Hydrogen Fueled Cars


It was fascinating last night to watch Myth Busters, where they tested “fuel improvement” systems.

Of course, none worked, including the grossly undersized fuel cell.

However, they did get the car working on hydrogen from a cylinder. (of course, there was the slight drawback of the explosion the second time they did it! :D) That made me wonder…

Has anyone ever looked at the cost effectiveness of using household electricity to produce hydrogen into a cylinder like that one, and use it to power a car?

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

a) Clearly you can run a standard car on hydrogen – they did it with no modifications at all. Modifications may be needed to improve efficiency, but clearly it works.

b) It should be possible to create a simple plant that bottled hydrogen that runs on household water and electricity. They had one, but it just didn’t produce enough.

c) So the only question is: does the electricity that would be used cost more than the petrol that would give the same energy?

I doubt you could buy the cylinder of hydrogen they used for a cost-effective price, but if everyone started doing it, who knows? Even if you had to change the cylinder every day, that sure beats taking the train with Nandor’s dreads stuck in your face.

All this just servers to remind us though: just because we might be running out of oil, does not mean we have to give up our cars.

4 comments

  1. Heh.. Incomplete thought. Just do the maths.

    How much energy is required to produce hydrogen from water?

    What energy is required to compress that hydrogen into the car fuel cylinder.

    How far will that hydrogen powered car travel on a tank full?

    What proportion of NZ electricity is produced by fossil fuel ???

    Heh.. AND RISING !!

  2. I looked into this at one stage and the amount of energy you’d need to convert the required amount of water into hydrogen was so great that it really wasn’t worth doing (using electricity from the grid, anyway)

  3. After food, electricity is the most expensive form of bulk energy. Using electricity as a substitute for other energy forms is usually a bad idea (especially in NZ, where every marginal kilowatt-hour comes from natural gas).

  4. Energista – you potentially wouldn’t use marginal KWH’s. Sort of a “night store” concept would be quite possible.

    How on earth do you figure that electricity is the most expensive form of energy?

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