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Old 3rd July 2013, 18:40   #1
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Default Honda and GM get together for hydrogen fuel cell technology

Japanese automaker Honda and American automaking behemoth General Motors have tied up to build fuel cell vehicles, the first of which are expected to hit roads in 2020. Honda, a front runner in fuel cell technology, has a hydrogen powered car model in the form of the FCX Clarity car. This said, both Honda and General Motors have electric cars in their line ups.

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However, electric cars are yet to find wide acceptance on account of limited battery range and the resultant loss in practicality when compared to cars powered by internal combustion engines. While hybrids are growing in popularity, tightening emission norms and the fast depleting fossil fuels mean that fuel cell technology may become a necessity in the future.

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However, fuel cell technology has its share of challenges to confront before it can become commercially viable. The technology, as it stands today, costs more than hybrid and electric vehicle technology. A key part of the high cost is the platinum catalyst used in fuel cells.

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A critical part of the process in which hydrogen combines with oxygen to form electricity, the platinum catalyst adds major costs to the fuel cell. General Motors and Honda will work together to reduce the overall costs of fuel cell cars by sharing suppliers. When suppliers have orders for a larger number of parts, economies of scale result in costs being driven down.

Fuel cell cars work by combining hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen in the fuel cell, to produce electricity. This electricity drives the electric motor of the car. The only emission from the tail pipe of a fuel cell car is water, and this is one of the biggest strengths of fuel cell vehicles. Also, fuel cell vehicles are more efficient than cars powered by internal combustion engines.

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Apart from reducing overall costs by sharing the supplier base, Honda and General Motors will share the technology that they've developed thus far. This sharing is expected to cut development time of fuel cell cars, another key benefit of this partnership. Like the Honda-GM partnership for fuel cell vehicles, BMW has tied up with Toyota while Daimler, Ford and Nissan are in a tripartite alliance for developing fuel cell vehicles.

Also, Honda and GM plan to actively engage governments across the world in order to push for developing hydrogen dispensing infrastructure. Currently, very limited hydrogen dispensing outlets mean that Honda is able to sell the FCX Clarity fuel cell car only in specific parts of the world, which have hydrogen refueling outlets.

Source DetroitFreePress
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Old 3rd July 2013, 19:45   #2
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Default Re: Honda and GM get together for hydrogen fuel cell technology

Even though hydrogen is a clean burning source of energy, production of hydrogen still requires energy, energy which is most probably derived from a coal power plant, unless the governments shift to renewable source's of energy. Switching to hydrogen as a source of fuel is going to be very expensive and is going to require a lot of corporate lobbying to convince the governments.
The only way fuel cell technology is ever going to take off, is if the auto majors team up and formed and alliance to actively promote it and until that happens fuel cell technology is going to remain a novelty.
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Old 4th July 2013, 16:34   #3
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Default Re: Honda and GM get together for hydrogen fuel cell technology

In terms of future automobile technology, regular electric cars seem far more likely then fuel-cell powered cars. Unlike fossil fuels, elemental hydrogen does not occur naturally on earth. It needs to be produced from other sources, such as fossil fuels or water. So it is only an energy carrier. But we already have a far more efficient energy carrier - electricity.

The problem of generating electricity on a large scale from renewable sources needs to be solved anyway, and a lot of effort is already being put in this direction. So looking at it from an automotive perspective, the only problem that remains is battery technology, which is also fast evolving.

But fuel cell usage on a large scale requires solutions to several major problems, such as:

A. Production of hydrogen efficiently on a large enough scale without harming the environment: if hydrogen is to be produced from fossil fuels through reforming, then the environmental problem continues. If it is to be produced from water through electrolysis, it needs electricity which is already more efficient as an energy carrier.

B. Hydrogen infrastructure: Tanks, pipelines, filling stations, etc will have to be built, but the electricity grid already exists!

So my bet is on regular electric cars rather than fuel-cell cars.
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Old 4th July 2013, 18:01   #4
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Default Re: Honda and GM get together for hydrogen fuel cell technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by satyaanveshi View Post
In terms of future automobile technology, regular electric cars seem far more likely then fuel-cell powered cars.
=========================
So my bet is on regular electric cars rather than fuel-cell cars.
When we use electricity as an energy carrier, it requires a large bank of batteries to store the aforementioned energy carrier. Talking from an environmental stand point batteries are not exactly eco friendly.

Let me explain,
Compared with the lifespan of an automobile, the lifespan of a battery is very short i.e, expensive in the long run.
Now these batteries have to be disposed off, recycling batteries unlike automobiles is neither easy nor profitable (correct me if i am wrong).
The only other option is to dump them in landfills, this would pose a major hazard to the local ecosystem i.e the cost of disposing the batteries is going to have to be passed on to the customer.
And what happens when the battery runs dry, one cannot stand by the side of the road and and ask a good Samaritan in the the neighborhood and ask him for a few units of electricity from his home and wait for a few hours while the batteries are charging up.
Exchangeable battery banks are going to require large scale investments and uniformity across the industry.( a task easier said than done)

If the energy problem is taken care of, then hydrogen is definitively the way to go. The technology and the expertise already exists ( cng anyone?). electric vehicles may be cleaner than conventional vehicles they are no where close to hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicles may act as a bridge between i.c engines and fuel cell technology, just like steam powered carriages helped in the transition from horse dram carts to motorized transport.
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Old 5th July 2013, 10:20   #5
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Default Re: Honda and GM get together for hydrogen fuel cell technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by virage View Post
Talking from an environmental stand point batteries are not exactly eco friendly.
The problem of disposing off old batteries is a serious one, but far less serious than the energy problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by virage View Post
And what happens when the battery runs dry, one cannot stand by the side of the road and and ask a good Samaritan in the the neighborhood and ask him for a few units of electricity from his home and wait for a few hours while the batteries are charging up.
Charging infrastructure is far easier to set up than hydrogen infrastructure. And quick charging technologies are being developed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by virage View Post
Exchangeable battery banks are going to require large scale investments and uniformity across the industry.( a task easier said than done)
But easier than setting up large scale hydrogen infrastructure. Note that hydrogen storage and transport have their share of technical problems too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by virage View Post
If the energy problem is taken care of, then hydrogen is definitively the way to go. The technology and the expertise already exists ( cng anyone?).
Hydrogen will compound the energy problem. The issue of generating electricity from renewable sources has to be addressed anyway because electricity is needed to power our homes, offices, factories, etc. Once that is solved, it makes more sense to use the electricity as directly as possible to power vehicles, instead of using it indirectly by producing hydrogen through electrolysis and then using that hydrogen to power vehicles.

And as I mentioned earlier, large scale hydrogen production is yet another problem that will need to be solved.
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Old 1st December 2014, 17:12   #6
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Default Re: Honda and GM get together for hydrogen fuel cell technology

While we are discussing hydrogen run cars, Toyota is ready to roll out a sedan into the market next year.

As mentioned in the thread, the infrastructure is missing, hence Toyota has simply offered free fuel for the first 3 years.

link to the article:http://www.treehugger.com/cars/toyot...ve-future.html
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