This Is Not Your Father's Hydrogen Powered Car

Not that you’re dad ever had one, but hell, if it was good enough for Oldsmobile, it’s good enough for me.

I’d really to find the technical details on this, so that I could go ahead and start converting my cars over to it. (Yes, Tucker has toys.)

This was featured in New Scientist three weeks ago, complete with a terrific schematic of the whole chemical cycle including the boron-refreshing plant and the solar power for that! A completely self-contained cycle, it’s beautiful to see.

It starts here but you need to be a NS subscriber to read the lot (which I think may be the same text you have linked to) and see the diagram I’m afraid.

Funny how all these new developments start popping up now we’re running out of petrol.

But yeah, interesting news! Good to see that that hydrogen thing has become a little more feasible again.

Since it’s not a renewable energy source, technically we’ve always been running out of petrol. We have not yet reached a state of “peak oil” though.

I like this idea though. It’s a little more complex than the older ideas, but it has the potential not only to make the generation of hydrogen fuel much greener and requiring of far less effort, but also do so by a means that allows the catalyst to be retained and recycled back to its original state to be reused, thus retaining a zero-emissions engine design. This means that hydrogen fuelling stations would be unnecessary, though you would have to have a means to swap your boron oxide for a new (tank?) of boron – which could probably be set up just about anywhere as part of any automotive shop.

A fringe benefit that I can see is that because it’s an exothermic reaction, the heat could be reclaimed very easily to charge batteries that could power the car’s electrical system. Although this already occurs in cars (such as reclaiming the heat generated by the braking system) this seems like it would provide a more constant, more significant head source from which to do so, which may be able to power multiple batteries which could be used to provide additional power for electrical devices or even made into a hybrid engine that could engage if you run out of hydrogen fuel as a “last mile” resort.

There is still the question of how expensive Boron would be to buy though.

Yeah, I’ve got the issue, but the details aren’t really quite enough. I could do it with what’s in the magazine, but it’d require a lot of trial and error, which is expensive.

This is neat-but I remember an electric car design , around and aluminum-water battery. the idea was similar-you goit electric currrent out of oxidation of the aluminum, and the resultant oxide sludge could be reduced back to pure aluminum. Anybody know what happened to this?

Misread as: This Is Not Your Father’s Hydrogen-Powered Cat

I figured it probably wasn’t.

…so, it hasn’t even been built yet? :confused:

Necessity is the mother of invention.

That doesn’t sound particularly attractive to me. The average driver would need to buy a 40-pound bag of powdered boron every week or two.

What’s the going rate for boron these days? I know borax ain’t too terribly expensive, but that doesn’t mean anything.

Well, according to this page, it looks like it’s going for about $5/gram!:eek:

Presumably there’d be either a convenient apparatus for filling the sucker up in your garage, or convenient apparatus that would be retrofitted onto existing gas stations to just fill that sucker up.

A bump, because I just found this article showing that DCX built a prototype vehicle five years ago!

Yeah, the current system sucks too. I have to buy 80 pounds of toxic, flammable, volatile liquid every week or two.

I see a price of $5,000 a kg for crystalline boron – so let’s see, times 18 is… $90,000. Plus, is the production capacity there, or will demand cause the price to shoot up even further?

Ah, there’s always a catch.

Ah, but it’s not really a matter of buying the boron, is it? It’s more like you’re renting it for a while. Also, the process is not destructive, so the same boron (fluctuating with demand) is used over. If this becomes a feasible mass-market possibility, fortunes are going to made on cornering the boron market.

It could be the other way around. Boron could be expensive becaus there’s so little demand for it that it’s never made sense to set up mass production and mining. Lots of products fall into that category.

Possibly, but I don’t think so, since boron seems to be widely used to make fiberglass, and a fair number of other things. Current global production is nowhere near what would be needed if suddenly every car owner needed 18 kg of the stuff.

This is a cool idea, but it ain’t going to work, unless somebody invents a new and easy process for extracting boron. The price has to come down a hundredfold before you’re in spitting distance of feasibility.

This isn’t a particularly new idea. A company called PowerBall Technologies was working on a similar technology based on sodium hydride maybe four or five years ago. They were selling fuel balls and fuel processors on a small scale. I think they even got a pilot recycling plant running in Utah at one point, but they seem to be defunct now.

Given the industry already in place around sodium hydride and sodium hydroxide (lye), this might be more practical than boron in terms of supply.