Car Runs on Home-Brew Hydrogen

BBC News are running an item about a car running on home-produced hydrogen.

UK company ITM Power has produced a plastic film they claim is suitable for home electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen (they say) can be used in the home, to be burned for cooking or heating, or to power a car (they are simply burning it, but it could supply a hydrogen fuel cell).

As we have mentioned elsewhere on this site, current sources of hydrogen are not "green" (95% of current H2 supplies are manufactured from fossil fuels), but ITM say that their system is green because you aren't stopping at a filling station, you're generating your own hydrogen from the energy resource of your choice (maybe your own solar cells or wind turbine).

Others, however, have questioned the wisdom of storing tanks of hydrogen at home.

Whatever the application, if this new material is all that they claim, it could be a major step towards a true hydrogen society.

BBC Story
ITM Power

Picture of Car Runs on Home-Brew Hydrogen
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------9 years ago
frontiers-hydrogen-hopes#s-p1-so-i0 hydrogen video]theres allways the option of storing hydrogen as a solid(ovonic), so theres no kaboom if a car wreck occurs. check out this video on hydrogen.

They're storing it as a metal hydride. So you'd be releasing the metal as waste rather than the CO2+H2O etc you get from car engines at the moment. And as it'll not just blow away/ float off like CO2, where's it all going to go? You'd have to drop it off at a recycling point- perhaps you'd just get interchangeable modules for fuel, so you'd pull the spent one out and slot in a new one. Then the recyclers would have to dispose of it or "re-charge" it. Actually, come to think of it it's probably not a bad idea. I can't watch the video, have you got any energy density figures for it (metal hydride, so gravatic will be awful but volumetric could be good...)? Thanks!
Actually I saw that on Scientific American Frontiers on PBS. The substance (guess it's hydride) stays in a tank, the hydrogen is pumped in and gets soaked up, which generates lots of heat. The fill nozzle is fitted with a water line, water is used to cool the tank. The hydrogen is released, iirc, by (gently) heating the tank. No metal is released as waste.

The downsides, few as they are, involve the current planned H2 filling scheme using pressurized gas period, no provision for water cooling, and then, well, you have a chunk that'll release hydrogen when heated. Not good in a fire, like after a collision with a gas-powered vehicle, more heat yields more gas released and if the hydrogen is burning that means even more heat... Although for the first one it might be overcome with an on-board refrigeration unit that'll cool the tank while filling. After that, well, since it's not a highly-pressurized gas tank suddenly exploding (shrapnel and fireball) guess it'll be no worse than an exploding gasoline tank.
"After that, well, since it's not a highly-pressurized gas tank suddenly exploding (shrapnel and fireball) guess it'll be no worse than an exploding gasoline tank." I believe this is the setup that I had researched a while ago. Altho, I'm not positive. What I had found was that they tested the tank by shooting it with incendiary rounds resulting in neither an explosion/violent gas leak or fire. The tank around the bullet paths just smoldered. It was either this tank or another one that had some kind of special baffling inside to prevent these from occurring. I have yet to find if there was another tank. Also, I don't think cooling would present much of a problem to overcome. That should be fairly easy in my opinion. None of it really matters. I won't be able to afford any these new technologies anyway. It's just fun to see what's out there.
LinuxH4x0r9 years ago
My friend got a hydrogen generator that claims to double mileage in his truck and his dad's jeep. I should call him.....
the chance of an onboard hydrogen generator doubling gas milage is nil, zip, non existant. The web is full of this stuff, i suspect alot of people selling snake oil. There is a ton of money to be made off gullible, desperate people. The ethics of this are obvious. No one should even conside this until some reliable data comes out, i'll be stunned if it improves mileage by more than 10%. If this works then GM and Ford who are tanking, would put it in next year's big SUV's, and that's not happening. Wonder why? They're not stupid. And if you think it's a "conspiracy" i have some old Enron Stock that will certainly net you a fortune some day. Remember that there are people who swear that they've seen aliens.
They work. Not the best, but they do help. Remember that most car companies have their hands in the oil companies pockets.
All due respect, but explaining the lack of interest by ANY major car company as a conspiracy just isn't rational. For you to be right, they'd have to ALL be in bed with the oil companies. And like any good urban legend, the claims of savings on this are all over the board. It reminds me of the people who were selling turbines for the air intakes, it was supposed to dramatically increase fuel economy. That was garbage. You still see those on late night TV. Until we see reliable data, i'm a major skeptic. An until then I certainly wouldn't buy one.
I wouldn't buy either. I'd build. Its taking extra electricity and using it to split water. Remember, the energy is form electricity, not H
there is no such thing as "Extra Electricity". The only way that hydrogen augmentation of internal combustion will work is if it somehowe improves combustion. It has to work nearly at the catalytic level like tetra ethyl lead. Even then it's very, very unlikely that it works at all much less a 100% improvement in mileage. If this works then the chinese, russians or some foriegn power, not possibly in bed with the american oil companies would be driving their tanks with it. I'm waiting on some reliable testing agengy to put this one to bed, the myth buster site has pretty much decided it's bogus. Rememer there are still people who think we didn't land on the moon...
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