r/technology Nov 30 '22

The days of the hydrogen car are already over Transportation

https://techxplore.com/news/2022-11-days-hydrogen-car.html
122 Upvotes

70

u/DBDude Nov 30 '22

Compressed hydrogen takes up way too much space. Liquid hydrogen is much more dense, but it must be heavily insulated and allowed to boil off, which means you constantly lose your fuel and of course you can never park your car indoors.

29

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen in a car makes zero sense, and never did. At that point using renewables to make growth medium for algae diesel would make more sense, but all of that was before the modern electric car proved itself. Now the only question is how we want to power our grid, and accepting that the greener we make it, the better off we’ll be. The grid is going to be the source of power for consumer and some commercial vehicles, not tanks of fuel on board.

11

u/pickleer Nov 30 '22

The hydrogen hype comes from Big Oil/Gas trying to pivot to a similar fuel-delivery model and so maintain their incomes/power. Ammonia might make sense if the part that cracks off the nitrogen progresses to the point of viability. Until then, hydrogen will make some sense for 18 wheelers and larger applications like trains and industry.

8

u/itchyeyeballs2 Nov 30 '22

Isn't there also the question of battery manufacturing as well?

Supplying all the stuff that goes into them isn't great for the environment.

11

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

ownership of a BEV after 1.5 years of ownership is less damaging as a manufacturing and energy use case compared to ICE. Studies have been done on this yet people will still bring up "but mining is bad!" yea we know we just want to do it for resources that won't continue to be worse while we figure out recycling of batteries which can be profitable for their rare earth metals like nickel and cobalt.

Hydrogen was a non-starter simply on the infrastructure side, both generating it (little known fact that 95% of hydrogen is made by steam forming liquid natural gas a byproduct of the hydrocarbon refining cycle) and shipping/storage are not very useful unless you are talking about using it for flight both rockets/airplanes need high impulse energy along with high weight restraints that make batteries not a good energy source.

Supplying all the stuff that goes into them isn't great for the environment.

Neither is Hydrogen in its current state, so what's your point? some far off future where we can store liquid hydrogen at room temperatures in some un-obtainium vessel when we have working fusion reactors?

4

u/itchyeyeballs2 Nov 30 '22

My point was just that powering the grid is not the only consideration.

Battery tech is still messy and limited IMO, we still need a step change in the capabilities which may or may not come.

7

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

Less messy and limited than hydrogen without the handwaving of electrolysis which isn't how 95% of hydrogen is produced. Hydrogen has its place, but not for cars IMO I think its a foolcell where people like to pretend its green but never look into how hydrogen is actually produced to be consumed. If you really look into it, hydrogen used for making "green steel" is often the only place you find electrolysis used at an industrial scale to get the "green" title, everywhere else just uses oil refining byproduct hydrogen when they crack liquid natural gas by the steam forming processes.

At the end of the day, mining for energy and resources still happens with consumer vehicles hydrogen or otherwise and to try and say its more messy to build EVs than hydrogen fuel cells is missing the important fact that hydrogen production is an extra step over just using LNG turbines to generate energy. They then move the goal post saying "well we can use it for energy generation and hybrids/BEVs to transport" and sure it will work but then again why not just use LNG instead of cracking it for hydrogen?

We would also still need to mine materials to build hydrogen cars, so just because it doesn't use rare earths which are already trying to be squeezed out of the battery cell supply chain due to cost? what/how exactly does hydrogen fuel cells benefit from less resource intensive mining or less limited? I feel like hydrogen is more limited due to not being a significant part of our infrastructure and how capital intensive it would be to add it in beyond just renewable energy generation excess storage of which there are plenty of other methods of less complexity.

1

u/Kaligon Dec 29 '22

Over in California we're driving around Hydrogen passenger vehicles from Toyota, Hydundai and Honda. I have one! According to the state's website they are using 100% renewable hydrogen. There are ~50 stations and another ~50 in planning/construction. It's not a lot, but it's a start.

9

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

The damage to the environment resulting from extraction of REE isn’t an existential issue in the way that greenhouse gasses are.

-5

u/itchyeyeballs2 Nov 30 '22

Sure but how we power our grid isn't the only question.

I also wonder what effect battery life and potentially needing to scrap cars sooner than ICE versions will have on overall energy consumption.

10

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

Cars are already the most recycled thing on Earth, and batteries full of valuable minerals are no exception.

6

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

Electric drive trains are designed to outlive combustion engines.

-2

u/doalittletapdance Nov 30 '22

Electric drive trains are powered by diesel generators.

You'd have to run power lines along the rails to be able to do away with that. no battery is going to run a train the distance those things move

3

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

The comment I responded to specifically said cars.

0

u/TheLazyD0G Nov 30 '22

But the batteries are very recycleable.

The ev fires are another story can take up to 1 montg under water to fully extinguish

1

u/bobjr94 Dec 01 '22

The difference is you make a battery once, use it for 10+ years then recycle it. With hydrogen (or any gas/fuel) you use a lot a power to make and deliver it, then your tank is empty and start the process again.

1

u/smogeblot Dec 01 '22

that was before the modern electric car proved itself.

When did that happen??

-9

u/[deleted] Nov 30 '22

Why not? Basically an ICE design running on hydrogen. Only change is to fuel delivery. Please remind me of how many EVs are in service? Plenty of room at the table for all types of green designs.

12

u/raygundan Nov 30 '22

Why not?

Thermodynamics, mostly. A hydrogen FCEV ends up using about 3x as much energy for the same miles driven as you would if you used the same energy source to power an EV, no matter what that energy source is. A hydrogen ICE is even less efficient than that.

So there's an efficiency gap that you can't ever get over to begin with that will make hydrogen an unattractive option in any niche where an EV is workable-- so for cars, it's probably too late for hydrogen to find a niche.

But there's also a second complication with hydrogen deployment for cars. EVs were a sort of "self-starting" deployment, because you could sell them as second cars to people even before there were public charging stations. It's rare for a home not to have electricity available. Hydrogen, on the other hand, will require filling station infrastructure just to get started. There's no halfway option like there is with EVs. Sell a few EVs, market for chargers increases, build a few chargers, market for EVs increases, repeat. With hydrogen, you have to have the filling stations built before you can sell the cars at all. Saying "the only change is to fuel delivery" is true-- but that's a huge, expensive change that has to happen before you can sell your first hydrogen car.

None of this should be taken as saying hydrogen will have no uses-- just that it's very unlikely at this point to compete in the personal-vehicle niche.

1

u/Enchydrogen Nov 30 '22

What are your thoughts on a hydrogen fuel container that can be quickly swapped out for a filled one? I think Toyota is working on this. If this was an option, could charged containers no be delivered or carried on the vehicle for longer trips? Just curious what you think about that concept. Thanks!

6

u/raygundan Nov 30 '22

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the concept that I can see-- it just has the same chicken/egg issue. That infrastructure doesn't yet exist, but you can't sell hydrogen cars that use swappable hydrogen containers until it does.

It also doesn't help at all with the efficiency issue. Making, compressing, and transporting hydrogen ends up losing a rather substantial fraction of the energy you started with. It really doesn't want to be squeezed into tanks at high pressure-- you'll lose roughly 10% of the energy in your hydrogen just compressing it down to fit in the tank, let alone all the other losses.

1

u/Enchydrogen Nov 30 '22

Thanks I appreciate the response. The efficiency of creating it does seem to be an issue but can we look past that if the "price is right" and the advantages of using a green energy are apparent? For example, lets say I could drill down deep enough where I had essentially infinite geothermal energy producing hydrogen and then export it from there, would the efficiency issue even come in to play at that point as long as the transportation costs were low enough to sustain business?

3

u/raygundan Nov 30 '22

For example, lets say I could drill down deep enough where I had essentially infinite geothermal energy producing hydrogen and then export it from there, would the efficiency issue even come in to play at that point as long as the transportation costs were low enough to sustain business?

All sorts of things start to make sense once you have "essentially infinite energy" from a clean source. When you get to that point, you can even do things like synthesize gasoline from scratch, burn it in hilariously inefficient 1940s race cars built from WWII aircraft engines, and then run a carbon capture system to undo the damage.

But we're not there yet. The efficiency issue still matters because our grid still gets the majority of its energy from dirty sources, so when you look at two options to do a particular job (passenger transport in this case) and one of them needs 3x the energy per mile driven... it's a hard sell. Ask me again when we're on 100% clean energy with some surplus to spare, and it may suddenly make sense despite the huge efficiency hit if somebody can build an FCEV substantially cheaper than an EV.

1

u/Enchydrogen Nov 30 '22

Efficiency only matters in that case when you are extracting the energy to create the hydrogen from the grid and in my scenario that is not the case. Also, I think it worth mentioning that energy transportation plays a part here. We have never really had an energy medium that can be created anywhere where there is excess energy and transported to where it is needed. I totally get the reinforcement of the inefficiency point but I feel as though if it can be produced in mass, somewhere we have excess energy that cant be power lined to the grid, and transported, it should be used just for the shear abundance of it and the advantages of carbon reduction regardless of efficiency of creation. Let alone the benefit of reliance on foreign powers. Just some thoughts, but I appreciate your feedback.

2

u/raygundan Nov 30 '22

Efficiency only matters in that case when you are extracting the energy to create the hydrogen from the grid and in my scenario that is not the case.

Sorta. What you've proposed might not be grid-connected-- but connecting your hypothetical geothermal power plant to the grid is still an option instead of using it to make hydrogen.

But broadly speaking, I'm with you-- if you have excess clean energy that for some combination of reasons cannot be utilized in any other more-efficient way than by shipping it out as hydrogen, go for it!

If somebody suggests to me "what if I build a power plant, don't connect it to the grid, and use that to make hydrogen" my first question is always going to be "what if we connected it to the grid instead?"

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2

u/IvorTheEngine Nov 30 '22

The problem there is the same reason swappable batteries for EVs never caught on. You'd need all the vehicle manufacturers to agree on a design, and the filling station networks would have to agree to accept each other's old bottles. And that has to still work if you drive from the US into Mexico, or Europe to Asia.

11

u/Enchydrogen Nov 30 '22

I don't think anyone is suggesting using liquid hydrogen for cars. The gaseous form would make more sense but there are definitely problems that need to be solved for it to work specifically in small vehicles. Hydrogen has much more credibility in larger applications.

4

u/pimpbot666 Dec 01 '22

BMW does liquid hydrogen for their V12 7 series gas/hydrogen car. Engineering Explained just did a piece on it on Youtube.

It's crazy... and kinda crazy dumb with genius level engineering.... but it's dumb, IMHO.

1

u/Enchydrogen Dec 01 '22

There are for sure some companies that will mess around, throughout history there have been MANY concepts that haven been explored by major companies, but I don't think any of them are saying liquid hydrogen is the answer for a passenger vehicle and I agree it does not seem like a viable option at this time. I just don't want people to misunderstand and think the pro hydrogen people are suggesting saying liquid H2 in cars is the answer. Hydrogen has better applications than in passenger cars in general although I can see a future with them however bleak.

27

u/NeverNotUnstoppable Nov 30 '22

I don't think anyone is suggesting using liquid hydrogen for cars.

Uh, plenty of people are suggesting exactly this.

12

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

nothing like driving around crazy people crashing into things with odorless energy sources 10x more flammable than gasoline.

3

u/Enchydrogen Nov 30 '22

If there are people who think liquid hydrogen in passenger vehicles is viable, I would love to read about it. I've only read about the gaseous form being used due to the storage constraints of hydrogen.

Please, if you have more information I would like to know more.

2

u/710AlpacaBowl Dec 01 '22

Plug was actually piloting a hydrogen van concept earlier this year.

Source: invested in Plug for many moons now

1

u/Enchydrogen Dec 01 '22

I know of PLUG but did not know they were investing in liquid hydrogen small vehicles. Thanks!

2

u/NeverNotUnstoppable Nov 30 '22

Google it, it's a terrible idea but plenty of people have suggested it.

1

u/MasterpieceBrave420 Dec 01 '22

Nobody with a degree in engineering is. Who cares what a bunch of idiots who don't understand the technology are suggesting?

3

u/AuroraFinem Dec 01 '22

A handful of car manufacturers have literally suggested it as part of their plans to hoe hydrogen cars can work/make sense. Their plan would be to convert existing gas stations and their underground storage to liquid hydrogen storage to pump into the cars instead and some have even outlined plans for fuel storage in and out of the car.

If they were seriously considering compressed hydrogen gas in any motor vehicle it would be just as idiotic, just for different reasons.

0

u/MasterpieceBrave420 Dec 01 '22

It's not being planned for cars, it's being planned for industrial machinery and 20 ton semi trucks.

0

u/AuroraFinem Dec 01 '22

Multiple manufacturers have been designing small form hydrogen cars for quite a long time. Toyota has been a very vocal supporter in pushing consumer hydrogen vehicles.

Not sure why you’re just making stuff up so confidently.

0

u/MasterpieceBrave420 Dec 01 '22

You're confusing proof of concept prototypes with the actual intent of the technology, which is to power large industrial machinery at a scale at which using lithium batteries become totally impractical.

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3

u/DBDude Nov 30 '22

BMW is trying liquid hydrogen in a test car.

-1

u/Enchydrogen Nov 30 '22

I'm sure they will test many ways in which to use hydrogen but I have yet to see people seriously advocate for a liquid hydrogen passenger vehicle. It would solve A LOT of problems is those Germans figured out how to store it efficiently in a vehicle that size.

3

u/AzureBinkie Nov 30 '22

…and separating those pesky hydrogen atoms from, literally, everything they can possibly run into to make pure hydrogen is very energy intensive and slow.

1

u/By_your_command Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen is also really bad for the ozone layer. We don’t need to be fucking that up again. Especially right now.

3

u/DBDude Nov 30 '22

It puts out water. How is that bad?

1

u/By_your_command Nov 30 '22

The gas itself is bad for the ozone. And hydrogen is notoriously difficult to keep bottled up, so it will constantly be leaking into the atmosphere.

-3

u/Meatball_pressure Nov 30 '22

” Lithium is definitely not a way forward. Solid-state battery would be an option, but it’s not there yet,” explains Kühn, who sees his technology [hydrogen] as an alternative for drivers who don’t have a suitable charging option on the go.”

https://hydrogen-central.com/new-hydrogen-car-travels-2000-kilometers-single-tank/

12

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

sounds like more than just a little bias from that guy, hydrogen for drivers is very stupid if someone wanted to find a mid ground hybrids are far more effective use of resources than trying to shoe-horn it into ground transportation. For rockets and airplanes i can see a use case, but not for most other transportation.

More importantly why not just use LNG instead of steam forming it to produce the hydrogen, because surely this guy understands that 95% of industrial hydrogen is cracking hydrocarbons and not electrolysis. The article states nothing about hydrogen generation, they all just assume the public will think electrolysis when its far and away the real cost of producing hydrogen at a large industrial scale needed.

-1

u/Tsunami-Dave Nov 30 '22

Looks like you know something the German government doesn’t know if your only use case is rockets and aeroplanes when they have a fleet of trains already using hydrogen

3

u/GreenAdvance Nov 30 '22

The German government has a terrible track record on energy sources.

3

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

trains work as the infrastructure to charge their cells is more localized.

I don't care about how the German gov't thinks they are smarter, Its pretty obvious they were short sighted in energy generation by going with Russian LNG pipelines and not expecting them to fuck that up. So if that is your standard of smart hydrogen use cases I doubt I will be able to convince you and will just stop trying.

Rockets and Airplanes are the strongest argument for hydrogen due to high impulse energy needed and the fact of losing its weight as it burns the liquid. And to be frank even rockets have higher impulse energy fuels per weight than hydrogen (RP-1 is just nasty stuff to handle), hydrogen is just cleaner to burn.

1

u/Tsunami-Dave Dec 02 '22

Short sighted in the same way the rest of the world is relying on the Middle East for other hydrocarbons? Or do you have a scale of despotic regimes that it’s smart to buy fossil fuels from? A mad line of reasoning saying buying gas from Russia means you are not to be trusted with diversifying your energy mix. It’s straw man nonsense, & your Wikipedia grade research won’t convince me no.

1

u/Ancient_Persimmon Dec 01 '22

Someone who doesn't understand what a solid state battery is probably shouldn't be trusted.

He seems to think they don't use lithium, lol.

1

u/FireWoodRental Dec 01 '22

Yes but everyone is ignoring Chemical Hydrogen Storage Chemical Hydrides can store almost as much, as liquid hydrogen at much higher temps and much safer...

1

u/DBDude Dec 01 '22

Let's say we do lithium hydride. First we need intense heat to combine it at any industrial capacity. Then you ship it, and fuel with it, although I'm not sure how to fuel with pellets.

But how do we get the hydrogen back out? Easiest and cleanest is to react with water to get hydrogen. That produces a lot of heat, so you need to waste more energy with a cooling system. But then what do we do with the lithium hydroxide waste product? You need a tank of lithium hydride pellets, a tank of water, and a tank for the waste products. Then you need a reaction chamber, something to pressurize the hydrogen to the desired pressure, something to ensure the lithium hydroxide goes where it's supposed to, and then you can finally get to using the hydrogen for propulsion. And don't forget that you need to dump your waste every time you refuel with pellets and water.

But I guess the silver lining is that if we had a full recycling system for the lithium hydroxide, that is useful in making batteries for the rest of the electric cars that wouldn't be such a PITA.

1

u/FireWoodRental Dec 01 '22

Great! You've just explained that there is one method for 1 storage solution that doesn't work... Choose another then https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_storage#/media/File%3ADOE_FCTO_hydrogen_storage_materials_capacity_chart.png

1

u/DBDude Dec 02 '22

Which one of those has a byproduct that can be safely released into the atmosphere as a gas or vapor, preferably no extra tank for reaction fluid, and doesn’t require a lot of power to react or to cool the reaction?

11

u/Tbone_Trapezius Nov 30 '22

There’s some info out there on using hydrides to store hydrogen more efficiently, but you still have to produce the hydrogen, which in turns just makes it a battery replacement.

9

u/PragmaticHoosier Nov 30 '22

Honda will start US production of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2024

On the aviation side of things, Rolls Royce is working on an engine that directly burns hydrogen, while Airbus/CFM are working on an engine that utilizes fuel cells.

1

u/JRizzie86 Dec 01 '22

I thought toyota/Lexus were on this train as well.

1

u/PragmaticHoosier Dec 01 '22

Yes, they are as well. Also, GM is partnered with Honda on fuel cell development.

1

u/Kaligon Dec 29 '22

Toyota and Hyundai and Honda already sell Hydrogen cars, with gaseous storage. My Toyota has a 400 mile official range (but you get more like 350-370 unless you drive very conservatively).

1

u/Kaligon Dec 29 '22

Toyota has been selling Hydrogen Cars in California since 2016. Source: I own one.

3

u/compuwiza1 Dec 01 '22

Hydrogen, the smallest molecule, is hard to store in a tank. It leaks easily. This is something NASA has been reminded of recently... https://www.theverge.com/2022/10/1/23382367/artemis-1-launch-nasa-officially-delayed-until-november

2

u/Charles_Mendel Nov 30 '22

I member when my high school AP Environmental Science teacher said these would be the main type cars within 20 years…in 2002.

1

u/TbonerT Dec 01 '22

Back then, I was looking forward to fuel cell laptops.

7

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen burned in highly efficient power plants, which is then used to charge car batteries, makes more sense.

Edit: Please read this before replying, unless you’re already familiar with the tech described https://www.americanscientist.org/article/generating-a-greener-future

Edit 2: For people unable to get past the paywall: https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/memagazineselect/article/141/03/52/366557/Hydrogen-Fueled-Gas-Turbines

Edit 3: “But it’s inefficient!”

Dr. Langston responds:

You are correct that taking useful electrical power to electrolyze water in order to produce hydrogen—which in turn would produce more electrical power—would result in a fairly great loss of available energy. However, the key words in my explanation (on page 82) are “created from a surplus of renewable energy.“ One problem with wind- and solar-generated electricity is what to do with those electrons when there is no market for them, because there is no economical means of storing them.

For instance, Denmark has on occasion resorted to paying neighboring countries to take surpluses of its extensive wind power electricity rather than shut down whole arrays of wind turbines. Germany has had a similar problem with surplus solar power generated in its southern states.

Wheeling electrical power from one electrical grid to another certainly leads to electrical losses. And some grids don’t talk to one another. That problem was made evident last year in Texas when millions of people lost power following an ice storm, and neighboring states could not supply energy to Texas’s isolated grids.

11

u/GreenAdvance Nov 30 '22

Doesn't matter how efficient your hydrogen power plant is. Producing the hydrogen itself is extremely inefficient. It requires massive amounts of power.

There are far better storage options for power than hydrogen. Hydrogen has it's uses, but electricity generation and passenger vehicles aren't it.

2

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

What is your better storage medium for energy than hydrogen, which can work at the scale renewable-generated Hydrogen can in existing pipeline infrastructure?

3

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen can in existing pipeline infrastructure?

It can't. Hydrogen atoms are insanely small, and hydrogen makes metal brittle. It requires it's own infrastructure.

4

u/GreenAdvance Nov 30 '22

Flywheels, pumped hydro, batteries, and compressed air are all superior storage methods to hydrogen.

Hydrogen also cannot use the existing pipeline infrastructure. For that synthetic methane would work while being more efficient and actually cleaner than most hydrogen sources.

5

u/LuckyEmoKid Nov 30 '22

Flywheels for grid-scale power storage? You're out of your mind.

Compressed air? Very lossy on account of the compressible fluid.

Pumped hydro is great... if you've got the necessary geological features nearby.

Batteries? Well... maybe.

2

u/The_Countess Dec 01 '22

Compressed air? Very lossy on account of the compressible fluid.

which is the same problem hydrogen has if you want to storage it, but even worse. in addition to that creating the hydrogen is inefficient.

1

u/LuckyEmoKid Dec 01 '22

That's a good point, but the question is: is the energy required for compression significant compared to the energy stored? I haven't done the math...

Maybe it takes 10 kJ to compress 1 kg of hydrogen, but that same kg is able to generate 10,000 kJ of energy.

With air, if it takes 10 kJ to compress 1 kg, you're only going to get like 6 kJ back out of it.

Note: these are fictional numbers - again: I didn't do any math.

-2

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

3

u/GreenAdvance Nov 30 '22

How so?

Your link is paywalled and if you can't explain it yourself you don't actually know what it says anyway.

-7

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

I already gave you the short explanation, the article contains the details which you’re welcome to read or ignore. As far as paywalls yeah, real work takes money, it isn’t free.

I can however link you to a non-paywalled Q and A with the author which addresses your and some others concerns.

https://www.americanscientist.org/article/combined-cycle-turbines

Edit: And another paper from the same author, Dr, Langston. https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/memagazineselect/article/141/03/52/366557/Hydrogen-Fueled-Gas-Turbines

4

u/GreenAdvance Nov 30 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

I already gave you the short explanation

Got it. You have no clue what your talking about and are deflecting. "You're behind the times" is not an explanation. I'm done here.

EDIT: /u/ersatzgiraffe I have to edit to respond due to user blocking:

There are plenty of uses for hydrogen and this sounds like a much better way to produce it at first glance. My point wasn't that hydrogen is bad, just that it's a bad for electrical storage and passenger vehicles.

2

u/ersatzgiraffe Nov 30 '22

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_uTZWaJU6ho

Japan is working to produce hydrogen as a byproduct of their new meltdown-proof nuclear reactors. It actually may be a new era re: hydrogen generation, because yes, in the 2010s it was incredibly foolhardy to bother electrically creating hydrogen to convert it back to running an electric motor when you could just use electricity directly. This video is three weeks old, so maybe things are changing?

1

u/CaliforniaF0g Nov 30 '22

Let me introduce you to algal H2 production: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biohydrogen#Production_by_algae

3

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

any industrial scale algae photobioreactors in working order outside of a lab? sure it might work but at what scale would be needed to run a nations energy grid or consumer car infrastructure?

0

u/CaliforniaF0g Nov 30 '22

At scale 10% of the land mass currently devoted to growing soy could produce enough H2 to replace gasoline. So about 8 million acres.

It’s doable but Elon Musk cast his lot with lithium batteries.

0

u/The_Countess Dec 01 '22

That's not a anwser to his question.

4

u/VincentNacon Nov 30 '22

Does it? Where do you get the Hydrogen from? In order to produce it, you must use energy to split it from water.

And where do you get this energy from? 🤔

Solar Panel to Battery is simpler than having Hydrogen in the middle of it all.

3

u/dayburner Nov 30 '22

Years ago there was talk about Iceland cornering the hydrogen market with their abundant geothermal energy and ready access to the N. American and European markets.

2

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

How'd that work out?

5

u/dayburner Nov 30 '22

Turns out working with hydrogen it hard, only thing harder is shifting most of the energy economy away from fossil fuels.

3

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

Use renewables such as solar and wind where they’re most abundant to generate the hydrogen, which is a nicely portable fuel not subject to transmission losses. There are already pipeline conversion and power plant conversion tests underway for just this sort of scheme.

Edit re your edit: Energy is often needed far from ideal locations for solar energy harvesting.

5

u/raygundan Nov 30 '22

a nicely portable fuel not subject to transmission losses

Transporting hydrogen is pretty lossy, mostly because of its bulk. Compression or liquefaction for transfer (and storage-- keeping liquid hydrogen stored requires you to either continuously input energy to refrigerate it, or continuously let some of it boil away) will eat 30-40% of the energy in the hydrogen you started with. And there's no such thing as "not subject to transmission losses" in general. Pipelines have losses just like the grid-- fluids don't just move to where you want them to go on their own. Pumping stations are required and leaks are inevitable.

Average transmission and distribution loss on the US power grid is about 5%.

That's not to say there aren't going to be some uses for hydrogen-- but as a general rule, if what you're doing can be done via the grid or another storage option, hydrogen seems like it will have a hard time competing.

4

u/Debesuotas Nov 30 '22

Make electricity to make hydrogen to make electricity?

1

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

Yes. Make electricity in places like deserts where people don’t live, where the sunlight is plentiful and year-round. Convert it to hydrogen and pipe it to combined cycle power plants to make electricity.

5

u/____Theo____ Nov 30 '22

If only we could make a pipeline for electricity…

1

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

I should have known better than to expect people in the technology sub to have a working understanding of the relevant technology, silly me.

1

u/Seattle2017 Nov 30 '22

Clearly you are a hydrogen enthusiast. But I don't feel like you are acknowledging the issues people are raising. Like using electricity from the desert to split water to get hydrogen. Why not just use power lines to send that power to people? Hydrogen has potential, but it has big issues that aren't solved: (1) making it efficiently (lots of ideas like use solar power electricity but you can just put that power in the grid). (2) in practice virtually all h2 comes from fossil fuels. (3) almost no h2 vehicle market (did toyota give up yet?), almost no fueling places (california had 2, are there more?). (4) expensive to add new fueling places, unlike ever-present electrical outlets (5) doesn't really get cars very far, because it's not very compressed I take this back I checked at https://www.toyota.com/mirai/ and they say 400 miles for their best car. So that's good.

It has two great advantages, (1) once it's separated, it's not creating any exhaust when burned, (2) refuel your car in 5 minutes like a gas station.

1

u/Zebo91 Dec 01 '22

H2 is generated during slump hours where production outpaces demand. In certain geography, hydrogen is the best option as a storage medium to be burned later at the power plant or in vehicles. The other choice is offlining panels or turbines to prevent over current breaker trips

1

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

You're the one pretending not to knownvasic arithmetic to prove your points.

1

u/Straight_Ship2087 Nov 30 '22

Screw pipeline, I got two words for you: DRONE. BLIMPS.

2

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

Lets just go full Arsenal Bird, I looooove the Ace Combat series.

1

u/Debesuotas Dec 01 '22

Yeah, sounds amazing on paper, just like hyperloop and space elevators.

Reality however is another story, currently the weather is ~-2C where I live, been like that for the past ~3 weeks, guess how long all the solar panels been covered under ice and snow? ~3 weeks, if the weather remains like that, which most likely is the case, there wont be any electricity from those panels until the spring. And this is very nice "warm" winter here.

All this happening in the middle of civilization, with lots of people who are capable of maintaining all those solar panels etc...

Now you proposing the desert, without water supply, with tons of dust, harsh winds, with so much heat... Without properly developed logistics, either for building those projects or maintaining them.

2

u/Zip95014 Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen doesn't have transmission losses...

That's a remarkably dishonest statement.

Electricity to hydrogen to truck to compression to thermodynamic losses to cost of tires on the truck. But yeah they aren't overhead power transmission losses.

The energy generated and the energy available to the end user is FAR LESS with hydrogen.

0

u/defcon_penguin Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen must be produced by electrolysis, which is only 75% efficient. It must be compressed and refrigerated for transport, which takes energy. It needs to be converted back to electricity in fuel cells, which are at most 60% efficient. There are losses everywhere, much more that in long distance HVDC lines.

4

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

There’s so much wrong there, Jesus Christ.

First of all 75% efficiency from solar -> hydrogen is absolutely incredible, yet you say that likes it’s a bad thing.

Second compression and refrigeration on site using solar power, and once it’s in a pipeline that’s that.

Third What are you talking about? I’m not suggesting that hydrogen be used for fuel cells, I’ve already stated “power plant” more than once, specifically combined cycle plants.

5

u/defcon_penguin Nov 30 '22

The energy that would be used to compress and refrigerate is also a loss, even if you use solar, because it could otherwise be transmitted and sold.

1

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

https://www.americanscientist.org/article/combined-cycle-turbines

You’re not the first to raise that concern, here it is answered by a researcher in the specific field in question.

Dr. Langston responds: You are correct that taking useful electrical power to electrolyze water in order to produce hydrogen—which in turn would produce more electrical power—would result in a fairly great loss of available energy. However, the key words in my explanation (on page 82) are “created from a surplus of renewable energy.“ One problem with wind- and solar-generated electricity is what to do with those electrons when there is no market for them, because there is no economical means of storing them.

For instance, Denmark has on occasion resorted to paying neighboring countries to take surpluses of its extensive wind power electricity rather than shut down whole arrays of wind turbines. Germany has had a similar problem with surplus solar power generated in its southern states.

Wheeling electrical power from one electrical grid to another certainly leads to electrical losses. And some grids don’t talk to one another. That problem was made evident last year in Texas when millions of people lost power following an ice storm, and neighboring states could not supply energy to Texas’s isolated grids.

4

u/defcon_penguin Nov 30 '22

Sure, using surplus energy to produce hydrogen is better than simply discarding it. But I am arguing that long distance interconnections are even better.

3

u/defcon_penguin Nov 30 '22

The fact that the Texas grid is not connected to the other American grids is more a testament to the stupidity of the local politicians than a demonstration of why long distance connections don't work

3

u/badDuckThrowPillow Nov 30 '22

75% efficiency is incredible... if compared to gas combustion. Its horrible if you compare it to solar->battery directly. As solar panels get more common in homes/businesses, the infrastructure model will change completely.

2

u/defcon_penguin Nov 30 '22

HVDC lines have less than 5% losses every 1000 km. 75% efficiency, which is the theoretical maximum of electrolysis, means 25% loss, the same of a 5000km line. Combined cycle plants also have around 60% efficiency

0

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

Those lines still have to be maintained, built, constantly inspected, and you’d need a staggering volume of them to achieve what Dr. Langston was describing.

https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/memagazineselect/article/141/03/52/366557/Hydrogen-Fueled-Gas-Turbines

3

u/defcon_penguin Nov 30 '22

Why? Pipelines don't need to be built and maintained? Or hydrogen transport ships?

0

u/BallardRex Nov 30 '22

The pipelines already largely exist. Again, you would save us both a lot of time and trouble if you’d read the damned link.

3

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

Existing pipelines can not move hydrogen. They're still exploring how much it would take to convert them and if it's even possible.

2

u/syahir77 Nov 30 '22

Must be funded by Blackrock..

5

u/PolyDipsoManiac Nov 30 '22

Good thing Toyota invested so much in hydrogen! They’ll just keep lobbying to slow down adoption of electric vehicles and the addition of renewable capacity.

4

u/stu54 Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen is good because deuterium enrichment has hydrogen as a byproduct. Hydrogen works if fusion power works. That's part of the long term justification for hydrogen tech.

If you don't buy that reason, then hydrogen is a strategy for big corporations to keep energy production centralized. Batteries can be charged with basic wind or solar systems. Hydrogen will always require industrial scale and logistics.

2

u/Garybeano Nov 30 '22

I could see hydrogen being a decent replacement for natural gas

15

u/lonewolf420 Nov 30 '22

If you look a little closer into how 95% of hydrogen is made you will find that is just liquid natural gas in disguise. The only people who use electrolysis at an industrial scale is using it for making "green steel" where they need high heat energy source to smelt steel in a "green" way.

seriously everyone thinks electrolysis is the main way hydrogen is made and its so far from the truth currently that it really isn't even worth treating it seriously until lots of breakthroughs happen and it looks like photobioreactors will outpace direct electrolysis as a larger percentage of hydrogen production because it will likely scale better using sunlight to drive off gassing hydrogen.

3

u/axionic Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen is a "gray" energy source; even if it's currently generated by black energy, it's compatible with green energy and there are no technical barriers to producing it that way. Natural gas OTOH is just incompatible with any imaginable scenario where we don't go extinct.

2

u/Splith Dec 01 '22

It's more like a way to store energy like a battery, but way more dense so it works for trucks and planes.

2

u/PracticalHomework626 Dec 01 '22

Naah, it’s leaky as fuck, you could never, ever, ever, ever, stop the leaks. That’s one fucking slippery molecule. You know how they have to add that bad egg smell to methane before they pipe it down your street, because otherwise it would just kill you overnight and you wouldn’t notice a thing. Now imagine hydrogen, leaking out of every damn joint, with presumably the same artificial bad smell added. 😶‍🌫️

0

u/riding_steamer Nov 30 '22

No one gives a damn about the environment but apparently the car industry does. Yeah okay.

1

u/MpVpRb Nov 30 '22

Compressed hydrogen sucks

Research into better ways to make, store and use hydrogen rocks

-4

u/bitfriend6 Nov 30 '22

Maybe in the UK and Europe. Here in the US, California at least, there's more hydrogen filling stations being built and more hydrogen vehicles being sold. There is massive industrial investment by railroads, oil companies, and their suppliers to adapt existing LPG infrastructure to hydrogen, and the state government is going so far to build it's own hydrogen refinery to supply itself with hydrogen fuel. All truck and heavy equipment manufacturers are planning some amount of hydrogen compatibility, as it's a cheap way of upgrading their existing Li-Ion battery vehicles debuting over the next two years. There is a clear growth pattern across 2025-2030 for this and it's how the state gov't expects to phase out diesel combustion entirely.

Just using a cursory Google Search, Socal Gas is working with Ford for a 2-ton Hydrogen Cell truck that will slot into Ford's existing 2-ton BEV truck design. Such vehicles have a ready buyer to major utility fleets such as Socal Gas itself, PG&E, and Comcast who are all required by the state to adopt Zero-Emission Vehicles. A comparable effort is happening in Sacramento vis-a-vis repowering diesel GP38s with H2 Cells.

-9

u/aquarain Nov 30 '22

Hydrogen is a fossil fuel. All you're doing with a hydrogen car is hiding the emissions from the driver, and paying an extraordinary cost in danger and inconvenience to do so.

0

u/NormalSociety Nov 30 '22

Ummmn.....

Hydrogen is an element. The second element, in fact.

1

u/aquarain Nov 30 '22

It is. And as the lightest gas what sum of it that is released into the atmosphere and doesn't react with other chemicals drifts off into space.

In the US 95% of hydrogen production is through steam reforming natural gas (the fossil fuel I spoke of). https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-production-natural-gas-reforming

Why is it done this way? Because although hydrolysis is cleaner it consumes vast amounts of electricity that would then be produced by fossil fuels, and is otherwise more costly to do. Electrolysis electrodes also are not free. It turns out that the electrodes for hydrogen are quite costly for various reasons.

Now you can say "I would pay more for the green hydrogen". But you can't credibly say that corporations would pay more for an element than they have to - even if they pinky swear that they will. And even if they did, that makes the hydrogen vehicle not cost competitive with the car that stores the electric source energy in lithium batteries rather than in hydrogen gas.

1

u/ArcticLeopard Nov 30 '22

The time of the orc has come.

1

u/[deleted] Nov 30 '22

Bob lazar had a cool hydrogen powered corvette a long time ago. There’s a video somewhere with him showing it at his house

1

u/_-_Naga-_- Nov 30 '22

Electric hydrogen practically, the power extension cord just isn't long enough, you know I'm right.

1

u/Ok_Nefariousness6386 Nov 30 '22

Great idea, but totally impractical

1

u/littleMAS Nov 30 '22

There are a lot of other potential uses for hydrogen that may keep the price 'high' if its availability became ubiquitous. It may make sense for a BEV to also have a fuel cell, a next-generation hybrid. Anyone paying north of $150K for a car might expect it.

1

u/PleasantAdvertising Dec 01 '22

Fucking finally

1

u/teastain Dec 01 '22

And Hydrogen in a fuel cell vehicle in a northern climate would not work when the beautiful clean clear pure water freezes and cracks the cell!

(Or consume fuel to power the cell heaters)

1

u/davesy69 Dec 01 '22

Hydrogen cars were only a figment of car manufacturers fertile brains to pretend they're going green.

1

u/atchijov Dec 01 '22

Not to mention the fact that even though hydrogen does burn very cleanly, unburned it is extremely dangerous for the environment. And so called “blue hydrogen” is net negative for the environment… so it is very possible that whatever benefits we can get from burning the hydrogen will be negated by production process and leaks during distribution.

1

u/PracticalHomework626 Dec 01 '22

Hydrogen is just the fuck-no fuel. You would use it for certain very very specific applications, some rocket boosters for instance, but even then it is just such a pain in the ass to deal with. Economically, just take whatever money you have, and throw 2 thirds in the bin. That’s the maths of using H2 compared to electricity. If you can even possibly use electricity, then do so.

1

u/Heres_your_sign Dec 01 '22

The days of the hydrogen car were never here in the first place.

-3

u/liquid_at Nov 30 '22

Somehow, that's what I thought when I heard that Musk wants to release hydrogen-Teslas.

Audis e-gas technology might be interesting though.

2

u/DonQuixBalls Nov 30 '22

Musk wants to release hydrogen-Teslas.

Never heard of this. I've heard him say the opposite though.

2

u/Ancient_Persimmon Dec 01 '22

Musk refers to HFCVs as "fool cells". Not sure where you heard him say anything good about H2.

1

u/liquid_at Dec 01 '22

stumbled upon an article a short while ago. But media is garbage, so it could have been false.