Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some musings about methanol and fuel cells

Fuel cells are much more efficient than internal combustion engines.  Here's an example.

The EPA rating of the Honda FCX Clarity 60  miles per kg hydrogen.  Now if you were to hydrolyze electrolyze the methanol in order to obtain the hydrogen, how many miles per gallon equivalent would you get?  I came up with about 30 for this car.

An equivalent car with a internal combustion engine running on methanol would be much less mpg than a gasoline powered engine because there is less energy per gallon in methanol than for gasoline.  About 60%, if memory serves.

If an equivalent gas powered car got 30 mpg with gas, then methanol would only be about 18 mpg.  In other words, a little more than half of the efficiency of the hydrogen obtained by hydrolysis of methanol.  Not to mention that methanol is cheaper than gasoline.

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