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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So what physicists all knew almost 40 years ago is now official
3/23/2013 9:59:41 AM
Back in the mid 70s at a Penn State Physics colloquium, an invited government "scientist" gave a presentation about the new hydrogen economy concept. He was ripped to shreds by the professors before he could even finish. The main problems are that hydrogen is merely a carrier of energy rather than a source (like electrons), there is no efficient way to generate hydrogen, and there is no way store hydrogen at anywhere near the density of liquid hydrocarbons. Forty years later nothing has changed, except we found out that is harder to solve the fuel cell contamination problem than we thought it would be.
Until we build thousands of nuclear reactors to generate hydrogen, there is no point wasting money on hydrogen fuel schemes.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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