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March 24, 2007


Tony Belding

I find it hard to believe that this article (especially its title) was written without some sense of irony. I'll be amazed -- and disappointed -- if fuel cell cars aren't hopelessly obsolete by 2025.


I think that the year 2027 is more appropriate. Fuel cells for cars are only twenty years away and always will be.


Hydrogen cars are never going to come to pass.

Electric cars get 3x more range out of the same amount of energy.

And what with AltairNano, A123 Systems, and EEStor.
We're gonna get some sort of an uber "battery" coming up soon.

David Moreland

I just don't get all the hoopla about hydrogen cars. Fuel cells are nothing but batteries which you have to feed. The feed, hydrogen, is difficult to store in adequate quantities and must be created from other sources.

Energy Guru


The feed need not be hydrogen; it may be hydrocarbon. Not in the above cars, but in high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells, which may eventually be able to scale down to a size suitable for a car, or a direct methanol fuel cell.


Exactly right. The fuel cell winner will be a solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine as a backup generator for serial plugin hybrids.

Because it can run on many varying fuels with very high efficiency, 60 to 80%. This technology can stretch existing petroleum reserves out for decades. No need for fuel farming.


While SOFC and MCFC fuel cells are great for large immobile structures, to be used instead of coal and natural gas power plants.

They aren't good for cars.

Main reason? They have a +750-1000 degree operating temperature.


Furthermore, if you have an electric car that can recharge in minutes, and drive for hundreds of miles.

Then whats the point of having a fuel cell onboard?


Eventually pure EVs maybe able to charge in a few minutes at any gas station or while driving from inductive charge strips under the road. Meanwhile even the highest tech batteried vehicles will take hours to charge up. And the batteries cost 14,000 bucks for 35kwh storage.

Serial plugin only takes a couple thousand dollars worth of batteries for the 25 mile range needed to cover the average trip.

Internal combustion engines run hot too. ever see a red hot exhaust manifold? Boeing is working on a very light, small sofc/microturbine as a backup generator for their airliners. And even to power unmanned vehicles.

SOFCs use liquid fuel, that makes them fit present infrastructure. And serial hybrid plugin technology gives them 200+ mpg.


... An airliner is quite a different beast than a car.

In particular, an airliner gets very cold, and the cogenerated heat is quite useful.

Also when they say "micro" they are refering to the standard size of a SOFC. Which is about the size of a traincar.


Furthermore the economics of an passenger aircraft and a single occupancy passenger vehicle are rather different.


Also last I checked.

AltairNano's batteries can recharge in about 6 minutes from a 480V industrial wall socket.

And still, even if it's 120V, thats still only 4x slower. About 26 minutes. (Call it 30 to be fair)


Anyways, the whole point of a plugin hybrid is that it can access gasoline infrastructure for extended trips.

The advantage there being that it can run at peak RPM the whole time.


But really, a SOFC would be far more expensive than making the car go full electric :O


I don't know much about SOFC, but chances are both SOFC and batteries have a lot of room to grow, with getting cheaper, smaller, and more effecient. SOFC, however, seem to have a lot longer to go (on size/heat alone). But what would be wrong with, say, putting SOFC power plants in gas stations or large urban areas (Depending on how much power they produce-- i dont know much about this) and then using that power to charge BEV's or Plugins?

Everybody wins, assuming the economics work out--oil companies get to sell their oil, biofarms sell their stuff, ppl get clean power and still get to drive, and car companies get to sell a wide range of vehicles, and some start-ups would probably get a hold on the car market as well.


GreyFlcn, multiple auto suppliers are working on SOFC's in the 5 kW range and the size of a couple of shoeboxes.  The goal is to make a highly efficient APU which can run accessories and perhaps creep the vehicle through traffic while the main engine is off.


Well, I'll be damned then.
Small SOFCs ;D


As big as a train car eyyh?




This works better.

Paul Dietz

Main reason? They have a +750-1000 degree operating temperature.

Catalytic convertors, devices already present in millions of cars, can approach the operating temperature range of some kinds of SOFCs.

Kit P.

Will 2025 still be the year of the ICE? Yes, because they work fine and last a long time. The source of oil may be interesting. Off the California coast would be the easiest.





"The potential propulsion market is large; in 2003 there were 46.8 billion gallons of oil burned in the United States alone in sea going vessels, trains, trucks and buses.(Energy Information Administration/ Fuel oil and Kerosene Sales 2003) This total does not include military vehicles or aircraft which are also potential markets for Adams Engines."

Nuke-u-ler powered trucks and buses? Why not cars? Hehey.

Emergency responders to car accidents in radiation suits? Sure, why not?

Kit P.

Fission is a great source of transportation energy. Submarines and aircraft carriers are great examples. However, it makes more sense to produce H2 for liquid fuel or electricity to charge batteries than on board nuclear energy source for POVs. Not that it could not safely be done, but why would you do it.

Any leak of radioactive material would be less hazardous than the present use of fossil fuels. Maybe Amazingdrx can explain what he means by radiation suits. His understand of nuclear power and renewable energy appear to be based on too many si-fi movies. Hazsmat teams often wear protective clothing as a precaution.


Well, either way.

Even though hydrogen is kinda silly,

Atleast hydrogen and electric vehicles are essentially both electric vehicles


Tell the folks who experieced the meltdown at the Chernobyl reactor how "Any leak of radioactive material would be less hazardous than the present use of fossil fuels".

Surviviors (temporay only)reported smelling the radioactive metal vapor as it killed them.

Your " understand (sic)of nuclear power and renewable energy appear to be based on too many si-fi movies."


Spent fuel pool fire description:

"In a spent fuel pool in normal operation when water is present, the fuel is not especially hot. The water is not boiling so the temperature of the fuel will be somewhere well below the boiling point of water. If water is lost from a pool the fuel will heat up until it reaches a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius or more, whereupon it will ignite. And that fire will slowly spread throughout the pool. In reactor accidents similarly high temperatures are experienced and the radioactivity, in some cases literally boiled out. The cesium isotopes, for example, just simply boiled out as a vapor and then condensed into tiny particles that traveled downwind."



How fresh does a spent fuel element have to be to reach that temperature?  Recall that this fuel is moved through air from the pressure vessel to the spent-fuel pool, and can eventually be stored in air in a "dry cask".

Kit P.

EP, spent fuel is transferred under water to provide shielding. After the spent fuel is put in the "dry cask," a gate is installed between the pool fool and the cask loading area. The water is drained and then the cask is dried. Also keep in mind that that the amount of energy from fission products decreases exponentially.

Amazingdrx likes to discuss unmitigated risk without making comparisons to alternatives. Horses are dangerous. You can fall off or get kicked. The also are very polluting, horse ****.

ICE in POVs are much cleaner and safer than horses. However, the widespread use of gasoline results in some dying from burns.

In the US, commercial reactors are designed mitigated risk of exposure to dangerous levels of radiation. After 50 years of doing it, no one has been hurt from radiation.

A POV could be designed to use fission as an energy source and be safer (fewer radiation burns than gasoline burns). Just do not let some communist slug do it.


Automobiles powered by fuel cells have been demonstrated and a small number are in operation worldwide, but widespread commercialization is not expected for several years. DaimlerChrysler has announced its intention to begin producing fuel cell vehicles by about 2004; Honda may do so in the same approximate time frame. Over the longer term, fuel cells could offer the auto industry near-zero emission vehicles with long ranges, good performance and rapid refueling.

run your car on water

i hope it comes out before 2025.

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(PHG) Angela

I'll be dead by 2025. Fuel cells have been around forever. What is taking them so long to get this technology up and running. Hyundai is supposed to have a fuel cell car out by 2012. At least that's only two years away.

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yes i think this is right 2025 is fear enough the world needing to let out the gas

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