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Toyota Suddenly Accelerates Fuel-Cell Race

1/7/2014 11:35 AM EST
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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
zbduan   1/27/2014 5:20:26 PM
@davemb: Thanks for your prompt response.  The DOE target can be found through the reference of DOE 2013 Annual Merit Review Proceedings and 2012 Annual Progress Reports.  I really appreciate it if you can provide me the detailed information about the Automotive technical journal published two years ago.  It is quite interesting.  Thanks.

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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
davemb   1/27/2014 4:29:22 PM
I don't have the article before me; it was in an automotive technical journal that was briefly loaned to me about 2 years ago. The article referred to the 100 kW cells in the GM vans as having a platinum loading of around 10 grams (or 0.1 g/kW, very close to the target you mentioned). These cells are made by Ballard, a Canadian cell manufacturer. The article went on to say that the next-generation cells to be manufactured in a new factory in Burnaby, B.C., would have a still-lower loading, perhaps as low as 5 grams.Construction of the plant was to be started in 2013. I believe this happened, but Daimler (one of the players in the consortium that was to build the plant), which then was aiming for 2015 as an introduction target for their fuel cell vehicles, has pushed their target back to 2017. So the 5g loaded cells are in the works, but not on the road. However, if the article is correct, the 10g loaded cells are on the road. At least one of these vans has exceeded 100,000 miles of operation, thereby exceeding the DOE target of 50,000 miles (this from statements by GM).

There are other players as well. ACAL Energy's cell, which uses a liquid electrolyte on the cathode side, claims that their cell uses "negligible" platimum. Their cell is undergoing third-party simulated-drive-cycle endurance tests and has logged over 300,000 equivalent miles so far (this information from their website).

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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
zbduan   1/27/2014 1:15:48 PM
@davemb: On your post of 1/7/2014 11:54:16 PM, you mentioned that the platinum loading of the 100kW PEM cells used in these vehicles has over the past decade or so dropped from about 1400g to about 5g orso, and will be going lower.  Where did you get the number.  DOE has the technical target for 2017 of total PGM (g/KW rated) is 0.125.  Your data of 0.05 has exceeded that target already. Please advice.  Thanks.

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Re: Hydrogen As A Fuel
green_is_now   1/18/2014 11:02:27 AM

Nice synapsis thank you, please comment on my comments if you would. Specifically the tank in tank and hydrogen ICE helping to allow infrastructure funding,planning,rollout...  are fresh of the back brain stem.

Also as a side but related hydrogen-ICE topic is hydrogen augmentation of standard gasoline and diesel engines.

There are now CARB certified hydrogen augmentaion systems being sold into the larger truck fleet type operations.

These increase mileage by 10-20%. 

Lower CO, CO2, HC, NOx, emmisions (See CARB certification)

lower particulates (diesel)

(One thing is the O2 senser that can fight against MPG gains (up to ~50%) via compensating for extra oxegen with extra fuel (-->extra power)(-->less Mdot, foot pressure on pedel)

This can be solved with modifing the loop. The O2 sensor and system feedback controls, static and dynamic limits determine how big an issue this.

This not an issue for systems designed to compensate for this from the begining if car companies started putting these systems into new cars.

A crafty garagateer can get past this, or watching lots of youtube video on people doing mods, some bs, some excellent to get clued in on what needs to be done.


How does this work?

By taxing the alternator electrical output power to run the electrolysis.

OK now this sounds like a perpetual motion machine getting more out/in??

This is only partly right though because it does actually work and produces MPG.

OK electrical power makes hydrogen at an efficeincy less than 1.0...given

it is burned in engine at an efficiency less than 1...given

So how upto 20% or 1.2x?

Because the hydrogen help burn the carbon in the carbon chain backbone of liquid fuels.

It helps distribute the composite fuel energy more uniform on average,

changes the flame front and burn rate, ie higher effective octane rating

So it gets its gains by helping burn liquid fuel more completly with better efficiency in any ICE!

But these systems needs a cuastic liquid mix to allow efficient electrolysis.

If you did it with clean water the MPG gains would vaporise in the lost efficiency!

These systems can work in big industral applications with dedicated maintanance and large fuel costs with relatively low MPG.

These become issues as we move into the mainstream car market.

Cars get ~3x the MPG of the truck fleet.

maintanenece issues with caustic H2O solution and tank.

Ok back to hydrogen fueling stations...

If any car could add a small hydrogen tank and assist system to improve MPG without the nasty water phosphate solution and could fill up the tank while getting gasoline or diesel this could help jump start the hydrogen infrastructure needs right now!

0.03% poplutation driving fuel cell cars wont cut it alone.

add 10% of the cars on the road with this system. new cars and retrofit systems

using 10% of there fuel being hydrogen, saving another 20% in gasoline costs!

thats 1% of fuel use being hydrogen to save 2% average across populus.

And cleaner air

and a jump started hydrogen infrastructure.


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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
green_is_now   1/18/2014 10:09:51 AM
Also forgot to highlight the fact that hydrogen burn really good in a ICE!

This is part of the solution I think to jump start hydrogen being commonplace.

80-90% of people will not be able to afford a fuel cell car. at least for the first decade.

Are there enough ultra rich people, bleeding haert environmentalist thtat will put there money where there mouth is to make this fly on fuel cells only?

I don't think so. (Hope I'm wrong)

But if hydrogen could be burned in my ICE-mobile then there is enough demand to jump start the chicken and egg infrastructure problem.

Cause we all drive ICE baby.

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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
green_is_now   1/18/2014 10:03:31 AM
I think the rail structure and long abandonded spurrs could be retrofitted to be hydrogen fueling stations.

Allows for inexpensive, secure train track delivery.

This could easily jumps statr the chicken and egg infrastructure.

The hydrogen delivered in CNG infrastructure can serve other sites preferentailly also.

Both of these will have great sites with little infrastructre extention/cost.

The low lying fruit can be developed first followed by moderate cost sites next as demand builds.

The hydrogen pipelines I am skeptical about leakage, not so much for safety, but because its hard to keep hydrogen in a expensive sphereicle tank from escaping out the walls because hydrogen is the smalles atom/molecule of any element and will leak through anything.

Pipe would be so expensive. Just to have a chance of being possible.

Electrolysis will also be part of the mix.

Tanks will need to be big enough to make hydrogen at night when there is a surplus of electricity and be dispatchable loads for grid stabilization also.

Very little waste electrical overhead voltage could be needed on the grid if these electrolysis loads can be throttled back or switched off to shed load from sagging power voltage from total grid load. This could be the way to help pay for the overhead of the infrastructure.

Split the cost savings between the power generaters and distributers, the fuel station operators, and utilitiy consumers.

I have not seen this but a hybrid tank is possible with a high pressure tank at the center and a outer shell that is a surface area material that has an affinity for hydrogen on the surface.

As the high pressure tank slowly leaks the outer low pressure can capture and deliver ito the pump/customer. it needs enough % storage capacity to be able to capture this escaping hydrogen over time with the users taking it out to limit the pressure of the low pressure tank.

Either venting or repressurising back to high pressure tank will be needed for back up when/if no users can refuel to keep this low pressure below its limit level.




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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
davemb   1/17/2014 11:19:03 PM
You're right, buried gasoline tanks have several safety issues, whatever they are made of (because of the stress forces and for cost reasons I suspect these tanks are still made of steel, with an anti-corrosion inner liner, and protected from galvanic corrosion by an active anti-corrosion device similar to those used on steel bridges and steel buildings). The pit the tanks are buried in usually also have containment walls to inhibit the spread of leaks and spills, and the ground is monitored for signs of contamination. Tanks must be monitored for signs of corrosion and leakage. Every jusrisdiction has strict rules to be followed; gasoline is highly toxic, and a leak has serious consequences regarding contamination of soil and groundwater around such sites, not to mention the fire hazard.

Hydrogen tanks are not perfect either, and must be periodically inspected. The consequences of a spill are much lower, however, espescially in hydrogen tanks mounted above ground in open air.

Regarding tank size: the 200-car capacity station built in Copenhagen, Denmark to fuel the 15 Hyundai vehicles that were delivered to them in February of 2013 was a modular system containing the dispensing units, hydrogen tank, and electrolyzer (a source of renewably generated electricity was available). The entire unit was transported to the site in a standard flatbed trailer. The unit was installed in 12 hours and the first fill took 36 hours, suggesting that the tank was sized to hold 1.5 day's supply of hydrogen and continually replenished each day; thus it acts as a "just in time" delivery system, precisely as you suggested. That the whole system was delivered on a flatbed suggests that the tank size is obviously quite managable.

With a little work this could probably work with CNG, methane, or biomethane as well.

Option 1: If natural gas is available on site, offsite hydrogen could be delivered concurrently with the natural gas, in the same pipeline; the gases don't mix chemically and are easily separable onsite, with the hydrogen going to the hydrogen tank and the remaining natural gas serving its original function (heating or whatever). This sort of thing is being tried in Germany.

Option 2: Gas reformation could be done on site. Standard steam reformation may be site-unfriendly, but there are at least 2 companies (one Canadian, one US company) offering alternatives that could possibly be made site-friendly. American Hydrogen's version inherently captures the carbon dioxide for industrial use or sequestration while delivering hydrogen at 2000psi. MRT's version can be equipped for sequestration as an option. Both are more efficient than steam reformation.

Option 3: Delivery by hydrogen pipeline; with a tank at the station as a buffer, the pipeline could be smaller than otherwise. A dedicated hydrogen pipeline, unlike an oil pipeline, doesn't necessarily have to be buried; it could be above ground and incorporated into existing infrastructure. With careful planning, such a system could be made safe.

Option 4: Frequent delivery by tube trailer at 7500 psi, as suggested by Linde; for short-distance delivery this could be feasable, and more efficient than delivery as a liquid by semitrailer, because it eliminates the need to liquify the hydrogen.

The key to making these work is having a distributed source of hydrogen, to avoid long-distance delivery.

I live in Ontario, Canada (in Ottawa). Our provincial Liberal government is working to increase renewables such as wind, solar, and microhydro in our electrical power mix, and closed our last coal mine in December. Two planned gas-fired plants were also cancelled, and they are working towards a distributed grid infrastructure. It's a political struggle, however, as it threatens certain vested interests, and involves some "short term pain for long-term gain", which some people can't understand or don't want to. With a little luck, however, it will happen.

I don't know if Toyota has identified the cost of its fuel cell yet, but from other sources I gather that the general goal in the industry is $25.00/kW for a car sized cell, which means that the cost of a typical 100kW cell would be around $2500.00. I gather that they are close to achieving this. In the end, the cost of the hydrogen tanks may be more significant than the cells. Some work is being done on that as well.

Toyota's most recent comments suggest that the cost of the cars will be roughly equivalent to plug-in hybrids.


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Re: hydrogen and fuel cells
green_is_now   1/17/2014 1:03:44 PM
The problem with buried tanks is corrosion and ununiform pressure on the tanks, along with settling issues over time.


and you can't inspect them either easily.

(a method may be possible from the inside, pipe inspection equipment.)

Above ground adds a layer of safety in that hydrogen rises upward during an accidental release or accident.

being above ground allready adds a ground level buffer layer.

How much is really needed I don't know.

Tanks that store hydrogen by surface absorbsion are also possible.

these could be buried more safly perhaps.


Also a underground incasement for a cylindarical tank to be dropped in and se cured and piped into the system could also be a solution.

Standard cement tube pour or standard sewage cement pipe sections.

Another better holistic solution to reduce fuel station costs both large and smaller volume distributed fueling stations needed for mass market roll-out is to make them JIT hydrogen or near JIT as possible Just in time hydrogen production reduces tank storage volume needs substantially.

Power source infrastructure is needed but is available for the most part with significant buildout for mass market adoption. The point being, we have a good start and the modernization of the grid will be critical as we switch to a electric-hydrogen economy.

Anyone working on this issue?

What is the present cost-kw/kwh of the 2015 fuel cell and its comparison to LiFePO4 batteries and NiMH as comparisons.

Also the same for the total vehicle wold be great comparison points also


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Re: Hydrogen As A Fuel
Stargzer   1/15/2014 6:41:08 PM
@antedeluvian: "It seems to me that there could be a further advantage to hydrogen if you consider the distribution of the fuel. You could fill a balloon or dirigible and float the hydrogen ..."

Did I miss the part it where it said, "The design is left as an exercise for the student."  :-Þ

I was never a stellar student in PChem, so it would take a good bit or time and research to do the numbers, but I have a feeling that transferring hydrogen only in the balloon wouldn't be efficient.  Sorry to burst your balloon, but I don't think you could carry enough in the balloon itself to make it worthwhile.  The more hydrogen you add and the larger the balloon is, the more ballast you'd need to keep the balloon from rising past the ionosphere (assuming it didn't burst first (... hydrogen gas is very rare in the Earth's atmosphere (1 ppm by volume) because of its light weight, which enables it to escape from Earth's gravity more easily than heavier gases)).  Then you have to ship or dispose of the ballast ...

Perhaps a better idea would be to use a zeppellin (rigid airship) to transport tanks of hydrogen to a fueling station and to transport the empties back.  We're not even considering the air traffic control problem, either.  Or how you drop off one heavy tank and pick up a slightly lighter one without being tethered to something to keep you from floating away during the transfer!

Another exercise for the student would be to determine if the Zeppellin should be filled with hydrogen or helium.  Helium is not flammable, therefore safer, but probably more expensive.  You'd have the same problem exchanging tanks, too.  From the Wikipedia article on Helium (Flight)

Because it is lighter than air, airships and balloons are inflated with helium for lift. While hydrogen gas is approximately 7% more buoyant, helium has the advantage of being non-flammable (in addition to being fire retardant).

"Helium is a finite resource and is one of the only elements with escape velocity, meaning that once released into the atmosphere, it escapes into space." 

This was fun to think about, though!

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Re: Hydrogen As A Fuel
antedeluvian   1/15/2014 3:33:25 PM

It seems to me that there could be a further advantage to hydrogen if you consider the distribution of the fuel. You could fill a balloon or dirigible and float the hydrogen (using its bouyancy) from distribution point to distribution point. When the supply was all depleted, the deflated balloon could then be carted back to base- reduction of delivery costs and traffic congestion.

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