So folks talk about hydrogen as a gasoline replacement. If liquefied, it packs a lot of energy in a small space. And it's reasonably easy to obtain—run an electrical current through sea water and you have hydrogen. So in theory, it is a candidate. However, the engineering challenges are awesome. Hydrogen is the smallest molecule so just the problems of containing the gas are expensive. A valve good enough to regulate oxygen could leak hydrogen like crazy. Try to imagine a connection good enough to transfer liquid hydrogen from a storage tank to your car. Now try to imagine the crowd down at your local self-serve hooking up that connection. And this is only one of the basic concerns in practically using hydrogen—there's a long list.
|BMW has an operating prototype that |
has been converted to run on hydrogen
But that doesn't stop dreaming of what a hydrogen-powered car could be. Here is an "advertisement" for an Lexus LFA running on the stuff. Trust me on this, this car does not exist—it is a product of CGI.
I seriously doubt that hydrogen is going to serve as fuel for automobiles. There's no hydrogen infrastructure and without millions of hydrogen-fueled vehicles, there is no reason to build that infrastructure. Besides, IF hydrogen comes to automobiles, it will be piped through a fuel cell—NOT burned in a V-10. The car shown in this movie would have a range of like 10 miles.
LEXUS LFA-h from Simon Brown on Vimeo.
In fact, even though the market does not currently agree with me, I think the future of cars is some variation on the Volt—an electric vehicle with a gasoline back-up to get you home in an emergency. This bridge technology would make travel costs reasonable even if gas prices were $15 / gallon. The Volt is a great idea and if someone like Toyota were to build it, it would be a hit.
I can see it now—the hybrid drivers arguing technological superiority with the extended-range EV drivers. May the person with the most expensive Birkenstocks win.