Cars FCEV hydrogen fuel cell EV

Published on September 21st, 2015 | by Tina Casey

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The British Are Coming, With Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

September 21st, 2015 by  

We’ve been having a lively discussion about fuel cell electric vehicles over here at CleanTechnica, and along comes the British Company ITM Power to stir the pot a little more. Last week, ITM unveiled its first ever public fueling station for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in the UK, located off the M1 in South Yorkshire. According to ITM, the M1 route is a linchpin of the UK’s strategy for early adoption of hydrogen vehicles, so if all goes well, you’re going to see a lot more where this is coming from.

FCEV hydrogen fuel cell EV

Wind Down, Solar To Go For Renewable Hydrogen

For those of you new to the topic, hydrogen is an alluringly energy-dense fuel, but it is primarily sourced from fossil natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles’ performance is unable to match that of battery electric vehicles in various ways. In the US, the natural gas industry has been able to float the impacts of natural gas drilling under the radar until recently, as a patchwork of new studies has lifted the curtain on this supposedly “cleaner” fuel, including its waste disposal issues.

The good news for fuel cell EV fans is that renewable sources for hydrogen are possible. Sourcing from renewable biogas is one option, but so far it looks like most of the activity is focused on water-splitting using tidal, solar, or wind energy — aka power to gas.

That’s where ITM Power is coming from, with its new public hydrogen fuel station. If you happen to be driving the M1, get off at Junction 33 in South Yorkshire and go about two miles to the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Look for the 225-kilowatt wind turbine and that’s where you’ll find it.



 

The fuel station is actually part of an integrated hydrogen microgrid. The wind turbine powers an electrolysis system that produces hydrogen, which is stored in a 220 kilogram unit. Along with a dispenser for vehicles, the setup also includes a 30-kilowatt stationary fuel cell system, which could be called into action for nearby buildings in the Advanced Manufacturing Park as backup.

Fuel cell EV drivers should be aware that due to a step-by-step funding situation, you will get your hydrogen at 350 bar (bar refers to pressure) in the first phase of the project, which is being supported by Innovate UK. Next year, the UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles will fund an upgrade to 700 bar, which will provide your fuel cell EV with a higher range, enabling you to skip from South Yorkshire to the hydrogen fuel stations of London without worrying about where else to fuel up along the way.

The next project for ITM will be a solar-enabled hydrogen fuel station at the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence in the London area, supported by the HyFIVE project.

This site already has a 115 kilowatt solar array, and electricity from the array will be used to produce the hydrogen. The station will be deployed as part of the HyFIVE project, and if all goes according to plan, it will be ready for use around the middle of next year.

HyFIVE, by the way, is Europe’s public-private, soup-to-nuts hydrogen supply chain strategy for early adopters, involving 110 FCEVs provided by five auto manufacturers: Hyundai, Daimler, Honda, Toyota, and BMW. As part of the HyFIVE project, ITM’s overall contract for three hydrogen fuel stations will combine with a network of 12 other stations in Europe to ensure FCEV drivers of a “genuine” fuel option for long-distance travel.

From R2D2 to Microcab

Back to that wind-powered hydrogen fuel station: the launch was attended by four of the aforementioned five heavy hitters in the global auto business, and it also included a company called Microcab, which we never would have heard of before, except our sister site Gas2.org caught wind of the aptly named company’s pint-sized FCEV back in 2011.

Microcab is a spinoff of Coventry University, and for you Star Wars fans, guess what — it is the “brainchild” of  the university’s professor of sustainable transport, John Joskins, who was instrumental in creating R2D2.

Microcab’s H2EV hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was first deployed back in 2012, in support of the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrator) demo project in the West Midlands.

H2EV is a collaborative design between Microcab, Delta Motorsport, and Lotus, featuring a “state-of-the-art” 3-kilowatt fuel cell. The launch version had a range of about 100 miles.

Jostins, who is managing director of Microcab, had this to say back in 2012:

We’re thrilled to be launching our new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle into the CABLED trial here in the West Midlands. It’s our hope that the H2EV, in conjunction with the UK’s burgeoning hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, will cultivate interest in and funding for the UK’s niche vehicle sector, particularly in the field of low emissions automotive technologies where the West Midlands has excelled for years.

Three years later, and it looks like Microcab is in the right place at the right time.

FCEVs In The USA

Meanwhile, ITM Power has been busy over here in the US, too. In 2013, the company opened its first hydrogen fuel station in the US, in the California city of Chino, and it followed up with a second station in Riverside.

As a single-jurisdiction auto market larger than that of most countries, the state of California is the epicenter of hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure development in the US. Like it or not, it looks like the inevitable march of the hydrogen fuel cell really is inevitable. But how far will it actually march?

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Image (cropped) via Microcab.


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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Julian Cox

    Tina. It is completely irresponsible to use the term Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.

    These are fossil fuel vehicles designed to deceive and any attempt to greenwash or play along with the greenwashing of the subject is profoundly dangerous.

    If the objective of BEVs is to advance the advent of electric transportation by 10 or so years then the objective of hydrogen is to delay that advance. The perversion of public energy policy and nonsense like this article that confuses bad with good in the media stands to delay a good outcome by 2-3 years. God forbid it actually succeeds because a world powered by fracking and dredging of methane hydrates that FCVs promote primarily by deception like this ITM thing, represents game over for humanity’s efforts to tackle GHG emissions.

    A wind farm with an electrolyser attached has only one economic function: A disingenuous advertising to greenwash fracking and SMR. There is no hope of this technology competing with cracking CH4 to make hydrogen with a corresponding 16.51Kg CO2e / Kg H2 (48% more GHG intensive than gasoline at 11.132 Kg CO2e per US Gallon – same energy content) and that is exactly why the oil and gas industry backs this kind of thing, that and preserving the pay at the pump business model.

    If you thought that VW’s ‘Clean Diesel’ was a greenwashing scam, then this ain’t nothing compared with Hydrogen. Nobody is fooled that diesel is environmentally friendly. Hydrogen is far more effective hence fooling you into writing about it in even a partially forgiving light on Cleantechnica. It is a scam and the obligation of any citizen of knowledge and good conscience is to protect the public interest from it.

    • Bob_Wallace

      FCEVs like the Toyota Mirai are electric cars. Electric cars come in different forms, ones powered by batteries alone and ones powered by batteries with onboard generators to keep the batteries topped up. Fuel cells and ICEs are a couple of ways to generate electricity on the roll.

      FCEVs use electric motors to drive their wheels and battery packs to provide extra power for accelerating and to recapture energy when decelerating.

      H2 FCEVs can run on 100% clean H2. There needs be no fossil fuel involved.

      Now that does not mean that H2 FCEVs are likely to be even a part of our transportation future. Or if they were 100% of the H2 would be clean.

      Let’s face it. If batteries had stayed at $1,000/kWh then there’s a good chance we’d be talking about H2 FCEVs as our best way to get off fossil fuels. We’d be talking about how to best get the cost of ‘clean’ H2 down as low as possible.

      Thankfully, we’ve got a better solution….

      • Julian Cox

        Bob, I expect you are tying to be moderate on the topic but until the economics of hydrogen do a 180 the Mirai is a Fossil Fuel Hybrid.

        Confusing FCVs with EVs is literally the California Fuel Cell Partnership’s mandate and as you know this is a propaganda front for the ICE automotive and Industrial Gas industries.

        I would ask you to think carefully if that is appropriate position to back as a moderator for Cleantechnica.

        Gasoline and diesel can be made synthetically by green processes too. That does not happen in more than a trivial percentage of cases because just like Hydrogen it is easier and cheaper to get bulk hydrocarbon feedstock out of the ground. Hydrogen is derived primarily (95%) from Natural Gas and unlike new electricity generation capacity, in recent months and years new Hydrogen capacity in anticipation of FCVs is overwhelmingly (close to 100%) fossil fuel derived – including giant new installations in Saudi Arabia to supply the prospect of Japanese demand.

        Yet this disgusting industry makes a big publicity splash about a wind farm publicity stunt next to the M1 in the UK and two Japanese and one Korean manufacturer race to trailer their FCVs to it for a photo op.

        This is not just an insult to but an assault on the intelligence of the environmentally conceded public. The useful and morally correct role that Cleantechnica can play is to defend the public from this with knowledgeable and independent coverage – and being the clean tech publication that is not bought and sold or fooled by the hydrogen sham will stand Cleantechnica in a far better position in the long run.

        Note the commenter stating that he will no longer read any of Tina’s material. This is an important warning that should not be taken lightly. Integrity and incorruptibility is Cleantechnica’s point of difference.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” the Mirai is a Fossil Fuel Hybrid”

          True, but we could run FCEVs on clean hydrogen and we could add a plug to FCEVs and make them PHEVs with fuel cell range extenders.

          I’d suggest concentrate on the problem with how the hydrogen is obtained. There’s nothing inherently evil about fuel cells themselves.

          (That is not to say that I think they will play a significant role.)

          • EricR

            “… and we could add a plug to FCEVs and make them PHEVs with fuel cell range extenders.”
            Or conversely, replacing the ICE in an EREV with a fuel cell. This is what I am hoping for- leveraging the best that each technology has to offer.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why do you think a fuel cell would be better than an ICE?

          • EricR

            If the hydrogen is sourced from renewables, it would be. If not, it is a more complex picture. SMR from centralized facilities by industrial gas companies -theoretically- could include the capture and packaging/sale of the waste streams as there is technically a market for them for industrial chemical applications. I am a bit skeptical though.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It takes 2x to 3x as much electricity per mile to drive an FCEV on ‘clean’ H2 compared to an EV. That makes clean H2 very much more expensive than reformed natural gas and it means that it is unlikely any H2 we use will be clean.

            Realistically there’s probably no long terms role for PHEVs. Battery prices are dropping very rapidly and capacity continues to increase. Longer range EVs will become cheaper to purchase than EVs and will certainly have a system of rapid chargers long before a system of hydrogen stations could be built.

            Once EVs get 200 mile ranges there will be little argument for range extenders.

          • EricR

            With regard to the inefficiency of clean hydrogen production, I agree. I am just not convinced that inefficiency necessarily means increased price. I think it likely it would be more expensive, but I am willing to be open-minded about it. For example, HyGen, one of the California H2 station grantees, is staking their business case on competitively priced, clean hydrogen. California reviewed its business plan and nevertheless approved their stations over others.
            With regard to 200+ mile EVs, I wholly agree- I am just skeptical that they will happen at a reasonable price with a reasonable recharge time and with a variety of form factors/applications to choose from. I used to get excited over press releases talking about long range/quick recharge batteries and supercapacitors (remember EESTor?). Now, I don’t bother with “science by press release” and so will believe it when I see it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The laws of physics are kind of hard to get around. It takes a lot of energy to separate oxygen from hydrogen and then to compress the hydrogen enough to transport it in a car.

            For every wind turbine that powers EVs we’d need to install 2 or 3 wind turbines to power H2 FCEVs.

            It’s looking like the Panasonic/Tesla Gigafactory will drop the cost of a battery pack to somewhere in the $130 to $160/kWh range.

            If 40% of a car’s cost is the engine, transmission, cooling/exhaust/fuel system then the cost of building a $25k car with no ICE parts would be $15k.

            50 kWh of batteries at $150/kWh would cost $7,500. Add a couple thou for electric motor and electronics.

            $15k + 7.5 + 2k is $24.5.

            50 kWh in a Camry sized EV should give one a range of 250 miles or so.

            The Tesla Superchargers are currently adding 170 miles in 30 minutes. One charging/lunch break would get a driver 400 miles.

            If people really drive far a lot we will likely have higher range EVs. They will cost more but the extra miles driven with inexpensive electricity would offset the extra purchase price.

          • Julian Cox

            Bob. It is absolutely possible on a tiny scale to locate an energy waste stream and convert it into anything and declare “bingo” I just made some cheap whatever it is – hydrogen included.

            Naturally this will neither harm nor help the environment significantly in and of itself. What it may do though is deceive a lot of people into imagining that such a thing is scalable.

            There are two things at play here. The scientific and economic facts – obviously hydrogen is non starter there especially in realign to GHG emissions reduction at scale. Secondly the marketing game – trying to deceive people that a water vapour exhaust is a good reason to remain addicted to the products of the fossil fuel industry. A mixture of shills and dupes are happy to play along with that with PR stunts such as the one headlined in the article above.

          • EricR

            I think we are generally in agreement about everything- the only difference I can see is that I am not willing to write off any potentially ZEV technology, especially when an industry is in its infancy. If H2 vehicle and infrastructure companies can make compelling cars and refueling industry based on price/performance/convenience, then I am all for it.

            It’s the same for BEVs. I would be thrilled to have a long range BEV. However, for my family car, I still am more interested in EREVs as even the supercharger network is not yet ideal for where I tend to go on overnights.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I agree that we should continue to research fuel cells, clean hydrogen production, and all sorts of technologies even if they don’t look promising at this point in time.

            I just see zero reason to implement hydrogen and fuel cells for personal transportation at this time.

            I think what you may have not grasped is the huge problem of achieving affordable clean hydrogen.

            It takes 2x to 3x as much electricity to drive a car when the storage system is hydrogen (used in a fuel cell) as to drive a car when the storage system is batteries.

            That makes the cost of fuel 2x to 3x more per mile.

            And we would need to replace our 100,000+ gas stations with hydrogen stations. Build hydrogen extraction and compression plants on a large enough scale to replace our oil refineries. And build an even larger fleet of hydrogen delivery trucks as hydrogen is much less dense than gas/diesel.

            The cost of that infrastructure would need to be folded into the cost of hydrogen. And, remember, it’s already 2x to 3x more expensive.

            Yes, some sort of PHEV would best serve many drivers today. But that is likely to change over the next five years due to rapidly dropping battery prices.

            Tesla’s battery pack price is apparently now about $250/kWh and is expected to fall to $150/kWh or lower in a couple of years when the Gigafactory is running.

          • EricR

            I understand your point. All I can say is that the people I have spoken with at the industrial gas companies believe they can introduce organically grow infrastructure with demand such that the cost would be competitive with gasoline, even factoring the CA mandate that 1/3 of hydrogen be sourced fro renewables (although the conversations were from a while ago when gas prices were much higher). I’ll leave it to them to see if they can follow through.

            I do believe that gas stations will be among the last places for hydrogen to be deployed in large numbers. Because of the razor thin margins on gasoline, station footprints are maximized with gasoline dispensers. Independent station owners will be unlikely to give up gas pumps in favor of hydrogen. We’ll more likely see hydrogen stations at shopping destinations with excess parking space that can be reallocated.

          • Bob_Wallace

            But being competitive with gasoline is not good enough.

            We need a storage medium that is significantly cheaper than gasoline so that people readily, voluntarily quit buying petroleum fueled vehicles.

            And 1/3rd renewably sourced hydrogen is 3x short of what we must accomplish. We cannot afford to keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. A one third reduction is not enough.

            “I do believe that gas stations will be among the last places for hydrogen to be deployed in large numbers.”

            Me, too. There’s no space at most filling stations for a new set of hydrogen storage tanks. And hydrogen takes far, far more room to store than gasoline and diesel. (Graph below)

            Look, I think it’s extremely unlikely we’ll see H2 FCEVs catch on. We’ll probably see some effort to get them off the ground but if you go through the numbers objectively there’s no future for H2 FCEVs.

            Toyota has stated that it will cost 15 cents per mile to drive their Mirai. That the cost might come down to 10 cents per mile sometime in the future.

            Toyota, at the same time, said that it costs about 4 cents per kWh to drive an EV.

            Now, there’s the leading H2 FCEV company admitting that it will cost almost 4x as much per mile now and maybe only 2.5x as much sometime in the future.

            For someone to pay 4x or 2.5x as much per mile they would need some significant advantage to cause them to spend that extra money. What might that be?

            Acceleration? Nope.

            Convenience? Nope. It’s going to be a lot more convenient to plug in when you park rather than going to a filling station.

            Someone driving all day in an EV might spend 20-30 minutes getting to their destination. But the FCEV driver is likely to spend 10 -12 hours a year filling up.

            Plus it would take very large volume production to bring the purchase price of FCEVs down to where EVs are heading. That’s also a Toyota number. (500,000 FCEVs to drop the price.)

          • Julian Cox

            Bob.

            I disagree entirely. Fuel Cells are referred to as Fool Cells by knowledgeable people for a reason. They are tool of deception that are actively deployed to deceive and not in some benign and innocent way. It´s not some little white lie.

            If you can accept that deliberate efforts to derail mankind´s efforts to tackle green house gas emissions puts billions of people at risk, especially those that are currently children. That makes Fuel Cells as inherently evil as anything ever gets.

            It is vital that green-leaning media wakes up to this fact. Being deceived or cooperating with this giant deception is unacceptable.

            Yes we need to tackle the intense pollution caused by Hydrogen production. Urgently. It is literally the most GHG intensive mining and refining process known to man. That is cardinal fact by the numbers.

            The last thing we need is to delay the urgency of dealing with this pollution source by confusing it with green anything. We simply need to dismantle SMR and similar processes in the gasoline refining and chemical industries as fast as humanly possible.

            Fuel Cells have absolutely no role to play in energy generation, energy storage or transportation. Pretending otherwise is purely to invite additional demand for the worlds most polluting hydrocarbon based mine and burn cycle.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If batteries had never dropped below $1,000/kWh we’d now be talking about the best way to get the price of clean hydrogen down so that people would be willing to move over from gasmobiles.

          • Julian Cox

            Why would we do that? Hydrogen is virtually unmanageable as a substance and a hopeless energy carrier for electricity owing to its high bond strength with oxygen. Its production from fracking is massively more carbon intensive and green house gas emitting than the entire mine and burn cycle of gasoline and that is without taking account of gross industry underreporting of GHG emissions from fracking.

            In any case, clean hydrogen as a concept is absolutely irrelevant in a world of cheap Natural Gas.

            This really is not complicated.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, if batteries were too expensive to allow EVs to replace ICEVs what would the alternative be?

          • Julian Cox

            Obviously not Hydrogen. That needs to be perfectly and plainly understood. Hydrogen production is responsible for 10% of vehicle emissions already without any FCVs on the road.

            In some imaginary world in which we lacked an obvious economically viable pathway to a renewable and sustainable solution that fossil fuels cannot compete with (Bob, fossil fuels cannot compete with renewable electric miles today!) then in extremis we would need to be looking at mass electric transport i.e. trains and bicycles and punitive bans.

            Given that we do have transportation technology in the here and now that costs 300% less per mile in a 700hp vehicle than putting gasoline in the tank of the average 1.2 – 2.5 liter car, there is only one rational solution.

            A laser focus on cost reductions to ensure access to the massively cheaper to run technology is affordable to anyone who would otherwise be forced to pay extra to buy fossil fuels (hydrogen included).

            The very last thing that society needs right now is a distraction from a faux green fossil fuel solution trying to BS us that we are facing a fork in the road. We aren´t. This is classic Merchants of Doubt tactics.

            We already have the answer. We just need to get on with it and fossil fuels and ICE are toast. Big Oil, corrupt government and Big Auto pulled the hydrogen stunt and the dump the oil price stunt the last time that the world got serious about dealing with this issue in the late 1990s.

            Of course the same guys are going to fight for their lives and pull the exactly the same stunt and it was not benign an innocent last time was it. We have to be smarter than this.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You could have saved a lot of typing by simply saying “I have no clue.”.

          • Julian Cox

            You asked an inept question suggesting that you are a dupe of the fossil fuel backed hydrogen lobby. I had assumed that you would be interested in the subject matter that you are entrusted to moderate. If you tell me that I am wasting words on you, I am shocked but that is your choice.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, Julian. I get it.

            Have a good day.

  • JimGord

    Another brit car failure.
    The UK never made a car worth owning and this one can be added to the heap.
    Hydrogen cars are DOA

    • Jon Lyall

      Not a fan of Aston Martins, Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Jaguars, Lotus (the template for the Tesla), Land Rovers, or Range Rovers then.
      Perhaps the Nissan Leaf? (made in Sunderland, for UK and Europe markets).
      Oh well, we must try harder.

      • Bob_Wallace

        It’s a little hard to claim the Leaf as a UK built car. It’s a Japanese plant located in the UK.

        Face it, the UK has built some interesting and some beautiful cars over the years. But the UK has never earned a reputation for quality outside the very few, very expensive handbuilt luxury cars it has produced.

        I owned a Triumph Spitfire. Loved that car. Would have really, really loved it had the quality been high enough to make dependable.

        • Jon Lyall

          Yes, it was a stretch, but I was running out of cars, and didn’t want to mention the triumphs for exactly the reason you mentioned. To be honest,the second half of the 20th century has not been exactly a golden era for British manufacturing, cars included!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Triumphs, MGs, Jaguars of a certain vintage, ….

            Anything with Lucas parts.

            I love me some British cars. The first car I fell in love with was a ’59 MGA. Some of the Jags are among the most beautiful cars ever created. But overall quality?

          • Rick Danger

            What really used to get me about British roadsters was a) in a country with such terrible weather, why bother? and b) in a country where it rains so much, why did they all leak like sieves?

  • JamesWimberley

    What’s the story? There is now one hydrogen filling station in an industrial estate in South Yorkshire, not quite operational. The next ones are in London. A randomly picked charging location website gives a current UK total of 3,540 charging locations with 9,280 chargers, including 1,453 fast ones. Have you heard the phrase “a hiding to nothing”?

    • Never heard it before, but now I know what it means. Certainly fits perfectly. Thanks!

  • vensonata

    Hydrogen’s best use would be for ocean shipping instead of bunker fuel. Something like 5% of worlds emissions are from these monstrous tankers.
    As far as cars go, my suspicion is that the oil companies want to humor us with “clean hydrogen” from “wind turbines”, once we are all driving them then it will be such an economic temptation to produce the hydrogen from fossil fuels. Then you will get two markets: the “organic pure hydrogen driver” and the “fossil fuel hydrogen driver” which will be the majority, since generally people will trash the world to save a nickel.

    • Martin

      Yes I agree, use the best most sustainable energy/system for whatever we need energy.
      But most importantly, to me at least, is improved energy efficiency in everything we use/do.

    • Jon Lyall

      It will require a mandate from governments to force carbon free hydrogen use.

    • Ronald Brakels

      About 2.8% or less of the world’s CO2 emissions should come from shipping. Probably less at the moment since shipping is in a slump and has been gradually improving fuel efficiency. But a liter of oil burned in a ship releases just as much CO2 as a liter of oil burned anywhere else. (Okay, yes, after adjusting for the oil’s density.)

    • Julian Cox

      No. The only really good thing that could happen with hydrogen is to deal with the pollution issues of the hydrogen production industry.

      In 2013 50 Million metric tons of the stuff was produced primarily for hydrocracking in the refining of gasoline.

      50 Million Metric Tons x 16.51 Kg CO2e / Kg (DOE NREL numbers) = 825.5 Million Metric Tons of CO2e emissions. That was in a year when total emissions were 26.4 Gigatons. Hydrogen production was responsible for 3.1% of global emissions. Considering approximately 30% of total global emissions are automotive related, Hydrogen was responsible for approximately 10% of total vehicular emissions before any FCVs entered the roads to make matters worse.

      Hydrogen = 10% of vehicle emissions in return for a mere 50 Million metric tons!!!!!! In the same year 4126.6 Million metric tons of oil were produced to account for the other 90% of vehicular pollution.

      Expanding Hydrogen production is disproportionately the worst thing that could possibly happen to mankind UNLESS global warming is a hoax and accelerating GHG emissions is no problem. Worst of all hydrogen promotion is aimed directly at falsifying claims to ‘greenness’ and attacking both the funding and dividing public and policy support for constructive endeavours.

      This is not a debate – the only scientifically valid thing to do with hydrogen is to deal with the horrific problems of hydrogen production in the chemical industry. Definitely NOT to expand on demand for the stuff. It has absolutely no business on the roads or in the green energy discussion whatsoever.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Julian – obtaining H2 by reforming natural gas is unacceptable (without successful carbon capture and sequestering).

        Hydrogen obtained by electrolysis using renewable electricity is not a problem for the climate/environment.

        It may be a fact that ‘clean’ H2 is too expensive to use, but there may be some applications where that is the least expensive alternative.

        Taking a strong position against reformed natural gas or methyl hydrates – noble and necessary. But best not to generalize to non-carbon releasing technologies.

      • EricR

        Julian, you are focusing on the use of hydrogen in an industry that we hope will shrink- the refinement of gasoline. By your logic, can you not also criticize electricity because most of it is sourced from fossil fuels as well? Whether clean hydrogen (as HyGen hopes and California mandates) becomes economically viable remains to be seen, but I hope it does.

        • Julian Cox

          Eric.

          Replacing the refinement of gasoline with the most carbon intensive component of gasoline refining (hydrogen production) is counterproductive (obviously). The objective is not to pollute more but to pollute less than gasoline.

          Pretending that renewable hydrogen is going to be competitive with, and therefore able to displace industry standard hydrogen production is disingenuous or misguided. Take your pick.

          Why do you think that it is that there are a few token government sponsored renewable hydrogen stations dotted about as a PR stunt and $billions of new fossil fuel industry backed infrastructure going into fossil fuel hydrogen production?

          Your mate Ewanick has just commissioned 16 hydrogen stations paid for by the taxpayer and a small loan from Toyota. All sixteen in partnership with Air Products Inc (fossil fuel hydrogen production).

          Here is a nice article about Air Products inc.

          http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-sponsored-project-captures-one-millionth-metric-ton-co2

          The government managed to capture a million tones of CO2 from their hydrogen production plant in Texas!! Pretty cool Eh? Guess what they did with that?

          They shoved it down a hole in the ground to pressurise an oil well and puled up another 60-90 million barrels of oil.

          Nice one. Way to go future of humanity.

          • Cox Watcher

            Why don’t you tell people about your little stint in the lithium battery business, Cox? Or about your declaration at seeking alpha that you’re a Tesla fan boy?

            Your history will be exposed. You are a fraud and a liar.

            What happened to all those hundreds of people you stiffed while at flightpower? Did the buyers take over those problems?

            We are watching you Cox. Everyone will know your history in the lithium business.

  • Mike333

    Exactly. The Volt solution will always be superior and less expensive.

    • Harry Johnson

      Why create a whole new infrastructure when the answer is already on the road? If every non-EV vehicle had a power system like the Volt, importing oil would end and emissions would plummet.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Just reading the first few sentences… I could tell this was written by Tina Casey.
    Way overzealous and detached from the reality of Hydrogen.
    Too eager to believe any and every claim made by industry, without any regard for their history of not living up to their hype.

    Hydrogen isn’t “inevitable”. It is marketing push to go down one of many paths. A path that is not good for consumers or the environment, only profitable and familiar for the status quo players in industry.

  • Marion Meads

    The only advantage that Fuel Cells have as of today is that it can be dispensed faster than electricity in terms of energy per unit time today. If you recharge at home as most of us do, the fueling time is practically the time it takes to plug-it-in at the cheapest rate (TOU or solar PV net metering) per mile today which is faster than connecting the FCEV into hydrogen dispenser.

    • Well summarized and contextualized. In other words, they only trump BEVs in charging/fueling away from home (~1-5% of EV charging), and they don’t trump PHEVs in any category. And there’s no indication they could ever trump BEVs or PHEVs in any actual category of interest to consumers.

    • And BEVs/PHEVs trump FCEVs when it comes to performance, efficiency, cost, convenience 95-100% of the time, maintenance, and climate. And these are basically all inherent advantages to BEVs/PHEVs.

      So, score is: BEVs/PHEVs 5 — FCEVs either 0 or 1, depending on whether you are a fan or not.

    • Julian Cox

      Marion.

      I think the issue is that many people are habituated to the limitations of the pay at the pump business model.

      If people were generally habituated to the convenience of being able to charge their own car cheaply at home and at their destination having arrived so that it almost never interferes with their journey or other priorities, removing that ability in favour of having to visit a retailer as your only option would be considered a ridiculous affront to convenience.

      Note that the pay at the pump model actually interrupts the rest break on long journeys too. You can’t just arrive, plug in and walk directly to the restaurant or bathroom. If you tried that with a hydrogen vehicle or any other fossil fuel car then you would stand to be arrested for negligence if not theft.

      Anyone want an iPhone that requires you to go to the shops for a hydrogen refill otherwise it stops working? Of course not.

      Fast fuelling is necessitated by the limitations of being unable to charge your own car. It is always an inconvenience and regardless of bait and switch limited-time offers of free hydrogen, it is an expense.

      • EricR

        I’ve been driving EREVs now since 2010, and while I generally get about 2000 miles per tank of gas, when I need to use gas, it is for long drives. So, I still need the convenience of public refueling. Neither Tesla’s supercharger network nor the third party ones such as ChargePoint and others that I subscribe to are conveniently located for me. Even if one is 20 minutes out of my way, I would have to drive the 20 minutes, spend 20 minutes (assuming fast charging), and then drive 20 minutes back. That is simply not feasible for my work. Gas stations are ubiquitous, and I am in and out in 5 minutes. That is the experience I want (albeit, not that often :). I just want it to be clean.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You’re much more likely to find a rapid charging outlet than a clean hydrogen station closeby. For somewhere between a long, long time from now and never.

          Tesla is slapping down Superchargers. And they will likely pick up the pace as the Mod3 release gets closer. They’ll likely move into places away from the main travel routes as they build out.

          As other car manufacturers start building EVs at a serious level they are going to have to build their own rapid charger stations or partner up with Tesla. Regardless, there will be more places to grab a fast charge.

          • EricR

            All we are doing (with our talk of both fuel cells and with BEVs) is speculating about the future. I have no axe to grind or personal stake in the success of FCEVs (Julian’s beliefs notwithstanding). If a BEV is developed with long range and conveniently located and quick recharging, I would have no interest in an FCEV. I love charging at home and it actually pains me to use gasoline, which is why I want a ZEV. With regard to my defense of fuel cells, I simply want to present what I perceive to be a fair look at the technology, and so I will dispute points that I think are incorrect.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You should know by the end of March. Tesla has said they will introduce their Model 3 in March, 2016.

            It’s expected to have a “solid” 200 mile range. At least 200 miles in the worst driving conditions. And is expected to sell for $27,500 after the federal subsidy.

            Personally, considering the cost of clean H2 and the almost total lack of any infrastructure for extracting, distributing and storing H2 means that it would take an immense amount of money to make clean H2 a reality.

          • EricR

            Yes, it will take several billions deploy H2 infrastructure, and in my opinion, the auto OEMs will have to invest in the first round of stations if they want this to take off. A business case can be made for it, assuming auto OEMs are willing to guaranty minimum station utilizations for these initial stations. I think the business case H2 stations is more compelling than for public recharging. That’s why we are seeing Tesla’s “free” supercharging network and subsidized charging at some retailer destinations. It will otherwise be difficult to charge less than an equivalent amount of gasoline when the charging stations will be utilized for large blocks of time per vehicle.

            I am still looking forward to the Model 3, although I thought there was a question whether it will be priced at $35,000 before or after the $7,500 tax credit.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I dealt with the cost per mile in another comment. Hydrogen is simply too expensive.

            If hydrogen was affordable then we would have to build a lot more filling stations than we have today. H2 is not very energy dense so drivers would have to fill up more often.

            If we move to EVs then we’ll need only a small fraction of the number of “gas pumps” we have today. Most charging, probably over 90%, will be done when the EV is parked. The rapid chargers will be mostly for the rare days when someone takes a long distance drive.

            I wish we knew the percentage of drivers who drive more than 200 miles on the busiest driving day of the year (Thanksgiving?). That would give us some idea as to how many Superchargers we would need to install.

            I’ve seen prices around $1 million for a new gas station. Assume 8 pumps? That’s $125,000 per pump.

            The SuperChargers apparently cost $18,000 per bay/charger which includes the solar needed to charge them.

            We could install about 7 SC bays for the cost of one gas pump. (If the numbers I used are correct.)

            Given that it probably takes close to ten minutes to clear a car through a gas pump (stop, get out, swipe, open, insert, pump, extract, hang up, close, get in, drive away) on a busy day the rate might be four cars in 40 minutes.

            A Tesla S can grab 170 mile in 30 minutes. Using the same sort of stop/get out stuff four SCs are probably the equivalent of on gas pump in terms of servicing.

            Looks to me that SCs will be cheaper than gas stations and much cheaper than hydrogen stations.

          • Julian Cox

            Model 3 is definitively slated to have an entry price of $35,000 before any tax credits or subsidies.

            If the $7500 tax rebate is still available to Tesla customers by the end of 2017 then the net price for a base Model 3 would be $27,500.

            There is some doubt whether many or even any Model 3 will qualify for the full $7,500 because at that level it was only for the first 200,000 units per manufacturer sold in the USA and there is a reasonable chance that Tesla will have sold 200,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in the US or close to it before Model 3 becomes available. From what I understand, after the 200,000 units the program is supposed to taper off rather than to just expire, and it could be extended depending on the political landscape. One thing is for sure FCVs are toast with or without government support and probably ICE too.

            It is GM with the Bolt that is quoting $30,000 but that is definitively after the $7,500 tax credit (or $37,500 without). GM is in no danger of selling 200,000 EVs, even with the Bolt.

          • Julian Cox

            Eric

            When we have had this debate in the past you have accepted what I said was correct and warned your hydrogen advocacy group about the threat of the truth affecting grants for hydrogen. I do not think you are being honest with us.

            If you are not paid to advocate for hydrogen there is no rational reason to do so.

            The current state of affairs with Hydrogen is that it is the most polluting mining and refining process known to man and that fact is being buried in the media by USD billions in promotional efforts to pretend it ain´t so including nauseating PR stunts with taxpayer funds as though this and not mass fracking and mass SMR should be considered a realistic source of supply.

            “Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it is found in water, in plants……..” Yes and it is found in natural gas and Japan´s methane hydrates and in Saudi Arabia´s naphtha.

            Apparently Japan wants to make it the theme of their Olympics. In my view they may as well be advocating slaughtering whales – except with hydrogen the species that is being endangered is humankind.

          • EricR

            Wow… just wow… You must love conspiracy theories, because you are completely wrong about me. Where do I begin…
            I reached out to the LinkedIn advocacy group because they have engineers that could dispute your contentions far more effectively than I could. They turned out not to be interested in getting sucked into this.
            As for me personally, there was never any ELR focus and advocacy group that I know of (I would have loved to be part of one though). Maybe you are confusing this with the Volt Customer Advisory Board which I did take part in in 2010? This was purely volunteer (unpaid), and I did not get any preferential treatment for my Volt purchase. Chevy didn’t even accept my GM card earnings (go figure), so I actually paid more than I would have liked.
            I paid for the ELR with my own money. Not sure what else to say on this.
            I did meet Joel Ewanick once at a dinner as part of the Volt Customer Advisory Board, but I believe he had left GM well prior to the ELR going on sale. I have no idea what, if any involvement he had with the ELR.
            While I would love to work with Mr. Ewanick regarding First Element Fuel, I don’t. I have not spoken with him since the one dinner in 2010. Once again, I am not paid to offer my thoughts on hydrogen. If you can’t believe that, then there is nothing else I can say on it.

        • Julian Cox

          Eric – From what I know you got a Chevrolet ELR – a USD 70,000 plus pimped version of what is essentially a Chevy Volt, first one of the manufacturing line no less.

          If you had to actually pay USD 70,000 for a car you could have just bought a Tesla Model S and then you would have found that the issues magically disappear.

          The reason why second rate solutions like gasoline and hydrogen need to have thousands of retail filling stations to make a workable solution is because you cannot leave home in the morning with a decent electric range. In the case of hydrogen it is basically nil.

          The hydrogen scam will fall apart if they admit they need to add a plug to save the environment and to add user convenience and economy. The whole point is to try to pretend that hydrogen is a superior solution to electricity.

          • EricR

            Julian, what makes you think I got the first ELR? I got mine in March, 2014 from my local dealer’s inventory. I don’t think I was even in the first 100.

            Yes, I could have gotten a Tesla. I think the Tesla is an absolutely fantastic car- large, practical, roomy, fast, and well-styled. It may seem counterintuitive to you, but I simply didn’t want another large family car. I wanted an impractical 2+2 coupe as personal car with emergency kid-hauling capability. In my eyes, the ELR (and the Converj concept which is nearly identical), is one of the most beautiful automobile designs.

            With regard to your comment that the ELR is a “pimped up” Volt, EV enthusiasts such as yourself should know better. The hardware in an EV/EREV is far less a measure of vehicle performance than the software and suspension. What is a battery but the EV analog to a gas tank? And the electric motor technology, whether it be in a Tesla, ELR, etc. is fundamentally not that different than the EV1 motor- I believe all are 3 phase induction motors. The ICE is used primarily to generate electricity for the motor. Having driven a Volt from 2010 to 2014, the driving characteristics are completely different. This is because the powertrain software and suspension is unique to the ELR. It is also for this reason that the 2016 ELR can get over 25% more torque through software refinements.

            I would imagine the Model 3 powertrain will be fundamentally similar to the Model S yet substantially cheaper. Does that make the Model S overpriced or a pimped up Model 3? I would say no.

            As I have said before, I think the best design of an FCEV is as an EREV. Charging up at home is cheap and convenient, and refueling with H2 on the road has the potential to be more convenient than recharging, This is the design of the Cadillac Provoq concept, as well as the Audi A7 Sportback h-tron concept.

  • Folatt

    Why hydrogen fuel cells keeps being marketed as great for personal vehicles I never understand. It costs more, so it’s only advantage is that it can store more. Why not market it for cargo ships, oil tankers, passenger aircraft, cargo planes, aircraft carriers and submarines?

    • Marion Meads

      Also practical applications would be in farm machines that roam the vast agricultural lands, such as harvesters, ploughs, backhoe… Battery for such big machines would be super expensive, and there’s no problem installing wind to gas setup in a farm compared to residential.

      • Julian Cox

        Marion. In every conceivable case a wind farm to battery will be cheaper and better than a wind farm to hydrogen solution. Agriculture included.

        Fuel cells and their related apparatus are MUCH more expensive than batteries. For agriculture you need power, torque and reliability. Fuel cells are hopeless for the application. They suffer large bulk, low power density and poor reliability.

        The super expensive tanks in the Mirai weigh 87.5Kg (and they are bulky) just to contain 5Kg of compressed hydrogen.

        5Kg of Hydrogen is almost exactly 165KWh worth of energy storage of which only 99KWh is available as electricity after the losses in the Fuel Cell (and there are additional losses in DC to DC converter in the Mirai before arriving at direct equivalence to charge in a battery).

        It is EASY and CHEAP to put a 99KWh battery in a vehicle and that battery can deliver 700+ Horsepower easily and run for decade without maintenance. Within one or two years that will become 150KWh and 1000 hp easily for the same money.

        Meanwhile the 1000hp Fuel Cell drive train that can fit in a vehicle is not even feasible on a decade timescale if ever and at current prices will cost close to USD 1 million to produce and even then only last for five years if you are lucky and under no circumstances will all the fuel lines and radiators and pumps be acceptable in an agricultural environment and if a farmer ever decided to maintain his own tractor with a wrench or a welding torch he (or she) would be killed, guaranteed.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Hydrogen is not a dense fuel. It’s not a drop-in replacement for diesel and bunker oil in terms of packing the same energy into the same space.

      Could we build in enough tank space in commercial aircraft or do we need to look for a denser fuel?

      • Ronald Brakels

        Comercial aircraft could have large wing pods full of liquid hydrogen, or alternatively the fuel tank could be in the body of the plane. It works because while it has a large volume it is very light. Compressed hydrogen is not practical due to its even greater volume and the heavy pressure tanks that are required to hold it.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Liquid hydrogen stored in the wings.

          My first thought was wing icing. Would it not be a problem?

          • Ronald Brakels

            Hell yes. Superb insulation would limit icing, but it is just one of many problems in getting hydrogen fueled passenger planes off the ground. There are a range of carbon neutralish fuels that coul be used and right at the moment the easiest thing to do would probably be to just use kerosene (aviation fuel) and remove and sequester the CO2 it releases into the atmosphere.

            A modern economical plane might burn two liters per 100 passenger kilometers. So if I fly to 8,000 kilometers from Sydney to Shanghai I might result in the release of close to half a tonne of CO2. If it costs $100 a tonne to soak that up I am looking at about an extra $50 to the cost of my ticket, or $100 return. That’s enough to be noticable, but not enough to stop most people flying.

            And in case someone extrapolates too far, I’ll mention that just because it might be possible to sop up emissions from flight doesn’t mean it is either practical or economical to sop up emissions from other activities such as road transport or electricity generation.

          • Joe Viocoe

            What happened to the last airship that had lots of Hydrogen?

          • Bob_Wallace

            The covering, which was very flammable, burned.

          • Joe Viocoe

            That burned too. The hydrogen caught fire first.

        • Julian Cox

          Ronald

          Apart from the fact that hydrogen would dramatically increase emissions during production when compared with aviation fuel during production and use, as you say, storing compressed hydrogen would lack energy density but storing cryogenic hydrogen in an aircraft wing would create a guaranteed death trap. How do you imagine keeping it cryogenic in sunlight and air-flow for hours?

          It’s hard enough to keep the stuff liquid (with constant venting) for the minutes required to get a rocket from the launch pad to first stage separation.

          • Ronald Brakels

            First off, just to be clear, I don’t think hydrogen may be the most practical method of powering aircraft. But it is not as impractical as you suggest. It is quite possible to keep H2 mostly liquid for the duration of a long flight. The BMW hydrogen 7, which is a car, takes 10-12 days to boil off its store of liquid hydrogen and the larger the tank, the longer the period of time until it boils away. And rather than modern passenger jets heating up due to friction with the air, their cabins actually need to be warmed at the altitudes and speeds they fly at. So while external fuel pods would need more insulation at their nose because of air friction, there is no reason why they can’t keep H2 liquid for a 17 hour flight. And presumably the boil off that does occur would be used to power the jets since there is no point in either wasting it or having the plane vent hydrogen.

      • Folatt

        Thanks for the explanation.

      • juxx0r

        I hate to disagree with you Bob, and I wont but I will say that this latest article from Tina above comes up with this pearler:

        “For those of you new to the topic, hydrogen is an alluringly energy-dense fuel”

        And for me it’s the last time I’ll be bullshitted to by Tina, I’m just going to stop reading her stuff.

        • Julian Cox

          “For those of you new to the topic, hydrogen is an alluringly energy-dense fuel”

          As an externally supplied fuel I can assure you that the energy density of electrons is rather more impressive – you can kinda divide the energy by Einstein’s MC Squared.

          Back in the word of equivalences that people can get their heads around. 5Kg of H2 is about 165KWh worth (if you burn it and collect all the heat you reasonably can).

          The trouble is that 5Kg of hydrogen at normal temperature and pressures occupies the space equivalent to the entire interior volume of about 500 cars. Squashing it into the trunk of one car is not advisable, but if you do it anyway you end up with tanks made with advanced carbon over wrapped materials that weigh 87.5 Kg just to hold 5Kg worth.

          To put that in comparison. 666KWh of Gasoline (20 US Gallons worth) weighs about 56Kg plus maybe 10Kg of metal for the tank and fixtures, call it 66Kg.

          87.5Kg for an empty tank not so alluring now eh?

          Seriously. Behind every single aspect of Hydrogen promotion there is a profound lie. Always. Beware.

          Another thing. 165KWh * 0.6 = 99 KWh after efficiency losses in the fuel cell. You can’t make an FCV aerodynamic because you need giant radiators to dump the remaining 66KWh overboard.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “I hate to disagree with you Bob”

          Hey, I’m wrong from time to time. If someone has facts that contradict my opinion then I learn something and I like learning stuff.

          If you disagree with Tina, tell her. Unlike some of the other authors, Tina tends to read comments and I’ve found her to be neither close-minded nor a dummy.

          • juxx0r

            You’re right, she’s neither closed minded or a dummy. The feel created is that she knows it’s wrong but it generates hits and thus treats us like dummies.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Truthfully, I think Tina has an impish streak. I think she likes poking the hornet nest from time to time (with a long enough stick) and watching the resulting buzzing around.

            (She wouldn’t be the only one who likes to get things stirred up from time to time.)

      • Joe Viocoe

        We’ll see electric passenger planes before hydrogen. A fuel cell may be okay for auxiliary power unit. But unlikely for primary propulsion.
        Solar battery planes already exists for a single pilot…

        Once again, batteries have the lead, and are advancing faster than hydrogen can catch up.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You may be right, but we’ll need batteries with a lot higher capacity (Wh/kg) than we have today. Perhaps we’ll get there, perhaps not.

          If not we could move a lot of our short and moderate distance travel to high speed rail and fly the rest with biofuel.

          Or, if we get really lucky, the Hyperloop will work and we can move around using electricity at speeds faster than we currently fly.

          • Julian Cox

            Bob

            Musk in London store opening in 2014 stated that he can see a straight path in Tesla’s developments to 380 – 400 Wh/Kg with no breakthrough invention required and in the time scale of five years starting then i.e. 4 years time. They are already at 260Wh/Kg and adding 5% compound annually (already announced) primarily by changing the percentage of silicon : carbon at the anode.

            400Wh/Kg is enough. Bottom line: It would be feasible to commence designing an electric long-haul aircraft immediately and the battery will be ready before that project is completed.

            Hyperloop is just aircraft without wings that does not need to climb and descend to access rarified air for cruising and hence can be externally powered by linear accelerators for the most part. This is just an engineering job, there is nothing especially complicated about it.

            There is nothing especially complicated about a 400Wh/Kg aircraft either. I think people find difficulties in the unfamiliar that are not actually there in reality.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t know much at all about flying with batteries. What I’ve seen so far are small 1-2 person planes that can fly at fairly slow speeds for an hour or two. (And I don’t even know how accurate those memories are.)

            Could we fly a commercial plane from, say, New York to Heathrow as quickly with 400 Wh/kg batteries as we now fly? Could we still fit as many passengers and as much baggage? Or would that take even more capacity?

            I understand that many people view the Hyperloop as just a matter of building it and I’m extremely hopeful. But I choose to hold back a little until one is built and operating before I declare it ‘real’.

            And if Musk says he thinks we can get to 400 Wh/kg batteries in five years I’d place small money on that happening. (I don’t bet large money on anything.)

            But like the Hyperloop I don’t view those batteries as settled technology.

            I tend to separate things into what we can do right now and what we might be able to do later.

            Right now we can electrify slow rail, we can build HSR for much of our passenger travel and we can (probably) do what flying is left on biofuels. That’s the bottom line, the worst case, when we talk about creating a fossil fuel free world.

          • Julian Cox

            Bob,

            I think you are conflating technology with engineering. Hyperloop technology is settled, there are no laws of physics broken to bring that to market and there is no reasonable doubt that all of the engineering work including iterations to perfect it and build it will come in at a fraction of the cost of high speed rail or HST as you term it. It is therefore more impractical to build HST in any world in which money is not free.

            The technology of Hydrogen is also settled. It DOES break the laws of physics to suggest that this is a pathway to GHG reductions.

            I don´t know if how a 400Wh/Kg cell technology stacks up. Let´s see if we can get closer to figuring it out for ourselves. A jumbo jet (Boeing 747-400) flying from London to New York burns approximately 70,000 kilograms of fuel.

            Aviation Fuel seems to be around 43.5 MJ/Kg LHV (Energy density) which is 12.083 KWh / Kg.

            Propulsive efficiency of a Jet engine seems to be somewhere in the region of 40%. The propulsive efficiency of an electric turbofan will be more like 90%.

            So 70,000 Kg London to NY requires 845,810 KWh x 40 / 90 + = 375,916 KWh of charge.

            Divide that by 400 WH/Kg = 940. Metric Tons of batteries.

            On face value this is a battery that weighs more than ten times more than the fuel. Not good enough by a long shot based on this napkin math.

            That kind of implies that something else it at play. Metal Air batteries can deliver 12 KWh / Kg and we know Tesla has been playing with those.

            I suspect therefore that unless the efficiency of the jet engine is MUCH worse than I have estimated (and I don`t find it credible that it is anything like 10 x worse) then this 400Wh/Kg would be the requirement for high discharge batteries used during take off and attaining supersonic speeds and high cruising altitudes only and then Metal Air would be deployed for the low-power cruise phase of flight. That would make sense as a design given the current or near-term foreseeable state of those arts.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Julian, I’ve seen to many things that were perfect on paper end up not working when fleshed out.

            I’m pretty optimistic about the Hyperloop, but I’m not going to say that it works until it is shown to be working.

            If the Hyperloop works then, worst case, we can zip people to Alaska, fly them over to Asia, and put them back in pod. And do the polar route hop from eastern Canada to the UK.

            That would lower our fuel use to a minimum. An amount we could probably cover with biofuel if we can’t find an electric solution.

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