Hydrogen-Powered Cars – A Pipedream

If you’ve been lead to believe that the touted “green technologies” will save both the planet and your wallet, you will want to read this.

Hydrogen-Powered Cars – A Pipedream

By Dr. Klaus LE. Kaiser

The Hydrogen Pipedream

“Especially amusing or annoying (mostly the latter) are claims about elemental hydrogen as energy carrier of the future. It’s the same nonsense which you could see in TV commercials and read in the
newspapers twenty years ago. At that time we were told that hydrogen-powered cars were to be in car dealers’ showrooms by 2001, “ready to drive away.” Now, many years later, the hype is still the same and nothing has changed, except for the “green alliances” for “sustainable future technologies” between some car manufacturers and the new date when it is all supposed to come together, formerly predicted for 2017. ”

Elemental Hydrogen Properties

  1. Liquid Hydrogen

The properties of elemental hydrogen are extreme. In liquid form it can only exist at temperatures below MINUS 250 C (MINUS 415 F), which is not far above the absolute ZERO temperature (MINUS 273 C). Except for helium, no other material exists in either liquid or gaseous form at the temperature; even oxygen and nitrogen are rock hard solids then.

Therefore, any idea of using liquid hydrogen as common energy carrier in automobiles is out of the question. It would rapidly evaporate even with the best thermal insulating materials around any tank and lines.

  1. Compressed Hydrogen

Above its triple point, which is MINUS 250 C for hydrogen, any material can only exist as gas. That means that in order to use elemental hydrogen as a common energy carrier it would have to be strongly compressed and transported in thick-walled steel cylinders. Even at an extremely high pressure of 20,000 psi (or 700 Bar, comparable to deep parts of the ocean), the volume of a typical automobile gasoline tank would only contain a few pounds of hydrogen.

Therefore, compressed hydrogen gas is no viable option either. To begin with, the energy requirement for compression is quite large. Then, because of the small size of the hydrogen molecule, it is able to migrate through many solid materials, even steel. Under pressure, it also reacts with the small amount of carbon in common steel which makes that brittle and unsafe. But that is not all that argues against the use of hydrogen as energy carrier.

  1. Flammability

Probably the most serious argument against the common use of hydrogen is the fact that it has the largest known flammability range of any gas in mixture with air. Between five and 95% hydrogen in any mixture with air will explode with the slightest spark or on contact with a hot surface.

Can anyone seriously expect that of the millions of cars on the road (potentially with either liquid or compressed hydrogen as fuel) none would ever develop any fuel leak that would lead to powerful explosions?

Hydrogen Compounds

We actually use a lot of hydrogen for fuel, however, not in elemental form but as chemical compounds with carbon, summarily called hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are termed gasoline and diesel fuel. They are liquids at common temperatures and quite easy to handle. You can pour them from one container into another without problems and they have been around for a more than a century. Very simply, hydrocarbons are the energy carrier of choice.

Gasoline or diesel fuel is not only quite safe and easy to handle, it also carries a lot of punch. For example, any volume of it contains more bound hydrogen than you could possibly have in the same volume of liquid or compressed elemental hydrogen. In gasoline or diesel, the bound hydrogen has a slightly lower energy availability than in elemental form, but that small disadvantage is negligible compared to all the disadvantages of hydrogen in the elemental (pure) form.

Summary

As long as bureaucrats and politicians are willing to spend your tax dollars on the (elemental) hydrogen-as-fuel idea, you can’t blame the car manufacturers for making all kinds of promises.

The fact is and will remain: Elemental hydrogen as energy carrier for cars is a pipedream.

_________________________________________________

Dr Klaus L E KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.

Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
convenientmyths.com

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: mail@convenientmyths.com


38 thoughts on “Hydrogen-Powered Cars – A Pipedream

  1. The sad part is that many so called educated, I prefer to think of them as indoctrinated, people think that H2 is a viable transportation fuel. Our educational system needs a total reinvention. Scholars should be teaching our students not agenda driven political activists.

  2. Hydrogen-Powered Cars become less attractive when you consider it takes Power to create Hydrogen. Iceland decided to become a Hydrogen Powered Nation. They had all of the elements needed, and an abundance of water and electricity. As I remember they created hydrogen at the refueling stations. They made great progress, but have not come close to their goal. Hydrogen looks clean to those who give it no thought. Hydrogen created by Coal Power carries the pollution of the coal plant. Hydrogen created by Natural Gas Power Plants is a waste of energy – go with Natural Gas. Had it not been for Jimmy Carter, most cars and trucks in the US would be running on Natural Gas.

  3. The morons that constitute our government intend to phase out natural gas as a domestic heating and cooking fuel and replace it with hydrogen. And they are even going to trial this somewhere – after all its taxpayers money not theirs.

  4. Hydrogen powered vehicle are an engineering nightmare and a non starter, but for an example of an attempt (back in 2006) of trying to do this look here —
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_Hydrogen_7
    BMW Hydrogen 7, huge cost with limited range — read the fuel mpg figures, and the very alarming fuel tank issues —

    To stay a liquid, hydrogen must be super-cooled and maintained at cryogenic temperatures of, at warmest, −253 °C (−423.4 °F). When not using fuel, the Hydrogen 7’s hydrogen tank starts to warm and the hydrogen starts to vaporize. Once the tank’s internal pressure reaches 87 psi, at roughly 17 hours of non-use, the tank will safely vent the building pressure. Over 10–12 days, it will completely lose the contents of the tank because of this.[9]

    I like that line “the tank will safely vent the building pressure.” Safely to where?
    So park them up at the long stay parking and fill the area with a volatile gas, and if the vehicle (or site) is still there when you return it will be out of fuel, or at least running very low.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Also how to refill the tank?
    Or fuel stations all leaking hydrogen gas constantly all over the city? How do you safely refill the fuel station?
    No it’s never going to happen…

  5. Toyota and Honda have hydrogen powered cars – Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars – in the showrooms – on the market now, and in consortium with GM are developing a hydrogen fueling network now.

    I’ve seen one Toyota Mirai on the road, and an HFC bus in Oakland. HFC is where EV was about 10 years ago. In 50 years I expect HFC to be the dominant transportation power, in 100 years gasoline and diesel will be for niche markets only, if they are available at all.

    Toyota and Nikola are expected to have HFC semi trucks on the market within a few years – Nikola says in 2019.

    All the technology to run future transportation on hydrogen is known. It’s just a matter of building the infrastructure now.

    The California Hydrogen Fuel Cell Consortium has been developing HFC technology for about 20 years, based in West Sacramento, California, nearly all of the major auto makers are members.

    The big problem with oil and natural gas is that, as far as anyone knows, they are finite resources, we cannot rely on them forever. BP says they estimate there is enough oil reserves to maintain current production until circa 2050.;

    Maybe Dr. Kaiser should do a little more fact checking.

    • So why do these hydrogen powered vehicles exist?

      Because the Bush Administration allocated 1.2 billion dollars for Hydrogen research back in 2003.

      Rent seekers at the government grant tit.

      The reality is that to produce hydrogen it’s not economical.
      Either you use fossil fuels to produce the hydrogen or “renewable” energy. The latter costing more than the actual output of hydrogen.

      Even after producing the fuel, the general distribution and storage costs outweigh the benefits.

      Then there is Dr. Klaus’s arguments.

    • Obviously you are well indoctrinated.
      The Globalist cabal and their owned “tools” (Mainstream Media, Public Education, Elected Government Lawmaking Officials, Entertainment Industry, etc.) have done quite a successful job of indoctrinating scores of millions of folks into believing pipedreams, with our tax money. Just look at how long and expensive it has been to expose just the AGW/Climate Change HOAX.
      I believe the Globalist indoctrinated victims would be best served if they were allowed to educate themselves about the “who, where, what and why” of the Globalist players involved.
      The most fact filled and accurate documentary expose I am aware of is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=ForvEyNABs8

    • Google “oil renewable”. It is slowly being accepted that oil is contentiously being created deep within the Earth. Also by current estimate there is a 500 year supply. Coal can be easily turned into Jet Fuel – Kerosene/diesel. As for California’s Hydrogen Fuel, they have been burning Natural Gas to produce the Hydrogen. That is like running a generator off electricity to produce electricity.

      Hydrogen is not a fuel source, it is a fuel storage device; otherwise we would be producing electricity from hydrogen that was created with electricity produced from hydrogen – perpetual-motion.

  6. Has anyone ever mounted a hydrogen generator in their vehicle. This is a small device that creates hydrogen out of water while you drive. In other words it an on demand system. No gas storage and no risk of seeping gas to cause explosions.

    I put one on my 2006 Chevy 1 ton pickup. The manufacturer of the device also created a chip to overcome the manufacturers computer settings. At first the system was actually using more fuel than it should. This was a result of the manufacturers sensors telling the computer it was starving for fuel.

    Once we put the cip in and reset the MFG settings I gained about 7 miles per gallon. That was about a 30% increase in fuel savings. This device cost me at the time $600. bucks.

    IF and device were made that could produce enough Hydrogen on demand one would have to believe the possibility of a hydrogen fueled car is a real possibility.

    Three additional benefits >>
    1. MY ENGINE RAN ABOUT 40 DEGREES COOLER
    2. THE EXHAUST WAS SO CLEAN THAT THE EXAMINER TESTED THE VEHICLE ON THREE SIMILAR BUT SEPARATE ELECTRONIC TESTING DEVICES.
    3. WE HAD A SIGNIFICANT AND MEASURABLE POWER INCREASE. (I don’t recall the specific increase. I believe it was something like 7% torque at the wheels.

    I tried to contact the company in Utah and their numbers didn’t work. I prefer to believe after my experience that they were either bought out or chased out of the business.

    I’m looking into several companies that seem to be marketing similar but not the same devices. Same claims different style devices.

    I’m planning on using the technology in my vehicles again and I’d like to apply the concept to my fire place where the hydrogen would help burn more completely particulate that would escape into the atmosphere.

    • I’ve tried similar on my vehicle. The H acts as a combustion enhancer for the diesel. It burns with a very hot flame and helps to extract more energy out of the diesel by burning it more completely. This is old tech that is tried and tested and easily retro-fitted to existing engines of many types.

  7. A number of people over the last 50 or so years have figured it out and cracked the hydrogen from water and made a common combustion engine run on it. None of these people knew of the previous people who discover it and did it. The mistake they all made was trying to patent it or bragging about how they were doing this and got them in trouble. One of the big problems with this is how to tax something thats found everywhere and free.
    If this was allowed it would put Oil companies out of business over night and it would not stop there.

  8. always wondered why we don’t have small nuke pellets as an electrical power source. replace the fuel tank with a massively shielded power core,… and you’re good to go. right?

  9. Stan Meyer had a patent for splitting hydrogen. People after his death call him a scammer. But he took his device into the USA atent office and produced hydrogen in front of them.

    If you want hydrogen to run cars, you need to split water at the time you are using it. We need to look after knowdge like Vedic maths or the maths of harmonic resonance.

    There will be frequency and modality that will split water on to hydrogen and oxygen at a fraction of the energy they show us in school experiments. Thats what i think Meyer did.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Meyer%27s_water_fuel_cell

    https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjLysTd7_jWAhUOv5QKHdsnDYoQtwIIQDAD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhEAhInuXdBs&usg=AOvVaw18nryVO_LFKfreasqtBkLZ

    I am not 100% on stan Meyer, but everywhere I turn in this world the status quo is just plain out lying to us, on so many front.

    Most people even don’t know Henry Ford wanted us to have a hemp based ethanol future. he grew 10,000 acres of hemp and ran 40,000 cars off it.

    Being twice as rich s bill gates in the economy of his day did not help him against the Ultra wealth of the bankers and the next level down their financed robber barons.

    prohibition sidelined ford’s ethanol future. Ethanol is clean burning and we would not have had lead in petrol creating pollution.

    Just look at the lies on the coming solar minimum. Its lies everywhere we should no longer put up with.

    In the major countries we need to vote out the owned and controlled major parties.

    • 1) How much energy does it take to create the “harmonics” and “frequency” needed to split water?

      When you split water, it takes energy. When you burn this H2 (hydrogen) with O2 Oxygen, you get your energy for your car, BUT what you propose can’t work since the energy needed to SPLIT the water is more than when you re-create the water. It is the “perpetual motion machine” that can not work due to “loss” of useful energy (entropy).

      2) Henry Ford knew all about the Ultra Rich Bankers and such. He wrote books about it, published his own Newspaper and spent 10 years investigating the corruption at the top. They tried to put him out of business in the 1920’s by refusing to lean him money. SO, he came up with the idea of having his numerous dealers buy the cars from him and then they sell/finance them to the public. Google Henry Ford and his books. You won’t believe it.

      The “local” banks were all in favor but the huge National and Central banks were furious. This is why during the depression 5,000 local banks were shut down, even the though the Charter of the Federal Reserve Corporation, was to keep banks open to prevent bank runs, etc. There is so much to this corruption.

  10. Uh, how much energy does it take to produce the Hydrogen?

    And, guess what they use as energy to produce the hydrogen……………….oil, coal and gas…….what a surprise.

  11. I really hope that the onboard electrolysis powers my car people are being sarcastic. The sad part is I can’t be 100% sure.

    • Enhancing Internal Combustion Engines with HHO is well documented but you’d be lucky to gain 25% fuel economy. You simply recover some of the wasted energy from a standard ICE.
      Other devices exist. The Karnot 5 stroke motor uses an additional low-pressure cylinder to extract some of the energy in the exhaust gasses which are released still under pressure in normal ICEs.
      Numerous US Patents exist on plasma ignition which will give any car an additional 12% fuel economy. You inject steam into the cylinder and “ignite” it with a very high temp spark. The H2O dissociates into a plasma of protons, neutrons and electrons though no-one really understands plasmas yet.

        • Only a little more than the small amount in a conventional spark and well within the alternator capacity of all modern cars. Modern electronics can create a very short sharp voltage spike and then flood that spark with a few more amps to get the plasma effect going. A back-room boy at Ford came up with this in ’92 but his bosses told him they had no interest in fuel economy and they side-lined it.
          If it was not viable Honda, NGK etc would not bother footing the bill for Patent applications.
          In reality, most people in USA and Australia get fuel so cheaply they don’t care about economy. My sons drive big 6 and 8 cylinder gas guzzelers and think I’m quite “interesting” making bio-diesel and playing with water electrolysis.

  12. I don’t think new technological developments are being considered. There are some promising developments in the area of hydrogen storage in carbon nano-tubes.

  13. Alternatives will be needed at some point but with at least 50 years of oil left it won’t be in my lifetime.

  14. Any power conversion loses energy. Hydrogen is not found free so must be made. These two together mean that the original source has more energy than the H2. The only reasons not to use the source energy directly are the difficulty of direct use (coal is hard to use in cars) or the difficulty of controlling real polutants (CO2 is not a polutant). So coal scrubbers to remove S and particulates work well, but not cheaply at the one car scale. But gasoline and Diesel are both easily used and scrubbed…

    The best way to understand hydrogen is to realize it us basicaly not an energy source, but only an energy storage device. A battery of sorts for chemical energy. You must ask from where the energy comes, at what costs, how much is lost in the conversions, and how is the energy removed for use.

    Any system that sources energy from electricity must contend with alternative battery types for storing that energy. Generally, electrochemical batteries beat hydrogen direct use fairly easily. Lithium batteries move H ions between two storage materials, so in an indirect way it is just an advanced H storage and conversion system. Other H2 storage and use systems must beat the advanced battery or fail. They are not even close at present.

    The best fuel for in home gas appliances (heaters, stoves) is a light hydrocarbon. Natural gas, propane, or in places above freezing, butane. There is zero reason to replace them. Creating H2 will waste energy. Pipes designed for natural gas will leak H2 and become brittle. Breaks and leaks will cause all sorts of problems including higher fire risks and deaths. It is a stupid thing to do.

    In short, it is better to use hydrocarbon fuels directly as fuels and if you have electricity, it is best to store it in batteries not hydrogen,. Until some magical way is found to source H2 directly from something other than hydrocarbons or electricity, it is just dumb.

  15. imagine an underground garage full of cars gassing off hydrogen. Hydrogen is contained in silver plated, thin wall steel vessels that are wound externally with fiberglass. I expect carbon fiber would be useful in this application as well. Silver is the only metal that will contain the hydrogen molecule. CNG buses use three, or six similar tanks that are not silver plated on top of the bus, under a fiberglass shell. You don’t see the tanks, but the bus looks like it has an extended roof. They pump them up to something like 600 PSI to get about four hours running. They re-charge during the driver’s lunch. You see them used a lot as airport shuttles and city buses. There is no real advantage to using hydrogen in this application other than the “cool” factor.

    There was a guy who was experimenting with holding hydrogen in a metal hydrite compound that claimed it would hold a higher volume of hydrogen than the same volume of liquid. Perhaps he was referring to the volume including the bulk of the container. The container is warmed first by an electric heater and then by the engine exhaust. I have not heard or read anything further on this.

  16. This whole argument sort of reminds me of something our au pair girl told my wife and I one day way back in the early ’80s when we were stationed in Illinois. She said she just got a ticket for “parkin’ next to a fire hydrogen.” We kept her because….well…she was naive enough to really love our five kids.

  17. I don’t buy this story one bit. It doesn’t jive with the real world.
    Hydrogen-Fuel.org states that the hydrogen industry in the U.S. produces around nine million tons of hydrogen each year, which is enough to power 20 to 30 million cars or 5 to 8 million homes. Large quantities of hydrogen are used to hydrogenate oils to form fats, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. Moreover, it is used in welding and reducing metallic ores. Liquid hydrogen is valuable in cryogenics and superconductivity research, as its melting point is above absolute zero. Hydrogen is manufactured from methane gas
    Storage is not a problem. Billions of gallons of compressed hydrogen are stored in common steel containers and shipped all over the world daily without incident.
    Production of hydrogen is as easy as connecting a 9v battery to a nail and submerging it in water. Saline is best. Anybody know of a good source of salt water?
    You can run your car on hydrogen right now with little or no modification. Long term you will need to change out the exhaust because it will literally rust away from the water vapor produced but other than that, you’re good to go.
    No. This article doesn’t pass the commonsense sniff test.

    • Anybody know of a good source of salt water?

      Yes! Earths oceans and seas! No fuel shortage is possible. Best of all no one can have a monopoly.
      This is why people pooh pooh the idea of free or ultra cheap energy. They can’t stand the idea of being free and their favorite Illuminati tyrant being out in the cold.
      Strange freaking world it is.

  18. @John the 1st
    1. You state: “Large quantities of hydrogen are used to hydrogenate oils to form fats..”
    True, but it is produced & used nearly simultaneously and at low pressure.
    2. You state:”Liquid hydrogen is valuable in cryogenics and superconductivity research.”
    True, but only in highly specialized laboratories with extreme safety precautions (e.g., venting…).
    3. You state: “Billions of gallons of compressed hydrogen are stored in common steel containers.”
    No, perhaps thousands — not “billions” of such. Their pressure (commonly around 3,000 psi), not 30,000 psi, as would be needed for cars. Also, one of those steel cylinders (approx. 4 ft high, 3/4 ft diameter, weight 200 lbs) only contains only ONE kg of compressed H2.
    Also, transporting even such “low pressure” (3,000 psi) H2 cylinders is prohibited in many tunnels (e.g. Mercer Island, Seattle).
    4. You state: “You can run your car on hydrogen right now with little or no modification.”
    If that is so (probably true) why then wait for the perfection of the “fuel cell?”
    The answer is: The physical properties of hydrogen are simply too extreme to consider it as a common energy carrier.

    Really, nothing has changed for 20 years, and nothing will.

    For further information, see, for example:
    http://www.terrabase-inc.com/Hydrogen.pdf

  19. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a limited production hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle built from 2005-2007 by German automobile manufacturer BMW. The car is based on BMW’s traditional gasoline-powered BMW 7 Series (E65) line of vehicles, and more specifically the 760Li. It uses the same 6 litre V-12 motor as does the 760i and 760Li; however, it has been modified to also allow for the combustion of hydrogen as well as gasoline, making it a bivalent engine. Unlike many other current hydrogen powered vehicles like those being produced by Honda, General Motors, and Daimler AG – which use fuel cell technology and hydrogen to produce electricity to power the vehicle – the BMW Hydrogen 7 burns the hydrogen in an internal combustion engine.
    It would seem that BMW disagrees with this article

    https://www.caranddriver.com/news/2007-bmw-hydrogen-7-car-news

    It would seem that BMW disagrees with the author of this article.

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