Following a record-setting year of plug-in electric vehicle sales in the US, the federal government is continuing an "all-of-the-above" alternative energy strategy to ensure folks don't forget about the wonders of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV). In fact, the US Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is borrowing four FCEVs from Toyota for a couple of years to see just how potentially wonderful they are.

The Toyota Highlander FCEVs will be used by NREL to further infrastructure development while getting a better handle on driving patterns and other data. NREL will also showcase the vehicles at events for public-education purposes and is even conducting a contest for graphic-design students in the Denver area to create decals for the vehicles.

FCEVs are thought of in some alt-fuel circles as a best-of-all-worlds solution because they can go almost as far as conventional gas-powered vehicles on a full tank but emit only water vapor from their tailpipes. Developing both the vehicles and the infrastructure has been prohibitively expensive, though. That said, Toyota is among about eight vehicle makers planning to start selling hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in 2015, though that model will be based on a sedan, not an SUV. Additionally, the automaker announced a fuel cell technology-development agreement with German competitor BMW last week. The companies will also develop lightweighting technology for the vehicles. NREL's press release is available below.
Show full PR text
NREL Acquires Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles from Toyota to Support Hydrogen Infrastructure, Production, and Vehicle Performance Studies

January 28, 2013
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently received four fuel cell hybrid vehicles - advanced (FCHV-adv) on loan from Toyota through a two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. These vehicles will help NREL enhance its research related to hydrogen fueling infrastructure, renewable hydrogen production, and vehicle performance.

"We're looking at the whole system-from renewable hydrogen production and vehicle fueling equipment to the impact of driving patterns and behavior on vehicle performance," said NREL Laboratory Program Manager for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies Keith Wipke. "Because the vehicles will be four or five years old by the time our two-year loan ends, we will also be able to observe extended durability and reliability, which is critical to their commercial success."

These vehicles are representative of many fuel cell hybrid designs being proposed by automotive companies today. Toyota plans to introduce a fuel cell hybrid sedan to the U.S. commercial market in 2015.

NREL will showcase the vehicles on loan at a variety of events to educate the public about advanced vehicle technologies and to solicit feedback for assessing consumer acceptance and interest in such vehicles.

Based on the Toyota Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle platform, the FCHV-adv has a fuel cell system with light-weight high-pressure hydrogen gas tanks, an electric motor, a nickel metal hydride battery, and a power-control unit that determines the split of power from the battery or the fuel cell stack to power the vehicle. When the fuel cell is in use, hydrogen is fed to the fuel cell stack where it is combined with oxygen from the air. The electricity produced by this chemical reaction is used to power the electric motor and charge the battery.

In addition to a high fuel economy (estimated 68.3 miles/kg on-road fuel economy, as verified in 2009 and documented in the Evaluation of Range Estimates for Toyota FCHV-adv report), the vehicles emit no harmful tailpipe emissions-water vapor is the only byproduct.

The vehicles on loan to NREL are fueled with renewable hydrogen made from wind and solar energy thanks to the Wind-to-Hydrogen Project, which uses wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays to power electrolyzer stacks that split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Housed at NREL's National Wind Technology Center, the Wind-to-Hydrogen Project is funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Program.

NREL is hosting a contest for students to design graphic decals for use on the vehicles. Students who are currently enrolled in a graphic design program at a university, community college, or technical school in the Denver Metro area are invited to participate. Three designs will be selected based on adherence to the design specifications and themes described on the contest webpage at www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/design_contest.html.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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Visit NREL online at www.nrel.gov


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Having read at the interesting and scientifically based information provided by most of those who have posted here, for and against FCV's, I would like to observe the following from a non-scientific perspective. The most successful transport fuels in a post oil future, will be those best able to economically replace( or better) the best attributes of fossil fuels.. Of the various technologies being developed, the front runner appears to be BEV's. However, batteries have limitations as ESD's. EV technology has considerable existing capital investment, and a 'breakthrough' with the development of long range, quick charging, ESD would guarantee EV the dominant position in road transport. Natural gas. In LPG or CNG form, natural gas is already provides a significant per centage of the world energy needs. NG gas powered vehicles are the most viable short term replacements for gasoline and diesel. (especially in those countries with vast deposits of NG). The amount of capital investment to develop this fuel is more than adequate. FCV's based hydrogen technology, shows potential, but is relatively unproven economically, and requires considerable infrastructure development. FCV technology has received considerable capital investment, and with each positive development, will have access to even greater R&D funding. If established as viable, the capital investment to roll out the infrastructure, will be easily forthcoming. Ethanol and bio-fuels. Once the 'great white hope' of alternate fuel technology, until the logistical problems of feedstock proved agri-based fuels economically impractical. Outside of certain specialized geographic locations, bio-fuels require massive government assistance to survive. Continual failure to produce a viable feedstock restricts Capital investment to governments, (or government guaranteed ) and oil companies, For any technology to become dominant, requires the highest level of capital investment and diverse economic support. Apart from NG, that only really leaves two technologies. Both Battery and Fuel cell technologies, are just methods of storing and recharging energy. In the end, the only thing that the majority of consumers cares about, is the convenience and economic viability of an alternate vehicle to reproduce the best attributes of an ICE counterpart. The engineering and science of how this achieved is irrelevant to the consumer. Nothing will happen without capital investment, and capital investment is dependent upon the likelihood of return. In the end it's up to the consumer. Attempts to mandate, or remove the consumers right to choose, will always end in huge losses of public money.
      Doug
      • 2 Years Ago
      "FCEVs are thought of in some alt-fuel circles as a best-of-all-worlds solution because they can go almost as far as conventional gas-powered vehicles on a full tank but emit only water vapor from their tailpipes." I'd like to see proper well-to-wheels comparison based on typical driving habits with a PHEV such as the Chevy Volt. We know pure electric is about 3x more efficient than HFCVs, so the only advantage left for hydrogen is the possibility of faster refueling times. Given how rarely people use petrol in the Volt, I think that small occasional use of gas (which isn't going away any time soon) would be preferable to building a new hydrogen fueling infrastructure. While we wait for batteries get better, we could use other STP (standard temperature and pressure) liquid fuels for the range extender, such as methanol or ethanol, that leverage the existing fueling infrastructure. But I really don't see the point of building a whole new and expensive infrastructure for hydrogen, especially for passenger cars. Just seems a ridiculous use of resources.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Doug
        'I'd like to see proper well-to-wheels comparison based on typical driving habits with a PHEV such as the Chevy Volt. We know pure electric is about 3x more efficient than HFCVs,' There have been dozens of such studies, you just have not looked. Try googling 'DOE' and 'hydrogen' or 'fuel cells'. I'd also be very interested in seeing your exact figures substantiating your claim that battery cars are 3 times as efficient well to wheels, since my own figures show its a wash. I've presented them here before, and if you share the figures on which you base your claim, will do so again. Naturally if you can't back it up you will withdraw it.
          Doug
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          If it's only a wash, then why bother building an expensive hydrogen fueling infrastructure? I've worked it out a few times myself (my background is Applied Physics at Cornell and Stanford), but I'd have to dig up my notes. I'll post them if I get a chance. I do my best to make fair comparisons because at one time I was pro-hydrogen (we love the hydrogen atom in physics). And while it basically sounds nice, it just doesn't make sense when you apply basic thermodynamics and consider reasonable lower cost alternatives that are available now. By my calculations, if the HFCV gets its hydrogen by steam reformation of natural gas and the EV gets electricity from a natural gas fired power plant (so both using natural gas), then it's a wash. Minor changes in your assumptions (e.g., the type and efficiency of the power plant) can show either as ahead. If, however, you get your hydrogen from the electrolysis of water (the only existing way to get it from renewables like wind and solar) then the EV is about 3x more efficient than the HFCV. So given the same source of electricity, the process of splitting the water, compressing or liquefying the hydrogen, transporting the hydrogen, and then running it through a PEM (being generous to hydrogen in my assumptions) I got about 30% Grid-to-Motor efficiency. Where as round trip to a battery I got about 85% efficiency. This Wikipedia article got similar numbers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy#Efficiency_as_an_automotive_fuel Now I'm just a guy with a science background trying to make an objective observation. What gets me particularly annoyed with H2 advocates and why I question their honesty is that they repeatedly twist the truth by saying (sometimes even in the same sentence) that "HFCVs are as efficient as EVs and the H2 can be produced using renewable energy." While both statements can be independently true, they are not true at the same time.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @ Doug I'm not a scientist, but aren't you guilty of the same thing of which you accuse Dave Mart ? I agree with your position that mutually exclusive facts must be kept separate, but comparing the efficiency of a battery and a fuel cell without including the convenience and speed of refueling is also being selective about what constitutes 'efficiency' ?
          Doug
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Marcopolo No, I specifically started the thread asking this question: "I'd like to see proper well-to-wheels comparison based on typical driving habits with a PHEV such as the Chevy Volt. We know pure electric is about 3x more efficient than HFCVs, so the only advantage left for hydrogen is the possibility of faster refueling times. Given how rarely people use petrol in the Volt, I think that small occasional use of gas (which isn't going away any time soon) would be preferable to building a new hydrogen fueling infrastructure." So I asked a question (how do plug-in hybrids like the Volt compare to HFCVs), presented known facts (pure EVs are ~3x efficient than HFCVs, liquid hydrocarbon fueling infrastructure will be with us for some time), and then posed a hypotheses (I think the minimal use of gas for "fast fueling" in a PHEV is better than the cost of building an H2 infrastructure) . So I haven't seen that analysis. I suppose at some point I will just have to do it myself. But it seems to me that if fast fueling is that important of a feature, the plug-in hybrid (a car you can buy today) presents the best of both worlds mentioned in the article. You can charge at home and/or at work using electricity for the vast majority of your driving and then just go get some gas at the corner gas station (of which there are many) if you need to. The "fast fueling" advantage of hydrogen is hardly an advantage if there are few place to refuel. My supposition is that the vast resources that would be needed to develop a new hydrogen fueling infrastructure could be more effectively used to deploy cleaner STP liquid fuels and more fast charging stations.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Doug: Since you said that you would like to see a well to wheels comparison, and there are loads out there, I am a bit stunned that you have done comparisons without taking into account the excellent studies done by the likes of the DOE. Finding them is trivial. Why bother if the energy efficiency is a wash? Because energy efficiency is far from the only criteria, or even the main one. Convenience also matters, or we would all be riding bikes instead. Fuel cells simply provide load and range capabilities totally outside of the abilities of current batteries. To be clear, I would be perfectly happy if a lithium air or whatever battery is perfected, and went into general use instead. I am not comfortable though with the assumption that this will 'inevitably' happen, and what I am against is the widespread desire to not develop fuel cells, when clearly they also have an important role to play. I find the widespread claims that batteries are two to three times as efficient as fuel cells and hydrogen particularly annoying since you have since modified you original claim that: ' We know pure electric is about 3x more efficient than HFCVs' To admitting that using present widespread methods of generating hydrogen and the efficiency of the current electricity grid they are about a wash: 'By my calculations, if the HFCV gets its hydrogen by steam reformation of natural gas and the EV gets electricity from a natural gas fired power plant (so both using natural gas), then it's a wash.' Your claim is only true, if true at all, when: 'If, however, you get your hydrogen from the electrolysis of water (the only existing way to get it from renewables like wind and solar) then the EV is about 3x more efficient than the HFCV. ' And you accuse me, and hydrogen advocates. of twisting the truth! You are, by your own account,deliberately disseminating claims which you know, as presented, to be false. In actual fact your claim of the superior efficiency of batteries using renewables is only partly true anyway. For a start a lot of renewables will be wasted if they can't be stored, as for instance, hydrogen, which is why the German's are pushing ahead with hydrogen as fast as they can. Secondly renewables are not the only low carbon source. High temperature reactors such as the pebble bed being built in China will produce hydrogen just fine. Thirdly you are assuming that the process heat is not used, as is going to happen in, for instance, the Audi plant. There would certainly be an efficiency penalty if, in fact, electricity is converted to hydrogen and back again, but the question is how big the losses are, and if they are worth it for other benefits, or if in fact the electricity can be used at all without it. I thought you were ill informed. It turns out that you were quite deliberately seeking to mislead. Using present production methods,t he efficiency of batteries and fuel cells is a wash, and you know it. Just the same you claimed 3 times more.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @David Peilow good quote And using NG to obtain the energy carrier H2 is even more efficient than using electric power !. And then, where did you get the electric power ?
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Marcopolo "comparing the efficiency of a battery and a fuel cell without including the convenience and speed of refueling is also being selective about what constitutes 'efficiency' ?" We are clearly talking about energy efficiency here when we say "efficiency", not refueling speed efficiency (a completely different thing). Now that you bring it up, it really annoys me when people use the term that way, for example when I hear people say gasoline is more "efficient" than batteries because it takes up less space (that's volumetric efficiency) or weight (that's gravimetric efficiency). When I hear "efficient" I think of energy efficiency by default because that's what it means in colloquial usage. It may also be a British English vs American English thing (because I see "efficiency" or "efficient" being used that way mainly in British sources). As for the point about refueling speed, the Volt addresses that in a relatively cheap and conveninet way and Doug acknowledges it does mean some gasoline usage vs no (direct) gasoline usage for a hydrogen car. That's why he wants to see a wheels-to-well comparison between the two to see if hydrogen offers any advantages vs a PHEV.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Doug, what you should look into is the cost of installing hydrogen refueling infrastructure versus the cost of maintaining (and continually expanding) gasoline refueling infrastructure. How much do the oil companies spend every year maintaining their gasoline distribution system?
          David Peilow
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart Perhaps you can explain why the now retired head of the European Fuel Cell Forum also comes to the same conclusion as Doug (and many others including Nobel laureate Steve Chu) in an IEEE paper? http://www.fuelcellforum.com/reports/E21.pdf "Fundamental laws of physics expose the weakness of a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen, the artificial energy carrier, can never compete with its own energy source, electricity, in a sustainable future."
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Doug
        Bad Ideas Never Die. This is just one more example of Zombie Bad Ideas, the Troll Party keeps pushing.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          EZEE, I disagree with you. Zombies are the walking dead.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Let me break his down with your philosophy... 'Nothing is black and White' - you can't be sure this is a bad idea, as, there may be good elements. We shouldn't judge by Rigid Standards - by what standards do you proclaim this bad? There are no standards, so you cannot judge, 'We shouldn't use mean spirited labels' - troll? Zombie? Are you saying people who disagree with you are the walking undead? First, that has shades of religion, and a good liberal is always a godless heathen. That, or any religion except Christianity. Secondly, ,out video games have the player killing zombies. Do you suggest those who disagree be killed? 'We should all be open minded' - LOL Do you realize that you are everything you side proclaims to hate?
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder: 1. How or where will they get their H2 - hydrogen ? 2. How many H2 refueling stations will they build ? 3. How will this be paid for ? BTW: the "estimated 68.3 miles/kg on-road fuel economy" (as read in the press release) is after the H2 is on-board the vehicle Does not take the ineffiencies of the source of H2 or energy it takes to compress the H2 into account (never does). Looks good until you look at the overall picture (always does). errr, also neglect cost
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        From the test results of the Toyota FCEV: NB Danny may have quoted a press release the testing I linked is far from that: 'participants from both Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) witnessed and participated in a 2‐vehicle evaluation with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA) over a typical open road route for over 11 hours in one day with all relevant data recorded.' Speed profiles: 'The speed profiles were analyzed and compared to standard driving cycles, and were determined to be of moderate aggressiveness. The city segments of the route had average speeds slightly greater than the UDDS cycle and the highway segments were close to the HWFET & US06 cycles. The average acceleration for the highway driving was very close to the HWFET cycle, and the city portions had average accelerations lower than the UDDS and US06 cycles. We feel that the route accurately reflects realistic driving behaviors in southern California on a typical weekday, and is an appropriate benchmark to use in the verification of a fuel cell vehicle’s range.' and air conditioning: 'An important electrical load on vehicles in southern California is the air conditioning. To prevent adjustments to the HVAC settings from introducing random noise into the evaluation, the temperature in both vehicles was set to automatic temperature control at 75 degrees F with recirculation. Figure 4 gives a plot of the ambient temperature experienced during the day. It should be noted that the fuel economy and range would be lower if the air conditioner had to work harder due to a higher ambient temperature or a colder set‐point temperature, and the fuel economy and range would be higher if we had the air conditioner compressor off with just outdoor air through the vents for cooling. Changes in elevation cause vehicles to expend more energy climbing the grade, with potential recovery of some energy during descent. During our route, the grades were relatively flat except for an initial climb toward Los Angeles and the rolling hills associated with coastal communities. See Figure 5 for an elevation gain plot generated from topographic software. The highest elevation was 424 feet with much of the time spent
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart The energy differences for compression are not trivial, esp. if you consider they are electricity and not just direct energy. The 3 kWh more for 350 bar at the top end is about 10% of the GGE. If you consider that it is electricity not "energy", that goes up to 7.5kWh worth of natural gas (assuming 40% natural gas powerplant efficiency) and that makes up 20% of the GGE, which is fairly significant given how close the numbers for the EPA rated examples I gave. There's also the electricity used in the reformation process (for purification of the water and hydrogen, and running the control equipment) which is surprisingly not insignificant (according to Jesse's like it's 216kWh/day, which for 50kg is 4.32kWh/kg, which is even more than used for compression). And there's another thing that's missed, which is if the CNG vehicle was a hybrid like all the FCVs, then the numbers also change significantly (the Civic Hybrid gets 44mpg combined).
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          And compression efficiencies: http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/9013_energy_requirements_for_hydrogen_gas_compression.pdf Note that this is an area where rapid progress is being made, and in addition since it is likely to take place on the garage forecourt after hydrogen or NG is piped there, is very amenable to the use of the heat given off in district heating, which is very unlikely to happen in the US but will in Germany, Japan, Holland etc.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Here is another major technical study of reforming efficiencies, most of which is above my head: http://www-pord.ucsd.edu/~sgille/mae124_s06/27637.pdf The bottom line seems to be that the efficiency on an HHV basis is 89%. However, on an LHV basis it is only 66%, but that figures seems to include all the externalities such as producing the NG, building the equipment and so on, ie it is a life-cycle assessment rather than what we are interested in. It also seems to assume that fossil fuels are used in all of that systems production, and that use is not made of otherwise waste heat for district heating etc. Even using a figure of 66% for reforming would put us on double the efficiency of a natural gas vehicle as both need to compress the gas, although there may be relatively trivial differences in the energy costs of compression, they will not really affect the outcome to any substantial degree. Allowing for compression vs petrol vehicles, taking the worst case for hydrogen and ignoring upstream losses and so on in producing the petrol, we still come out to something like 1.8 times the efficiency. Where heat recovery is used for district heating and so on we might be talking about 2.3 times as efficient or so. So using hydrogen and fuel cells is way more efficient than using either petrol or natural gas in an ICE
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Yes, I read all that, but it's still not the EPA 5-cycle test, which does each of the 5 cycles separately (UDDS, HWFET, US06, SC03 hot cycle for air conditioning usage, and a cold cycle) and then uses a formula to merge the results. The report itself says "We feel that the route accurately reflects realistic driving behaviors in southern California on a typical weekday". So I misspoke, they were not even trying to approximate the EPA 5-cycle, they were trying approximate a typical weekday drive in southern CA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTP-75 Speed profiles: The report itself said the acceleration profiles were more "moderate" than the actual cycles and also the highway speed as "close to the HWFET & US06 cycles" to (which implies it was lower). Only the city speeds were higher than the real UDDS cycle. and air conditioning: If you look at the chart, the ambient temperature averaged around 75F (24C) and peak temperature was only around 80F (27C)! That means with the temp set to 75F, the air conditioning was essentially unused! Compare this to the SC03 test where the ambient temperature is 95F (35C). They also never did a cold cycle test with temperatures at 20F (-7C) like the 5-cycle test does. Everything points to this number being close to the 2-cycle test (which only has the HWFET cycle and UDDS cycle, both with more moderate acceleration and no air conditioning/heater usage), but more optimistic than the new 5-cycle test that all new cars have to be tested under (since 2012). And it makes sense given the date of the report, 2009. That was when the 5-cycle test was just starting to be introduced (manufacturers were allowed to do only the 2-cycle test and then use a factor to "adjust" the number to approximate a 5-cycle test).
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          The advantage of debate here is that it kicks me into more research. I was never very happy with the Wiki link on the efficiency of steam methane reforming. However, we find that: 'The efficiency of SMR ranges from 70% to 80% on a LHV basis at peak loading and can be as high as 90% when optimized with the coproduction and use of heat and power at large production facilities.44 Efficiency falls rapidly at partial loading; therefore, full utilization of production capacity is desired.' http://www.npc.org/FTF-report-080112/H2_Analysis-080112.pdf And a technical report, which is way above my head: http://home.comcast.net/~jjechura/CHEN472/07_Hydrogen%20from%20SMR.pdf
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        I see you are simply evading my challenge to provide figures on which you base your perfectly daft claiims. For other's benefit. the Highlander on which the Toyota FCEV is based gets 20/25mpg. Taking an average of around 23 mpg, the FCEV is 3 times as efficient. Natural gas cars get no more miles per gallon equivalent than petrol, and both NG and hydrogen need to be compressed, and so the only thing to be deducted is reforming efficiency of around 65-75%: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_reforming So that leaves using NG by reforming into hydrogen at around twice the efficiency of burning it directly in an ICE. I can't be bothered to deal with the rest of the red herrings EVnerd raises, at least until he has the courtesy to acknowledge that he is talking complete nonsense about efficiency, or backs his figures up, which he has not done so far, presumably because he can't Have the guts to retract if you can't back it up, don't fan dance and evade.
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "1 - Large scale hydrogen production is likely to be more efficient than onsite small scale production." You have to factor in delivery and it may become a wash if it continues to be liquefied hydrogen delivered by truck. If it is delivered by pipeline then this advantage can be realized, but it seems unlikely that a large pipeline network will be realized anytime soon. 3 - 65% - 75% efficiency quoted by wikipedia is reasonable. (but probaby 60% for onsite production) The only "real world" figures we have are for onsite production and it pegs it at about 60% (electricity usage is another issue not touched). Can't find the link right now but I remember a CAFCP representative directly responding to my comment in one of the ABG articles that onsite SMR was the least expensive (both in station and fuel cost) and probably the one that will be most widely deployed.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Jesse- Here is a 2001 study on hydrogen production by steam reformation. Give it a read. A large scale plant such as the one in this study is likely to be far mor efficient than small on-site generators. http://www-pord.ucsd.edu/~sgille/mae124_s06/27637.pdf
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "The 68.3 mpge of the Toyota FCEV is not a press release, but certified real world figures" It's not a EPA figure though. It's on a route with a mix of city and highway conditions that tries to approximate the cycles, but we know that the EPA figures can be more conservative than that, esp. the new 5-cycle test (which throws in air con and heater use, as well as more aggressive drive cycle) vs the old 2-cycle test. 62 miles/kg for Clarity and 52 miles/kg for F-cell are the only two EPA rated FCVs http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fcv_sbs.shtml CNG civic is 31 mpg. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=alts&year1=2012&year2=2014&vfuel=Dedicated+CNG&srchtyp=newAfv 1 GGE = 5.66 pounds of CNG http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/natural_gas_basics.html If you have a figure for how much natural gas it takes to make a kg of hydrogen (real world, not theoretical) we can have an apples to apples comparison (being a hydrogen advocate I hope you have more luck than me in finding this figure). Otherwise we only have rough efficiency percentage figures, not actual data on therms/kg H2 or cubic-ft/kg H2. But even if you throw the 65% figure in there, that gives 40.3mpg for Clarity, 33.8mpg for F-cell. Compare this to 31mpg for CNG Civic. Let's look back at EVnerdGENE's figures. 23.8% for CNG, and 26.3% for FCV. Assuming 31mpge for CNG, would put a FCV using reformation at 34mpge, which is really not that far off if you look at the numbers (almost spot on for the F-Cell). If the CNG vehicle was a "hybrid" (all the FCV listed, including the Toyota FCEV, are fuel-cell/battery hybrids) the CNG car might be able to "beat" the hydrogen vehicles in efficiency. And that's before factoring in compression: CNG is 3000-3600psi It takes 0.8-1.3kWh/gge (4-4.8kWh per 3.7gge for 3600psi, 4.9gge for 3600psi) http://www.wvcng.com/products/fuelmaker/var.shtml Hydrogen is 350bar (5000psi, but actually 440 bar for refueling) or 750 bar (10k psi, 880 bar for refueling), real world electricity use is 2-4kWh/kg for 350 bar hydrogen. http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/9013_energy_requirements_for_hydrogen_gas_compression.pdf So hydrogen uses about 1-3 kWh (2-4x) more electricity for compression for each gge. Then comes the question do you just use the electricity figure for compression as "energy" or do you factor in the energy of the fuels that made that energy (in which case you have to divide the figures by 40% assuming only natural gas power plants). A GGE is 33.7kWh of energy so you can use that to factor in the compression energy.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          It looks like you've read the report far more carefully and critically than I have. Well done. I believe the bottom line is- 1 - Large scale hydrogen production is likely to be more efficient than onsite small scale production. 2 - Use of the steam energy is key. 3 - 65% - 75% efficiency quoted by wikipedia is reasonable. (but probaby 60% for onsite production)
          Jesse Gurr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          This may seem like a stupid question, but I have to ask. Where do they get the 75% efficiency from? They don't have a source for it. They had to get that number from somewhere. All the ones I have seen are at most about 60% efficient. If you know of one that is higher, I would like to see it. The same for that Wikipedia source that Davemart gave. The source link for that doesn't work. That means then that the number quoted is suspect. Using 60% instead of 75%. We get about 5.3 kg H2 so then 68.3 mi/kg * 5.3 kg = 362 miles using the Civic NatGas like the link... 362/227 = 1.6x more efficient Not as good as 450 miles and 2x more efficient, but still better than using an ICE with natgas. I'm not disputing that, I'm only questioning the 75% efficiency for steam reformation they quoted.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "On a life cycle basis, for one MJ of fossil fuel consumed by the system, 0.66 MJ of hydrogen is produced." (life cycle means that construction and disposal of the plant is included in the efficiency calculation as well) The operating efficiency is quoted as 89% but that is assuming that the excess steam produced by the process is used to produce electricity, heat water for nearby buildings, or drive industrial processes. Utilization of the generated steam is unlikely in small on-site production.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Agreed. On a side note, excess steam could be utilized in New York and other states that have District Heating, basically a steam system. That would be the best use for a hydrogen producer like hat one. Unfortunately there have been 12 steam incidents in the last 25 years. With the most recent in 2007. At least it "blows out" and not "blows up". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_heating
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "estimated 68.3 miles/kg on-road fuel economy" this quote is from the press release attached to this story. If you read the above ABG article by Danny King you would have seen and maybe read the attached press release. (click "SHOW PRESS RELEASE" ) It gives the fuel economy in miles/kg because H2 is a gas. Since the energy content of one kg of H2 is amazingly close to the energy content of one gallon of gasoline (pure coincidence), MPGe is used for those that can't comprehend miles/kg or know of the relationship or lack there of. Also notice it says "estimated"
          Jesse Gurr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Dave, For some reason that link doesn't work for me. However, I did find it somewhere else. This 2012 report: http://www.npc.org/FTF-report-080112/H2_Analysis-080112.pdf used it as a source, which i found here: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy01osti/27637.pdf I have been reading it off and on for a couple days now. I believe I can explain a few things now. "On a life cycle basis, for one MJ of fossil fuel consumed by the system, 0.66 MJ of hydrogen is produced." (life cycle means that construction and disposal of the plant is included in the efficiency calculation as well)" I disagree. The tables provided on the page previous to the table of contents show the equations used. The key words here are "fossil fuel energy consumed". They are referring to the net energy ratio equation on the first table. The second table gives the value from that equation as 0.66. The equation is defined as (Energy in the Hydrogen / fossil fuel energy consumed within the system) which includes the natural gas fed to the plant since that is consumed inside the system. What is more interesting is the External Energy Efficiency calculation. Which is defined as: (Energy of Hydrogen * Energy consumed by all upstream processes required to run the plant / Energy contained in the NatGas fed to the plant) They calculate that as 60.4% "The operating efficiency is quoted as 89% but that is assuming that the excess steam produced by the process is used to produce electricity, heat water for nearby buildings, or drive industrial processes. Utilization of the generated steam is unlikely in small on-site production." Exactly. The report pegs the most likely scenario of operation as producing the steam internally and not being able to find a customer for the excess steam produced, at 79.2% using HHV.(page 5, first paragraph) Converting to LHV we get about 66.4%. If they do find a customer for that steam and get the 89% at HHV, that would put them in the 75% LHV efficiency range.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "Thus the FCEV will travel 2.325 times farther on a given quantity of natural gas than a NGV, assuming that the ICE has the same efficiency running on natural gas as running on gasoline. For example, suppose someone has 1 MBTU of natural gas. That natural gas can be converted to 0.75 MBTU or 6.6 kg of hydrogen. This is enough hydrogen to propel a FCEV for 68.3 miles/kg x 6.6 = 450.9 miles. Assuming that the Highlander achieves the same fuel economy on natural gas as on gasoline or 22 mpg or gasoline, this is equivalent to 191.3 miles/MBTU. Therefore 1 MBTU of natural gas would propel the NG SUV for 191.3 miles." http://www.cleancaroptions.com/NGVs_vs_FCEVs.pdf
          Jesse Gurr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          JakeY, I did some calculations using natural gas in another story here. I had a nice, civil chat with Dave(not Davemart) about stuff. Start from my most recent post starting with "I found this little gem..." here: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/12/03/automakers-thrilled-with-hydrogen- vehicles-consumers-still-hesi/ I used data from a natgas reformer for hydrogen production, but what i didn't do was convert the natural gas used into a GGE number. i will do that now. http://www.nuvera.com/pdf/PowerTap_Hydrogen_Generator.pdf The system uses 8.7MMBTU/day (8,700,000 BTU)of natural gas. I will use the LHV since the calculations will give me a lower efficiency LHV = 1 US gallon gasoline = 115000 BTU Since it produces 50kg H2/day then we have: (8.7 MMBTU/day / 50 kg H2 = 174,000 BTU/kg H2 Converting to GGE: 174,000 BTU/kg H2 * 1 gal gas/115,000 BTU = 1.51 gal/kg H2 worth of natgas was used. This doesn't take into account the natural gas that was used by the electric grid to produce the energy required for the system either. Feel free to do it yourself if you want to. Also, a therm = 100,000 BTU
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Many thanks for the figures you have linked, which I acknowledge below. You have been dropping decimals though in a mess of theoretical calculations. The 68.3 mpge of the Toyota FCEV is not a press release, but certified real world figures: http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf So there is a gap of ~3 times which you are attributing to reforming losses. Note that I have short circuited most the theoretical calculations, as we have real world figures to use, which are always more germane. For NG cars both compress the gas, so that is a wash. I trust you will not seek to argue that NG cars get more mpge than petrol. On the Honda site the petrol Civic and the Natural gas model are rated at the same mpge: http://automobiles.honda.com/civic-natural-gas/ http://automobiles.honda.com/2012/civic-sedan/
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        from JakeY's post: "If the CNG vehicle was a "hybrid" (all the FCV listed, including the Toyota FCEV, are fuel-cell/battery hybrids) the CNG car might be able to "beat" the hydrogen vehicles in efficiency." Very good point Jake ! Dave, I don't think you understand the basics of power cycles or concepts of efficiency. After you've taken Thermo II, get back with me. Thermodynamics II (3 units) Vapor and gas power cycles, refrigeration cycles, thermodynamic relations, psychrometrics, and chemical reactions. 3 lectures. Prerequisite: Thermo I (prerequisite for Thermo I: 2 years of calculus, 1 year of chemisty, 1 year of physics, and dynamics)
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can't Fox News have a report slamming FCV? Then everyone would instantly come to the conclusion that they will save mankind. Happened with that last report on ethanol. Everyone here now loves ethanol.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        That might be a bit uncomfortable for Fox News because there is probably a lot of footage of Fox News praising FCV from back when W Bush pushed for for FCV.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          that would be cool to see actually cool to see. I always hear of the evils of Fox News, but few examples are provided. That would be nice to see as it would show a double standard.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lets just call it what it is... A natural gas vehicle.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVSUPERHERO
        So, using the natural gas around twice as efficiently even after reforming losses is not a worthwhile saving? If you have figures to show that that is not the case, please lay them out here.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          You did not refute his point.
          Chris M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          The development of an automotive grade fuel cell that can run directly on natural gas would render the whole "CNG-ICE" vs "H2-FCV" argument moot, as it would be more efficient and have much greater range than either CNG-ICE or H2-FCV. There are already direct natural gas fuel cells in use. Though they're not quite suitable for automotive use, it does indicate that an automotive version might be possible.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Spec, perhaps you are ignorant of the fact that a substantial proportion of hydrogen for fuel stations is to be generated by other means, including in a recent article here by Audi in Germany where the fuel is wind. That is aside from the fact that phrasing it as 'natural gas vehicle' is clearly a polemical device designed to obscure major differences, including using the fuel twice as efficiently as I have substantiated above.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Spec is indeed aware of the Audi/E-gas article; he just completely missed the whole part where Audi was going to make hydrogen to use as a feedstock. He actually mocked me for pointing out the hydrogen production: "Amazing. The article talks about CO2, the end product is methane, its says the synthetic gas would be distributed through existing CNG pipelines to gas stations, a Methanation reactor, a TCNG to run on the synthetic natural gas, etc. And what do you learn from it? Hydrogen." I can't fathom how he missed it. The methanation plant won't work *at all* if there isn't a plan to produce hydrogen gas in equally massive quantities.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Relax, this is just a publicity tour, to showcase the FCVs to people who don't know anything about FCVs. What harm can come of it? They'll never be made in substantial numbers, there won't be any interest in building an infrastructure to support them, and even if the first two happen, nobody will be able to afford the hydrogen used to fuel them. (Does that about cover the main points? LOL) http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/pdfs/toyota_fchv-adv_range_verification.pdf
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        I think the complaint was that we are wasting government money that can be spent in better places on a publicity tour about a dead end technology (if you assume those points are true) :P
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        If the oil industry is behind it, then yes, they will Order their Oil Politicians to Demand Government Money to transition gas stations into Hydrogen stations. Then they will burn natural gas to "convert" to hydrogen, keeping you a sucker, in the game of monopoly, where you lose, of course.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      It seems there are several people here that don't understand the concept of energy efficiency of a process (especially FCEV proponents) Stream reforming of NG to make H2 takes energy. We can find sources that state the efficiency of this most efficient process for "making" H2 anywhere from 50% to 80% efficient. I was generous in using 78% in my efficiency chain calculations. Example: We need heat to make steam for the reformation process. Assuming 78% efficiency, let's work backwards and see how much energy we'll have to supply to the process to make enough H2 to equal have 100 BTUs (we could use any units here, like therms, or kw-hrs -- as long was we're consistent). Efficiency = [output/input] X 100 If eff. = .78 (78%) ouput = 100 solve for input using algebra: input = 133 So we had to supply 33 BTUs of heat energy + 100 BTUs of NG (the feedstock) -> to make (reform/make/whatever) 100 BTUs of H2. If we used NG to supply the heat, we'd have to use 133 units of NG to obtain 100 units of H2. H2 / FCEV proponents always start their efficiency analysis at the H2 refueling station. The stuff ain't free-roaming. The good news right now is that NG is dirt cheap in the USA. sidenote: One of the reasons we're not building 60% (that's very high, BTW) CCGT-NG power plants is because NG is so cheap. We are always wasteful in our energy use, no matter where we can get it. Would be the most energy efficient and cost effective way of recharging EVs. The energy has to come from somewhere.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        It seems that you are incapable of realising that real world data beats whatever you have drempt up on the back of an envelope everytime. The Toyota FCEV gets three times as many miles per gallon equivalent as its petrol version. Reforming and compression losses don't go anywhere near making up the difference. So your calculations showing that reality isn't so are about as interesting as the DOE found them, when they filed your magnum opus in the bin.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I'll say it just one more time Davemart, and then I'll write you off as retarded - don't waste taxpayer money going to a Junior College. Go straight to your local Walmart* for a J.O.B. The 60-whatever MPGe estimated or "real world data" is for the use of H2 only. It does not consider the source of the H2 (energy expended in obtaining the "energy carrier" H2). If you don't get it, just get over it. You remind me of people that believe in perpetual motion machines, the secret 200 MPG carburetors, and cow magnets on fuel lines. In fact, hydrogen proponents are of the same ilk. *sorry if I have insulted any Walmart employees
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ugh bribery ensues . Hydrogen doesn't make any sense. Not sure who they are trying to fool.
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RC
        They've fooled themselves. US CEO's are delusional idiots, generally.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Idiots who live in their giant homes, women, cars, boats, and, get smart people like you to pay higher taxes to bail them out in times of need. And before you say troll party, the last round of bail outs was by Obama, and Clinton bailed out mexico and North Korea, because Goldman Sachs and other demanded it of him.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          "US CEO's are delusional idiots, generally." This is your response to an article about Toyota?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          @dave LOL :D
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Years Ago
      Playing devil's advocate here: if the emissions of FCEVs include water vapor, how is this a good thing for global warming? http://climatechange.supportportal.com/ics/support/kbanswer.asp?deptID=23006&task=knowledge&questionID=33349
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        'Since FCEVs will most likely be powered by reformed natural gas, when you take the efficiency of reforming into account, the FCEV will be puking just as much CO2 into the atmosphere at a typical ICE, and even more dastardly water vapor.' Again, show your calculations to substantiate this. Simply making random allegations on the basis of nothing at all is a waste of time, and misleading, which is perhaps the point. Even after reforming losses it is around twice as efficient to use natural gas in a fuel cell, and that includes CO2 emissions. So have you got anything at all to back up your claims? I have the calculations to back up mine ready to hand. So please back up , or be a man and retract.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        They emit about the same amount of water vapour per mile as gasoline cars, as they hydrogen in the gasoline also combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce water.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        Water vapor tends to precipitate out of the atmosphere at a certain concentration. No big deal, really.
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        OMG You're worried about water vapor also? Yes water vapor is indeed a Green House Gas, averages about 70 times more of it in the atmosphere than CO2, but how could you ever tax or regulate water vapor ? Water vapor in the atmosphere 0 to 4.0% CO2 in the atmosphere ~.04% Since FCEVs will most likely be powered by reformed natural gas, when you take the efficiency of reforming into account, the FCEV will be puking just as much CO2 into the atmosphere at a typical ICE, and even more dastardly water vapor. Let's tax and regulate both CO2 and water vapor IMMEDIATELY - before we fry. and outlaw watering lawns IMMEDIATELY and only breathe into plastic bags for subsequent sequestration
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          @ EVnerdGene May I congratulate you on your thinking ! Here at the Inland Revenue Service we get so few positive letters. Taxing water vapour ! Just brilliant ! There's an opening for bright young fellow like you here at the IRS !
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Hi Marco, Don't you think that's all the CO2 poopoo is about ? I mean it would be very difficult to control, regulate, and tax water vapor (the #1 Green House Gas by a long shot), so let's pick on the #2 GHG. It's all about power and control and greed and stupidity and most having heads-up-butts.
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        I did a straight-forward efficiency chain analysis that the DOE and NREL would not dare publish (protecting their turf, DOE jobs, and deficit spending). refer to my previous post: http://green.autoblog.com/2013/01/28/daimler-ford-and-nissan-to-collaborate-on-fuel-cell-tech/ [ninth from the "newest" top when there were 100 total posts] My analysis showed that it takes almost the same amount of NG (Natural Gas) to power an ICE any specific distance, as it does to power a FCEV a specific distance. The analysis includes the reforming of NG into H2, and other FCEV losses and auxilliary components into account, which you keep poo-pooing like it doesn't exist. YOU HAVE GOT TO GET THE H2 FROM SOMEWHERE, and I'm being generous in getting it from NG, the most efficient and currently cheapest source. The only thing that might be good about FCEVs is that it pukes it's CO2 at the reforming station, instead of while driving the NG-ICE or any other ICE. Butt I think a more efficient way to reduce dastardly CO2 is for FCEV proponents to stop breathing - instead of their very costly and complex FCEVs.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          EV. Many thanks for a substantial response, which I had not previously seen. For comments on the figures, see above,
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          "refer to my previous post: http://green.autoblog.com/2013/01/28/daimler-ford-and-nissan-to-collaborate-on-fuel-cell-tech/ [ninth from the "newest" top when there were 100 total posts]"
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          You simply say that you have done it. So, present it here, or give a link. Big claims, spiced up with a hint of persecution complex. I am genuinely curious to see how you have managed to come up with such off the wall figures.
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        Burning hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline and diesel also produce water vapor - it's really noticeable coming out of the exhaust pipes on cold days. Because of the lower efficiency and the amount of hydrogen in those hydrocarbon fuels, internal combustion engine vehicles actually produce MORE water vapor than their hydrogen fuel cell equivalents.
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