a gas tank would need to be leaking gas and be on fire, which will make the gasoline turn into a gas and atomize then mix with the air. There's your explosion. If you've ever tried to fill a tire using the starter fluid trick you need to make sure that spray nozzle is making a fine mist otherwise no boom. BTW that's a fun and quicker way to put a tire on a rim. :)

    Hydrogen is already in a gas state, and therefore would just need to be exposed to air for a boom. A hole in the tank would at best create a flame thrower, but if the tank were cracked open and all the gas was let out at once, then yes it'll go boom. It's hard to do, but stupid people find a way. Lets say a H2 tank in a Toyota were to leak and fill the cabin with hydrogen, and the sunlight ignites it. God forbid people don't end up driving these cars for 20-25 years and then the tanks leak out due to bad seals or rusty valves. A leaky gas tank is not a big deal. Tesla cars don't go boom cause you would need to overcharge or quickly discharge a battery for this to happen. There are two cases of an explosion but that's not bad considering how many of those cars are on the road. They catch fire, but going boom is not so easy.



     
  33. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    I was mislead.