savannah (onsafari) wrote,

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More on hydrogen fuel

Thanks to ms_monkey's link, I've been poking into nickel hydride batteries today. Yes, this question is still bugging me. The more I find, the more confused I get.

Ovonic has a battery they liken to a hydrogen sponge. And naturally, they claim that this battery and its accompanying fuel cell will be the start of the Hydrogen Economy. Putting that assinine term aside, it seems like a very interesting idea.  The only problem with their cycle is that it starts with solar energy. If we could do that, why do we need the battery at all? But then, they're talking about overcoming the auto industrys prejudice.
The automotive industry has been committed to the internal combustion engine. Therefore, having a hydrogen burning internal combustion engine, especially in a hybrid form, can provide the transition to the utilization of fuel cells. Indeed, it will probably extend the future for internal combustion engines since there will be a whole family of various kinds of electric/hybrid vehicles. Our approach shows that internal combustion engine burning hydrogen provided by our solid hydrogen storage tank, together with our nickel metal hydride batteries, has the same range as the gasoline ICE hybrid and the present fuel cell prototype cars.

And more research on the fuel cells themselves finally shows what the problems are with these "batteries that never run down." They use platinum and run at very hot temperatures. They're not really yet practical. But there's mention that they've found a way to get rid of the platinum and that they can still be run off hydrocarbons.

In fact, it looks like my fears about ammonia may have been unfounded. It looks as though there may be methods of storing hydrogen that are neither corrosive nor flammable in any appreciable way. It's basically the battery that recharges with new hydrogen instead of electricity. Or it could be created on demand using sodium borohydride.

I had no idea that there were still so many options. I'm no longer surprised that Toyota wants to wait until the infrastructure's in place before they produce vehicles. But then, it looks liek they've found a partner in Stuart Energy. It looks like I was worried for nothing. They use water electrolysis to generate their hydrogen. This is Good News.
Tags: alternative fuel
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