Sunday, 9 January 2005

God, please let this happen!!

The last time I saw anything about purely hydrogen-driven cars, it required a flame-retardent vest when filling the tank. They say in this article that the problem of explosion has been dealt with, though they don’t address the “filling the tank” issue specifically. The guy quoted below seems awfully optimistic, but they do have a fully-functioning prototype, though it sounds like it would cost $1 million or more if you wanted one now:

GM, which has been slow to roll out hybrid products, is using the Sequel to try to win some of the attention for hydrogen, Brooke said."We're reaching out to show that this is truly doable," GM technology chief Lawrence D. Burns said. "We're talking about a real car. It's not affordable yet, but I can assure you it's doable."

In 2002, GM showed a fuel-cell concept car called the Hy-Wire that consisted of an 11-inch thick “skateboard” chassis that contained all the working parts—one-tenth as many as in a conventional car—with a body simply bolted on top. But the Hy-Wire was rickety to drive and could never have met federal highway standards, let alone satisfied demanding buyers.

The Sequel's biggest single advance, Burns said, is a compressed-hydrogen storage tank that can hold enough fuel to give the car a range of 300 miles. That is twice as far as the range of older versions of fuel-cell cars, and is considered the threshold distance to be marketable. With liquid hydrogen, the range could extend to 450 miles, Burns said. The Sequel also has a more powerful stack of fuel cells than previously possible, cutting 0-to-60 mph acceleration time to fewer than 10 seconds, comparable to most conventional cars.

GM is also working on the technology to produce and assemble the Sequel, hoping to be able to build 1 million a year by 2010, Burns said.

The hybrids have always seemed like a transitional technology and if it’s possible to get us to a fuel that doesn’t have any emissions (other than water) and that eliminates our need for oil altogether, so much the better.

Friday, 14 January 2005

Hydrogen again

Steven Taylor has a link to a story from Iceland about the use of hydrogen fuel cells, similar to what I mentioned earlier. If my earlier post is correct, though it is very optimistic, the US could be well ahead of other countries in adopting hydrogen, at least in cars.

Of course, “Reuters” couldn’t avoid a gratuitous swipe at President Bush, though they did mention the emmission of water and the problems it might cause in Iceland:

Washington says new technologies like hydrogen are a better long-term way to cut pollution and combat global warming than the U.N.‘s 128-nation Kyoto protocol.

Bush dismayed even U.S. allies by pulling out of Kyoto in 2001. Kyoto seeks to rein in emissions of heat-trapping gases, mainly released by burning oil and gas in factories, cars and power plants.


Among other problems, some scientists say the atmosphere might simply become too cloudy in a hydrogen economy, emitting vast amounts of water vapor, perhaps reflecting sunlight back to space or trapping it and warming the globe.