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Western Railroad Discussion > BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?


Date: 04/26/16 16:53
BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: bnsfsd70

BNSF 1205, their Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid sits out on the north side of the Topeka, KS shops today, and apparently the project is now dead. Interestingly, I heard that the unit is to be stripped of its innards and donated to a museum. Interesting...

For historic reference, this unit was built as a CP Green Goat #1704.  After that failed, the BNSF picked it up and began working on it for hydrogen purposes in 2008.  Video of its unveiling can be found here:

Any further info would be appreciated,
- Jeff Carlson




Date: 04/26/16 17:19
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: Lackawanna484

There's some interest in dehydrogenating natural gas to produce propylene, a basic feedstock.

That would produce a lot of hydrogen. Toyota is working on hydrogen fuel cell technology for its vehicles.

Posted from Android



Date: 04/26/16 21:56
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: SD45X

It never turned a revenue mile:)
Just one of those propaganda items that BNSF did to show california they care.



Date: 04/27/16 05:35
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: dash944cw

"Video of its unveiling can be found here:"
?????

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/16 05:36 by dash944cw.



Date: 04/27/16 06:19
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: bnsfsd70

dash944cw Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "Video of its unveiling can be found here:"
> ?????

Oh, sorry.  I ran afoul of TO's terms here.  It's on the yoo toob machine and can find it if you search for "BNSF hydrogen 1205."

Sorry about that,
- Jeff Carlson



Date: 04/27/16 08:02
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: BAB

Been hearing about this type of fuel for many years also many have tried and failed to make it work like they say it will. HO HUM



Date: 04/27/16 08:53
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: SCL1517

A Caterpillar prime mover can't seem to be made to work in railroad line haul freight service after 30+ years of effort. I see no reason to be optimistic that these even edgier efforts will ever bear fruit. Every time BN tries something innovative, diesel prices crater; this goes all the way back to the two old Q GP9's that burned gas back in 1984.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 04/27/16 09:22
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: PHall

California isn't the only place with bad air. Texas has more "low emissions" units then California does. 



Date: 04/27/16 09:51
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: ddkid

BAB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Been hearing about this type of fuel for many
> years also many have tried and failed to make it
> work like they say it will. HO HUM

The trouble with hydrogen (no emissions, fuel of the future, blah blah) is that it's not really a fuel, it is an energy storage medium.  Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but on Earth, it's rarely found in the free state; it's combined with other elements, notably oxygen and carbon.  For use as a fuel, it must be separated, which takes energy.  The first and second laws of thermodynamics must be observed; you can't get more energy in the form of hydrogen than you've expended in isolating it, and you can't even get back as much energy as you've expended.  The sole exception occurs when the source of the hydrogen is hydrocarbons, and it's combined with oxygen to  make water, in which case you might as well burn the hydrocarbons directly and avoid all the rigamarole of isolating the hydrogen.

So, while hydrogen advocates pose its problems in terms of how do you store and carry it, what do you use to extract energy from it, and so on, the real question is where do you get the hydrogen, in a way that makes energetic sense?
 



Date: 04/27/16 11:38
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: loopy7764

I still haven't haven't met *anybody* who's kids have driven a hydrogen-'powered' car, like we were told by the POTUS 13 years ago...



Date: 04/27/16 12:30
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: PHall

loopy7764 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still haven't haven't met *anybody* who's kids
> have driven a hydrogen-'powered' car, like we were
> told by the POTUS 13 years ago...

Toyota has just started testing some Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered vehicles here in SoCal.
About the only places to refuel them so far is Toyota in Torrance and the Riverside Alternative Fuel Station in Riverside.



Date: 04/27/16 12:39
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: Kimball

There is also a hydrogen station in Lake Forest CA right off interstate 5.  I one saw a car there.



Date: 04/27/16 13:28
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: bnsfsd70

Whenever there is experimentation of any sort, and especially when it is in regards to clean energy, there seems to be an amazingly high number of people who want these things to fail. I'm fully aware that these projects have not panned out for quite some time, but it's important that they continue to work on them, as eventually, we will all need another way to get around.

So far as the failures go, it's worth remembering Thomas Edison's famous words "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

- Jeff Carlson

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/16 13:30 by bnsfsd70.



Date: 04/28/16 01:19
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: jst3751

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> loopy7764 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I still haven't haven't met *anybody* who's
> kids
> > have driven a hydrogen-'powered' car, like we
> were
> > told by the POTUS 13 years ago...
>
> Toyota has just started testing some Hydrogen Fuel
> Cell powered vehicles here in SoCal.
> About the only places to refuel them so far is
> Toyota in Torrance and the Riverside Alternative
> Fuel Station in Riverside.

I wonder how Toyota's decision to move their US headquarters to Texas will effect projects like this in Southern California.



Date: 04/28/16 02:52
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: wpdude

The Thomas Edison quote says it all. Not every "experiment" is succesful (that's why it's an "experiment"), and "alternatives" need to be cost effective!



Date: 04/28/16 06:13
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: sphogger

The building in West Sacramento that houses the California hydrogen automobile project has been stripped of nearly all of the auto maker logo's that once adorned its edifice.  I assume Hydrogen for transportation is currently a dead horse issue.  Fukushima may have something to do with it.  Using off peak nuclear power would have been a clean sensible way of separating hydrogen molecules from H2O. 

Sphogger



Date: 04/28/16 06:42
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: doge_of_pocopson

A few points:

1.  Regarding laws of thrermodynamics:  yes, there must be energy input to produce H2 gas; however, not all enegy is mobile, and H2 is a mobile form of energy, as are hydrocarbons.  Since there are no natural deposits of H2 gas --it must be manufactured, requiring energy, and therefore, there is a net loss of energy in its use as an energy source.  There are efficient catalysts that exist for this process, however, reducing the input energy.  It does release a great deal of energy, when it reacts with O2 to yield water as a non-toxic, clean by-product.  That is the appeal, as has been pointed out.  Note that producing refined fuels (drilling, pumping, transport, refining -- also requires input energy, and substantial total energy at that. 

One would want to use the lowest cost source (feedstock -- coal, natural gas, natural sources of hydrogen, or water) of hydrogen and use the lowest cost energy to produce it.  Nuclear energy has been a possibility, but accidents have led to its lack of appeal on the grounds of safety, as well as the high cost (when including construction and decommissioning, as well as waste).  Solar energy, for example, becomes cheaper by the year, and is a viable source of energy for H2 production.  Perhaps fusion will one day be viable.  The keys are cost.  In a world with high mobile hydrocarbon cost (total) and low cost of non-hydorcarbon based energy, and more concern for the "costs" of pollution, hydrogen may be quite cost-competitive. 

 2.  Hydrogen fuel cells do work, and work well to produce energy.  The technology exists.  There are safety concerns with liquid hydrogen, as well as cost.  It is not surprising that the BNSF experiment would be converted to conventional fuel at this time -- the data may have been obtained, the cost of diesel is cheap, and the unit is sitting around, not earning its keep. 

Thx -- B



Date: 04/28/16 07:08
Re: BNSF's Hydrogen fuel cell project dead?
Author: Lackawanna484

Great information.

On the "other" hydrogen thread, it was noted that hydrogen is spun out of natural gas as a byproduct of making propylene and certain other chemical feed stocks. And, could be a viable product for the rails to carry, depending on who wants it, and what they will pay for it.

Propane, LPG, feed stocks etc are all valuable cargos for the railroads.

WONK ALERT

One problem with the increasing amount of anti-science is that many folks just ignore information that doesn't support their point of view. Nuclear power produces clean, stack-gas-free, electricity. With a dangerous but manageable waste that 80 other countries have resolved.  But one group is totally and completely opposed to it. Another group favors coal fired electricity, oblivious to the waste ash and stack gas problems.

Hydrogen may prove to be a specialized power sometime in the future, or it may go to Wankel-heaven with the TurboTrains.  Time will tell.



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