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  • edited May 18
    Well yes and no. The hydrogen was used for buoyancy to keep the ship afloat. Its engines (allowing it to move) burned a petroleum based fuel - likely diesel. It was originally designed to use helium which is much safer than hydrogen for buoyancy. But the U.S. had a monopoly on it and refused to sell to Germany.

    As far as safety in automotive use, it can be made safe just as highly flammable gasoline can be safely used as fuel.

    https://www.airships.net/hindenburg/hindenburg-design-technology/
  • Thanks for setting me straight, @hank. The hydrogen blew up pretty well after all, anyhow. Matt Damon made me laugh in "The Martian," when he recorded a video blog to give to NASA--- if he should ever get back to earth. I stole the line from him. "...Because nothing bad ever happened from lighting HYDROGEN on fire!" Tongue-in-cheek.
    ************************************************************
    If I run the hydrazine over an iridium catalyst, it'll separate into N2 and H2. And then if I just direct the hydrogen into a small area and burn it. Luckily, in the history of humanity, nothing bad has ever happened from lighting hydrogen on fire.

  • Some friends of ours in SF got a generous promotion from Toyota to buy a fuel cell vehicle. It included a large credit to buy fuel. I don't remember the exact numbers. But they were pretty darn tickled to buy it in comparison to getting another Prius.

  • edited May 18
    WABAC said:

    Some friends of ours in SF got a generous promotion from Toyota to buy a fuel cell vehicle. It included a large credit to buy fuel. I don't remember the exact numbers. But they were pretty darn tickled to buy it in comparison to getting another Prius.


    That’s interesting. Besides burning hydrogen for propulsion another approach is the fuel cell, which as I understand it, works by combining hydrogen and oxygen. Besides generating electricity, fuel cells produce water as a byproduct. They’ve been been used in manned space flight for many years.

    On the investment level, Barron’s recent deep dive into the future of autos tended to disparage Toyota for not doing much with rechargeable electric vehicles. It also mentioned their alternative hydrogen fuel program.
  • edited May 18
    You really can't predict the eventual evolution of things like this. Something like fuel cells may actually win out in the end- an amalgam of current electric propulsion and control technology with an as yet to be perfected energy source. There are just a lot of problems, both production-wise and political with batteries as the energy source, especially with respect to sourcing raw materials without doing even more damage to the planet.
  • @hank, they have a Toyota Mirai, which is a fuel cell vehicle. I'm not aware of any cars burning hydrogen internal-combustion style.

    @Old_Joe. Have to wonder what's going to happen to all those lithium batteries too.

    Some of the critics of fuel cells talk about the cost of transportation. But so far as I know, the hydrogen stations in California are producing it on site. That's the kind of tech that gets a lot cheaper as time goes by.



  • edited May 18
    @ WABC - I understood that. Perhaps my response was garbled.
  • Unlike internal combustion engines, no CO2 is produced in hydrogen-based fuel cells ethereal an electrical current is produced when hydrogen is combined with oxygen (from air). Water is the by-product. Fuel cell technology has been around for several decades as the ultimate form of clean energy. The biggest hurdles of hydrogen economy are the lack of supply infrastructure (i.e. gas station), generation and storage of hydrogen. Fleet buses in Canada is one of the few commercial use of hydrogen fuel cells. It is a tough chicken and egg problem to solve in order to make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles commercially viable.
  • From a climate change perspective only green(*) hydrogen is suitable (absent robust carbon capture) and most of what's available is not green
    https://www.statista.com/topics/7783/green-hydrogen

    The main problem with green-hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles is the low efficiency of using electricity to separate hydrogen from water then a fuel cell to make electricity again, as illlustrated in
    https://techxplore.com/news/2020-06-hydrogen-cars-wont-electric-vehicles.html

    Alternatively, for internal hydrogen combustion (which produces NOx compounds)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_internal_combustion_engine_vehicle
    https://www.cummins.com/news/2022/01/27/hydrogen-internal-combustion-engines-and-hydrogen-fuel-cells
    Or for hydrogen gas turbines
    https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/06-Goldmeer-Hydrogen Gas Turbines.pdf

    (*) Nine hydrogen "colors" are listed in
    https://www.h2bulletin.com/knowledge/hydrogen-colours-codes/
    This list lacks yellow, which is green hydrogen derived from solar electricity.
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