back to article Report: Over 1.5 million UK drivers will have hydrogen cars by 2030

Hydrogen fuel cell cars won’t hit the market until 2015, but with the right investment in infrastructure, more than a million and a half of us could be driving one by 2030, with annual sales topping 300,000 vehicles, an evaluation conducted by government and industry has forecast. A timeline drawn up by UKH2Mobility - a …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, all sounds amazing!

    Wonder what the oil companies will do in response to this...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      "Wonder what the oil companies will do in response to this...?"

      Laugh. Hydrogen doesn't have the characteristics of a good transport fuel, even if cost is no object.

      Ignoring the primary energy source which may be the toughest nut to crack, it would be far more practical to plan to synthesise propane which could be used in existing spark ignition vehicles with modest conversion (only LPG, of course). There's a modestly developed infrastructure, the technologies are all known, there's experience, and instead of having to reinvent everything, you just build out from what you know, and use existing assets.

      But if you're a (probably tax payer funded) think tank, then why waste time on old-hat stuff like LPG, when DECC will be queuing up to hand you money for a report on a hydrogen revolution, that positions the UK as a world leader in a new technology, with millions of green jobs, and low carbon, and , and, and (yawwwnnn).

      1. Mips
        Childcatcher

        "Wonder what the oil companies will do in response to this...?"

        What they have always done join in and claim they thought of it first.

        As for distribution, we used to have a perfectly good system but unfortunately someone filled it with methane and started using it to sell gas to the power companies to use for power generation. Now we are proposing to use power to generate hydrogen! I think we have things in the wrong order somewhere.

    2. Aitor 1

      What will Oil companies do..

      In my humble opinion, open the champagne bottles.

      Hidrogen is going to come from natural gas... and it would be wiser to just burn natgas in our cars!!

      As for using Hidrogen as fuel, a % of that hidrogen (and not a very small %) is going to leak. And a good % of that is going to be lost forever... so not so good an idea.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: What will Oil companies do..

        Perhaps not, hYdrogen is likely to come from water using oodles of badger friendly offshore wind platform things or whatever shockingly wasteful and ghastly expensive 'eco friendly' disaster on wheels the junket brigade pick out of a hat.

        Electrolysis is by far the most likely method as all you need is water and elecktrickery and you also get oxygen which you can sell. If you use seawater on a large enough scale you might even make a bit of money selling other 'stuff' (theres actually all sorts of stuff in seawater besides salt, uranium for example). There is a chance that gas might be an economical form of energy for the power generation given the new scale gas craze.

        The UK is lucky that many supermarkets have petrol stations whereas in other countries the majority of stations are owned by oil companies who might be ok with lpg but are unlikely to be jumping for joy at hydrogen.

        Hydrogen isn't ideal in many ways but if generated by electrolysis then it might reduce the impact on our food resources caused by the monumentally retarded use of grain for ethanol (the Russians and Polish have a far better process) for fuel. It hopefully will also stop the even worse idea that digging up metals from vast tracts of South America to ship them around the world twice to end up in 'hybrids'. If they can make it survive an impact, do 260-300 miles on a 'tank' and cost about the same per mile as petrol \ gas then it's probably a decent idea, as long as we can sort out power generation without it costing a bloody fortune like those ship magnets they are obsessed with. It will likely start off cheap then as soon as people switch the govt will whack a shedload of tax on it.

        1. Pet Peeve
          Boffin

          Re: What will Oil companies do..

          Hydrogen from Electrolysis is turning high-value electrical energy into lower-value chemical energy. It's inefficient as hell, even more so than gas reformation. There is occasional talk of using tailored bacteria to make hydrogen from algae and such, but the result isn't pure enough to avoid clogging fuel cells (which need almost perfectly clean hydrogen, even water is a pollutant). Small amounts of electrolytic hydrogen are useful where you don't want any storage of the gas - I understand that jewelers for example often get the gas for their torches this way, allowing them to work in a space they could never get a permit to store hydrogen gas in.

          I think hydrogen fuel is a rathole. Stored energy density by volume is crap, it requires vessels so big and heavy that it eats up all your savings in mass from using hydrogen over a liquid fuel, and hydrogen is ridiculously more combustible than gasoline, making it much more hazardous in accidents or simply in an enclosed space.

          Hydrogen is great where mass is the siginicant factor, which is why it's a prime rocket fuel, but it's wrong way around for transportation, where you want lots of energy in a space not any larger than a normal gasoline tank, so you still have trunk space.

          Synthetic liquid fuels are a far better answer, which is also why it's already being done. There's more hydrogen in a gallon of gas than in a gallon of liquid hydrogen! And it's no problem ecologically if the sources are carbon-neutral. Hydrogen production is ANYTHING but carbon-neutral these days, it's made from natural gas using steam reformation, because that's the only decently efficient way known that scales.

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: What will Oil companies do..

            Oil companies will simply buy into H2 production, they've probably been planning their strategy for a decade or two.

          2. itzman

            Re: What will Oil companies do..

            However my wet finger estimates put the raw cost of synthetic fuel made from electricity at around £10 -£30 a gallon.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: What will Oil companies do..

          "Perhaps not, hYdrogen is likely to come from water using oodles of badger friendly offshore wind platform things or whatever shockingly wasteful and ghastly expensive 'eco friendly' disaster on wheels the junket brigade pick out of a hat."

          Which suggests it could be scuppered if a more sane energy process came in.

          "Electrolysis is by far the most likely method as all you need is water and elecktrickery and you also get oxygen which you can sell."

          You hope (and I would too) that electroysis replaces the current thermal cracking of natural gas.

          But both the compression to 5000psi or the cooling to -253c will use several x the amount of energy it carries.

          Hydrogen (liquid or gasius) has phenomenally bad storage properties. If you set out to design a fuel that would be the biggest possible PITA to handle and mfg you would not be far from Hydrogen.

      2. Growly Snuffle Bunny
        Boffin

        Re: H2 loss

        I think you might be mistaking loss of hydrogen (H2) which we can easily make gazillions of connes of, and helium (He) which is rare(ish) and getting rarer.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: H2 loss

          Being able to make H2 cheaply to make up the loss won't be any consolation when you retrun to your car in the airport carpark after two week's holiday & find half or more of your heavily taxed fuel has literally evaporated. Cross your fingers that there will be enough left to get you to the filling station?

    3. itzman

      Nothing. I wont happen.

      Hydrogen as an energy storage medium is too inefficient and too dangerous and too expensive.

      Its just part of keeping the myth of renewable energy and greenness alive, because its all about to end up in a high speed train wreck.

      Green energy will end up like Chris Huhne. You really thought they were going to get away with it, and then GONE.

  2. 0laf Silver badge
    Meh

    Who cares really? So we pay 80% tax on H2 rather than petrol. H2 going to be expensive anyway.

  3. Tim #3

    Er

    "But that’s true of today’s electric cars, which have nonetheless failed to attract a large user base. That’s because they’re more expensive up front, even with government subsidies". Nope. It's because there is a very strong suspicion that it will require an extremely expensive new battery in a few years time, for which you will have to go to the car manufacturer as there is no competition at all. Oddly, the manufacturers tend to forget to mention battery lifespan or replacement costs.

    Talking of forgetting to mention things, how will all the hydrogen be produced? oops.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Er

      I don't recall battery death being mentioned as an electric car criticism. Not that it's not a valid point, but I don't believe this is a major factor why the average family isn't interested.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Er

      >>Talking of forgetting to mention things, how will all the hydrogen be produced? oops

      On an industrial scale meaning that the pollution per gallon of oil will be less than just burning the oil in your car.

  4. Ian 62

    Cost?

    Elecy Cars cost a fortune and perform (i.e. range) less well.

    I might pay the same or a little more for a car that performs the same as the one I've already got.

    But I'm not going to be suckered into something 'green' to see the benefits yoinked out from under me when the Gov of the day realise that the motorist cash cow has gone.

  5. Ketlan
    Meh

    What a load of crap

    'Over 1.5 MILLION UK drivers will have hydrogen cars by 2030'

    No, they won't, because there won't be the 'right investment in infrastructure'. This country has never been good at investing in the future unless it involves banking or some kind of useless 'service' industry. Computing, engineering, alternative energy or anything else that can take a few years to see a return, is largely ignored by those who could and should be providing funding.

    When I was a kid and people were buggering about on the moon, it was pretty commonly believed that by the year 2000, we would have habitats on the moon (and possibly Mars, too). Fat chance. Unless a few governments are prepared to invest in the future, it won't happen - or at least it will, but it'll be pretty much the same as the past.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: What a load of crap

      Very true. Isn't this the same story that was cranked out for LPG? Clean(er), cheap(er) and it just needs infrastructure and everyone will be using it. That worked, didn't it.

      1. Yet Another Commentard

        Re: What a load of crap

        Part of the problem is that "the future" only extends as far as the next election if you are a Government, so spending now on something that will benefit a following administration (whilst diverting cash from something now that will benefit yours) is generally not the done thing.

        "Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the others that we've tried." and all that.

    2. Euripides Pants
      Mushroom

      Re: What a load of crap

      Yes, "The Hydrogen Economy" is indeed a load of crap.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Well - lol'd. Gives me something to chuckle about on my drive back home.

  7. Desk Jockey

    Just another pipe (ahem) dream

    Until hydrogen is able to be manufactured and distributed in a more economic, efficient and sustainable way it won't happen. We can run cars off chip fat and chicken dung if we really wanted to, but the economic case for its demand and supply don't stack up. Hydrogen is very much in this boat and this report is a load of fiction without the technical breakthrough that makes its use practical.

    Electric cars, for all their many faults, at least can obtain access to electricity relatively easily compared to hydrogen. The petrol companies would prefer that we went hydrogen for their own obvious commercial reasons...

  8. 100113.1537

    Been saying for how long?

    Weren't fuel cells "5 years away" 10 years ago? Sadly this is another scream for support for something which has yet to live up to overblown promises.

    I really like the idea of fuel-cells driving electric motors and I supported the development of the Chevy Volt simply because it separated the electric drive train from the means of 'leccy generation so that petrol/diesel generators could be replaced by fuels cells "when they came along". But have you seen how much they cost? And that includes a whacking great government subsidy as well

    The tech I really like is fuel cells driven by methanol (a nice liquid fuel) and for a while this looked possible as well (was it Sony who had a laptop you refuelled with a cigarette lighter-sized methanol cartridge?). Another thing we were all going to be using in 5 years. How long ago was that now?

    I am afraid this is one I will believe only when I see it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been saying for how long?

      Weren't fuel cells "5 years away" 10 years ago? Sadly this is another scream for support for something which has yet to live up to overblown promises.

      The Honda FCX Clarity became available for least to customers in SoCal in 2008 - there are about 50 running around there and another 150 worldwide.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_FCX_Clarity

      C

      1. Steve Todd Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Been saying for how long?

        Try putting the word "economical" in there. Hydrogen fuel cells have been about since before the days of the Apollo program, but they are stupidly expensive because they rely on a platinum catalyst. They won't sell you a Clarity because the cost would make your eyes water.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Been saying for how long?

          "they rely on a platinum catalyst"

          How much platinum? More or less than the average petrol/diesel car has now in the exhaust "cat"?

          1. Steve Todd Silver badge

            Re: Been saying for how long? - @John Brown

            Much more platinum than a cat. The research goal is to get it down to about the same level, but they're still a way off.

      2. HamsterNet
        Happy

        Re: Been saying for how long?

        50 world wide - WOW. that's some sales I'm sure I wont be able to move for them soon... How many Rolls-Royce's did it cost (Rolls-Royce being the greenest of all cars as 60% every produced are still on the road')

        1. Growly Snuffle Bunny
          Alert

          Re: RR

          I seem to recall that more than 70% of all Land Rovers ever produced are still on the go...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: RR

            "70% of all Land Rovers ever produced are still on the go"

            Maybe, but not all the time....as for "German Engineering", another great myth....

            FIVE LEAST RELIABLE CARS AGED 4-8

            1. BMW 3 Series Convertible - 3.49 days off the road

            2. Land Rover Discovery 3 - 2.69

            3. BMW 5 Series Touring - 2.58

            4. Volvo XC90 - 2.56

            5. Citroen C4 Picasso - 2.53

            http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-2186477/Top-reliable-reliable-cars.html#axzz2JwzBh214

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        Re: Been saying for how long?

        "The Honda FCX Clarity became available for least to customers in SoCal in 2008 - there are about 50 running around there "

        So 50 Clairty's in 5 years

        That's about the time that this report is meant to be talking about.

        Not exactly a good dry run.

    2. Dapprman

      Re: Been saying for how long?

      Mercedes, BMW and VAG have all been long term investors in hydrogen powered tech as well - the only thing stopping them moving forwards is the infrastructure. VW had a production ready golf around 10 years ago.

      1. Steve Todd Silver badge
        Stop

        @Dapprman

        Odd definition of production ready you have there. The original fuel cell Golf had all of 20kW of power, 27BHP. That's not enough to sustain motorway speeds or hill climbs. Their CURRENT generation of fuel cell cars manage 100kW (137BHP), but only 160 miles range and 0-60 in 14 seconds.

        If you read the links in the Wikipedia article then the latest Clarity is estimated to cost Honda $120-140,000. Too expensive, too slow and too short a range on a tank of fuel.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Been saying for how long?@Dapprman

        "Mercedes, BMW and VAG have all been long term investors in hydrogen powered tech as well - the only thing stopping them moving forwards is the infrastructure."

        No, the thing that is stopping them is that H2 is stupidly expensive to produce in volume by any known means, and the low energy density that it has gives the vehicles range problems to rival electric cars unless you wish to fill the boot with a tank. The German car makers put money into this partly for commercial reasons, but largely as a sop to the powerful green movement in Germany, which is a big threat because the German motor industry is dominated by companies producing big fuel guzzling barges (in relative terms). The same companies have put a lot into electric cars, which likewise haven't taken off.

        An interesting development that hasn't been reported much in the UK is that the German car makers are currently lobbying their politicians to push Brussels into changing the forthcoming corporate average fuel economy rules to allow electric cars to be included with a 3x weighting, rather than like for like. This EU legislation will be intended to operate like the US CAFE rules, but the amendments the Germans seem likely to implement are simply to ensure the German car makers can continue to produce and sell thousands of fuel-guzzling luxo-barges by selling a pitiful handful of (heavily subsidised) electric cars.

  9. Pondule

    More coal fueled power stations needed?

    Where are they going to get the energy from to produce the H2? Burning more coal in the suburbs probably.

    1. Steve Todd Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: More coal fueled power stations needed?

      Are you only able to envision Coal stations? There are many other, greener options (even natural gas fired stations are vastly cleaner).

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: More coal fueled power stations needed?

      Burning coal in a vast plant is more efficient and less wasteful than doing so in your car. Waste can be contained far more effectively and when it must be discharged, done so strategically rather than right where all the people are.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Key assumption:

    Nobody cracks the "fast charge" problem for batteries between now and 2030, which would render the whole Hydrogen thing moot overnight.

    Elephant in the room: The military want batteries, which can be charged from any power source, rather than a rebadge of their existing fuel logistics problems. Guess where most of the serious R&D budget comes from these days?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Key assumption:

      - Weight is still an issue

      - Fast charge requires infrastructure all of its own... that will be the limiting factor

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Key assumption:

        Fast charge requires infrastructure all of its own"

        Or a mandated standard battery pack which can be easily swapped out at a "filling" station.

        The competition can come from what actually goes into the pack, the capacity, cost and range etc. After all, i's not like you can't get C, D, AA cells from many manufacturers and using a number of different technologies at various price points and capacities.

        Potentially, we could define a "battery" as being 30cmx30cmx30 at 24v with standard connections (or whatever works best). Car manufacturers could design for however many their make/model needed or even allow the driver to choose how many. Install less for short commutes (less weight), more for a longer journey. The driver gets to chose whether to buy "Standard", "Super" or "Ultimate" depending on price and performance.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Key assumption:

          > Or a mandated standard battery pack which can be easily swapped out at a "filling" station.

          That doesn't solve anything. The "filling" station still needs the infrastructure to charge those batteries, and for a busy station that means hundreds on charge at a time, ready to be swapped. Fast charge 1 battery in 5 minutes, or slow charge 100 batteries over 8 hours, it's still the same peak energy load. The filling station would also need storage space for 100 batteries containing potentially dangerous chemicals. Want to consider the effect of even one of those batteries overheating while on charge? Then you have the space and machinery needed to do the swap, the economics just don't work. Filling a tank with liquid may be crude, but it's the perfect KISS solution.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Key assumption:

            "That doesn't solve anything. The "filling" station still needs the infrastructure to charge those batteries, and "for a busy station that means hundreds on charge at a time, ready to be swapped.""

            Not so. It de-couples the charging from the loading process.

            With a big enough pool of each battery type charging goes on 24/7. In extreme cases you can have bulk deliveries of charged batteries.

            The key development is in thinking. These batteries are a commodity not a component like the battery in your car. Grades have to meet certain minimum performance criteria (or devices like fuel cells and can expect certain charging rules to be observed.

            As for "dangerous chemicals" what would call the 10s of 1000s of litres of gasoline in those tanks?

            Thumbs up for the idea as this is one of the ways you could break the trap of long charging times (standardised charge point plugs help but they don't change how long you've got to be plugged in.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Key assumption:@John Smith 19

              "With a big enough pool of each battery type charging goes on 24/7. In extreme cases you can have bulk deliveries of charged batteries."

              Maybe. Can't see it myself, because you'd only want to build the infrastructure if there were sufficient cars to justify it, and in that case you start stretching the electricity generation capacity of the nation, the electricity distribution system, and the gas transmission system if that's your generation fuel. It is worth recognising that the total energy used by road transport is forty per cent above the total existing output of the UK's electricity industry. As an indication, I reckon that you're talking of the order of £5k to £10k per vehicle just to pay for the power generation and infrastructure improvements. Given that a Nissan Leaf costs around £30k already, how would £35k to £40k for a small hatchback grab you?

              Swapping the batteries out might work (although that's not the way car makers are going at the moment anywhere in Europe), but you then have problems of cost (a single battery pack can already equal half the total cost of smaller EV's), and it doesn't address the electricity and gas infrastructure issues mentioned above. You'd also introduce new and significant inefficiencies, in that the heavy weight and low energy density of EV batteries would require about five times as many trucks to move them around than the like for like requirement of liquid fuel tankers, and the cars themselves become heavier because a robust module swapping capability is likely to be notable heavier than a built in unit.

              EV's might have a niche future, but the most sensible solution as others have suggested is chemical fuels, ideally that are reasonably compatible with the existing fleet and its infrastructure.

    2. itzman

      Re: Key assumption:

      there are lithium batteries that will recharge in 5 minutes, but that is about 600KW while its doing it for a small car, and that's a LOT of heat to get out if its not 100% efficient. Which it isn't. And a LOT of peak power in yet filling station.

  11. Dave 15 Silver badge

    doomed

    Price dooms these things to failure - and I am sure that is a deliberate policy by the motor manufacturers.

    Steam would of course provide a simple enough alternative - fireless steam, topped up at your local fuel station, we used to use steam in cars and lorries, we used to use fireless steam in railway engines. Its simple and cheap technology, and a small electric heater could be used to keep the steam hot over night at home ready for the morning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: doomed

      Before you down vote him for steam power as barking mad....

      this from a few years ago....

      http://www.eurekamagazine.co.uk/design-engineering-features/technology/steaming-ahead/11693/

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: doomed

        Thats an interesting one, haven't seen it before. I could certainly see something like that being interesting if the chemicals involved don't leave nasty substances after the reaction.

      2. Chemist

        Re: doomed

        All you need now is a low-cost, low energy way to make methanol & hydrogen peroxide. - oh wait !

        Thermodynamics is thermodynamics - there is no way round that. The energy you get out + losses had to come from somewhere.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: doomed

      "Steam would of course provide a simple enough alternative - fireless steam"

      Relative to Hydrogen this is quite sensible.

      If you're talking about high strength low weight pressure vessels this is an area that has seen substantial improvements over the years. The maximum use temperature for plastic resins has crept over the years to at least 250c. You're getting toward Pressurized Water Reactor territory. Of course like any good water tank you'll be wanting plenty of lagging to keep the heat in :)

      While the technology for large scale steam production and storage is very well understood rolling it out over a sufficient area would be a royal PITA.

      It might work out that a straightforward pulsed flow to a crank to drive the wheels would be simpler and more efficient than any sort of clever turbine drive (either through a gearbox or through a generator to electric motors as a hybrid steam/electric).

      Superficially madder than mad-Jack-McMad it in fact leverages well understood good state of practice.

      Now who stands to gain from its introduction and how could you get them to support it?

      1. Chemist

        Re: doomed

        ""Steam would of course provide a simple enough alternative - fireless steam""

        Note : the fireless steam is generated from methanol + hydrogen peroxide + catalyst. This does not seem a realistic method for transport etc. Local, small scale generation of steam without heat maybe.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: doomed

          "Note : the fireless steam is generated from methanol + hydrogen peroxide + catalyst. This does not seem a realistic method for transport etc. Local, small scale generation of steam without heat maybe."

          Not to mention the going rate for high test peroxide. $10/l IIRC?

          OTOH "Conventional" fireless (highly heated water in high pressure vessel venting to atmosphere or possibly closed circuit) could be quite viable.

  12. David Pollard
    Joke

    The 'speed-in' tariff

    The government is planning to introduce a speed-in tariff of 23 pence per mile to be paid to early adopters, inflation linked over the next 25 years. The scheme will be similar to that which was used to encourage adoption of photovoltaic energy and wind power, with the costs being distributed across the broad range of users of existing technologies.

  13. Chris Miller

    Are 'hydrogen fuel cell cars' likely to run on straight H2? I thought (though I may well be out of date) that liquid fuels such as ethanol are more popular as a source of hydrogen for fuel cells. Hydrogen is a pig to store, being both bulky and having a tendency to leak through most substances (or requiring continual cooling if in liquid form).

    1. Pet Peeve
      Pint

      Ethanol fuel cells are great, if they can crack the platinum cataylst problem. On the other hand, anything that makes ethanol is probably better used for food production than automotive fuel.

      I think it's far more likely that the battery charge-time problem will be licked before anyone comes up with a cheap and efficient car-size fuel cell. The fact that a few cars exist are entirely besides the point - it' EASY to make a car run on hydrogen. What's hard is making, storing, and safely handling the hydrogen, and all of those are really difficult problems.

  14. Schultz Silver badge
    Go

    You just get so much farther with hydrogen!

    see: Hello Kitty catonaut

  15. HamsterNet
    FAIL

    What we need

    Is a way of storing that Hydrogen power, in a way that it keep is bang, but in a way that would ideally be liquid at normal temperatures. Wouldn't make it too explosive and to increase the energy density. As even liquid hydrogen is remarkable week in energy stored per litre. A way that helps stop it leaking out of everything (which hydrogen does with remarkable ease). I suggest something like a carbon atom which does all of the above.. oh wait..

    The Easiest and Best way to make even a V8 turbo greener is to KEEP THE CAR ON THE ROAD for longer as almost all the carbon of any car is in its production. But no think thank is suggesting tax brakes for older cars are they?

  16. PlacidCasual
    Unhappy

    @Chris Miller

    I agree with you on the storage front. Hydrogen is not an energy dense fuel. There are so many things that make sense about a hydrogen economy built on mass nuclear and renewable generation. But hydrocarbons are just so useful, there is many times more hydrogen in a pint of petrol than there is in a pint of hydrogen, the physics of it is our enemy otherwise it would get my vote.

  17. William Donelson
    FAIL

    Hydrogen is a scam by oil companies to retain centralized control of energy

    Hydrogen is a low energy-density fuel, hard to store safely.

    Hydrogen is far more powerful greenhouse gas (if it leaks, and it will) than CO2.

    1. Growly Snuffle Bunny
      Pint

      H2 a greenhouse gas

      I did not know this - thanks for the edjamacation!

      http://www.ghgonline.org/otherhydrogen.htm

      Have one on me.

    2. arrbee

      There was a Caltech paper published last year in which they said yes there was a possibility that leaking hydrogen would affect the ozone layer, but that there was no need to worry since there was plenty of time for us to carry out thorough impact studies before anyone committed to widespread use of the technology.

      The same issue was raised in 2003.

      Hmm.

      1. Peter Snow

        What do you expect from an OIL COMPANY?

        Are their products so green?

  18. M.D.
    Joke

    Hold Front Page

    <sigh>

    Bunch of vested interests claim their version of "42" is going to be FABULOUS & Succesful!

    In other news:

    Cardinals assert "Pope definitely remaining Catholic"

    </sigh>

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    think of the budget! ;)

    propped by (what, over 50% of end user price) tax on fuel.

  20. CreosoteChris

    The Hydrogen Hoax

    Article examining the practicalities of large-scale hydrogen adoption for transportation...

    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-hydrogen-hoax

  21. MrXavia
    FAIL

    Hydrocarbons are much better than Hydrogen for portability...

    I can't see pure hydrogen ever taking over from a Hydrocarbon..

    I'd take electric over hydrogen any day for a car... but diesel before that at current prices!

    I drive a large saloon, but I still get upwards of 50 Mpg!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      >>I can't see pure hydrogen ever taking over from a Hydrocarbon..

      Even when the latter run out or are scare enough the price goes up 10X?

      1. itzman
        Mushroom

        not even then. synthetic diesel would be cheaper and far safer and could use existing infrastructure.

  22. Petrossa
    FAIL

    Hydrogen is not a fuel

    It's a carrier. You have to make hydrogen first, that is put energy into it to make it, and with efficiency losses you get less out of it then you put into it.

    Doomed to fail.

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Hydrogen is not a fuel

      All fuel sources have inefficiencies. It is however as you point out inappropriate to consider it like you would a hydrocarbon. It is closer to steamin that it is a material that is not easily procured without putting in your own energy to create it.

      It is actually fairer to compare the technology to a battery. Except one that is about as far from practical energy density as you can get. For a practical range, you need to liquify it which wastes even more energy. You then have to truck and pump the volitile highly compressed gas to a service station and accept that you can't completely contain it so

      more losses.

      I guess it is lucky that the fuel cells themselves are not made from large quantities of very rare materials..... hmmm

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    And my personal view.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    That is all.

    Hydrogen is a PITA to generate, transport and store in any form.

    A good question would be how much do batteries have to improve and what "Moores law" for batteries? How fast does power storage take to doubleand equally speed to charge to halve?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear...

    I'd expect better of El Reg - the "hockey stick" promotional graph ought to ring some warning bells but you've mostly just regurgitated the press release. The physics (production, energy density, transport) wouldn't seem to favor H2 as a fuel. I guess it might work if these rent seekers could get enough subsidy - but electric cars haven't been a great success.

  25. Peter Snow
    Holmes

    Why not just convert your existing car?

    What doesn't make sense to me, is that a certain famous Daniel Dingle in the Philippines (see his story on Google) has been running his modern standard production cars on hydrogen for more than 30 years. Several Philippine President's even rode in his vehicles.

    He was generating the hydrogen on-demand using simple electrolysis, extracting the gas from natural water. The cars engine was almost un-modified.

    A certain Steven Meyers in the US (find his story on Google too), also perfected this but was killed while trying to turn it into a commercial interest.

    The yahoo group "Watercar" has many members, all people busy developing and using the technology themselves, most though are careful not to say, when they have it working, for fear of a similar end to Mr Meyers.

    So why would we pay for Hydrogen? The modifications to the engine are so minor that almost all who read this will be able to do it themselves with items available at their local hardware store.

    Some will argue that the amount of electricity necessary to extract the hydrogen is prohibitive, but using a square wave generator instead of an unmodified signal, the amount of current required is significantly reduced to within the scope of a standard car battery and unmodified alternator. The fuel is more powerful and efficient than Petrol or Diesel, causing the engine to run cooler and increasing it's responsiveness.

    The exhaust contain zero harmful emissions and is mostly oxygen.

    I have the complete plans right here and it really is simple. They can be found online too in varying amounts of completeness.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Why not just convert your existing car?

      "he amount of current required is significantly reduced to within the scope of a standard car battery and unmodified alternator."

      Perpetual motion then ! Should make a fortune !

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Why not just convert your existing car?

      > I have the complete plans right here and it really is simple

      I'll bet you can hook the engine up to an alternator and use the square wave energy to create all the hydrogen you need to run the engine, as well. You could call it "perpetual motion".

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Why not just convert your existing car?

      "He was generating the hydrogen on-demand using simple electrolysis, extracting the gas from natural water. "

      And the source of the electricity for this is.....

  26. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Trollface

    "boom" in the context of hydrogen fuel?

    I don't think I like the sound of it ...

  27. Spit The Dog
    FAIL

    How?

    Do electric, hybrid, hydrogen 1 man x thousands all taking 100 sq ft of road space at 8;45 am in the morning resolve congestion and the crappy commuting lives we lead?

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