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Here's a re-post from our News page that may be of interest to Insight owners. Honda was the first manufacturer to deliver a fleet of commercial fuel cell vehicles:
Last December, Honda delivered a fleet of hydrogen-powered FCXs to the City of Los Angeles. The FCX was the first fuel cell vehicle to receive U.S. government aproval for commercialization. The FCX utilizes Honda's own independently developed high-efficiency, high-output ultra-capacitor energy storage system to achieve powerful, responsive driving performance. The layout of the powertrain's structural components has also been optimized to attain a spacious interior with room for four adults in a compact body that maintains a high level of collision safety performance no matter what the crash direction. Honda initially plans a limited market release of approximately thirty vehicles over the first two to three years in Japan and the U.S. combined.
 

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It may be just me But Am I the only one that thinks that Fuel Cells are a waste of energy

Generate electricity -> produce hydrogen (electrolosys) -> Transport Hydrogen-> produce electricity -> drive

where as Conventional electrics

Generate electricity -> Charge batteries -> Drive

Or my Favorite Idea

A Paralell Hybrid using a Diesel generator (Burning Bio Diesel) driving an electric motor ( like an electric conversion kit with out all the batteries )
 

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Thorian said:
It may be just me But Am I the only one that thinks that Fuel Cells are a waste of energy

Generate electricity -> produce hydrogen (electrolosys) -> Transport Hydrogen-> produce electricity -> drive

where as Conventional electrics

Generate electricity -> Charge batteries -> Drive

Or my Favorite Idea

A Paralell Hybrid using a Diesel generator (Burning Bio Diesel) driving an electric motor ( like an electric conversion kit with out all the batteries )
i do agree with you. but when the average consumer wants quick re-fuels and longer distances, hydrogen is closer to those demands than direct electricity. i think :?
 

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You don't need to generate electricity to produce hydrogen. They will get it from gasoline. Down the road maybe yes, then they will use straight Hydrogen. But until we can get longer mileage out of pure electric cars, Hydrogen as a fuel will have to do. Plus electric only cars need heavy, large storage cells, while Hydrogen cells are smaller.
 

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FCV engines don't have to be as large

I recall an article that Ford had an expermental FCV Tararus. While the internal combustion engine is 135 hp., the FCV version needed only 100 hp for the same performance. Maybe someone could clarify.
 

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Granted I like the Idea of Fuel Cells after all Hydrogen is safe ( The Hindenburg's Bag was Painted with a Aluminum Magnesium <rocket fuel> Paint. I also was reading that you can use a FCV to Power your House as a Generator. And Coleman Is starting to release Fuel cell UPS that uses either a cylander purchaced at any industrial gas company or smaller consumer size cylanders (propane torch sized). Oh well any Power that saves oil is good I guess

Carl
 

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Thorian said:
Oh well any Power that saves oil is good I guess /quote]

Yes, but as Resist pointed out, at least for the forseeable future most of the hydrogen will be generated from fossile fuels. Either in centralized plants or in on-board reformers that some of the concept vehicles have.

The overall efficiency of the system is much lower if you put the combination of reformer, fuel-cell and electric motor instead of the internal combustion engine. Especially the reformer has very low efficiency, it needs a lot of energy to produce the hydrogen that you later use to generate that energy plus some to drive. The reformer also emits just as much CO2 as a gas engine burning the same amount of fuel would.
 

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Resist said:
You don't need to generate electricity to produce hydrogen. They will get it from gasoline. Down the road maybe yes, then they will use straight Hydrogen. But until we can get longer mileage out of pure electric cars, Hydrogen as a fuel will have to do. Plus electric only cars need heavy, large storage cells, while Hydrogen cells are smaller.
Why not use electrolosys and supply the electricity via geo-thermal, wind, solar or even (gasp) nuclear? Significantly more efficient then reforming oil/gas/methane/etc.

As far as pure electric, the EV1 will go 130 miles on the NiMH pack. NiZn batteries would result in double that. How far do you want to go in one drive? :)
 

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Well, if there is no convenient recharging station, he might want to go much farther... or would have to abandon his car halfway enroute to its destination. :wink: I know you realize this but with the addition of lengthy recharging times, your average consumer would not buy a pure EV.
Benjamin
 

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I agree that Hydrogen produced from breaking up natural gas (leaving carbon gases that add to global warmiing), or from using electrolysis to split water (was the original electricity produced cleanly?) seem like bad ideas. What I did read that sounds exciting is using Hydrogen gas as an energy storage device. That is instead of building huge batteries to store electricty produced from sources like wind or solar, why not use the extra electricity to produce hydrogen that can be used in the fuel cells to power our cars or other such devices. I have this vision of getting myself off both the electrical grid and the so called gas grid by having a home with a wind turbine and or solar cells providing electricty for my house and storing the rest into hydrogen that ran my car. Obviously this is still just a vision unless I hit the lottery. Hopefully the technology will become common and the prices will go down.
 

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FCVs for Dummies (ie. me)

This must be oversimplifing, but is a fuel cell essentially a charging battery fueled by hydrogen?

The second question: If our vehicles were FCVs and got the hydrogen from petroleum, would this get us anywhere from both a conversation and enviromental standpoint? I thought I heard we would use at least as much oil. It would centralize the pollution to refineries. It would seem to be a step towards true zero-emission since cars would be clean and it would just be a process of generating hydrogen without oil.
 

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Nuclear Option..

Why not use electrolosys and supply the electricity via geo-thermal, wind, solar or even (gasp) nuclear? Significantly more efficient then reforming oil/gas/methane/etc
CEO of Ballard, Geffory Ballard seems to think Nulear energy is pretty much unavoidable if fuel cells are to succeed. See article in the Globe and Mail:

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030314/COBALLARD/TPComment/TopStories


I'm not knowledgeable enough to voice my own opinion on the use of nuclear energy - I always thought it produced waste that lasts a few lifetimes and if so, how can that be good?

Ron
 

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Don't count on fuel cells

In the past, many prototype technologies were promoted as solutions to today's problems. I am now as hopeful about fuel cells as I was back in the 1960s about the Chrysler Turbine Car. That vehicle was supposed to showcase technology that would replace piston-driven engines. It didn't.

People put their greatest faith in technologies when they don't understand them. Right now, fuel cells show some interesting potential, but nobody has produced one that is cheap enough for installation in affordable cars that will offer the kind of performance, fossile-fuel independence and low pollution that futurists would like to suggest.

The Honda Insight is a wonder of technology. It's here. It works. I respect that. I'll respect fuel cells when they are here and they work. Until then, I'm not all that excited about them.
 

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Aaron Cake said:
Why not use electrolosys and supply the electricity via geo-thermal, wind, solar or even (gasp) nuclear? Significantly more efficient then reforming oil/gas/methane/etc.

They will eventually, but for now we are used to using gasoline and they want to get us used to the change over. Besides they still have money to be made from the current system.
 

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Petro madness

Most people think we're running out of oil... but the fact is, we may only be running out of "cheap" oil. Probably most all the accessible fields of any size have been discovered and plumbed, but if we needed to triple our worldwide reserves in the next ten years for any compelling reason (greed, consumer demand, an-asteroid-is-coming-and-we-need-more-energy-right-now scenarios, whatever), it could be done... just not at $25 a barrel. Throw enough money at something, and miracles happen. Go deeper, to more inaccessible areas, to "exhausted" fields, and with (more expensive, new, yet-to-be-perfected, not-even-thought-of... take your pick) modern technology, bingo... more oil.

How about "man-made" oil? Interesting article in this month's Discover Magazine (May 2003/Vol 24, #5... http://www.discover.com ) by Brad Lemley: "Turn Anything Into Oil." Imagine "...turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, oil-refinery residues, even biological weapons such as anthrax spores" turned into "high-quality oil, clean-burning gas, and purified minerals that can be used as fuels, fertilizers, or specialty chemicals for manufacturing," quickly, affordably and with benign or even desirable environmental consequences. The article didn't sound like an April Fool's joke (wrong issue for Discover to pull this off), so if this technology truly pans out, we may see the reign of the ICE extended beyond what was thought practical...
 

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That's not so strange. There has been a reasonable amount of publicity in the UK recently about running Diesel engines on Vegetable oil with a 5% dash of Ethanol. No conversions required. Apparently 'used' vegetable oil runs better, but has the side effect of smelling of the food that was cooked in it (such as Fish 'n' Chips!). A TV motoring show had the AA demonstrate how easy it was.

There is interest in the UK in this because Diesel is around 77p per litre (mostly tax); whereas used vegetable oil costs around 22p per litre including 5p tax. The only difficulty is finding a regular supply of used vegetable oil from a restaurant.......
 

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Fuel Cells:Diversion::Hybrids:practical Solution

I recently read "Forward Drive" - a book about EVs, Hybrids, AFVs, & Fuel Cells. Written by editor of E: The Environmental Magazine. Good book, though written before election.
I came away believing fuel cells are a diversion. Pure hydrogen storage and distribution is way off [20 - 40 years]. Converting more complicated molecules like ethanol, natural gas, gasoline into almost pure hydrogen PLUS SERIOUSLY POLLUTING GASES LIKE BENZINE & CO2 is more doable, but polluting. Fuel Cells connected to houses with simpler molecules like ethanol could work with electric cars - batteries/range still the issue. Nuclear energy may actually be less ecologically damaging than Fuel Cell houses reforming ethanol and 3 new trees/house planted to recycle the greenhouse gases.
For right now hybrids are it. In the absence of Federal leadership the states and cities should promote their use through lower vehicle taxes, access to carpool lanes, and governmental fleet services. Biggest political obstacle to this is that all current Hybrids are Japanese. Maybe when Ford Escape hybrid comes out these issues will get dealt with.
 

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Re: Nuclear Option..

This is a VERY important angle to surface. Thanks for bringing it up. There are two motives behind fuel-cells. One is just to delay the whole move to more efficient vehicles in the short term by proposing this technology that will not be practical anytime soon. The other is to make sure that when/if there is a non-oil technology that it still favors big business. Nuclear is coming back, our current government is working in that direction, fuel-cells are just one way to push it without being direct. I think nuclear is a bad thing, especially if it comes instead of increased efficiency.

______________Ron Wolf

CEO of Ballard, Geffory Ballard seems to think Nulear energy is pretty much unavoidable if fuel cells are to succeed. See article in the Globe and Mail:

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030314/COBALLARD/TPComment/TopStories


I'm not knowledgeable enough to voice my own opinion on the use of nuclear energy - I always thought it produced waste that lasts a few lifetimes and if so, how can that be good?

Ron[/quote]
 

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I remember some college kids turned a vehicle into one that ran on vegetable oil. They drove across the states and stopped at restaurants for their throw away oil to use as fuel.
 

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In the last home power I read issue 93 there are instructions on turning veg oil to bio diesel. it dosent seem that hard
 
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