View Full Version : Volvo developing fuel cells for extended range EVs

28 October 2010, 0602
Volvo does not makes bikes, but the technology could one day drip our way...

In an effort to overcome one of the main drawbacks of battery electric vehicles, Volvo is initiating development of a hydrogen fuel cell that is expected to increase an electric carís operating range by up to 250 km (155 miles). In the first phase of the project the company, together with Powercell Sweden AB, will conduct a study into a Range Extender, which consists of a fuel cell with a reformer that breaks down a liquid fuel Ė in this case petrol Ė to create hydrogen gas. The fuel cell then converts the hydrogen gas into electrical energy to power the carís electric motor. Read More @ http://www.gizmag.com/volvo-hydrogen-fuel-cell/16760/?utm_source=Gizmag+Subscribers&utm_campaign=4b5a6c667a-UA-2235360-4&utm_medium=email

28 October 2010, 1947
The hydrogen economy is a load of bull@&1%. There, I said it. (I know you are just the messenger, but this needs to be said!) Do not start beleiving the nonsense that is spewed about fuel cells and how they are the next best thing. Some simple economics and physics should convince you that this is another EV1 type tactic by governments and automakers. Holding out a bit of unobtanium is an age old method of diverting attention from the real possibilities that you don't truly want to embrace.
1) Hydrogen is a bitch to store. If you store it as a gas it takes up tremendous volume. If you store it as a liquid, you use up to 25% of it's energy to compress it and then it boils off and escapes as it's sitting there. It is a vary small molecule that leaks extremely easily. Damn stuff doens't like to stay in the bottle!
2) Two ways to make hydrogen. Clean and dirty. The clean way is electrolysis but that uses up most of the energy just to manufacture the gas. Dirty way is to breakdown petroleum products using a catalyst. Two major problems with the dirty way are the fact that you are still storing petrol and dealing with the remnants of the reaction. The other minor detail is that every current know method uses a catalyst out of one of two very very very expensive metals. The fuels cells available right know are in the 100K USD range because of this! In the 10 years that I have been following this "holy grail", no credible replacement has come forward for those very rare and expensive materials. (We looked at this technology ages ago to power remote light houses.)

One can never rule out what somebody might invent in the future, but right know this is just a diversion from what could be put on the road today......
Sorry, I'll get off the soapbox now.:)

28 October 2010, 2059
"Unobtanium" - is it produced by pulling a wool before everybody's eyes? :)
Thanks, BB. The Auto Industry has a nasty tendency to look like a twin of the tobacco industry, it seems. :(