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back to article Honda offers FCX for '08, bitchslaps Google

Honda has confounded green-motoring analysts by announcing that it will offer a hydrogen-powered car for general sale in 2008, years earlier than expected. The car in question - the third generation of Honda's FCX fuel-cell demonstrator platform - was always expected to debut next year, but until now the plan had been to lease …

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Honda = Been there, done that, failed miserably, try again?

Honda already had a "fuel station" for the home. They used to have a joined arrangement with some of the USA gas suppliers to provide CNG (compressed natural gas) filling stations working off the gas mains.

There was a converted Civic and IIRC a converted Accord being sold with this offer.

The offer did not have significant success in the US and was never offered in Europe due to the motor vehicle taxation laws. End of the day IIRC it got binned. Quietly.

Honda is now repeating the feat. Let's see if it will fail this time. Time will tell, but I suspect it will.

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Better than Hybrid

Hybrid is just an easy way for car manufacturers to pass off a non-green idea as green. Petrol is going to run out, we are destroying the planet, yadda yadda, so lets run cars off electricity thats produced via unclean methods, and then use petrol anyway when that fails. Yes Toyota, really clever.

Hydrogen is the long term winner, and makes alot more sense than the daft Hybrid lot.

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I can't wait .....

I can't wait to have my very own hydrogen generator at my house. It's not like hydrogen is the most explosive gas is it?

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Joke

Home filling

Great idea; until G W(anker) Bush decides that because you have hydrogen, and a vehicle to deliver this, then the area must be carpted bombed immediatly.

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Hydrogen = rather small molecules

the home H2 generator does make some sense, when all previous tests of H2 powered cars have shown the embarrassing fact that your fuel leaks out in about 3 days! it's quite hard to seal hydrogen in a box!!, better to just fill-up , or top-up as you need it. On the Plug-in Hybrid idea, not too bad, just need the 330kilogramme (=79Jubs) thousand volt battery to be charged at 55Amps overnight. think car-jump leads on steroids and hope that your neighbors aren't busy manufacturing or leaking too much H2 as your PiHybrid system emits Drax-B type sparks when you plug it in. Also there's not enuff mains electricity available for everyone to plug in their Plug-in Hybrid. Bicycles do have a future!

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RE: Better than a hybrid

"Hydrogen is the long term winner, and makes alot more sense than the daft Hybrid lot."

Yes hydrogen is the way forward but this idea of the home filling station sounds a bit dubious. If they use the steam generation method to produce hydrogen, won't the stations themselves be releasing CO2 into the atmosphere?

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O

Home refuelling station.

It obtains hydrogen from LNG, so I fail to see how this is green. Hydrogen is only green as long as the hydrogen is obtained from electrolysis - the electrolysis for which has (hopefully) been obtained from solar / wind / wave etc

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Anonymous Coward

Hydrogen...

Someone has checked that we don't need anything from those nut-jobs in the middle east for this haven't they?

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Flame

Hydrogen leak

I'm wondering how Honda have got around this, or even if they have. I don't think it would be very sensible to offer a car that could fill you garage with explosive gas if you leave it standing for a few days. Unfortunately no one seems to have asked this question in any of the reports I've read...

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Tom
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You can already buy a kits to convert a Toyota

You replace the lead acid battery with lithium ion batteries. Some claim to use new safe types, but some use the standard exploding cells.

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Wrong Fukui, darn it

I was waiting to hear what Ohta said!

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Happy

i'm putting my hopes

on a Mr Fusion... The technology has been available since 1984 or so, and i believe it was made from a cadillac wheel and a krups blender ....

or could it be i am confusing reality with movies again ...

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Anonymous Coward

Petrol Leak

I'm wondering how car companies have got round this, I don't think it would be very sensible to offer a car that could flood your garage with explosive liquid if you leave it standing for a few days.

The risk is similar to other fuels, if it leaks then it'll disappear out of your leaky garage rather sharpish. Petrol doesn't do that and will hang around producing explosive vapour which, being quite heavy, won't leave your garage as easily.

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Go

Don't forget the infrastructure

One problem with Hydrogen is building up the infrastructure. Transporting H2 is difficult and will require a lot of reworking of equipment, all along the supply chain.

A much easier way of distributing energy, which is already set up, is electricity. Sure, generation is still carbon based but if nuclear is allowed to grow, that could take care of things.

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Hydrogen as an auto fuel makes no sense.

The energy density of even liquid hydrogen (10.1 MJ/litre) is abysmal compared to ethanol (24 MJ/litre) or butanol (29.2 MJ/litre). For reference, gasoline produces 34.6 MJ/litre. Considering we're talking about compressed hydrogen, the energy density is even lower.

Furthermore, while ethanol and butanol are liquid at common temperatures and can be handled much as we do gasoline now, hydrogen gas requires a large expenditure of energy to compress it to even a semi-useful density, a fact often ignored by proponents of the idea. That's aside from the kind of tankage and pipework needed to contain it under high pressure.

I'd love to see a hard-nosed comparison of the energy costs for preparing various fuels from raw material to ready for use. It's an aspect of "alternative" fuels that's often glossed over at best.

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Worse than a Hybrid

Hydrogen powered vehicles are worse than hybrids when you factor in the cost of the hydrogen and the energy to make it.

Gasoline electric, diesel electric and pure electric cars are better for the simple reason that they can be had for 1/4 of the cost AND they don't require a complete recreation of infrastructure... and all the money and energy expenditure that goes with recreating infrastructure.

Hydrogen power will find a niche... but I doubt that it will ever be in cars or truck... Solar-electric is more likely to become viable.

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Worse than a Hybrid

Hydrogen powered vehicles are worse than hybrids when you factor in the cost of the hydrogen and the energy to make it.

Gasoline electric, diesel electric and pure electric cars are better for the simple reason that they can be had for 1/4 of the cost AND they don't require a complete recreation of infrastructure... and all the money and energy expenditure that goes with recreating infrastructure.

Hydrogen power will find a niche... but I doubt that it will ever be in cars or truck... Solar-electric is more likely to become viable.

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Tom
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Price

Did you say it's only £50,000?

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of pots and kettles

"It is highly political," said Fukui

As if there aren't any big lobbies behind hydrogen (hello oil and gas...) The oil giants are going to need something to replace their refineries, distribution networks, and filling stations with in the coming years and hydrogen fits the bill perfectly. Assuming the home filling station is nonsense - and it is from a renewable power source standpoint - these hydrogen cars will depend on the status quo of the stuff trucked in from large manufacturing facilities.

The prospect of future of personal transport bypassing their infrastructure completely is not going over well, I presume, and their hydrogen PR is in full assault mode. I fear it's starting to work, too.

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The problem with Hydrogen

The problem with Hydrogen is that it's not at all an efficient fuel source -- and actually, it's not even a proper "source" of power. It's more a storage medium, and a poor one at that.

So your car burns hydrogen, and hydrogen is harvested by electrolyzing water.

Electrolyzing water to get any substantial volume of hydrogen requires a lot of...well...electricity. Electricity that's generated predominantly (in the US) by burning coal and oil. Hmmm... Not so green anymore, is it?

The same goes for electric cars and the so-called plug-in hybrids. Such things increase the load on the electrical grid, which is fed mostly by coal and oil.

Until the methods of electricity generation are cleaned up, using electric vehicles (from the grid) only serves to shift the source of the emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack.

Nuclear power is the way to go, but the environmentalists would rather boycott nuclear, and drive their electric cars powered by Coal. Yay hypocrisy!

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Pirate

Now my plans begin in earnest

Up until now my biggest challenge with building a "lighter than air craft" has been the affordable production of hydrogen, now Honda has given me the tools I need to create a huge fleet of these "lighter than air craft" (that I shall call "blimps") with which I will revolutionize transportation and modern warfare.

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Will it be "green" H2

Almost all commercially available Hydrogen is produced by steam reforming of natural gas (CH4+ H20 => CO + 3H2; CO + H2O => CO2 + H2)

You may notice that this produces just as much CO2 as burning the methane would.

Electrolysing water is much more expensive and very little H2 is produced this way. So H2 powered cars will just increase demand for H2 and thus CO2 production (and methane consumption).

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Jim
Paris Hilton

@those missing the point about home generation of H2

Yes, the devices use steam reforming but the idea is to combine this process with another heat system, eg domestic water heater. Doing this should provide greater energy efficiency, and so less CO2 production, than if the two process were conducted independently. It sounds like a fairly standard application of CHP to me and this invariably leads to more efficient use of fuel energy.

Still, H2 has a crap energy density. The most promising research I have heard about, with regard to H2 ICs, was to produce the H2 in situ (almost) by cracking a high energy density fuel within the 'carb'. I seem to recall that vegetable oil was the fuel of choice.

Nuclear the solution? More akin to cracking an egg into your radiator to seal a leak - short term and a bugger to clean up.

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Missed the point...

Where we are right now, hydrogen is as (brown - as an opposite to green?) as burning fossil fuels. All this energy density stuff is really aside from the point too. The biggest reason all cars produced for last ten years haven't run off hydrogen is the creation/storage/transportation. We have H2 fuel cells and they work fine, we have highly efficient electric motors, but for powering the fuel cell there are two choices - buy bulk H2 at stations or manufacture it on the fly.

As for large scale liberation, electrolysis is too inefficient and the current method is, as pointed out above, still dependent on fossils and as brown as regular engines. We are researching this.

There are a ton of on the fly methods also being researched at the moment, but IMO this idea from Honda is a good one - if they can sell the home stations with it. It shouldn't flub the way the first poster said their last one did, H2 isn't available, regular gas is. If I could make H2 in my garage with a station and fill my car as needed that would be great. My gas bill would go up but I would save money on petrol. Presumably I could fill up at H2 stations also if I wished. It would probably cost about the same but it would be more convenient to me and when they find a way to produce H2 efficiently, I'd be ready. hydrogen is the best replacement we know about. Nukes under every hood? Hardly? Run everything from charged batteries? Just as silly. Hydrogen fuel cell tech is already here, used, reliable, ect. the problem with it is "How do we get hydrogen without starting with fossil fuels?"

As far as hydrogen infrastructure not being there, do you guys think it is there for everyone to be charging their cars every night? Yeah right, the source and lines would have to be tripled, at the least. And how do we produce that much electricity? Not without the same dependency on fossil fuels, and wind/solar/hydro/geothermal power on that scale is still a dream. Aside from fusion (which is still a pipe dream) hydrogen is the best route to go.

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Stop

Meh

Only a society thats stupid to the point of imbecility would consider that consuming your way out of a pretty intractable problem is in any way a viable solution.

Yeah, theres a problem with all this CO2 so lets produce more steel and aluminum .. err yeah. Doh !

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