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Old 06-28-2008, 04:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Gasoline & Fuel Cells

While gasoline to Hydrogen fuel reformers are not new technology...

This Company:
http://www.nuvera.com/products/star.php

plans on using it as a stepping stone.

The idea is that they can use a fuel reformer to convert 80% of the energy of gasoline into hydrogen for a fuel cell to then convert to electricity to then power the electric motor to then move the car... the expected net efficiency of the system is over 40% which is better than a gasoline combustion engine can do... about 20% to 30% more of the gasoline energy to the wheels than a combustion engine can do.

Now I think the ideal would a stepping stone if the world is so hell bent on hydrogen... is a PHEV version of this... you have EV range ~20+ miles batteries can be charged from the grid or your own private green renewable energy source if you have it... when you go further distances the fuel cell can convert hydrogen if you have it to electricity very cleanly... if you don't have hydrogen you can use the same system with gasoline.... at least until more green electricity or hydrogen is around for you to fill up with.

Unfortunately such a multi-tasking system will cost allot more than other systems...

I also personally still prefer to go to more RE powered EVs and PHEVs ... but if you need a stepping stone this might offer one to improve the efficiency of using the energy of gasoline.

heck 20% to 30% more energy to wheels from each gallon of gasoline would be nice in my insight too... add that with a 20 to 30 mile EV PHEV range... or course in this imaginary world the electricity all comes from my RE , solar , wind hydro , geothermal , etc.... yummy
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Old 06-29-2008, 02:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gasoline & Fuel Cells

What I've never understood is this emphasis on HYDROGEN fuel cells. Sure, the space program used them, but they had issues like cost to orbit to deal with, plus the fact that it's (comparatively) easy to store liquid hydrogen & oxygen when you're surrounded by vacuum. For earthly purposes, it'd seem a whole lot more effective to develop a fuel cell that runs on hydrocarbons or alcohol.
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Old 06-29-2008, 06:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gasoline & Fuel Cells

Quote:
Originally Posted by james
For earthly purposes, it'd seem a whole lot more effective to develop a fuel cell that runs on hydrocarbons or alcohol.
They have those fuel cells already... the Hydrogen ones have higher efficiencies and there is a larger market for them.... that seems to cause the focus on the hydrogen fuel cell... a hydrocarbon fuel cell would still produce CO2 , CO , etc...
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gasoline & Fuel Cells

And the hydrogen fuel cell still produces CO2 and so on, when for instance the natural gas is cracked to provide the hydrogen, or coal & water are reacted, or whatever.

As to whether there's a larger market, where outside the space program is there any market for hydrogen fuel cells?
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james
And the hydrogen fuel cell still produces CO2 and so on, when for instance the natural gas is cracked to provide the hydrogen, or coal & water are reacted, or whatever.

As to whether there's a larger market, where outside the space program is there any market for hydrogen fuel cells?
True... unless the electricity to split the water comes from Solar , wind , etc.... then although much more expensive no extra emissions are produced.... even though it would be more efficient to use the same electricity to power and EV.

If they used a fuel cell that used some hydrocarbon other than just pure Hydrogen then they could not make the PR claim that it produces nothing but water as exhaust.... they would have to say something like it produces less emissions than a piston engine but still does produce some... that is less impressive of a sound bite for them, the investors, the politicians, and the public.

The space program alone is a rather large pocketed market that uses hydrogen fuel cells... and few other technologies can do for the space program what the fuel cells do.

Since all the fuel cell cars in testing and even minor production all are hydrogen fuel cells those are also a market.

UTC and other use fuel cells that take in hydrocarbon fuels always reform it into as high a concentration of hydrogen as they can ... it benefits the fuel cell even if at the cost of some losses in the fuel reformer.
http://www.utcpower.com/fs/com/bin/fs_c ... 18,00.html

co-generation plants that use fuel cells for power and heat also do the same thing... they reform the fuel into a nearly pure hydrogen fuel for the fuel cell.

With a upper limit of ~83% efficiency fuel cells beat the internal combustion engine that maxes out at ~60%

The Military also uses Fuel cells in some application because they have no moving parts they have less break down and operate for longer periods without repair.... not just the U.S. military but others like the German 212 submarine uses a Hydrogen Fuellcell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_212_submarine


but there are some dedicated non-hydrogen fuel cells out there... such as this one:
http://www.efoy.de/index.php?option=com ... &Itemid=58
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gasoline & Fuel Cells

[quote="IamIan"]If they used a fuel cell that used some hydrocarbon other than just pure Hydrogen then they could not make the PR claim that it produces nothing but water as exhaust..../quote]

Yeah, that's what I've been saying. Hydrogen = this magic fuel that's going to make all our energy problems go away. Reality is that it's about 99% hype.

Now that I think of it, I do remember seeing some work on fuel cells for electric power applications. But not hydrogen cells. IIRC (it's been a few years) they ran off natural gas, and at high temperatures. Something like molten sodium hydroxide? Not something you'd want in a car
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gasoline & Fuel Cells

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamIan
about 20% to 30% more of the gasoline energy to the wheels than a gasoline combustion engine can do.
If gasoline-to-hydrogen-to-electricity-to-wheels is more efficient, than sure, go for it. But is there another possibility? I wonder if *their* design is more efficient than a diesel-electric hybrid?

I doubt it.

Diesel-electrics average 45-50% efficiency whereas *their* gasoline-hydrogen-electric design only averages 40%.
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Old 07-04-2008, 08:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gasoline & Fuel Cells

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectricTroy
If gasoline-to-hydrogen-to-electricity-to-wheels is more efficient, than sure, go for it. But is there another possibility? I wonder if *their* design is more efficient than a diesel-electric hybrid?

I doubt it.

Diesel-electrics average 45-50% efficiency whereas *their* gasoline-hydrogen-electric design only averages 40%.
maybe...

maybe not....

When tested on the NEDC cycle (1580 kg vehicle) the Nuvera system showed a net total of ~54% efficiency.
http://www.nuvera.com/products/hdl82.php#f

No diesel , hybrid or not, have I seen tested that has been able to show as high as a ~54% efficiency on a driving cycle.

If you know of any please site the source.

--------------------------------------

This idea still has allot of potential.

Combustion engines like diesel engines are thermodynamically limited to ~60% efficiency.

Fuel Cells are only thermodynamically limited to ~83% efficiency.

Both system can benefit from a hybrid drive train.

The Fuel cell having fewer moving parts will require less maintenance.

-----------------------------------------

As already said the better system is the pure EV which eliminates the losses of making the hydrogen.... but if you need a transition system to Hydrogen... I think this is a good way to do it.
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