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Old 11-19-2014, 05:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Dr Chu pointed out that there are severe problems in producing and storing hydrogen efficiently; and if you want to get the most out of it through electrolysis rather than just burning it, you have the problem that fuel cells are quite large for their power output.
See an interview with Dr. Chu here; Challenging Chu on Hydrogen Fuel Cells | MIT Technology Review and Q & A: Steven Chu - Page 2 | MIT Technology Review.

TR: It used to be thought, five to eight years ago, that hydrogen was the great answer for the future of transportation. The mood has shifted. What have we learned from this?

SC: I think, well, among some people it hasnít really shifted [laughs]. I think there was great enthusiasm in some quarters, but I always was somewhat skeptical of it because, right now, the way we get hydrogen primarily is from reforming [natural] gas. Thatís not an ideal source of hydrogen. Youíre giving away some of the energy content of natural gas, which is a very valuable fuel. So thatís one problem. The other problem is, if itís for transportation, we donít have a good storage mechanism yet. Compressed hydrogen is the best mechanism [but it requires] a large volume. We havenít figured out how to store it with high density. What else? The fuel cells arenít there yet, and the distribution infrastructure isnít there yet. So you have four things that have to happen all at once. And so it always looked like it was going to be [a technology for] the distant future. In order to get significant deployment, you need four significant technological breakthroughs. That makes it unlikely.
As for now, mile per dollar, hydrogen is much more expensive to produce than gasoline (if you can tank it at comparable price that is because it is sold at a big loss) while electricity is cheaper.
So although the new fuel cell cars are expected to be somewhat cheaper than the Tesla model S, they will lose out quickly on cost to operate.
They don't outrange the Tesla and you cannot fill them up at home.
I'd prefer the Tesla even if hydrogen filling stations were abundant.
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