Everyone Wants a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Under Their Hood!

Hydrogen Fuel Cell . . . hmmm. . .

To talk about fuel cells, is about as bad as talking politics. Everyone has an opinion. And I guess I'm part of everyone! 'Cause I have an opinion, too.

Create Hydrogen?
Create Electricity?

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My opinion is colored by a little experience.

I am not brilliant, just logical.

Most of the hydrogen fuel cell technology on the web, refers to a fuel cell that converts chemical energy (hydrogen) to electrical energy. This typically involves a PEM membrane cell which is also known as a Solid Polymer Electrolyte (SPE) cell.

These Hydrogen Fuel Cells when stacked are often referred to as membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) with an anode and a cathode. It is also not typically called hydrogen fuel cell technology, but rather just plain ol' fuel cells.

Input hydrogen at the cathode side, output electricity at the anode side, and water out the tailpipe. Simply put.

Great efforts to consistently and economically produce electricity from hydrogen have been ongoing for years and years. The 3 big automakers have been seriously chasing this environmental goldmine for 10 to 15 years, and BMW closer to 20 years. The fuel cell technology has been around since the '50's.

Several years ago, Wet Jet Precision was called on to cut parts out of a special man-made laminate designed to bridge the temperature difference between an "inner", very cold, hydrogen storage vessel, and an "outer" ambient temperature storage vessel that was under design.

Although the technology was fascinating, I had to wonder at the cost of these new hydrogen liquid fuel tanks.

My question now. Using the "Hydrogen to Produce Electricity Model", where will the hydrogen come from? Will it be split off by electrolysis using hydrogen fuel cell technology in reverse? Don't we lose efficiency every time we change from one form of energy to another?

Once we have the hydrogen, where will we store it? It takes up an immense amount of volume in its gaseous state.

Ok, let's put it under pressure, and cool it to a liquid state. Now in this liquid state, we can carry a large volume of unexpanded (liquid) gas.

Just pull up to the "new" liquid hydrogen supply system (that doesn't exist) and fill 'er up. Of course these new (expensive) dual hydrogen fuel tanks that are installed on my new super duper "green" car will be pretty safe in case of a collision.

Well, let's look on the bright side. All that gas will "probably" escape without any problems. After all, It is pretty light stuff as a gas, and it does need about 6% concentration to ignite. Hopefully, there are no little accumulated gas pockets.

And then I have to ask, "Am I going to have a problem keeping it in a liquid state?" This whole scenario does not seem very efficient to me.

Who’s going to buy a hydrogen car when there’s no refueling stations? And who’s going to build the refueling stations when there are no hydrogen cars to fill?

Is this whole "hydrogen to electricity fuel cell" stuff big oils baby? Is this there attempt to regulate and control hydrogen? If so, there is our answer. Kaching, Kaching!

On the other hand . . .

Why not reverse the process? Hydrogen fuel cell technology reversed.

Electricity from the battery in, hydrogen and oxygen out, with nothing more than pure distilled water as the fuel. Inject these two gases separately into the air intake of an internal combustion diesel engine "on demand.

No hydrogen storage tank problems.

No safety issues. This fuel cell is only producing hydrogen when the engine is running.

Result: about 17% power increase. Emissions lowered dramatically. Fuel savings of 20 to 30 percent.

This is not as "green" a solution, but it is real, and is happening. It becomes a huge problem for "Big Oil" if this technology continues beyond fuel assist devices.

How do you sell distilled water at the fuel bowser?

As I said, this is about as volatile a subject as politics, maybe even a tad more.

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