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Thread: How can a solely Hydrogen Powered Car be possible?

  1. #1 How can a solely Hydrogen Powered Car be possible? 
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    I'm hearing a lot about hydrogen powered cars that get the hydrogen from water by electrolysis, which is used in the engine, which charges the battery so that more hydrogen can be extracted. But I don't see how that can work for long.

    Please can someone tell me where and why I'm wrong.

    Facts as I am aware of them:
    • Energy cannot be created or destroyed
    • The energy needed to get hydrogen from the water cancels out the energy you get by burning it with oxygen
    So, from that I conclude that either there's energy coming in from somewhere that I don't know about, I'm wrong, or I'm right and it's impossible for it to work for long.

    If it IS impossible, what about the commercially available kits that add hydrogen to your regular gasoline/petrol and claim to improve your car's economy by 40%? Are they a con?


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  3. #2 Re: How can a solely Hydrogen Powered Car be possible? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirronTM
    I'm hearing a lot about hydrogen powered cars that get the hydrogen from water by electrolysis, which is used in the engine, which charges the battery so that more hydrogen can be extracted. But I don't see how that can work for long.

    Please can someone tell me where and why I'm wrong.

    Facts as I am aware of them:
    • Energy cannot be created or destroyed
    • The energy needed to get hydrogen from the water cancels out the energy you get by burning it with oxygen
    So, from that I conclude that either there's energy coming in from somewhere that I don't know about, I'm wrong, or I'm right and it's impossible for it to work for long.

    If it IS impossible, what about the commercially available kits that add hydrogen to your regular gasoline/petrol and claim to improve your car's economy by 40%? Are they a con?
    The battery would need recharging from an outside source if the hydrogen is generated in the car. Alternatively, the hydrogen could be generated elsewhere and supplied to the car in pressurized containers.

    I am skeptical about kits adding hydrogen to the gasoline.


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  4. #3  
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    So, a much better idea is to collect the hydrogen and tank it up at home, hopefully using a renewable energy source - solar panels for instance.

    What it comes down to, is hydrogen power for a petrol car is equivalent to an electric one that you charge before you set off...
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  5. #4  
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    So electrolosis absorbs energy?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Masters Degree bit4bit's Avatar
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    I remember reading about a method of collecting hydrogen from water, by having tanks of water with algae exposed to sunlight. The algae process the water into hydrogen and oxygen in some biological process.
    Chance favours the prepared mind.
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  7. #6 Re: How can a solely Hydrogen Powered Car be possible? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirronTM
    If it IS impossible, what about the commercially available kits that add hydrogen to your regular gasoline/petrol and claim to improve your car's economy by 40%? Are they a con?
    You are absolutely correct, that the so-called hydrogen kits do NOT provide extra energy. There are many on the market. Every one that claims improved mileage is a a con, scam, fraud, swindle.

    Hydrogen cars do exist and they work rather well, but to do so they must refuel from a hydrogen source. The scarcity of hydrogen refueling stations is one of the main reasons that hydrogen cars are not being commercially developed for mass production.

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  8. #7  
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    A solely hydrogen powered car will most likely never be economically feasable nor would it otherwise make much sense due to:

    a.) missing infrastructure
    b.) horrible inefficiency of hydrogen generation as well as low energy density of H2 in whatever form plus the storage losses
    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by
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  9. #8 Re: How can a solely Hydrogen Powered Car be possible? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirronTM
    I'm hearing a lot about hydrogen powered cars that get the hydrogen from water by electrolysis, which is used in the engine, which charges the battery so that more hydrogen can be extracted. But I don't see how that can work for long.

    Please can someone tell me where and why I'm wrong.

    Facts as I am aware of them:
    • Energy cannot be created or destroyed
    • The energy needed to get hydrogen from the water cancels out the energy you get by burning it with oxygen
    So, from that I conclude that either there's energy coming in from somewhere that I don't know about, I'm wrong, or I'm right and it's impossible for it to work for long.
    You are correct.
    If it IS impossible, what about the commercially available kits that add hydrogen to your regular gasoline/petrol and claim to improve your car's economy by 40%? Are they a con?
    They are a con.

    Think about it, if you could really get free energy like this then we wouldn't be getting energy from coal/oil/nuclear/whatever. We would just have some big water tanks and hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells that we endlessly extracted energy from.
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  10. #9  
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    Thanks very much, that's cleared it all up for me
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  11. #10  
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    As I understand it, the hydrogen from those kits is added to the air intake, not the gasoline. The intent of the hydrogen is to make the air more reactive in the cylinder, giving you more 'bang' when the concoction is ignited with gasoline. Is this not the case? These kits are being tested on squad cars at my local PD, though I've yet to hear an announcement on their effectiveness.
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  12. #11  
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    Hydrogen booster kits: I couldn't say if they are pure con or not as I have not personally used or tested the concept myself, I'm sure some of them are; However, I see a big misconception here about the way their supposed to work.. They don't actually add any energy into the system, but rather attempt to increase the efficiencies of the engine by modifying the combustion properties of the fuel.

    As it stands, Internal Combustion Engines have very low efficiencies.. Somewhere in the ballpark of %20 or so. That's a lot of wasted energy- If even a fraction of that wasted energy were tapped, you would see significant MPG increases without ever adding energy to the system at all.


    As for those who claim a car that generates it's own fuel.. THAT is a con-game. You can generate H2 from water with electricity... and you can get electricity by using the H2, but at significant losses that would prevent such a cycle from being useful.


    Although there is a lot of confusion going on with this technology.. it is a good thing, and I can only hope that the world can grasp the true benefits of this technology.

    Hydrogen fuel cells are much more efficient than oil engines, electric transportation is much more energy conservative than oil fuels. and mass production of hydrogen is many many many times more efficient than home-produced hydrogen.


    Consider this.. electricity is mass produced at a central location because it's much cheaper to produce a lot of it at once, than a little of it infrequently. Cheaper usually means more efficient use/conversion of the fuel used to make it. Same goes for our hydrogen economy, whenever we get that far.

    Instead of running a three hundred thousand engines at %20 efficiency, you'll be using that fuel in one big engine/turbine at closer to %90 conversion rate, to generate a synthetic fuel that is much more thoroughly used (instead of wasted as heat) by the end consumer.

    Heres to the future~ *cheers*
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