Hydrogen Powered Cars

from the what's-next? dept

BMW is showing off a bunch of their prototypes of hydrogen powered cars. These cars cut out 99.5% of the emissions and are using the most naturally abundant element. Of course, there are questions as to how to produce hydrogen and get it to consumers, as well as the (probably bigger) concern about the potential for hydrogen stored under high pressure to explode. I wonder, though, if these things will start becoming the new “chic” environmental car to drive after the whole electric car craze loses steam. I hope they don’t make hydrogen powered cars look as dopey as the current hybrid electic cars.

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Comments on “Hydrogen Powered Cars”

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Brian says:

dopey cars

No dopey cars here: the only difference between BMW’s proposal and a normal gas powered vehicle is a modified engine. The reason you think EV’s are dopey is the aerodynamic package required to get any kind of range on an EV. Less drag + less energy used = more distance. An IC hydrogen engine will produce about the same power as a gas IC engine; therefore no dopey looks required. 😉

Evar says:

Re: dopey cars

I think today the designers want cars to look different for marketing purposes. Different means not exactly with the best aerodynamic efficient shape. That is why many cars today are so ugly.
At the contrary, there are few machines as beautiful as airplanes, and they are pure aerodynamics. There is nothing farther away from being dopey as a jet fighter!

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:

Hydrogen Powered Rotaries

Info snagged From: http://www.monito.com/wankel/hydrogen.html
Hydrogen burns to produce water. Hydrogen is relatively safe because it vents upwards. Gasoline (petrol) is more dangerous because its vapors creep along the ground and pool in engine bays and around tanks. New multiple evidence conclusively shows that the Hindenburg burned because its outer cover ignited and burned before any hydrogen and faster than the hydrogen.

The hydrogen-fueled engine has been identified as a viable power unit for ultra-low emission series-hybrid vehicles. The Wankel engine is particularly well suited to the use of hydrogen fuel, since its design minimizes most of the combustion difficulties. In order to evaluate the possibilities offered by the hydrogen fueled rotary engine, dynamometer tests were conducted with a small (2.2 kW) Wankel engine fueled with hydrogen. Preliminary results show an absence of the combustion difficulties present with hydrogen-fueled homogeneous charge piston engines. The engine was operated unthrottled and power output was controlled by quality governing, i.e. by varying the fuel-air equivalence ratio on the lean side of stoichiometric. The ability to operate with quality governing is made possible by the wide flammability limits of hydrogen-air mixtures. NO{sub x} emissions are on the order of 5 ppm for power outputs up to 70% of the maximum attainable on hydrogen fuel. Thus, by operating with very lean mixtures, which effectively derates the engine, very low NO{sub x} emissions can be achieved. Since the rotary engine has a characteristically high power to weight ratio and a small volume per unit power compared to the piston engine, operating a rotary engine on hydrogen and derating the power output could yield an engine with extremely low emissions which still has weight and volume characteristics comparable to a gasoline-fueled piston engine. Finally, since engine weight and volume affect vehicle design, and consequently in-use vehicle power requirements, those factors, as well as engine efficiency, must be taken into account in evaluating overall hybrid vehicle efficiency.

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