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Thread: Hydrogen engines

  1. #1
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    Hydrogen engines

    This is the only solution to fight emissions IMO but why havenít we found a cost effective solution for that yet?


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    This is the only solution to fight emissions IMO but why haven’t we found a cost effective solution for that yet?
    Citations needed...

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    This is the only solution to fight emissions IMO but why haven’t we found a cost effective solution for that yet?
    Because a hydrogen ICE would actually produce rather severe NOX emissions, and there are other solutions that have been clearly more cost effective?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    Because a hydrogen ICE would actually produce rather severe NOX emissions, and there are other solutions that have been clearly more cost effective?
    Electric cars is not an option.


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    A hydrogen engine would be very good, but I think there are two big issues. One is that hydrogen is very reactive, so itís hard to get H2. The other is also that it is very reactive and has a nasty tendency to explode (petroleum is much safer). So there are some serious engineering problems.


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    As above, so below

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    One challenge is extracting the hydrogen in an environmentally benign way, but options are available with sufficient incentive. The big engineering challenge for motor vehicles is containment with anywhere near the energy density we have with gasoline or diesel fuel, which do not require a pressure-bearing fuel tank. It would be similar to using compressed natural gas, which is already being done on some heavy vehicles. A safe tank which a bus or big truck can handle might be too heavy for a car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Electric cars is not an option.


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    Why not? If we can develop a practical way of carrying hydrogen in a car, then hydrogen-powered fuel cells powering electric motors would be a good way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Why not? If we can develop a practical way of carrying hydrogen in a car, then hydrogen-powered fuel cells powering electric motors would be a good way to go.
    Because the creation of batteries pollutes more than all the emissions of car fuelling on gasoline. And they arenít strong enough during winter time in Canada.


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Because the creation of batteries pollutes more than all the emissions of car fuelling on gasoline. And they aren’t strong enough during winter time in Canada.


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    The hazmat byproducts of manufacturing and recycling batteries can be sequestered in the manufacturing plant. That is a matter of enforcing mandated procedures.

    Are you referring to conventional batteries or fuel cells?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    The hazmat byproducts of manufacturing and recycling batteries can be sequestered in the manufacturing plant. That is a matter of enforcing mandated procedures.

    Are you referring to conventional batteries or fuel cells?
    Conventional batteries


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    And they aren’t strong enough during winter time in Canada.
    We don't need to use the same thing everywhere.
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    The fact is, electric cars work and are a perfectly viable solution. The byproducts of their manufacture can be recycled or at worst contained, and less will be produced per unit of battery manufacture as more batteries are recycled. And it's a lot more feasible to improve the low-temperature performance of batteries than it is to deal with the production, transport, storage, and emissions issues of hydrogen ICE engines.

    Fuel cells, for their part, also have temperature problems, and their power density limitations, slow warmup, and very high cost mean they'd be paired with batteries in a realistically economical vehicle. The warmup time is then a non-issue, and you only need enough fuel cells to cover the long-term power demands and keep the driver from running down the batteries and hitting the power limitations of the fuel cells too often.

    So hydrogen fuel cell cars would have batteries too, hydrogen internal combustion engines produce NOX emissions and are far less efficient, and every hydrogen vehicle requires a big, heavily armored, extremely high pressure H2 tank that will be subject to all the abuse and neglect that cars receive. As will all the plumbing handling that leak-prone fuel with its extremely wide explosive range.

    Speaking of leaks, hydrogen losses will also be significant, so there will be an environmental impact to just having hydrogen in your tank. The environmental cost of a battery pack is paid once.

    Hydrogen is not a cost effective solution with current technology, and the physics and engineering involved is against that ever changing.

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    Ok thanks


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    Unfortunately, the main way of creating H2 (for cars) is by using carbond hydrates which in the process create a lot of CO2.
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    Multiple thoughts on this topic.

    First, for both stationary and mobile power, I don't think there is a single magic solution to decreasing emissions (I assume we are talking about carbon dioxide emissions). Nor does there need to be; a multi-pronged approach is the way to do it. And there are multiple current technologies that would decrease emissions that are available now and are being implemented, if we take the effort to do so.

    My wife and I have been driving gasoline-electric hybrid cars since 2003. My current car gets about 50 mpg over the entire year (MPG drops in cold weather). That compares to 24.9 mpg for the US fleet average. So just switching to hybrids could approximately halve our automobile emissions. No new technologies, no new infrastructure required.

    Going to plug-in hybrids and electrics could decrease this more, again, with little or no changes in infrastructure.

    Hydrogen, either as fuel cells or hydrogen combustion is attractive in many ways, but there are many problems; many already covered in-thread: safety concerns, high pressure or cryogenic concerns, fuel cell and/or engine design. Hydrogen embrittlement of steels can be a big problem; tank design is neither cheap nor easy.

    To me, the two biggest obstacles to a hydrogen economy are production and distribution. Currently, the most common way to produce hydrogen is steam reforming, which produces CO2.

    For this process high temperature (700Ė1100 įC) steam (H2O) reacts with methane (CH4) in an endothermic reaction to yield syngas.[12]

    Gasification
    CH4 + H2O → CO + 3 H2
    In a second stage, additional hydrogen is generated through the lower-temperature, exothermic, water gas shift reaction, performed at about 360 įC:

    CO + H2O → CO2 + H2
    Obviously, that doesn't help CO2 emissions. What you want to do is make it from water, however electrolysis is a very energy intensive process, photoelectrochemical processes are very inefficient and very far from commercialization (I did research on this back in the mid-80s, and not much has changed). One idea is thermal-nuclear, using heat from a nuclear reactor to split the water, but as soon as you say "nuclear", people go running.

    And even if you come up with a good way to generate it, now you're are going to have to install the infrastructure to distribute all over the country.
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    You mean: even if I come up with a solution then I will be competing against the entire petroleum industry... unless the government is on my side.

    Thanks Swift, I appreciate all the details. Iím sure thereís a solution, thereís always one!


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    You mean: even if I come up with a solution then I will be competing against the entire petroleum industry... unless the government is on my side.

    Thanks Swift, I appreciate all the details. I’m sure there’s a solution, there’s always one!


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    No, that is not at all what I meant. What I meant is that these are very complex issues. Even if you magically created the ultimate hydrogen engine tomorrow, there are still VERY big issues that would need to be solved, even if a hydrogen economy is the best solution.

    And no, there isn't always a solution. But, in the case of CO2 emissions, there are plenty of things we could be doing NOW to decrease emissions, all with currently available technology. But none of those are a single magic technology that will just fix everything.

    And if you think that all of this is the fault of the petroleum industry.... well, we are getting away from allowed topics on CQ, but again, that is an entirely too simplistic analysis, IMO.
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    I think we need to use AI and a simulator to study possible chemical reactions. This way maybe weíll find a cost effective combination of reactions.


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Electric cars is not an option.


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    There are both cars and boats using hydrogen fuel cells with the hydrogen made by electrolysis, the final drive is electric. It may be the future as we go all electric with solar power. Hydrogen should be no more scary than gasoline or propane although it needs higher pressures. We also know how to detect oxygen in the hydrogen at tiny concentrations to deal with the explosion risk. If I recall that is 4% to 96% which is a lot of stray oxygen. (Although accidents have happened !).
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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I think we need to use AI and a simulator to study possible chemical reactions. This way maybe we’ll find a cost effective combination of reactions.


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    I'm sorry, but that is absolutely meaningless. People have been studying means of hydrogen production for decades (I worked on it around 1984-85). There are probably thousands of papers on the topic, both on experimental work and all sorts of theoretical reaction modeling. And even once you possibly find a new method experimentally or theoretically, you have to scale it up into a commercially viable process. You seem to believe no one has thought about this or worked on this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    You seem to believe no one has thought about this or worked on this.
    Most of computer scientists are interested into:
    - Gaming
    - Web based apps

    But if you bring one of the following subject then they all flee:
    - Physics
    - Biology
    - Chemistry

    So I wouldnít be surprised not all possible chemical reactions were attempted. Itís a O(n^2) complexity problem after all.


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Most of computer scientists are interested into:
    - Gaming
    - Web based apps

    But if you bring one of the following subject then they all flee:
    - Physics
    - Biology
    - Chemistry

    So I wouldn’t be surprised not all possible chemical reactions were attempted. It’s a O(n^2) complexity problem after all.


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    Journal of Computational Chemistry
    Computational and Theoretical Chemistry
    Journal of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
    The Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
    Computational Biology and Chemistry

    Only some of the journals on computational chemistry. I'm sorry, but your approach on this is completely naive. Of course it is impossible to look at all possible chemical reactions, that is completely ridiculous and there is no one suggesting any such approach to anything. It would be like assuming a chef would create a new recipe by trying to combine all possible combinations of all eatable substances on Earth. No one solves any problem like this.
    Last edited by Swift; 2019-Oct-11 at 01:16 PM. Reason: typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Because the creation of batteries pollutes more than all the emissions of car fuelling on gasoline.
    Is there any data behind this assertion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Is there any data behind this assertion?
    Multiple physicists I have met said the same thing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Multiple physicists I have met said the same thing.


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    I'll take that as a "no" then.

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    As far as I can tell there is great likely hood that the reactions would be furthered to make a liquid which could be stored more easily like propane or butanol. Let not the best be the enemy of the better.
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    An Engineering.com article on the environmental costs of lithium ion battery production (google is my friend).

    Patting yourself on the back for buying a Prius? It might surprise you to find that electric vehicles, dependent on batteries, may have significant negative environmental impact. You may have cut back on greenhouse gas emissions at the pump only to step into other environmental pitfalls.
    Of course, every technology has downsides (including hydrogen) so the cost/benefit analysis is complex.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    As far as I can tell there is great likely hood that the reactions would be furthered to make a liquid which could be stored more easily like propane or butanol. Let not the best be the enemy of the better.
    ????

    I don't understand. What further reactions? Are you talking about hydrogen? The only way to make hydrogen a liquid is under pressure or cryogenically.
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  29. #29
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    Speaking of hydrogen, in the news today

    CNN.com

    Many of the world's top carmakers may be racing to make plug-in electric vehicles in response to the climate crisis, but Toyota is hedging its bets by backing an alternative source of power for its cars.

    The Japanese company revealed a new version of its hydrogen-powered vehicle on Friday, doubling down on its bet that fuel cells will help secure Toyota's future as the industry comes under enormous pressure to slash carbon emissions.
    Compressed hydrogen gas is combined in a fuel cell with oxygen from the atmosphere to produce electricity that is then stored in a battery. The only byproduct of that process is water, meaning hydrogen vehicles don't expel harmful emissions.

    Toyota has forged ahead with hydrogen power even as it remains bullish on electric cars. In June, Toyota moved forward by five years its goal of having electrified vehicles account for roughly half of sales.
    Like I said, multiple paths.
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    Hydrogen might be useful in airplanes. There is talk of storing hydrogen in high surface area solid foams. Super high pressure tanks are a challenge but super insulated cryogenics could make hydrogen feasible. The best plan might be hydrogen airships with technology to scrub out oxygen. It has been done! It is high time to reconsider because Helium is scarce and expensive.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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