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Hydrogen Batteries for Hydrogen Cars?

It’s no secret that there has been a long-time rift between the camps of battery electric vehicle (BEV) people and hydrogen car people. Many extremists in each camp have dug their heels in with a glaring disdain for the other technology.

But, what if we were to blur the edges a bit between the two technologies? Where would each camp fall then? There are a couple of emerging hydrogen battery technologies that have made me wonder where people will fall on this issue.

The first such device comes from the Energy Interface Technology Group and AIST. These groups, “…have developed the concept of a clean hydrogen production system based on controlled lithium-water electrochemical reactions and have successfully investigated the system.”

The BEV people may like the fact that this battery uses lithium and water to produce both electricity and hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be run through a fuel cell to produce more electricity, which hydrogen car advocates will appreciate.

The second such device of note is a nickel hydrogen battery being developed for a Boeing satellite. I’ve talked about nickel hydrogen batteries before but it’s worth talking about it again.

According to the Military Aerospace website, “EaglePicher’s nickel-hydrogen batteries and cells have powered more than 450 space missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope where the batteries have lasted four times longer than the projected lifespan. In addition to Hubble, EaglePicher batteries and cells have supported the International Space Station, Lunar Rover, Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury. In all, EaglePicher nickel-hydrogen products have logged, more than 1.4 billion hours in space without a single mission failure, says a company spokesperson.”

Now, some BEV people truly in their hearts believe that some form of lithium battery will lead us beyond the 21st century. But, what if this battery included hydrogen and lithium or what if this battery included hydrogen but no lithium – how dug in will both camps be then?

I only throw this out because I’ve been a long-time proponent in the combination of the most robust hydrogen fuel cell technology in addition to the most robust in battery technology for the purpose of creating an ultra clean and fuel efficient vehicle that will be the Next Big Thing in transportation technology.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. Interesting, but it seems like they’re a long way from knowing if this is practical for a EV.

    I’m clearly in the HEV camp, but it’s not because I have any special love for H2, but rather because I think it’s more likely to become a serious replacement for the ICE.

    If some battery technology were to be developed that took up 1/3 of the weight and volume of Li-on and cost 1/3 as much, I would switch in an instance.

    Unfortunately batteries aren’t semi-conductors and progress is very, very slow.

    I can’t speak for why the BEV people are so excited about the prospect of paying the equivalent of $10 a gallon for fuel with a car that has a range of 100 miles (optimistically), but I think they underestimate how fundamental the cost and range problems are.

    With the current technology BEV’s are like corn ethanol — they only exist in the marketplace because of generous government subsidies and without a major breakthrough, they are of no use in eliminating the use of oil products for transportation.


  2. Michael C. Robinson

    Check out Plasma Kinetics, the technology they are pioneering is essentially a hydrogen battery. For 400 pounds less that the 10k PSI hydrogen gas tank system, the same range is possible. I think a hydrogen battery of some sort with a small nickel metal hydride battery to get things started is the best way to go. Unfortunately, I don’t think Plasma Kinetics has much support and worse than that I don’t see the major auto makers taking notice.

  3. I’m right there with you! This is my favorite website, I can’t believe the dreams I have been having are the same ones being thought of by others and are for real! It seems only sommon sense to combine the two together and my next idea is to also put photo voltaics on and small wind turbines in the hoods of the hydrogen electric cars. Think of teamwork- when you have just one more person helping with a project, the task is exponentially easier and gets done that much faster-same would apply with hydrogen fuel cells and electric batteries. We need to think outside our normal box and start our next industrial revolution- THE GREEN REVOLUTION! We need to spread the word and do much more, they are trying to hold back hydrogen until 2015 so they can make as many profits as long as they can and we can’t stand for that! Let’s get going with this good change!


    Derek McGowan

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