Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Fuel cells are a stop-gap replacement for the stop-gap hybrid technology of the Prius, et al. I have and tryuly enjoy my '04 Prius and am not holding my breath for practical fuel cell powered cars with convenient economical fueling stations.

Fuel cells are "OLD HAT" but continue to be "flogged" like they were really something new, improved, and lemon scented.

Fuel cells, if commercially viable and get timely fuel station availability, convenience, and competitive pricing, will be perhaps an adequate but temporary stop-gap to fill the nitche after the stop-gap hybrids (Prius etc.) prior to some REAL TECHNOLOGY like "Nitrogen Power."

Nitrogen powered vehicles will be even less poluting than fuel cell vehicles which emit copius quantities of water vapor. Yes, water vapor can be a polutant. Just like a "weed" is a plant growing in the wrong place, water vapor released in massive quantities by fleets of fuel cell vehicles will substantively raise the relative humidity where the vehicles are operated and thus pollute that area. It is unlikely that the fuel (hydrogen) will be obtained in the area where it is consumed so there will be many tons of humidity released where it wouldn't have otherwise have been. Water is very bio-reactive, especialy when compard to N2 (common nitrogen molecule.)

Let us consider an example of a man made disaster due to increased relative humidity. Arid regions with quite low relative humidity that have subsequently been (over)populated and humidified by lawn watering etc. have experienced an increase in their heat index and a plague of bugs that couldn't previously survive the climate. Other downsides include increased respiratory distress. Palm Springs, Phoenix, Tucson, El Centro, etc. are examples.

Now then, about the nitrogen power technology... Although in its infancy, it shows great promise as a high energy density fuel with little polution. Nitrogen can exist in various states. These states have diferent bonds between nitrogen atoms forming nitrogen molecules. Of interest as regards energy storage is the crystaline state, i.e. polymeric nitrogen.

Nitrogen in its most stable state is nitrogen molecules formed by pairs of atoms linked by strong triple bonds. Polymeric nitrogen is nitrogen packed into a 3D network having single bonds binding each atom to three other atoms. The energy difference between the polymeric form and common molecular form is huge, having storage capacities per unit volume surpassing some of the most powerful explosives available today (conventional not nuclear).

Polymeric nitrogen can store and release huge amounts of energy and the ONLY substance emitted is common molecular nitrogen which is the stuff that comprises about 78% of each breath we draw. Slight variations in nitrogen content of the environment are not particularly dangerous and are significantly more benign than water vapor. Concentrations of nitrogen powered vehicles will not constitute a vast threat to the environment.

I'll just drive my Prius and enjoy life and see when fuel cells become convenient and economical. Meanwhile lets cheer for the science types working on polymeric nitrogen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Both hydrogen and even nitrogen power have the same problem, they aren't actually sources of energy. Hydrogen is very rare in gaseous form, most being tightly bound to other atoms (think water). Although there is a bunch of nitrogen not bound into N2 (is it a building block of life), polymeric nitrogen certainly isn't naturally occuring.

Either technology requires another source of energy and merely is a form of energy storage. Either technology tends to distract people from the underlying problem of finding an economical, renewable, supply of energy.

BTW, theorizing about problems caused by water vapor are, in my opinion, very overblown. Yes, a hydrogen vehicle emits water, but so does a conventional hydrocarbon engine. It is much easier to "pollute" with water by spraying it on things than by breaking it apart in one location, and recombining it in another.

Using polymeric nitrogen for energy storage is only theoretical. Only recently has it even been created, and then only under similar circumstances to where diamonds are created. It is not know that the crystals can even survive in ambient temperature.

http://www.llnl.gov/etr/pdfs/08_94.6.pdf
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040717/fob4.asp
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
dz3, I don't recall proposing nitrogen as an energy source. I wasn't addressing the impending end of the world as we know it due to runing out of oil.

Nitrogen may become an efficient compact transport/storage agent for energy. Of course an energy source will be required to achieve the "uphill" change of state. This energy can be captured when the nitrogen returns to its "ground state."

I think you are underinformed of the aspects of relative humidity polution. I also think your humor detection algorythm should be preset to a more sensitive level.

Thanks for the reply. I do appreciate intelligent adult dislcourse. I was surprised no one flamed me for labeling the Prius a stop-gap measure while waiting for the next stop-gap measure (fuel cells.)

Once burned twicce warry... researchers are still quite interested in "cold" fusion but are want to publish too speculatively lest they be ridiculed. It is entirely possible that cold fusion will supply the clean energy to achieve the potential of polymeric nitrogen.

Pat :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
patrickg said:
Once burned twicce warry... researchers are still quite interested in "cold" fusion but are want to publish too speculatively lest they be ridiculed. It is entirely possible that cold fusion will supply the clean energy to achieve the potential of polymeric nitrogen.
Fusion, hopefully will eventually but "cold fusion"...pretty unlikely. Those researchers who are still holding out hope for it are a fairly fringe group...and the ridicule they are worried about is probably deserved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
john1701a said:
By the way, the term "Fusion" obviously has strong market-appeal potential. It's the name Ford selected for the Taurus replacement.
The marketing types usually don't miss a trick. Hope it doesn't get a "COLD" reception. I still laugh at GM (Chevrolet division) trying to market the Nova in Spanish speaking countries where "no va" means it won't go!

Funny isn't it how a little cutting edge science leavened with a measure of speculaltion seems to bring out the Ludites among us? Especially interesting when we are driving the most technically advanced production car on the market.

I'm a fan of ST too but get a grip, we aren't in a "parallel" developing situation where we are destined to have a fictional history determine our future. Of course given the high cost of maintaining diverse subscriptions to peer reviewed journals being what they are or have become these days it is a lot cheaper to opt out for the popular press, news snippets, science TV. I recently read where subscriptions to monthlies averages $400/yr for each journal with math/earth science and medivcine being the highest at $55 and $704 respectively. Glad I didn't want medical journals and will settle for the "Reader's Digest" versions available second hand for medical info.

:D PaT :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
Note please that fusion, at least the normal "hot" kind is far from clean. The intense flux of high-energy neutrons interact with everything around them and produce a witches-brew of radioactive isotopes, both within the fuel itself and in the containment vessel. Presumably, the same would be true of "cold" fusion, if such a thing turns out to be anything other than fantasy.

And I agree with Patrick:

John, you da man, and I love ya, for all you've done for the Prius, and all you've taught me about it! But Star Trek has nothing to do with the real world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I haven't ignored or underestimated the effects of SciFi (good and bad) on the real world. I confess I may have indeed made too strong a negative comment re the conection.

Isaac Asimov said that you don't need IQ tests for school kids, the smart ones are reading science fiction. Between that and his 3 fundamental laws of robotics, PLUS the zeroth law he made a decent contribution via fiction (don't forget he was a quite prolific author of science texts.)

Arthur Clarke is credited with being first to postulate geosynchronous orbits which is one of many examples of science fiction predating science fact but don't make the logical error of post hoc propter ergo hoc. We would still have geosynchronous orbiting commsats had Clarke been silent.

Jules Verne got ahead of the nuclear sub and manned missions to the moon but had he not we would still have had both.

Of course the cross fertilization and induced hybrid vigor of fiction and science can be and often is a good thing.

There are also truly negative effects as well in the area of public understanding, expectations, etc. As I am an optimistic realist (hope for the best but deal with reality) I choose to not discuss the negatives here.

By the way, do you think a Prius with all its computational power etc. should be able to automatically (automagically?) parallel park itself? Well they have them in Japan that does and I have seen it happen.

:D Pat :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
I'm holding our for dylithium crystals...

:)

Gotta love the fact that Toyota Japan doesn't offer these self parking cars in the US!! With all the bad parking I've seen, it is desperately needed!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
I don't have to parallel park often, so I don't practice it much, but yesterday I parked in a space that was not more than 6 feet longer than my car. And I did it a lot quicker than the Japanese auto-pilot. How could I tell where the ends of my car were without seeing them? Well I learned. The human brain is like that: it learns. In Seville I watched from my window as people parked in spaces not more than 2 feet longer than their cars. Remarkable!

There's big difference between science fiction and science fantasy. Star trek is fantasy, pure and simple. Transporters, English-speaking humanoids on far-away planets, faster-than-light travel, etc., have no basis whatsoever in science. Using the language of technology does not make it science fiction.

Jules Verne's moonshot was done with a cannon. The return to earth was by parachute. Need I say more?

The smartest classmate I had in junior high school was not reading sci fi. He was reading Aristotle. I was reading some sci fi, some adventure fiction, some science, and some serious fiction.

Finally, while sci fi certainly has a strong sociological influence on the real world, and some sci fi themes can be loosely interpreted as predictive, it would be a mistake to imagine that everything in science fantasy will become real. If you're waiting for dilithium crystals to solve the energy crunch, you'd better find the fountain of youth, because you've got a long wait!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
I'm way ahead of you on that one!! I know the fountain is here somewhere!! :p

Seriously, when you consider the technilogical groth curve over the last 100 years, it looks something like this:
.
..
...
.....
..........
.........................
......................................................
......................................................................................................
Today__________________________________________100 years ago

We learn more in a year than we did in 100 years. The fact that scientists have created an atomic tube that has a "wall" only 1 atom thick ... and that the voyager I space craft, which was launched in the early 70's, is preparing to leave the solar system while still transmitting back to earth ... and that 2 JPL rovers have landed on Mars and have traveled miles on it's surface ... I have to believe the technology will come far enough that a solution can be found.

Heck, look at the Prius and notice how far it has come!! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
CaPriusLover said:
... I have to believe the technology will come far enough that a solution can be found.
Hey, the technology is here. We already have a dozen different kinds of renewable energies. The hard part is convincing the gangsters that run our country to stop subsidizing fossil fuels so that we can develop renewables before the window of opportunity closes.

And if we are going to descend into fantasy, let's do it with class: The heck with dilithium. That's about as imaginative as extender flaps on a dining-room table. I vote for the Infinite Improbability Drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are... replaced with subspace energy conduits.

But seriously folks... Daniel (named after an android from "The Caves of Steel"?) wasn't being negative, just realistic.

Ah yes, technological advance... We have indeed come a long way since the days of a stunt man in a ruber lizard suit chasing Capt. James Tiberius Kirk around a sound stage until he discovered gunpowder. We have STAR GATE and STARGATE ATLANTIS!

Oh, sorry, I should have come right to the point... now I Ihave to go and don't have time to say what I wanted to say... The replicator beeped and I want to eat breakfast while it is still hot.

:D Pat :D Prius is in garage with exactly 1000 milles on the odo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Daniel said:
You talking about me? I was named after the guy the kitty cats didn't bite.
BEEP! Wrong answer, the topic was SciFi, Old Testament is a topic in "Final Jeopardy when we come back from break... and now these words from our sponsers...."

:D Pat :D
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top