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Old 12-18-2011, 04:30 AM   #21
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This I do not understand.

Specifically, where do you get the hydrogen?
I built this hydrogen generator last weekend using a railroad spike, two battery chargers, some 23 gauge sheet metal, and a water / baking soda solution:



A video a one I built a year or so again in action:

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Old 12-18-2011, 04:34 AM   #22
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BTW, this is what I built out of the railroad spikes when I was finished:

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Old 12-18-2011, 06:37 PM   #23
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Hmm good info on the hydrogen, I thought the water separation was much more efficient. Seems like there will be a supply issue regardless of the what way we go.
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:39 PM   #24
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http://www.wired.com/cars/energy/new...rogen_bacteria

Hard to beat that for source efficiency for any energy, let alone hydrogen.

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The researchers noted that the method produces up to 82 percent more energy than the electricity and biomass needed to produce it.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:41 PM   #25
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I've been looking at making an electric vehicle for about 10 years now. Costs have come down, but it still takes a sizeable sum, more than the cost of gasoline for many years. Plus, you have to find a suitable vehicle to convert, and options are limited - at least around here in the rust belt.

So, take an S-10. Tear out the existing motor, exhaust, electricals (except lighting) and fuel/emmisions stuff. Add in a motor (possibly using an adapter plate), buy a whole bunch of batteries, a controller for it all, and hope you can wire it all up. Total build costs are going to be at least 5 grand, plus the vehicle itself, but tending more towards 10-15K. Sure, you aren't paying for oil changes, but you'd better be saving that cash for the replacement of the batteries. That's a hell of a lot of gas, even at $4 a gallon. At 16mpg (what my crappy Jeep gets), that's well over three years of driving for me.

Not too many people I know have the knowledge, tools or desire to build one themselves. So, what's the option? Volt for 35k-40k? Screw that. Overall, it's not very cost effective, unless you're a tree hugger looking to thumb your nose at the cost of gas and the other people whom you now feel even more superior to.

Until there are some huge changes in the technology or the infrastructure, I don't foresee anything except factory hybrids in my lifetime.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:45 PM   #26
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I think there will be plenty of electric cars in the next decade, apparently hydrogen is out so I don't see any options other then gas/electric/hybrids,

I'd really like to see a diesel electric hybrid made.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:48 PM   #27
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I'm gonna go look for Joe's thread on his electric bike and bump that up.
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:33 PM   #28
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Hmm good info on the hydrogen, I thought the water separation was much more efficient. Seems like there will be a supply issue regardless of the what way we go.
That's the key issue, and why I kept asking "where does hydrogen come from?" It was rhetorical, but meant to inspire thought.

The algae-based technology from the four year old article blaen posted is interesting. This technology has been around for a while (it was first discovered by Hans Gaffron in the 1930s) but it's only of late that interest in large-scale production has had any relevance.

A 2006 article in New Scientist Magazine quotes UC Berkeley researcher Tasios Melis as predicting that "To displace gasoline use in the US would take hydrogen farms covering about 25,000 square kilometres (appx 9,650 sq. miles)" It is not known what efficiency factor or method of power generation Mr. Melis assumed in this estimation. But we'll assume the best and say that you only need to construct an algae farm slightly larger than the state of Vermont.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:47 PM   #29
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Not too many people I know have the knowledge, tools or desire to build one themselves. So, what's the option? Volt for 35k-40k? Screw that.
https://www.miataturbo.net/showthrea...ght=motorcycle

Assuming I drove it year round (wouldn't want to with our weather though), it'd pay for itself in 4 years with my work commuting alone, more like 2 if you count all the other driving. This is assuming no higher than $4/gallon, assuming oil changes are replaced by higher electrical bills, and it's compared to my current 30mpg daily driver.

If you look at your 16mpg jeep, it'd be paid off in a year. Not bad. That's of course ignoring the inconveniences of riding a bike full time. Which isn't the worst fate as long as the weathers nice.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:47 AM   #30
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That's the key issue, and why I kept asking "where does hydrogen come from?" It was rhetorical, but meant to inspire thought.

The algae-based technology from the four year old article blaen posted is interesting. This technology has been around for a while (it was first discovered by Hans Gaffron in the 1930s) but it's only of late that interest in large-scale production has had any relevance.

A 2006 article in New Scientist Magazine quotes UC Berkeley researcher Tasios Melis as predicting that "To displace gasoline use in the US would take hydrogen farms covering about 25,000 square kilometres (appx 9,650 sq. miles)" It is not known what efficiency factor or method of power generation Mr. Melis assumed in this estimation. But we'll assume the best and say that you only need to construct an algae farm slightly larger than the state of Vermont.
I may misunderstand the point of the bacterial-based technology I linked, Joe, but what I understood as the selling point on it was that any organic matter was sufficient to produce hydrogen from using it.

Specifically, in this case, leftovers from corn and similar foodstuffs that are otherwise thrown away by farmers, and even things such as grass clippings or leaves from your yard.

Creating a monetary demand for these things instead of the current cost-to-dispose of would have a nice benefit for all parties involved I would imagine. But I could also misunderstand the technologies capabilities, and if it requires specifically algae I would be mistaken. I thought the algae-to-hydrogen was one possibility of the bacterial-produced hydrogen, not the only way.

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https://www.miataturbo.net/showthrea...ght=motorcycle

Assuming I drove it year round (wouldn't want to with our weather though), it'd pay for itself in 4 years with my work commuting alone, more like 2 if you count all the other driving. This is assuming no higher than $4/gallon, assuming oil changes are replaced by higher electrical bills, and it's compared to my current 30mpg daily driver.

If you look at your 16mpg jeep, it'd be paid off in a year. Not bad. That's of course ignoring the inconveniences of riding a bike full time. Which isn't the worst fate as long as the weathers nice.
Damn you Curly, I have yet another vehicular toy I want to buy now.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:23 AM   #31
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The coolest part is the SD card for audio. Imagine the bitches you'd score if they heard something like the Windows start sound or the Xbox tone every time you power it up. That's animal magnetism right there.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:04 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by curly View Post
https://www.miataturbo.net/showthrea...ght=motorcycle

If you look at your 16mpg jeep, it'd be paid off in a year. Not bad. That's of course ignoring the inconveniences of riding a bike full time. Which isn't the worst fate as long as the weathers nice.
No way in hell I'm riding a motorcycle. I'm over 50. I live in upstate NY. Rain, snow, and generally crappy weather account for at least 75% of the days here. ******** drivers account for 100% of the time, making riding unsafe. Everyone I know that rides even part time has had an accident (mostly deer, to be honest), and I'm not risking life and limb (not to mention all comfort) to save a few bucks. I'd barely even consider a locost type vehicle, if I could possibly register one in NY (they won't let it happen).
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:50 AM   #33
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.... I live in ... NY.
Well, there's your problem!
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:21 AM   #34
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I'm not risking life and limb (not to mention all comfort) to save a few bucks.
No one ever "saves a few bucks" with electric transportation. It just doesn't happen. I bought a $2,000 Geo Metro and get 50 MPG (well, 46 MPG average over 18K miles and two years). You can't do better than that unless you bought a $1,000 Geo Metro in horrible condition.

FWIW, I was going to start the next phase of the project and bump my FE up to 60 MPG but calculated that I would save a whopping $128 a year. Screw that...
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #35
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I honestly don't get why the Volt is seen as some revolutionary new idea. Diesel-electric locomotives have been making their way across this country to 50+ years. The Volt is the same concept but with a battery backup. Mazda developed a hydrogen rotary hybrid a few years ago that works just like the Volt- a small hydrogen (boooo) powered rotary that works as a generator to provide electricity to an electric motor that powers the driveline and a battery.. Now, like Joe, I agree that hydrogen is just smoke and mirrors to make people think it's a developing technology and that it will never be a viable fuel. But I'm quite surprised that up until now, the idea of a small generator, coupled with a battery and place into a car has not already been mass-produced...it's such a logical idea.

http://www.mazda.com/mazdaspirit/env...emacy_hre.html


I did find this on a search for something else...water desalination + hydrogen generation + cleaning wasterwater all in one fell swoop.
http://www.ucdenver.edu/about/newsro...astewater.aspx
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #36
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That huge hydrogen tank is a bomb waiting to go off.
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Old 12-19-2011, 12:06 PM   #37
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Joe, what would be the problem with using off-shore wind to create the hydrogen from seawater and then use the hydrogen in a fuel-cell car? In that way I consider the hydrogen more as a liquid energy storage method than a fuel. Sure, you lose a lot of efficiency turning that electricity into hydrogen, but you end up with cars that can be refilled in a short period of time with fuel created cleanly off-shore. I don't know the efficiency of fuel cells, but even if they are only 50% efficient, the total efficiency can't be worse than the 25% we get from our pre-refined gasoline.
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:13 PM   #38
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I honestly don't get why the Volt is seen as some revolutionary new idea. (...) But I'm quite surprised that up until now, the idea of a small generator, coupled with a battery and place into a car has not already been mass-produced...it's such a logical idea.
The basic idea of a range-extended AV is not new. AC Propulsion built a few of them in the late 90s, and Prius owners have been modifying their cars into "plugin hybrids" for years by installing additional battery capacity and hacking the controllers.

The revolutionary part is simply that a major automaker finally stood up and said "look, if want both the eco-awesoemoness of an electric car AND the practicality of being able to drive to grandma's house, then given the present state of technology there's really only one way to do it. So, without further adieu, we present to you a practical electric car."

Yeah, they could have fitted a diesel to it for even better economy, but since the vehicle is intended to be run on electricity alone for most of its range, it could get 10 mpg on the gas engine and the overall economy would still be extremely high.



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Joe, what would be the problem with using off-shore wind to create the hydrogen from seawater and then use the hydrogen in a fuel-cell car?
Not being an expert on the matter, my guess would be that it's a matter of scale.

If the entire east coast of the US were subjected to hurricane-force winds continuously, and we put a windmill every 50 yards from Maine to Miami, then we could probably generate enough power that way to do the job. Of course, it would still be less efficient than just putting the electrons directly into the car's battery via wire rather than using hydrogen as a transport mechanism
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Old 12-19-2011, 01:40 PM   #39
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Not being an expert on the matter, my guess would be that it's a matter of scale.

If the entire east coast of the US were subjected to hurricane-force winds continuously, and we put a windmill every 50 yards from Maine to Miami, then we could probably generate enough power that way to do the job. Of course, it would still be less efficient than just putting the electrons directly into the car's battery via wire rather than using hydrogen as a transport mechanism
There is a substantial amount of energy available off the east coast in the form of wind, and they are working on constructing the turbines to harness it. My theory would also work for solar in the south, or hydro pretty much anywhere. The point is just that you could use renewable energy somewhere outside of urban areas to separate the hydrogen, then transport that to where you need the energy. Sure, it's not as efficient as putting the electrons into the cars, but it's a lot better than 300 miles of extension cords, or bumper-car-style contacts running all over every road.
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:43 PM   #40
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There is a substantial amount of energy available off the east coast in the form of wind, and they are working on constructing the turbines to harness it. My theory would also work for solar in the south, or hydro pretty much anywhere.
Again, it's the question of scale that I keep coming to...

This is some quick, back-of-napkin math, so don't hold me to absolute numbers, but let's take a Nissan Leaf as a baseline (we'll assume that everyone in the US willingly gives up their trucks / SUVs / minivans / sports cars and they all drive something which is comparable to a Leaf.) That car uses, on average, about 0.24 kWh / mile.

The US DOT reports that, in 2007, there were 254.4 million cars on the road in the US. Assume that each one is driven 10,000 miles per year (a commonly used average). That's 2,544,000,000,000 car-miles per year. (Yes, 2.5 Trillion with a "T")

Multiply that by 0.24, and we get 610,560,000,000 kWh per yer. (610 billion kWh.)

Now, according to the DOE, the entire US power grid generated 3,673 billion Kwh in 2002, so 610 billion kWh isn't an outrageous number in the grand scheme of things.

National Wind Watch (a pro-wind-power lobbying organization) cheerfully and optimistically states that a typical 1.5Mw-rated turbine will tend to operate at around a 25% capacity factor, thus delivering 3,285,000 kWh per year. Let's be even more optimistic and DOUBLE the capacity factor to 50%, because it's located off-shore where the wind is magically stronger and more consistant. So we'll call it 6.5 million kWh per turbine per year.

Therefore, to produce 610 billion kWh per year, using turbines delivering 6.5 million kWh/year each, we require 93,932 wind turbines.

The NREL says that we need between 5 and 10 diameters spacing between turbines. We'll go for the low-side and use the 5 diameters number. 300 feet seems to be a fairly common average diameter for a modern, current-gen turbine, so we need 1,500 feet in between turbines. Put another way, each turbine occupies 1,800 feet, assuming we put them all in a line side-by-side along the coast.

Thus, the total length of this chain of hypothetical offshore wind turbines would be 32,022 miles. (For reference, the east coast of the US, as measured from Augusta, Maine to Miami, Florida is 1,662.5 miles long.)

We're talking about a string of turbines that would circle the earth four times at the equator, all operating at twice their normal, real-world capacity. (Kind of gives you a new appreciation of the phenomenal power of gasoline.)

Oh, and that all assumed 100% conversion efficiency. If you're using this power to generate hydrogen which you then transport a long distance and either burn in an ICE or run through a fuel cell, well, that string of turbines need to just about quadruple.


How much does it cost to build 375,728 wind turbines, bearing in mind that they are in the middle of the ocean?
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