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Transportation Power

German Automakers Working On Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech ( 121

An anonymous reader writes: For the past several years, Japan has been trying to encourage development of hydrogen fuel cell technology for cars. Now it seems some German manufacturers are getting interested as well. "Audi used last week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit to debut its h-tron Quattro fuel cell SUV concept, and the UK's Autocar is reporting that Mercedes-Benz has green-lit for production a fuel cell version of its GLC SUV." The Audi vehicle has a range of roughly 600km. BMW has been working on this problem too: "For quite a while, the company was experimenting with internal combustion engines that used H2 instead of the traditional hydrocarbon fuel. More recently, it showed us an i8 and 5 Series powered by fuel cells, although neither is set for production."
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German Automakers Working On Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech

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  • Just don't mention the War...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fruviad ( 5032 )

      Just be sure to test the fuel cells using ONLY the German tests. Independent tests may show different results.

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @12:23PM (#51322511)

    2004 - Audi A2H2-hybrid vehicle
    2009 - Audi Q5-FCEV[1]
    2014 - Audi A7 h-tron quattro

    2010 - BMW 1 Series Fuel-cell hybrid electric[2]
    2012 - BMW_i8 fuel-cell prototype[3][4]
    2015 - BMW 5-Series Grand Turismo fuel-cell prototype[5]

    3 Mercedes-Benz F-Cells completed a 125-day around the world drive in 2011
    1994 - Mercedes-Benz NECAR 1
    1996 - Mercedes-Benz NECAR 2
    1997 - Mercedes-Benz NECAR 3
    1999 - Mercedes-Benz NECAR 4
    2000 - Mercedes-Benz NECAR 5
    2002 - Mercedes-Benz F-Cell based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class
    2005 - Mercedes-Benz F600 Hygenius
    2009 - Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Roadster
    2009 - Mercedes-Benz F-Cell based on the Mercedes-Benz B-Class[6]
    2013 - Ford Motor Company, Daimler AG, Renault and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. are expected to launch in 2017.

    2000 - VW Bora Hy-motion-Fuel cell
    2002 - VW Bora Hy-power-Fuel cell
    2004 - VW Touran Hy-motion-Fuel cell
    2007 - VW space up! blue
    2008 - VW Passat Lingyu Hymotion[21]
    2014 - VW Golf Hymotion

    Thanks for the non story asshats

    • Automakers seem to have recurring amnesia about what a terrible idea hydrogen-powered cars are (See this post. []).

      The cycle goes like this:

      1. Develop hydrogen cars! They're totally the future you guys!
      2. Realize they're a terrible idea surrounded by better alternatives.
      3. Wait 5~15 years
      4. Forget 2
      5. GOTO 1

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm holding out for the fuel-cell powered Unimog.

  • News? Daimler-Benz has been doing this since the 70ies - at least.

  • Again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @12:27PM (#51322541)

    What's wrong with these automakers? Haven't they figured out by now that hydrogen is a total waste of time and effort? They tried this silliness back in the 90s and it went nowhere. It's a terrible fuel. It doesn't occur in nature like oil, so you have to use electricity to generate it (like by hydrolysis of water), and it's horrible for storage and handling because it's such a lightweight gas, unlike gasoline and diesel which are relatively easily-handled liquids; you have to have a highly pressurized tank to hold it, and leakage is a problem because hydrogen molecules are so small, so you're not going to get great range, and you've got a highly pressurized tank of highly combustible gas in your vehicle, which is a really bad thing if you have a crash.

    The future is electric cars, not hydrogen, and the intermediate step is hybrids. Tesla has already proven EVs work great, and only need cheaper batteries to be practical for the commuting masses, and the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius have proven that hybrids are practical now.

    • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by james_shoemaker ( 12459 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @12:34PM (#51322587)

      H2 fuel cells are being investigated as they are a way to get an electric car without the problems of a battery electric car. Battery electric cars still have the issue of long long charge times.

      • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Motard ( 1553251 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @12:45PM (#51322681)

        Plus, Teslas (for instance) are always dragging around an extra 1000lbs.

        • You're going to be dragging around a 1000 lb. tank to get any useful range out of a hydrogen car if you want it to be remotely survivable in a crash.

          • by Motard ( 1553251 )

            You're going to be dragging around a 1000 lb. tank to get any useful range out of a hydrogen car if you want it to be remotely survivable in a crash.

            Check the curb weight of a Tesla Model S and the Honda Clarity FCV. Tesla is 1000lbs heavier.

            Toyota shot their tank with a variety of weapons. It took an armor piercing round to get it to fail. And then the hydrogen simply leaked out.

            • by mspohr ( 589790 )

              The Clarity is a smaller car. Shorter, not as wide, shorter wheelbase, seats only 4, not 5 like the Tesla. Less storage space. Not comparable at all.

            • LOL. You really want to compare these 2? Fcx is 3/4 of the price of a MS. The fcx seats 4, has a little bitty trunk, does 0-60 in 10 seconds, uses fuel more expensive than gasoline, and has less than 20 refueling stations in all of America. Otoh, the MS seats 5-7, still has large frunck as well as trunck for 5 seater. Does 0-60 in less than 1/2 of the time( and that is the cheapest version ). Has over 10,000 'fueling stations' in America, not including the home's plugs. Lh2 has absolutely no use in Americ
          • Not quite. The H2 tanks are hefty, no arguing that, but the energy density of 700 bar Type III tanks is already far higher than the best Li-Po battery.

            • Batteries don't need energy density that high. The conversion efficiency of H2 to torque isn't nearly as high as it is for battery-stored electricity in an induction motor.

            • 10,000psi tanks in every car. What could go wrong?

        • Tesla weighs between 4,647 to 4,830 lbs.
          Mercedes S class between 4,707 to 4,806 lbs.

          I guess that means that the Mercedes has 950 lbs back seat cup holders.

      • Teslas can get 170 miles worth of charge in 30 minutes at their Superchargers. For people who take normal rest stops for meals and bathroom breaks, that's not a big problem. And with the huge range they have when fully charged, they have more than enough range for anyone who isn't doing a long road trip, meaning anyone who's a commuter or other normal car user can use them right now without worrying about range (then rent a gas car for road trips).

        • by Motard ( 1553251 )

          Teslas can get 170 miles worth of charge in 30 minutes at their Superchargers..

          FCVs are going twice that far and refuel in 4 minutes. The Teslas may be able to partially charge in 30 minutes, but what happens when all the charging stations are in use?

          • Oh man. You are a crack-up. How many Tesla use charging stations more than once a month? Fewer than 5%. Most everybody charges at home. Keep in mind that 98% of all passenger vehicle trips are less than 100 miles. In fact, nearly all Tesla drivers comment on the lack of lost time due to having to go to charging stations weekly or more. Fcv HAVE to go to fueling stations. Always.
        • I saw a couple electric chargers I didn't know about the other day. A couple people were chatting about it, one was remarking that the cars parked next to it were non electric.
          That's the current state of the art, before hardly anyone is owning personal electric cars.
          Might work in the stereotypical american town with square kilometers of parking lots but that's it.

      • by orzetto ( 545509 )

        The charge times are a factor, but mostly it's cost, cost, cost!

        Batteries are economically unsustainable: Li-ion batteries (the type with high energy density that you need in any battery vehicle) cost about 500 $/kWh. You can expect it to drop somewhat through the next decades, say to 300 in 2050, but they are already being mass-produced and unless a significant, revolutionary breakthrough happens, this technology has already delivered what it can.

        Hydrogen storage, instead, costs about 12 $/kWh, much cheape

        • Lol. Tesla and LG are already well below 200/kwh. In fact, gm claimed that lg was below 145/kwh and approaching tesla's costs. Tesla is thought to be below 125/kwh, and says that they will be well below 99/kwh by 2020. So not even close to your rant.
        • And the rest of your rant is way off again. First off, Tesla and LG are thought to have much higher cycles. It is already known that first gen Tesla batteries in roadster went to about 150k before hitting 85% capacity. Now MS has several cars with 125k and are still around 95% capacity. However, where will the fuel cell on fcv be by 100k miles? They will be in the trash because they have to be replaced every 50k miles or so. Then lets add the fact that 96% of all hydrogen in the world comes not from elect
      • Yes, they avoid the problems of batteries, but add the much worse problems with fuel cells and storing hydrogen. The charge time is quicker, but they are worse than batteries in most other ways.

    • The cheapest way to produce large amounts of hydrogen is by hydrocarbon fractionation This process starts with, wait for it, natural gas. It also produces CO2 which is a powerful greenhouse gas.

      • Yep. On top of that, you're using energy to create the hydrogen in the first place, then when you burn the hydrogen in a piston engine, you're limited to the Carnot efficiency, and again are wasting most of the energy as heat. So your overall system efficiency is going to be crap, even worse in fact than with gasoline.

        At least with electric cars, the biggest source of inefficiency is the power plant itself, but there you have flexibility as you can use any power source, whether it's shitty, nasty coal, nu

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You're aware H2 vehicles react the hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell in a process that makes all other forms of electricity generation look horrible, right? You don't actually burn it. No, the biggest problem today with fuel cell is that they typically use something like platinum as a catalyst and there's physically not enough platinum in the world to convert the worlds vehicle fleet to fuel cell. If they can figure out a more common catalyst, and possibly a better way to make H2 that doesn't involve m

          • Why not use the methane directly, then? Or turn it into methanol.

      • Also, hydrogen is an intermediate in the Haber process for producing ammonia for fertilizer. You are essentially burning food.

    • Only Rube Goldberg can build the necessary infrastructure for this. It is totally unreasonable, unless they're making flying cars for outer space.

    • so you have to use electricity to generate it (like by hydrolysis of water)

      Most hydrogen is made by steam reforming [] of NG, not by electrolysis. Although, if people are going to recharge at home, then electrolysis of water is most likely the way to go.

      EVs work great, and only need cheaper batteries to be practical

      HFCs work great, and only need better fuel tanks to be practical.

      Maybe a trillion dollar industry can explore more than one option.

    • The hydrogen is absorbed in a medium, it's not just pressurized like air or nitrogen. So the overall pressure is lower and in the case of an accident it won't all come out at once Hollywood style. It's roughly about as dangerous as gasoline. Lithium batteries can fail spectacularly in accidents as well, doubly so in a fire. Really there is no way around storing massive amounts of energy in the vehicle unless you build out an even more ridiculous power delivery system in roads making the hydrogen issue
    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      Ideally, the best fuel would be something with a high energy per volume, such as the Audi-made synthetic diesel (e-diesel) from CO2 in the air, or perhaps ethanol. Something that doesn't need anything more significant than a liquid storage tank, as opposed to what is needed for CNG, or even LP gas. Cars get into wrecks, and who knows what might puncture the gas tank, so having a complex system is nice, but if it takes out a city block if the vehicle using it gets rear-ended, it isn't workable.

      Then comes t

      • As the subject says -- "fuel cell" -- that means no IC engine hydrogen and oxygen (from air) produce water and electricity directly. No Carnot cycle, no moving parts. After that the drive train is electric, just like a battery car.

        You can make hydrogen by electrolysis, which is not so efficient, but you can do it whereever and whenever you have cheap electricity. Alternatively if you have methane that you are allowed to burn (whether it's natural gas or from rotting sewage) you can make hydrogen pretty che

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      So there is no energy input to refine oil into gasoline? You don't think technology has improved over the past few decades?

      I'm not going to refute many of your points, however saying that it didn't work in the '90s for these reasons doesn't mean it cannot work better now. Enough auto makers are pursuing it (and some have had cars on the road for years) that maybe they can make something that is efficient.
    • I think the idea is to use hydrogen as an energy storage alternative to batteries. The problem with batteries is that the basically suck. Sure, they suck a lot less than they used to but they are heavy, expensive, and take a long time to charge.

      The (over-)simplified system with batteries is:
      power source -> electricity distribution network -> charge battery -> power motor

      The charge battery step is the long one. Even though EVs with a few hundred miles of range will work

    • by pkphilip ( 6861 )

      What's wrong with these automakers? Haven't they figured out by now that hydrogen is a total waste of time and effort?

      That is actually not true. There are definite advantages with Hydrogen fuel cells..

      a) The amount of weight that the cars need to lug around comes down a lot with fuel cells.

      b) Recharging EVs at home will become an issue over time especially in apartment complexes because the apartment complex will need to draw huge amounts of power from the grid to make this happen and these chargers will have to be installed in every parking bay etc.

      c) Refueling can be done pretty quickly. With EVs, even with fast chargers

      • c) Refueling can be done pretty quickly. With EVs, even with fast chargers, it will still take about an hour to get enough charge to go for 100 miles.

        Tesla Superchargers can charge 170 miles' worth in 30 minutes.

  • I'm so happy to hear about this company working on a new, revolutionary automotive technology breakthrough! I hope it's as game changing as their wonderful fuel-efficient, clean burning, high torque producing diesel engines!
  • get the H2 from a panel, like a solar panel, but with a chemical solution (not an electrical solar module). Does anybody know how big such a panel would be, to drive a H2 car for about 100km/week, like in california sun regions?
  • Hydrogen gives you the high up-front vehicle costs of an EV, the ongoing fuel costs of an ICE car, currently it gives you the fuel sourcing environmental problems of an ICE (look up where most hydrogen comes from today), and the fuel transportation and storage problems of...hydrogen.

    Hydrogen cars are only missing the vehicle emissions problems and complexity of an ICE, and the range and refueling time problems of a current EV to be the worst of all worlds in all areas.

    • It's a lot more ludicrous [] than you describe. Between production, distribution, and usage, the hydrogen economy is a complete non-starter (like your fuel-cell car after taking its first sniff of atmospheric O2).
  • good news I'm always waiting for the latest blog posts. I created the blog because I was inspired by this blog. This is my blog Download Lagu Terbaru []
  • Is it feasible to build these engines such that they can run on several types of gaseous fuels - CNG and H2 and perhaps others like Propane? Flexibility in the fuel cycle could be a way to introduce H2 if large-scale manufacturing of it becomes worthwhile.

    What's supposed to be the point of H2 fuel anyway, as far as cars are concerned? More convenient for fuel cells than Xanols?

    • Is it feasible to build these engines such that they can run on several types of gaseous fuels - CNG and H2 and perhaps others like Propane?

      Probably not. You would probably need a variable compression engine to add in H2. CNG or LPG dual-fuel is a simpler retrofit, "all" you need is to add injectors and nozzles and program the computer to handle it, or add another computer. As the VAG smog fiasco demonstrates, you can have multiple sets of maps in the PCM, so it's no problem to switch to different maps for a different fuel. You would also need a PCM with enough injector driver outputs to run a second set of injectors, or some sort of switching

      • Impressive, you've explained how to do it and described the issues which will be encountered!

        So H2 fuel introduces new limiting factors; therefore let me reorganize my question: With an engine designed to burn H2 fuel, like the ones mentioned in the original post, is it feasible to make cost-effective modifications such that it could also burn more conventional carbon-based gases?

  • The longer it takes Germany to refocus their efforts on EVs only, the bigger that Tesla , Google, apple, and Faraday will grow. For them to start up and survive, they need a new part of the industry that the main streams are ignoring.
  • I thought you guys were supposed to know shit. You don't need a tank of hydrogen to power a hydrogen fuel cell. THIS IS NOT NEWS. []
  • good news I'm always waiting for the latest blog posts. I created the blog because I was inspired by this blog. This is my blog Download Lagu Terbaru []

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