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Thread: Hydrogen is the future! Forget those hard to get electric elderly scooters for cars

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    WMD Member Christiaan van Beilen's Avatar
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    Hydrogen is the future! Forget those hard to get electric elderly scooters for cars

    So guys, lithium is a very limited resource on the planet and it's a reason why manufacturers are holding back on electric vehicles. Personally I've always looked more towards hydrogen as the next best fuel.

    In my opinion hydrogen is better cause it's faster to refuel your car, but also it isn't as likely to stall or break down on you when trying to tow a trailer/caravan into a mountain type region like the alps. I mean... trying to do a hillstart on a 20% incline with an electric vehicle... I think it'll smell like fried electronics.

    Also a hydrogen engine is high revving! It is also from what I understand means bigger displacement engines again... can't wait for a BMW M3 with 6-inline hydrogen engine. Also I wonder if a wankel/rotary hydrogen engine would be possible? :P


    Anyway, the reason I am making this thread is to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen over electricity, as well as both over old fuel solutions of petrol/gasoline and diesel. The chap from Engineering Explained just made a good video about hydrogen, which I want to use to start off this thread.


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    GT3 Pilot Schnizz58's Avatar
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    Thanks! Very informative.

    I've always known that the main disadvantage (other than a Hindenberg type of disaster) is the low energy density, which he discusses in the video. However, I wasn't aware of some of the advantages. Of course I knew it was cleaner but some of the other pros, I didn't know about.

    Also I wonder if a wankel/rotary hydrogen engine would be possible?
    I would think so but you don't get very high compression ratios in a Wankel so it might not be the best type of engine to take advantage of some of the pluses you get with hydrogen. (My first car was a Mazda RX so I do have a little experience with rotary engines.)

    I wonder how big of a fuel tank you'd need to get a range comparable to today's gasoline engines (say 500km or so). Might be a pain having to stop for fuel all the time on a cross-country trip (but still better than a Tesla).
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    WMD Member Christiaan van Beilen's Avatar
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    The Hindenburg was due to static electricity. Also most of the Hydrogen gas immediately escaped as soon as the balloon ruptured, but the material the balloon was made of caught flame and was not flame retardant at the time. I am sure that with modern materials and technology it would be near unlikely to happen again. Besides, there are many airships still around including the famous Goodyear one that I once had the joy of seeing as it flew near my school many moons back; although these are filled with helium and not hydrogen.
    Anyway, I am sure they'll think up a clever and safe fuel cell. Maybe even one that's situated along the bottom side of the car like the Tesla batteries are.

    As far as the rotary engine goes. Wouldn't it be possible to increase compression if you wait a little longer with firing the first spark plug and maybe use a glow plug in the second spark plug's stead, or does the rotor open right away to the combustion side of the stroke (so towards the area of the second spark plug)?

    Well, I'd rather refuel every 500km and get another full tank of hydrogen in a minute or two than having to recharge my Tesla at a supercharging station for 30 minutes and only get a 270km action radius. That is... the advertised radius but we all know temperature greatly affects the operation of batteries so in the Winter you'll get a lot less for those 30 minutes of standing around doing nothing waiting for your car to do its thing.
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    Last I checked one of the disadvantages of hydrogen is the cost of production. I'm all for replacing fossil fuels with clean & renewable sources of energy but there needs to be improvements in the technology for producing and transporting hydrogen so that the costs will go down and it will become a viable option for the most people.

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    WMD Member Christiaan van Beilen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FS7 View Post
    Last I checked one of the disadvantages of hydrogen is the cost of production. I'm all for replacing fossil fuels with clean & renewable sources of energy but there needs to be improvements in the technology for producing and transporting hydrogen so that the costs will go down and it will become a viable option for the most people.
    We have solar parks in the Netherlands specifically for creating hydrogen. Also we have windmill parks out on sea who are used to convert that energie into hydrogen.

    Basically everyone here is looking various solutions to create gas for not only cars but also for use in homes for cooking and warming the home.
    This has also been fueled because of the gas being depleted here in the ground locally to such an extend that earthquakes are happening, which anyone can imagine is destroying our brick homes and the lives of the families who live inside due to fear of having their home collapse in on them.
    So there is a real push here to look for alternatives.

    Also I vaguely remember something about using algee, but I could be wrong about that. This could also be in regards to creating biodiesel in the past.

    Personally I see it as an option for cars and homes in the near future. In Europe we at least have an extensive gas network already all the way to Russia that could basically be used to transport hydrogen gas as well. It is only that the gas burner nozzles on equipment need to be changed to convert them to the new gas type.
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    LMP2 Pilot hkraft300's Avatar
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    Rotaries can burn hydrogen. Rotor faces can also be shaped for a higher compression ratio.

    Firstly making the hydrogen/raw H2 gas takes a lot of energy. Then it needs a lot of energy to compress into storage tanks. Then it leaks through the tank walls because H2 molecules are so bloody small it sneaks past metal ions. So there's really no material that can hold it in place.
    I did read that carbon nanotubes could be used to trap hydrogen in storage tanks...
    If you're making it out of "free" renewable sources such as wind and solar, great.
    Unfortunately the overall efficiency of the system still sucks.
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    GT3 Pilot Schnizz58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christiaan van Beilen View Post
    The Hindenburg was due to static electricity. Also most of the Hydrogen gas immediately escaped as soon as the balloon ruptured, but the material the balloon was made of caught flame and was not flame retardant at the time. I am sure that with modern materials and technology it would be near unlikely to happen again. Besides, there are many airships still around including the famous Goodyear one that I once had the joy of seeing as it flew near my school many moons back; although these are filled with helium and not hydrogen.
    Anyway, I am sure they'll think up a clever and safe fuel cell. Maybe even one that's situated along the bottom side of the car like the Tesla batteries are.
    Yeah, I was just being silly with the Hindenburg reference. Mainly because I was watching an episode of Archer the other night set on a helium airship and every time somebody tried to light up, Archer attacked them because he didn't understand the difference between helium and hydrogen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christiaan van Beilen View Post
    As far as the rotary engine goes. Wouldn't it be possible to increase compression if you wait a little longer with firing the first spark plug and maybe use a glow plug in the second spark plug's stead, or does the rotor open right away to the combustion side of the stroke (so towards the area of the second spark plug)?
    Maybe. I also heard that they're looking into laser ignition. I think the compression ratio is mostly a function of the geometry of the cavity in the rotor. There isn't much that a designer can do about the shape of the housing because it's dictated by the fact that the rotor can't be allowed to contact the housing except at the apex seals. Another advantage of a Wankel is that everything is always moving in the same direction. You don't have pistons that have to reverse course twice on every cycle. For this reason the engine runs smoother and can theoretically run at higher RPMs. I also remember that my RX-3 used to burn a lot of oil by design. This situation may have been improved since then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christiaan van Beilen View Post
    Well, I'd rather refuel every 500km and get another full tank of hydrogen in a minute or two than having to recharge my Tesla at a supercharging station for 30 minutes and only get a 270km action radius. That is... the advertised radius but we all know temperature greatly affects the operation of batteries so in the Winter you'll get a lot less for those 30 minutes of standing around doing nothing waiting for your car to do its thing.
    For sure, IF they can achieve 500 km of range, which is why I was wondering how big the fuel tank/cell would need to be to get that kind of range.
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  8. #8
    WMD Member Christiaan van Beilen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hkraft300 View Post
    Rotaries can burn hydrogen. Rotor faces can also be shaped for a higher compression ratio.

    Firstly making the hydrogen/raw H2 gas takes a lot of energy. Then it needs a lot of energy to compress into storage tanks. Then it leaks through the tank walls because H2 molecules are so bloody small it sneaks past metal ions. So there's really no material that can hold it in place.
    I did read that carbon nanotubes could be used to trap hydrogen in storage tanks...
    If you're making it out of "free" renewable sources such as wind and solar, great.
    Unfortunately the overall efficiency of the system still sucks.
    Even if the efficiency sucks it is still more viable than going full in on storing engine in lithium, a resource that is already scarce.
    Never mind the fact that not everyone can park their car directly in front of their house, because in Europe we don't have a driveway and so we have to lay down cables across sidewalks. Which are trip hazards and if anything happens to the person tripping than you are to be held accountable.

    I forgot what it was but I also remember watching a video that would use chemistry to create hydrogen from other gasses like Co2.
    I think it was in relation to syngas that was generated from Co2 and had hydrogen as a waste gas. Or something like that which went above my head as I am not a chemist.

    If they can convert Co2 to usable gasses it also aids the environment in getting rid of greenhouse gas, whilst we in the world benefit from it.


    Edit:
    I remembered it wrongly but this was the video.

    Last edited by Christiaan van Beilen; 20-12-2018 at 17:08.
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    BMW have announced they have been running hydrogen cars. And Le Mans should be going Hydrogen for 2026(2025/26 WEC season).
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    WMD Member Christiaan van Beilen's Avatar
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    On topic of Mazda and Rotary... this article was from 2004 - Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE concept: https://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/...drogen-re.aspx

    According to wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_RX-8_Hydrogen_RE

    Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE

    Overview
    Manufacturer Mazda
    Also called Mazda RX-8 HRE
    Production 2003
    Body and chassis
    Related Mazda RX-8
    Powertrain
    Engine 1.3 L, 2 rotor Renesis Wankel Rotary engine
    Transmission 5-speed manual
    Range 100 km (62 mi) (Hydrogen mode)


    The Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE is a 2003 bi-fuel version of the RX-8 sports car, in which the twin-rotor wankel rotary engine is configured to run on either hydrogen or gasoline. This is the fifth Mazda vehicle to be fitted with a hydrogen wankel rotary engine.

    Specifications
    The hydrogen tank is made of aluminum and carbon fibre and has a capacity of 110 liters at 350 bar stores up to 2.4 kilograms of hydrogen and is fitted in addition to the 61 liter gasoline tank. The car can be switched from gasoline to hydrogen mode using a button in the cabin.[1] The Hydrogen tank takes up most of the RX-8s trunk space and the all the hydrogen components weigh in at 187 lbs in total. Running in hydrogen mode, it produces no emissions other than water vapour and has a range of around 100 km (62 mi).[2] In 2005, Mazda obtained street approval for this vehicle. The following year, the first vehicles were leased to customers in Idemitsu and Iwatani at a price of .[3] In November 2007, Mazda announced the delivery of 30 RX-8 HRE to the Norwegian hydrogen project Hynor.[4]

    The bivalent RENESIS wankel rotary engine has the following data:

    Engine twin-rotor Wankel engine
    Chamber volume 2 x 654 cc (equivalent Displacement: 2,616 cc)
    Mode Hydrogen Gasoline
    Performance 80 kW (107 hp, 109 PS) 154 kW (206 hp, 210 PS)
    Maximum torque 140 Nm (103 lb ft) at 5.000 U/min 222 Nm (164 lb ft) at 5.000 U/min
    Maximum speed 170 km/h (106 mph) (H2-operation)
    Acceleration from 0–100 km/h (0-62 mph). 10 seconds

    This was over a decade ago already and at the time they had a range of 100km on a 110 liter hydrogen fuel tank. I wonder if they made any improvements since then, especially in fuel economy. Although it might just be that the wankel engine itself just isn't suited for usage with gas, but I'd have to look at the performance of a 4 stroke engine of that time period on hydrogen to get something conclusive to that question. Edit: It seems the BMW Hydrogen 7 from 2007 did 50l/100km instead of 110l/100km... a massive difference.

    Last edited by Christiaan van Beilen; 21-12-2018 at 00:41.
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