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Discussion > Hydrogen Vehicles thread

I see we don't so far have a thread on Hydrogen vehicles

Sunday Times pushing a government magic solution : Convert old electric trains into hydrogen electric battery trains.
The 2 chosen routes Teesside and Widnes don't seem very urban to me so I'm not sure or air quality benefit.

Pollution concerns are prompting rail chiefs to convert 30-year-old trains to fuel-cell technology that gives off *only water* (yeh if you don't count where you get the hydrogen from)
"The conversion programme — drawn up by Alstom, the *French* train maker — would make Britain *a world leader* in hydrogen train technology.
* FFS that's the pioneer fallacy again (British Taxpayers providing funding for rushing in and making errors, whilst other nations wisely wait.. and enter later)
... and how can a FRENCH corp makes "Britain a world leader".

First converting Electric Trains to Hydrogen

The 321 model dates to 1988 and are used on the Greater Anglia network Ipswich/London.
The units will be switched to other lines once converted to hydrogen power. If successful, the company hopes the programme *COULD* be extended to diesel trains.
first could be ready by 2021. possibly upto 100 units.
Trains will be sent up for Tees Valley line And Liverpool/Widnes.
Note
- the wastage : Instead of diesel to power you split methane to get hydrogen fuel, then convert it back to electricity which charges lithium batteries which power the wheels.
- The danger of hydrogen is bigger than that for petrol ...and for diesel which is particularly safe.
True "hydrogen escaping from a car’s LH2 tank will not form puddles of fuel on the ground as in the case of gasoline or diesel" BUT there is an issue with enclosed spaces.
AFAIK Hydrogen cars are not allowed in covered parking garages due to risk of hydrogen build up and explosion.
- There is also an issue with maintenance garages.
A tweeter makes a reference to the room having to be 100% sparkproof.

May 14, 2018 at 7:45 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I can find no specific law against underground parking
but I find it mentioned on BBC 2007 webpage
"BMW has said it cannot be parked for sustained periods in the commission's underground garage, because there are no widely accepted standards for storing tanks of compressed hydrogen in enclosed spaces."


A BMW PDF does say

"Since adequate statistically reliable data obtained under regular operating conditions is not yet available to confirm the safety of the hydrogen tank as such, parking in closed-in spaces is currently not allowed. "
"The BMW Group will maintain this rule in the interest of the car’s drivers until adequate, statistically valid reliability data has been compiled. "
It qualifies that
"Driving the car and BRIEFLY stopping in fully enclosed spaces such as indoor car parks, driving through tunnels of any length, and using car wash facilities, as well as parking in an open carport, are fully allowed without restrictions"
So yes seems like a rule arising out of a duty to be safe , rather than specific laws.

I attending a lecture with a hydrogen car a couple of years ago, and that is where I first heard of the enclosed parking problem.

An EU regulation doesn't mention such garaging, but does mention problems of hydrogen accumulating in enclosed compartments etc.

May 14, 2018 at 7:59 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The HSL is working on Hydrogen laws
but has no details yet on its website
Only an intro page

May 14, 2018 at 8:16 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I spot someone pushing a claim that hydrogen gas is just like Town gas and that Town gas was safe from explosion seems like FakeNews.
It's easy to find incidents of explosions during town gas days.
It's also not clear what proportion was methane.
I doubt it was 100% hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide as it was known to be dirty and smelly and those gases are odourless.

\\ Here is the composition of town gas(from my textbook):
H2 49%
CH4 28.5%
CO2 19.5%
CO 3%
CH4 is used for combustion //

Ofgem " despite formerly distributing town gas with 40-60% hydrogen.
There has been substantial study work into hydrogen injection, but limited practical experience.
To pursue this decarbonisation route, the UK needs to undertake practical hydrogen injection to establish feasibility and determine the appropriate level of blending on current networks and in appliances."
" Recently the HSE issued a document10 assessing the feasibility of injecting hydrogen into the gas distribution network, which concluded that ‘concentrations of hydrogen in methane of up to 20% by volume are unlikely to increase risk from within the gas network"

May 14, 2018 at 8:36 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Tomo posted
I've seen several pieces on fuel cell cars and the take-away as far as I can see is that the arithmetic only "works" if you put an absolutely enormous price on the tailpipe emissions alone.

Of course as usual that isn't mentioned - neither is the cost of supporting hydrogen infrastructure. Given the money being hosed at the railways at the moment (more than roads) - it's not unreasonable to suppose that a proportion of the funding has been tagged for "sustainable railways" and this is simply an attempt to snag some of that budget.

May 14, 2018 at 9:27 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stewgreen, I have no first hand experience, but these devices are valued by Round-The-World Yactsmen and Women, and long distance ocean-going sailors. The capital cost is high, and availability of Methanol is not guaranteed in all parts of the world. They are for trickle charging of yacht batteries, not direct propulsion, but presumably money can be made in attempting to scale up.

http://www.yachtingworld.com/yachts-and-gear/fuel-cell-from-hydromax-61303

May 14, 2018 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

stewgreen, the owners of car parks (their Insurers actually), particularly basement or multistorey, may have exclusions concerning specific types of vehicle or propulsion system. For example, no coal/wood fired steam traction engines, that represent a high risk of generating a fire.

Car Insurers would also need to be satisfied that a car won't spontaneously combust, and ignite other cars resulting in liability claims

May 14, 2018 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I would expect that your hydrogen powered car would not be allowed on a car ferry. Design regs for ships include things like where the emergency battery room(s) can be built. Typically on the upper deck with lots of ventilation and all lighting etcetera to be explosion proof. Due to hydrogen from batteries.

May 15, 2018 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve richards

Don't expect to get it on the chunnel either.

May 15, 2018 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve richards

Steve richards, thanks for those comments. It is not always about National, EU or International Laws, but what Insurers will accept. Insurers can impose bans/restrictions more rapidly than Laws can be introduced.

Some fires, notably in tunnels and ferries, have been linked to the small diesel engines and fuel supplies used to power the refrigeration units on trucks. Film footage of roadside lorry fires sometimes shows that the fire started ABOVE the cab, as opposed to in the cab, main engine bay, fuel tank and delivery system

May 15, 2018 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Generalising, I still think that a 'hydrogen economy' infra-structure could be made to work, minimizing, but not eliminating, the problems with hydrogen storage, transport, and use. And that will be where direct electricity supply is not practicable. Which probably means transport and remote locations.

But not in my lifetime. No serious start can be made on constructing a hydrogen economy until we return to the idea that energy should be made as copiously cheap as possible, for everyone. Even after such sanity is restored and the green bubble is punctured, I just can't see it happening on a large scale until nuclear power is well on the way to supplying essentially all our energy needs and coal/hydrocarbon resources no longer able to compete. Everything else until then is just boutique investment or subsidy farming, things which are ephemeral and not to be relied upon long term.

May 15, 2018 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart