VW CEO Says That Hydrogen Fuel Cells Have Failed to Live up to Promises
March 22, 2013 9:36 AM
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No fuel cell vehicles from VW on the horizon
A few years ago there were a number of automotive manufacturers putting serious money into
hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles
. These vehicles promised to have a driving range similar to a conventional gasoline-powered automobile, but produce no emissions to pollute the atmosphere.
However, the vehicles faced several daunting challenges, including the lack of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure and the fact that hydrogen is highly flammable and difficult to store.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn stated this week that hydrogen fuel cells have failed to live up to promises and are unlikely to become an efficient and cost-effective way to power cars in the near future.
Winterkorn said, "I do not see the infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles, and I do not see how hydrogen can be produced on large scale at reasonable cost. I do not currently see a situation where we can offer fuel cell vehicles at a reasonable cost that consumers would also be willing to pay."
While Volkswagen doesn't see a near-term future with hydrogen vehicles, other manufacturers continue to move forward with the technology. Mercedes-Benz reached a deal with Ford and Nissan-Renault with a goal of selling the first production fuel-cell vehicle starting in 2017.
Back in 2010, a study was
predicting 670,000 fuel cell powered vehicles would be sold annually within a decade. So far, that prediction doesn't seem likely to come true.
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I guess he didn't read the recent article
3/22/2013 12:20:55 PM
In Science Daily a couple of weeks ago about some scientists who developed a metal catalyst that will separate hydrogen from water. This could conceivably be done on board the vehicle, obviating the need for an extensive hydrogen infrastructure. The car would be water in, water out.
RE: I guess he didn't read the recent article
3/22/2013 12:31:56 PM
But, then you need a massive supply of refined magnesium (or whichever metal they used). That pure metal had to be refined which is where the energy input to the system came from. It's then volatile because it reacts with oxygen, which is why it can strip water of its oxygen leaving hydrogen and which makes it very hard to handle. Extremely problematic for a consumer setup.
RE: I guess he didn't read the recent article
3/25/2013 11:56:32 AM
And if you had such a volatile chemical on board, it would be better to just make a battery out of it and run off of pure electricity.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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