Batteries more efficient than fuel cells


#juan
#1
This article is a couple years old but the thinking by those in the field remains basically the same. Batteries are more efficient than fuel cells and they are a lot less expensive. I'm a bit saddened because I was one of those people cheering the accomplishments of Ballard who seemed to be on the cutting edge of fuel cell technology. Right now, I don't see a fuel cell in a car that people can afford in the foreseeable future.
Quote:

Worldwatch Magazine
Worldwatch Institute
1776 Massachusetts Av NW
Washington DC 20036

To the Editor:

The discussion in "Sold on Fuel Cells" (January/February) reveals the potential of fuel cells. There are two more attributes which need to be brought to light, one positive and one negative.

On the positive side, the American Academy of Science created the LaserCell, capable of generating its own hydrogen and oxygen just by putting electricity and water into the fuel cell; instead of generating the hydrogen and oxygen fuels by renewable energy at a remote location.

The negative aspect of fuel cells is their inefficiency relative to battery storage systems. The following data is based on an article in Solar Mind and a letter to me from Joan Ogden, of Princeton University.

If 100 kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity were put into the fuel cell, 70 kwh of hydrogen would come out. The hydrogen would then power a fuel cell hooked to an electric motor yielding 49 kwh of motive energy.

If 100 kwh of electricity were put into a battery, you would get 77 kwh out of the battery. That energy would then go to an electric motor, yielding 70 kwh of motive energy.

With technology always advancing, both fuel cells and electric systems will become more efficient, though the difference between them may or may not change. Each of these power systems are promising and should be advanced, but lets use the system that is most efficient and least polluting at the time.

Sincerely,

Daniel Convissor

 
sha_zapple
#2
My girlfriend and I were talking about this last night. She heard that gasoline engines were very inefficient, which is true cause a lot of their energy is wasted via heat.

Theres cars (BMW I believe) that have a steam type engine beside the gasoline engine.

Anyway, back to the topic. I think Electric motors have more promise than anything, mostly due to their relative simplicity. The big problem is batteries (charge times!)
 
Kreskin
#3
Does this mean cobalt will rise in demand? My penny cobalt stock needs all the help it can get!
 
#juan
#4
The two biggest problems with fuel cells are the lack of a hydrogen infrastructure, and the high cost of fuel cells. One more thing was that the fuel cells required Platinum plating as a catylist so they would work. There was never enough platinum to put a fuel cell in all our cars. Unless things change drastically, fuel cells will remain an expensive toy.
 
sha_zapple
#5
Electric motors also have a lot of torque at low RPM, making them good for cars!
 
typingrandomstuff
#6
I know fuel cells seem very expensive. I hope you read my new post in 7-ways to save the world. A non-poluting, hydrogen electic one. Hydrogen gas may form though the chemical. I know oxygen is really hard to get. But, hey, it will get better. Or it may formed through the half process of nitrogen fixation by plants. Getting other electric ones are great too. I see your point in other great ones because of the chemical toxins release by the production of the hydrogen storage tank.

www.humboldt.edu/~serc/solarh2cycle.html
 
#juan
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by typingrandomstuffView Post

I know fuel cells seem very expensive. I hope you read my new post in 7-ways to save the world. A non-poluting, hydrogen electic one. Hydrogen gas may form though the chemical. I know oxygen is really hard to get. But, hey, it will get better. Or it may formed through the half process of nitrogen fixation by plants. Getting other electric ones are great too. I see your point in other great ones because of the chemical toxins release by the production of the hydrogen storage tank.

www.humboldt.edu/~serc/solarh2cycle.html

It would be more efficient and less expensive to forget the fuel cell and use the solar voltaic array to charge batteries. Fuel cells will always be too expensive because of the platinum requirement.
 
Zzz
#8
I think there will be more and more demand for cobalt.
 
typingrandomstuff
#9
Takes a pen and pencil. Scribbles. Platinum is Expensive! Thank you very much. I'll look into it.
 
s243a
#10
If fuel cells go main stream in the future the platinum may come from the moon.
 
#juan
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by typingrandomstuffView Post

Takes a pen and pencil. Scribbles. Platinum is Expensive! Thank you very much. I'll look into it.

Platinum is not just expensive. there is just not enough of the stuff around. Platinum is a rare element and it doesn't exist on Earth in the quantities that would be required for mass production of fuel cells. Is that simple enough for you?
Last edited by #juan; May 19th, 2007 at 01:52 PM..
 
typingrandomstuff
#12
#juan, I have to explain again that I understand what you are talking about. I like to use informal words and there is nothing wrong with that! Maybe I'm straightforward, I hate wordiness and just want something simple. But that doesn't mean I do not understand.

Yes, Platinum is expensive and very rare, but not all fuel cells have to use platinum. Do you understand the words " DO NOT HAVE TO "? There are always other form of usages such as chemical energy of any chemicals. When any chemicals react, they release some sort of energy, which we can use. It do not have to be fuel cells. With the development of modern technology, more and more miscellaneous stuff like certain silks and other materials will reduce the demand of platinum. As our technology get better, the usage of platinum and one specific element will get less. Is that too hard to understand? Do you want me to give you some proof? And one last comment:

What type of fancy grammar is "I that simple enough for you?". Where is the verb?
 
#juan
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by typingrandomstuffView Post

#juan, I have to explain again that I understand what you are talking about. I like to use informal words and there is nothing wrong with that! Maybe I'm straightforward, I hate wordiness and just want something simple. But that doesn't mean I do not understand.

Yes, Platinum is expensive and very rare, but not all fuel cells have to use platinum. Do you understand the words " DO NOT HAVE TO "? There are always other form of usages such as chemical energy of any chemicals. When any chemicals react, they release some sort of energy, which we can use. It do not have to be fuel cells. With the development of modern technology, more and more miscellaneous stuff like certain silks and other materials will reduce the demand of platinum. As our technology get better, the usage of platinum and one specific element will get less. Is that too hard to understand? Do you want me to give you some proof? And one last comment:

What type of fancy grammar is "I that simple enough for you?". Where is the verb?

I can do without your explanations, or your dopey grammar lessons, Right now my money is on battery powered electric cars. Batteries are getting better all the time. Just about every car company has a hybrid vehicle for sale. Hybrid vehicles run a good part of the time on batteries. Battery development is just a matter of time. Spending electrical energy to produce hydrogen to use in a fuel cell to make electricity to drive an electric motor is not nearly as efficient as simply charging a battery to drive an electric motor.
 
typingrandomstuff
#14
Okay, but hybrids really creates its electricty from brakes. Hybrid do not run on batteries. If you think it's alright and more efficient, then it's an opinion. I know someday the engineers will create something like the fuel cell yet is not completely. Shrugs. Batteries can only be charge several times and that electricty have to come from somewhere, and how about its disposal? Isn't batteries a chemical change and using chemical energy anyhow in a case to make electricity? I know some stuff. Just search hybrid and batteries and you all know what I am talking about.

You don't know a lot do you?
 
#juan
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by typingrandomstuffView Post

Okay, but hybrids really creates its electricty from brakes. Hybrid do not run on batteries. If you think it's alright and more efficient, then it's an opinion. I know someday the engineers will create something like the fuel cell yet is not completely. Shrugs. Batteries can only be charge several times and that electricty have to come from somewhere, and how about its disposal? Isn't batteries a chemical change and using chemical energy anyhow in a case to make electricity? I know some stuff. Just search hybrid and batteries and you all know what I am talking about.

You don't know a lot do you?

Open your mouth wider. You need room for the other foot. Hybrids charge their batteries both from regenerative braking and by the use of the gas engine. Hybrids use both the battery and the gas engine when required, like going up hill or accelerating or passing. I own a hybrid and you don't know what you are talking about.
 
eh1eh
#16
Umm, yes hybrids have big batteries. That is one of the drawbacks. The energy to produce the cells combined with the effect on the environment make them not so freindly to the planet. Mainly due to the fact the batteries are made in China and we know what kind controls the have on waste disposal. I will list them here in brackets, ( ). What the hybrids have going for them is they just don't use much of a limited resoure, petroleum.
 
s243a
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by eh1ehView Post

Umm, yes hybrids have big batteries. That is one of the drawbacks. The energy to produce the cells combined with the effect on the environment make them not so freindly to the planet. Mainly due to the fact the batteries are made in China and we know what kind controls the have on waste disposal. I will list them here in brackets, ( ). What the hybrids have going for them is they just don't use much of a limited resoure, petroleum.

Once this happens:

"The meaning of juicing up your iPod may soon become a lot more literal. Researchers at Saint Louis University have developed a fuel cell battery that runs on virtually any sugar source - from soft drinks to tree sap - and has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium ion batteries.
The new battery, which is completely biodegradable, could eventually replace lithium ion batteries in many portable electronic applications, including computers. The findings were described today at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago."
http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/509/

Electric cars will be the way to go.
 
eh1eh
#18
Wow, you could actually use your laptop all day.
 
#juan
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by s243aView Post

Once this happens:

"The meaning of juicing up your iPod may soon become a lot more literal. Researchers at Saint Louis University have developed a fuel cell battery that runs on virtually any sugar source - from soft drinks to tree sap - and has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium ion batteries.
The new battery, which is completely biodegradable, could eventually replace lithium ion batteries in many portable electronic applications, including computers. The findings were described today at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago."
http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/509/

Electric cars will be the way to go.

That sounds very encouraging. There are several exciting battery developments coming up. We are looking at the start of the demise of the internal combustion engine. It couldn't come soon enough for me.
 
s243a
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by #juanView Post

That sounds very encouraging. There are several exciting battery developments coming up. We are looking at the start of the demise of the internal combustion engine. It couldn't come soon enough for me.

I agree that batteries are the future. I don't know what hurdles are still there. Are those sugar batteries rechargeable? Do they work at low temperatures? Regardless even once we solve the problems with batteries there is still the issue of power generation. I am a strong believer that the only technolgy that is going to produce a sufficient amount of clean power to meat our demand is nuclear power. Until we embrace nuclear power and start to replace our coal and gas fired plants on a large scale the electric car is going to do very little to reduce our green house gas emissions.
 
#juan
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by s243aView Post

I agree that batteries are the future. I don't know what hurdles are still there. Are those sugar batteries rechargeable? Do they work at low temperatures? Regardless even once we solve the problems with batteries there is still the issue of power generation. I am a strong believer that the only technolgy that is going to produce a sufficient amount of clean power to meat our demand is nuclear power. Until we embrace nuclear power and start to replace our coal and gas fired plants on a large scale the electric car is going to do very little to reduce our green house gas emissions.

As near as I can tell, the batteries are not rechargeable in the conventional sense. When the sugar level gets too low, you just drain the battery reservoir and refill it with new sugar solution. At this time, I don't know if the battery requires a certain time to get back to full power. The impression I get is that this is not a serious problem. The big thing is that the waste, the worn out sugar solution, is completely biodegradable.

I agree that automobiles are only part of the problem. Power generation from coal fired plants is not the answer. . At the moment, nuclear power seems to be the only way to go.
 
able
#22
Many years ago, a kid was being celebrated as a genius because he made a battery that could even use blood as the electrolyte. If sugar batteries are the next great discovery, then you can bet it will be such a special blend, that it will cost a fortune to refill it. To my mind, paying a fortune for gas or sugar, doesn't help the guy in the street. Someone is going to empty our pockets, and I have finally become so jaded with all the newest and best, because in the end, we are all still out a fortune.
 
#juan
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by ableView Post

Many years ago, a kid was being celebrated as a genius because he made a battery that could even use blood as the electrolyte. If sugar batteries are the next great discovery, then you can bet it will be such a special blend, that it will cost a fortune to refill it. To my mind, paying a fortune for gas or sugar, doesn't help the guy in the street. Someone is going to empty our pockets, and I have finally become so jaded with all the newest and best, because in the end, we are all still out a fortune.

Hi able

I don't know how close we are to having sugar powered cars, or even if powering a car with this sugar battery/fuel cell or whatever it is, is even feasible. Right now we are certainly being hosed by the oil companies who are raising gas prices with one hand and raking in obscene profits with the other. I share your cynicism to some extent but I think we are moving in the right direction. I wish we'd move a little quicker.
 

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