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Buy A Hydrogen Fuel Cell To Power Your Electric Car (You’d Probably Be Better Off With A Diesel Generator Though!)

January 22, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian




What a tangled web they weave!

From the Telegraph:




The BMW i8 plugged in to the first ever hydrogen fuel cell EV charging station

British firm AFC Energy has launched the first ever hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle charger, a system it describes as a “breakthrough” in clean mobility.

By using hydrogen fuel cells to recharge battery-electric vehicles in car parks and service stations, the system will help bridge the growing gap between electricity need and generation capacity caused by a projected rise in EV uptake. The modular, low-cost charger also solves some of the logistical issues currently associated with electric car charging, and can even operate entirely off-grid. It’s a completely different model to our current use of hydrogen in mobility, in that the vehicles themselves are BEVs rather than FCEVs, and could be deployed extremely rapidly.

“The UK government has targets for electric vehicle uptake, aiming for 100 percent of new cars to be zero-emission by 2040,” says Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy.

“The additional power required is somewhere around 27 gigawatts. That’s 17,000 wind turbines; one hundred London Arrays. It is enormous power that hasn’t been considered within the context of the policy on EV charging.

“It is one thing to stick a couple of EV charger points on the motorway, but that is not going to deliver the policy. What we are trying to do is take from government or industry the need to create another 20 gigawatts of power, and displace that with localised, decentralised, standalone clean energy solutions that will operate 24/7, as and when you need them.”

The ‘CH2ARGE’ system developed by AFC Energy is beguilingly straightforward. An alkaline fuel cell (or set of fuel cells) is connected to an inverter and a battery, via which it can charge electric vehicles using a CHAdeMO DC fast charger. It can switch on and off as required, putting any ‘spare’ electricity into its battery for later use, or exporting it to the grid.

It’s a clean, efficient, scalable and practical solution to an expanding set of challenges. What’s more, it can be built into a shipping container for quick and cheap deployment almost anywhere. The system is designed to operate on-grid, off-grid, or “near-grid”, opening up the benefits of hydrogen power to a completely new range of consumers. But where does the actual hydrogen come from?

“You could take it in from an industrial gas company in cylinders,” said Bond. “The infrastructure and logistics are already in place, so you could have that tomorrow. You can look at green ammonia;  you can crack ammonia in to hydrogen and use that hydrogen to run your fuel cell. Or you can look at using surplus renewable energy using an electrolyser, which is the Scottish model.

“But they are the mainstream options. The hydrogen generation market is exponentially bigger than that in terms of the tech that is coming through, and we are positioning ourselves to access some of these upstream hydrogen generation techniques that will remove a lot of the cost from the conventional methods. Fundamentally you can create hydrogen in ways that are not currently done commercially, at costs that are lower than what is on the market today.”


I suppose we ought to be grateful that they are honest about the huge problems of deploying grid power to charge EVs. 20 GW of extra capacity is much more than official projections suggest, and the problems only start there.

But having dug a dirty big hole, you don’t try to make it even deeper!

Buy a hydrogen fuel cell charger, and then go and find your own hydrogen!

All you need is an industrial gas company down the road, or go and find some green ammonia to make your own. Oh, and a shipping container would also come in handy.

If these hydrogen fuel cells really were a cheaper way of providing electricity, we would already be using them in our homes.


EVs are an expensive and impractical answer to a non-existent problem. So, to get around that problem, we find an even more expensive and impractical answer.

And they call that progress.

You could not make it up.

  1. HotScot permalink
    January 22, 2019 8:06 pm

    You could not make it up.

    But they did anyway.


  2. Richard Woollaston permalink
    January 22, 2019 8:20 pm

    How much energy is required to create hydrogen? And what does that do to the energy efficiency of the fuel processing chain for the proposed method?

    • Hivemind permalink
      January 23, 2019 5:10 am

      Why not simply run an ICE from the hydrogen? The multi-step process they suggest is stupidly inefficient! LNG to hydrogen, hydrogen to electricity to charge a battery, battery to run the car!

    • yonason permalink
      January 24, 2019 10:01 am

      What Hivemind wrote, it’s “stupidly inefficient.”

      You can’t beat thermodynamics. You NEVER get back the energy you put it, ever. With warmists, that’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    January 22, 2019 8:31 pm

    The Beemer i8 in the image has an electric range of just 32 miles (with a tail wind)

    Most importantly, it has a “Larger-capacity fuel tank”(!!) for its petrol engine.

    It may be considered a bargain at £124,735 OTR, but sadly its ICE engine prevents it qualifying for the taxpayer-funded government grant of £3,500 to rich owners. Sales will probably be sluggish.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      January 22, 2019 9:49 pm

      It is also notorious for poor (compared to claimed) fuel economy – think 35mpg. From what I gather, it rags its engine, diverting any power not required for motion to keeping the battery charged. It is essentially a supercar that achieves it’s performance from a smaller than usual engine by adding in the boost from electric motors! A modern 500bhp supercar with an IC engine would be just as efficient and considerably lighter.

      It’s about as far from being an affordable environmentally friendly car as you can get.

  4. Mack permalink
    January 22, 2019 9:10 pm

    I have an idea. How about bringing back the old workhouse treadmills to operate a few spinning Jennys? That’ll help charge a few batteries and keep those petty miscreants busy on ‘community sentences’ now that the UK government has decided not to dish out prison sentences of less than 6 months anymore. It’s a win win. Cheap, renewable energy. What’s not to like? Can’t be any worse than birdchoppers.

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      January 23, 2019 8:11 am

      Yes, it would solve the unemployment and obesity problem, plus save the planet as well.

  5. January 22, 2019 11:54 pm

    How much to crane these shipping containers up to each flat in a tower block…
    or will they use hydrogen balloons ?

    Are you allowed to take compressed flammable gas cylinders in lifts, or will the BOC/Air Products delivery man have to lug it up the stairs ?
    or will Amazon deliver by drone ?

    Will they lay new pipes in the streets so we get green ammonia plumbed in to our individual ammonia cracking apparatus (that’ll confuse the drug squad, as ammonia is also used in crack cocaine production )
    To sit next to your fuel cell

    Ammonia is considered a high health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs. Exposure to 300 parts per million (ppm) is immediately dangerous to life and health.

    Ammonia is flammable at concentrations of approximately 15% to 28% by volume in air. When mixed with lubricating oils, its flammable concentration range is increased. It can also explode if released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present, or if a vessel containing anhydrous ammonia is exposed to fire

  6. John F. Hultquist permalink
    January 23, 2019 12:35 am

    The auto is given an electrical charge to its battery.
    Hydrogen has to be produced first and transported to the station/charger.
    The Hydrogen is placed in a stand-alone compartment.
    There is also a battery nearby. When an auto is not being charged, the battery can be.
    Seems there will be lots of energy loss throughout this system.
    First step is producing Hydrogen. Wind? Solar?
    “Heath Robinson”/”Rube Goldberg”

  7. markl permalink
    January 23, 2019 1:03 am

    This is a joke. The cure is worse than the disease.

  8. January 23, 2019 8:55 am

    Using hydrogen to charge a battery? This is nonsense on stilts.

    the system will help bridge the growing gap between electricity need and generation capacity
    Except that electricity is needed to produce the hydrogen in the first place. Absurd.

  9. Peter Yarnall permalink
    January 23, 2019 9:18 am

    So let me get this right….use more hydrogen, which is exhausted as water, adding to the water cycle which goes into the atmosphere as more clouds, which produce more rain which flows into rivers then into the sea, result? Rising sea levels.
    Haven’t we been here before?

  10. January 23, 2019 9:20 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  11. Hivemind permalink
    January 23, 2019 10:08 am

    At least a diesel generator will work when you turn the switch, unlike Australia’s electricity network.

  12. Doug Brodie permalink
    January 23, 2019 10:11 am

    They only talk about cars so their figures understate the huge difficulty of electrifying all UK road transport. According to the July 2018 issue of BEIS Energy Consumption in the UK , UK road transport energy consumption in 2017 was 41,480 ktoe = 482 TWh. Round down to say 450 TWh of petrol and diesel, disregard losses from EV charging/discharging and ICE/EV drive efficiency differences and this works out to an additional average supply of about 51 GW. The additional capacity required would be higher if demand turned out to be peaky. In 2017 the total UK electricity supply was 336 TWh which equates to an average supply of 38 GW.

    Quoting an equivalent 17,000 wind turbines without ratings is amateurish and the figure looks far too low. The UK had about 9,000 wind turbines in 2017 which supplied just 50 TWh of electricity (15% of the total).

  13. Mike H permalink
    January 23, 2019 11:18 am

    Doug; Those are startling statistics! So electrifying road transport would more than double the present electricity demand….and that’s before the schemes to switch domestic heating and hot water to electricity.
    It’s amazing how the spokesman can just glibly talk about getting some hydrogen. If only there were some half-competent journos around who would challenge this sort of misleading garbage.

    • howardpaul permalink
      January 23, 2019 8:08 pm

      To be honest, there was zero journalism involved in this article – to their shame, the Telegraph has simply reproduced, word for word, the crap they received from the company’s PR department. Admittedly, it’s one of the most egregious example you could possibly imagine, lacking any journalist input whatsoever, not even a bye-line

  14. Doug Brodie permalink
    January 23, 2019 12:41 pm

    Mike, as you say, electrification of domestic heating would also be a huge undertaking. The Digest of UK Energy Statistics shows that UK fossil fuel domestic heating energy consumption is about 350 TWh annually. The demand for heating is very peaky, mainly in the evenings and mostly in winter, so the additional electricity generation capacity needed to meet this demand could be even higher than that for road transport electrification.

  15. Gerry, England permalink
    January 23, 2019 1:48 pm

    And What Car announce the first battery car to win their car of the year award. It is the Kia e-Niro. It is affordable they claim – well, with £3500 of taxpayer cash to sweeten the bill. Will do over 200 miles – hmm, as always you wonder if this is the best possible figure and so not at all likely. Remember James May in his people’s car programme pointed out that the Nissan Leaf had a realistic range of 70 miles – the same as the battery cars of the 1890s, although it will do it faster and in more comfort. A full battery charge is……29 HOURS. So use your e-Niro every other day then. Or perhaps you could travel by horse…it would be quicker on a long journey. Bearing in mind another thread here about eras and epochs, perhaps we are in the Retardocene, where the retards are in charge and humans are regressing for the first time in history.

  16. January 23, 2019 3:45 pm

    We’re on 100 million barrels of oil a day, and rising fast.

    Only the terminally blinkered believe the numbers will go down any time soon.

  17. Athelstan permalink
    January 23, 2019 4:50 pm

    well we’ve all talked about this sort of rocking horse doo dah’s before, only the generation snowflake and the likes of perry and crudd da wimin could make this up and they do.

    If you’re of a sane mind and given to logic and reasoned disposition and require to maintain your mind is said state, it’s best not to try reading this sort of denoodled chicken doo dahs.

  18. saparonia permalink
    January 26, 2019 2:45 pm

    “Fundamentally you can create hydrogen in ways that are not currently done commercially, at costs that are lower than what is on the market today.” – Instructions please? Are we all being told how to burn hydrogen? haha
    This is crazy, says “There are several methods for creating hydrogen fuel, but the most common nowadays is via steam-methane reformation, a process by which high-temperature steam (1,000 degrees Celsius) creates a reaction with methane gas in the presence of a catalyst to produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide and a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide. “

    • January 26, 2019 6:50 pm

      And the carbon monoxide naturally decays to ozone and CO2.

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