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Car on hydrogen. It's time to say goodbye to the gasoline?
Material posted : Administrator Publication date: 06-12-2018

According to the latest report of BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018, the world's proven oil reserves amount to 1,696 billion barrels, which, while maintaining the current level of consumption is enough for about fifty years. Undiscovered oil reserves are expected to give us another half century of hydrocarbon energy, but the cost of production may be such that the oil will simply become unprofitable in comparison with other energy sources. When fields in the easy prey is depleted, the price of raw materials will automatically go up if presently the cost of production of a barrel in some of Russia is estimated at $ 2-3 (for alternative estimates, $ 18), for shale oil is already 30-50 dollars. And ahead of humanity is a real prospect to move to the extraction of offshore and Arctic oil, which price will be even higher.

The surge of interest in the electric vehicle in the 70-ies of XX century have arisen on the background of the abrupt rise in oil prices due to political crisis — shortage of raw materials was not, but the quadrupling of prices instantly made gasoline cars and oil energy luxury.

And on the way the petrol car arose more controversial elements of ecological concern in cities and countries where automobile exhaust has become a problem. Because of this, for example, Germany adopted a resolution banning the production of cars with internal combustion engines in 2030. France and Britain promised to withdraw from hydrocarbon fuels until 2040. Netherlands up to 2030. Norway — until 2025. Even India and China want to ban diesel and petrol cars from 2030. Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico banned the use of diesel car in 2025.

Burning hydrogen in internal combustion engines

Burning hydrogen in conventional internal combustion engine seems the most simple and logical way to use gas, because hydrogen is flammable and burns without a trace. However, due to the difference in the properties of gasoline and hydrogen internal combustion engine translate to a new kind of fuel was not so easy. Difficulties arose with the long-term operation of engines: hydrogen caused overheating of the valves, piston and oil, over three times greater than that of gasoline, the heat of combustion (141 MJ/kg vs. 44 MJ/kg). Hydrogen is not bad showed itself at low rpm engine, but with the increased load caused the detonation. A possible solution to the problem was the substitution of hydrogen for gasoline-hydrogen mixture, the gas concentration which is dynamically decreased according to the increasing engine speed.

Dual-fuel BMW Hydrogen 7 body E65 burning hydrogen in internal combustion engines instead of gasoline
Source: Sachi Gahan / Flickr

One of the few production cars, where hydrogen is burned in internal combustion engines like other types of fuel, became the BMW Hydrogen 7, released only 100 copies in 2006-2008. A modified six-litre V12 engine running on gasoline or hydrogen, switching between fuels happens automatically.

Despite the successful solution of the problem of overheating of the valves, this project still put the cross. First, the combustion of hydrogen the engine power fell by about 20% — from 260 HP gasoline powered to 228 HP second, 8 kg of hydrogen is enough only for 200 km, significantly less than in the case of diesel items. Third, the Hydrogen 7 came too early — when "green" cars have not been so relevant. Fourth, there were rumorsthat the Agency for environmental protection the US is not allowed to call Hydrogen 7 car with no harmful exhaust — due to the characteristics of the internal combustion engine, particles, engine oil got into the combustion chamber and ignited there together with hydrogen.

Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE is the case when hydrogen ruined the whole dynamics of the rotary engine. Source: Mazda

Even earlier, in 2003, was presented to the dual-fuel Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE to reach customers only by 2007. When switching to hydrogen from the power of the legendary rotary RX-8 has not a single trace of power fell from 206 to 107 HP and the maximum speed is 170 km/h.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 and Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE was the Swan song of a hydrogen internal combustion engine: by the time of the appearance of these cars it became clear that much more efficient to use hydrogen in long-established fuel cell than to burn.

Fuel cells in cars

The first successful experiment to create a vehicle with a hydrogen fuel cell can be considered the tractor, Harry Karl, was built in 1959. However, replace the diesel fuel element of reduced tractor power 20 HP

In the last half century the transport of hydrogen was produced in copies of the piece. For example, in 2001 in the United States appeared in the Generation II bus, the hydrogen which was produced from methanol. Fuel cells had created a capacity of 100 kW, or about 136 HP In the same year, the Russian VAZ presented the "Field" on hydrogen cells, known under the name "Antel-1". The motor gave the power to 25 kW (34 HP), clocked cars to a maximum of 85 km/h and one station was operating 200 km of the Only produced car has remained a "laboratory on wheels".

Russian car hydrogen fuel cell — at the time technology went further design. Source: "AvtoVAZ"

The 2013 Toyota shook up the automotive world by presenting a model Mirai hydrogen fuel cells. The uniqueness of the situation was that the Toyota Mirai was not a concept car, mass production car, sales of which began a year later. Unlike electric car batteries, the Mirai itself produced electricity for themselves.

Toyota Mirai. Source: Toyota

The electric motor front-wheel drive Mirai has a maximum output of 154 HP, which is a bit of a modern electric car, but very nice compared to the hydrogen cars of the past. The theoretical reserve on 5 kg of hydrogen is 500 km, the actual is about 350 km Tesla Model S passport can pass 540 km, That's just to refuel a full tank of hydrogen takes about 3 minutes, and the Tesla battery is charged to 100% in 75 minutes at the stations Tesla Supercharger and up to 30 hours from the usual outlets 220 V.

A constant current of 370 a hydrogen fuel cell Mirai is converted to AC and the voltage is increased to 650 V. the Maximum machine speed reaches 175 km/h — slightly in comparison with hydrocarbon fuels, but more than enough for everyday driving. For the amount of energy used Nickel-metal hydride battery is 21 kWh, which is passed the excess from the fuel cell and the energy of regenerative braking. Given the realities of Japanese, in which settlements might at any moment be affected from earthquake, in the trunk Mirai 2016 model year installed CHAdeMO connector, through which you can arrange the supply of a small private home that makes the car a generator on wheels with maximum capacity of 150 kWh.

By the way, just a few years Toyota was able to significantly reduce the weight of the generator: if at the beginning of the century, the prototypes he weighed 108 kg and gave out 122 HP, the Mirai fuel cell is twice smaller (volume 37 liters) and weighs 56 kg. it is Fair to add to this 87 kg of fuel tanks.

For comparison, the popular modern turbo engine Volkswagen 1.4 TSI similar to Mirai with capacity of 140-160 HP is famous for its "lightness" thanks to aluminum construction — it weighs 106 kg plus 38-45 kg of gasoline in the tank. By the way, the Tesla Model S battery weighs 540 kg!

4 km Mirai produces only 240 ml of distilled, relatively safe for drinking water enthusiasts, trying to "exhaust" Mirai, reported only a slight taste of plastic.

Drink water drained from Mirai safely, although at first sight shocking

The Toyota Mirai has installed two tanks for hydrogen at 60 and 62 litres in total with capacity for 5 kg of hydrogen under pressure of 700 atmospheres. Toyota develops and manufactures hydrogen tanks alone for 18 years. Tank Mirai made of several layers of plastic, carbon fiber and fiberglass. The use of such materials, first, increased resistance of storage to deformation and penetration, and, secondly, solved the problem of hydrogen absorption of the metal from which steel tanks lost their properties, flexibility and covered with cracks.

The Structure Of The Toyota Mirai. The front is an electric motor, a fuel cell hidden under the driver's seat and under the rear row and trunk mounted tanks and the battery. Source: Toyota

What are the prospects?

According to estimates by Bloomberg, by 2040, cars will consume 1900 terawatt-hour is 13 million barrels a day, that is 8% of the electricity demand as of 2015. 8% is nothing if we consider that up to 70% of the world oil production goes into the production of fuel for transport.

Market prospects of battery electric vehicles much more obvious and impressive than in the case of hydrogen fuel cells. In 2017, the market for electric vehicles amounted to 17.4 billion dollars, while the hydrogen car market was estimated at $ 2 billion. Despite this difference, investors continue to be interested in hydrogen energy and to Finance new developments.

The example is created in 2017, "Board Hydrogen" (Hydrogen Council), which includes 39 major companies such as Audi, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Daimler, GM, Hyundai. Its purpose is the research and development of new hydrogen technologies and their subsequent introduction into our lives.


Tags: science , oil

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