The Truth about Hydrogen
The truth about hydrogen vs batteries in cars

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Get 2 months of Skillshare for FREE using this link: Errors: I made an off hand comment about adding efficiencies in the video without thinking. This is obviously incorrect, but the final calculation does in fact multiply the efficiencies. Credits: Director: Stephanie Sammann ( Narrator/Co-Director: Brian McManus Animations: Mike Ridolfi ( Sound: Graham Haerther ( Get your Real Engineering merch at: Editing Laptop: Camera: Microphone: Patreon: Facebook: Instagram: Twitter: Discord: My Patreon Expense Report: Thank you to my patreon supporters: Adam Flohr, darth patron, Henning Basma, Mark Govea, Hank Green, Tony Kuchta, Jason A. Diegmueller, Chris Plays Games, William Leu, Frejden Jarrett, Vincent Mooney, Ian Dundore, John & Becki Johnston. Nevin Spoljaric, Kedar Deshpande


BEASTERN 180 : You know in the future hydrogen will probably be cheaper and batteries of teslas will fade

Olav Alexander Mjelde : Is the 5% grid loss also included in the hydrogen calculations?

Aoe Ege : Why not both ? Renewable energy easy way for everything but problem starts when you need to store produced energy. I think instead of storing energy inside battery (expensive and even best batteries still loses charge overtime) its wise to store it as hydrogen if its exceeding battery capacity. Curious! :)

Paul Wood : A good video and well worth watching, but it does overlook certain aspects: The loss of electrodes during electrolysis; The energy & pollution caused during production of batteries; The relatively poor life of batteries & end of life recycling/disposal costs; The extra electricity production & distribution networks needed if all vehicles became battery powered - you only talked about the distribution of hydrogen; Petrol & diesel is already shipped around the world. Moving to hydrogen would allow poor coastal states, especially African, to become the future equivalents of OPEC, giving them an economic uplift; What happens in either case in the case of a crash. I'd expect hydrogen to be safer on balance by compartmentalisating the tank; The impact of current subsidies on the cost of buying & running electric cars. These are effectively a tax on the poor as they can't afford to benefit from the subsidies; There was successful lobbying of the EU Commission by the large European manufacturers to shut out the primarily Japanese technology of hydrogen as they were already heavily invested in hybrid tech. This reduced R&D and investment in infrastructure leading to higher unit costs. A very interesting subject, thank you.

Joeziah Babb : What about the amount of energy used to mine and produce batteries hmm? Hydrogen is not efficient, but is that really a problem if you move your power generation to renewable production exclusively? such as nuclear? What about new types of power generation that are not yet discovered? I can imagine a world where power becomes so cheap and abundant through the leverage of solar, wind and nuclear that the cost to create compressed hydrogen as a medium to distribute and use said power would be of no concern. Some people argue that imagining cheap electricity generation in a way yet to be discovered is pie in the sky... I would argue the idea of being able to produce batteries inexpensively and with anywhere near the capacity to weight/volume of a combustible is also pie in the sky...but still valid.

Alan Seiver : You should really state up front if you are sponsored by Tesla, there is so many things you have left out here.

frosty pablo : Right. The truth about hydrogen. Exposed. The lies, the drinking the womanising. Run out of humans did we ?

Brett Foster : Battery"s are toxic to make and next to impossible to recycle and toxic agin . and heavy . hydrogen and Japanese engineers are winning this battle . My opinion.

Ruben Foerster : You can't add percentages like that! It's not: 100% - 20% - 13% = 66% It's: 80% * 87% = 69% You have to multiple what is left.

John Adefila : well is cool. This is really cool you've sent me over $

sugakuu : Thx for ur video, very informative. Btw, I think ur sponsor is happy that u r using what u learnt to improve ur viewage.

Bird of Hermes : How much energy we use to produce gas?

Richard Smart : Surely Ethanol would be a better idea than Hydrogen? It is easy to produce, isn't as likely to explode and is much, much easier to store. Just sayin'...

praanav m : E L E C T R I C _K E A H R S_

MegaFrozen Man : Power To Gas (H2) can be Used at Peak power Production from renewables, wich otherwise would have Produced Non...

Die Cast Racing with Von : One Tesla (the real guy!) Tower would power thousands of electric cars for little or no cost, since it literally extracts it out of the air!

David Green : Carbon imaginary problem is BS in the extreme.

Evren : Wouldn't it be logical to assume that the hydrogen prices would go down if it was used as widely as we use electricity?

Real Engineering : Seeing a lot of comments about a factual error in this video, since it effects the conclusion of the analysis I am pinning a comment here. I made an off hand comment about adding efficiencies in the video without thinking. This is obviously incorrect, but the final calculation does in fact multiply the efficiencies. I just used the word "add" in the colloquial sense of the word without thinking. Calculations were, for battery: (.95)*(.92)* (.90)*(.90)*(.95) = 67% efficiency Hydrogen Best Case: (.92)*(.80)*(.87)*(.60)*(.90)* (.95) = 32.85% efficiency Hydrogen Worst Case: (.92)*(.70)*(.87)*(.50)*(.90)*(.95)*(.80) = 19.16% efficiency. I need to do a better job of proof reading my scripts, but I always proof read my calculations multiple times over.

Stephen Hall : Assured range, less weight and economies of scale over time favour hydrogen.

mistersushirod : On 8:41, for the battery efficiency you didn't took into account the mining for the battery components.

Barrie James : A very good video, Thankyou...

Tim Ingham : But what about the power required to push the vehicle? You did briefly show that as range increases, the weight of a battery car increases in step, but a hydrogen vehicle doesn't. But you didn't "follow through" And explain that this means the hydrogen powered vehicle is lighter and therefore uses less power.

MrFatilo : You cannot say "batteries" and "polution free" in one sentence without raising some serious eyebrows... Nor can you do it with "batteries" and "sustainable/durable". The environmental burden of the production and waste of batteries is enormous. This could partially be negated by increasing battery efficiency and durability and by recycling and resources but this comes at a huge cost, which is why it is barely being done as it is... An issue that was completely overlooked in this video and one of the key issues that we have to take into consideration i think.

arpaulus : You're telling an incomplete truth. There's a reason german physicists (and japanese) claim hydrogen, while more expensive, is the better solution in the long run.

Hhutuber : Everything he says is true but there are two factors which will give hydrogen fuel cells a decisive advantage over batteries: 1. The more hydrogen fuels cars are sold and more investment will on infrastructure grows, the cheaper the technology will get. Battery on the other hand will get more expensive with the rising demand because lithium and cobalt are expensive and limited resources. 2. The real efficiency difference won't matter in a few years when most of the electric energy will come from renewable sources. It will be very cheap to use surplus energy from wind and solar sources when there's low demand otherwise and processes like electrolysis doesn't need a lot of ramp-up time so production plants can work primarily with cheap electric energy.

mishmohd : The cost of a lithium battery vs. a fuel cell?

Dulanjala007 : if the Japan does this, then might have solutions to the problems you mentioned, such a technically advance country won't do this if it's this much expensive...

markysharky03 : Cars in general just aren't efficient forms of transport because your moving a 2 ton hunk of metal when all you need to move is a ~150 lb human

Horse Malone : Without a doubt...coal was the way forward..

ef2b : There are many errors in this presentation. Comparing current battery electric vehicle (BEV) costs per km with current hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is not fair because they are at different places in their development. Instead, you must compare them at projected comparable stages of development. I do not disagree with your implied cost of $17/kg delivered H2, but projected costs for larger stations with higher utilization are much lower. Most of the costs of delivered H2 occur at the refueling station from equipment located there, especially compressors. Work is being done to avoid this cost, e.g., searching for low-pressure storage methods that do not require refrigeration. I mention this to illustrate that me saying you must compare projected costs is not an empty, theoretical statement. You are correct, though, that understanding the transition is important. In considering battery electric vehicles, you must consider what a scaled up system looks like, one in which so many vehicles are being charged that it disrupts the grid architecture, especially near the ends of the power network. For example, if a single vehicle requires 25 kW when charging, a street with 40 homes could require an additional megawatt of capacity since it isn't unreasonable to think people come home and plug in at comparable times. Also, as you move upstream in the distribution network, these loads aggregate. While current over capacity handles existing electric vehicle charging, future scenarios must consider significant changes in the power grid and this should be factored into the cost assessment. This leads to another point regarding analysis, which is that at all times when making comparisons, one must take great care to ensure that the two things being considered have comparable system boundaries. The example of not factoring in grid upgrade costs is an example. Not using comparable maturity levels is another. Finally, it is critical to optimize with respect to the right parameter. You have focused on energy efficiency, which does seem right, but is it? Is energy the limiting factor? If our goal is energy security while achieving GHG emissions constraints, we must move to renewable primary energy sources, which are huge compared to our net demand. Energy isn't the limiting factor, _capital_ is. It is important to realize that the broad problem being analyzed is electrification of not just transportation (which is about 1/3 of our emissions), but electrification of industry and heating. Achieving this with renewables faces challenges with energy storage. When you consider hydrogen in this context, it may offer grid services that facilitate the build out of high levels of renewable power and the cost of those services (voltage regulation, for example, as well as storage) should be compared in a hydrogen scenario vs. a battery scenario. This is a second example of system boundary: You may not be comparing whole-system costs your two scenarios and, additionally, you may not be focusing on the right optimization variable. The quintessential error of poor engineering is thinking optimized _parts_ make an optimized _system._ It is important to consider the problem as a whole so that you end up with a system of balanced parts that, jointly, achieve performance specifications optimized against the proper metric. Optimizing individual components, unconstrained by system integration, is a good way to vector yourself to failure. If you are starting to feel like, "How can we ever possibly analyze all this, the system is big," then you are going in the right direction. I make these points not to harass you, but to illustrate for others what ought to go into good engineering. Disclaimer: I do analysis for my living. I analyze hydrogen systems. I am monitored by my employer to make sure I am free of apparent conflicts of interest between my work and any financial (or other) interests I or my spouse/family hold.

Itee : At 8:24 you make some mistakes. As said Wesley Terry 'A 20% loss followed by a 13% loss is not a 33% loss in total, because your only losing a % of the remaining.' and for batteries you didn't take into account the power use to extract lithium from earth that i think have a huge impact on the energy consumption to produce it even if it use oil to do that. But useful video, thank !

Joe Goog : I find the diagram (2m20s) is wrong when I compare the real weights: Tesla Model3 (5 seats) 1610-1847 kg Toyota Mirai (4 seats) 1850 kg Hydrogen may have a weight advantage. Hydrogen has a space problem for this. Hydrogen has a very low energy content per unit volume. Liquefying or compressing to 700bar to increase the energy content costs energy and money. This is one reason for the high cost per kilometre.

Thomas Frank : I'm excited to see where all of this goes. Whichever fueling method wins out, it'll likely be met by other efficiency improvements - like the autonomous car designs I've been seeing that are meant to carry only cargo rather than people. Right now the biggest energy loss comes from everyone believing they need to drive their 4,000 lb Grand Cherokee down the road to grab a loaf of bread.

Eric Clay : A bit late to the party, but at the end of your video you commented that your viewership is dropping off. Personally, I don't think it's because of problems with the logo, but rather the content itself. For a channel calling itself "real engineering", your videos are quite biased and don't really capture all the nuances of these engineering problems. Not to mention the annoying promotional content at the end in addition to all the ads YouTube likes to throw in my face. With respect to this video, as has already been said, you went into great detail to highlight all the problems with the hydrogen production process, but completely ignored the battery (and fuel cell) manufacturing side of the equation and battery degradation. It's fine if you like electric cars and think that's the best path forwards at the moment, but make sure you tell the whole story. At the moment your videos feel more like opinion pieces with cherry picked data to back up your opinion rather than a real engineering analysis.

Pef : So many assumptions my head hurts. All to discourage Hydrogen as a fuel. Did you try the more obvious assumptions though? Oil is gone? Then coal, then gas. How would you power airplanes, ocean liners, cargo ships, even tanks? Cause we know you didn't mention trains. Who needs trains right? Travel to NY from LA for 20 bucks a ticket?

Uncle Davey : The point you are making at the fifth minute, namely that you can produce the electricity with wind to do hydrolysis but you lose thirty percent is not really an issue as you invest in turbines and are using wind which otherwise simply goes to waste if not harnessed. The alternatives use fossil fuels, even photovoltaic takes space up otherwise usable for agriculture unless you do it in the Sahara, which will make us just as dependent as ever on the Muslim world for energy. Wind is a no brainer. And of course once there is volume in production the hydrogen at the pump would be a lot cheaper. Shell which you show incidentally has a vested interested in maintaining hydrocarbon combustion methods. It wants to be still relevant in an H2 age, but it doesn't want that age to come too soon. The prayer of BP, Shell, Conoco et al is like that of St Augustine: "Lord, make me holy, but not yet".

Ob Fuscated : Japanese infrastructure suits hydrogen conversion. Do a video on the SPECIFIC reasons why Toyota etc invest in it. You'll find it interesting!

RomeoAndRandom 99 : RE the new thumbnail works great, I always watch your vids, but this one caught me eye a lot better

Terry Dactyl : The problem with this presentation is you did not include costngs for end of life disposal of billions of highly toxic chemical batteries! They are dirty to produce and only a few parts of the batteries can be recycled at end of life. Also firefighters find a burning electric car's batteries hugely toxic and difficult to extinguish. Nuclear power was presented as clean cost efficient energy once upon a time, which it was, untill it went wrong. Add the clean up and human costs of Chernobyl and Fukishima, in particular, to the original estimated cost per kwh of electricity and guess what happens to the cheap power assumptions! I really don't want to leave the next generation with areas of the planet further polluted with extremely toxic chemical lakes! I'll go for Hydrogen any day, especially as you also forgot to mention the only exhaust byproduct from hydrogen is water!

a guy on an adventure : Oh... So battery elements are ready on the supermarket? Why you have in account the energy necessary to process hydrogen, but... What about the energy wasted to produce batteries, and the energy for mining its components and refine them? I mean, yes, a battery car is more efficient, well to wheel, than a hydrogen car. But not by that difference. Also, as you've said about that gas station, they produce hydrogen with electricity in excess. And this is the greatest advantage for hydrogen, paired with the easy refueling: it would be possible to, right next to the renewable energy centers, produce hydrogen with excess electricity, and with it, make a relief in power grid.

kyle robinson : You could be a good sales person or politician.

coolbean17 : One more important aspect for hydrogen is that you can use it as big battery for the grid as seen in video the station uses the extra amount available to grid at time to produce which would go to waste anyhow even if this conversion is inefficient its still better then nothing ... I guess the huge cost of the station is due to the infrastructure needed for the conversion and compression of hydrogen , with time and usage that might come down ... Also i think all grids should install hydrogen making stations at decentralised location to convert spare energy .

Korakys : I was ready to laugh at hydrogen as a fuel, but now I'm not so sure, it could be the best low emissions option for international shipping. Edit: Some people don't seem to know that international shipping means big cargo ships, they are a major source of pollution currently and use a fuel that is second only in coal to dirtiness.

toole000 : what about for semi truck.  long range semi

Nat Kidder : Hydrogen power also involves lower capital costs, since they use readily-available elements and compounds, of which lithium is not.

al fork : Hydrogen takes more energy to produce, Musk calls it stupid. First item 24 volt dry cell produces enough to run the car without refueling but needs a wankel type engine to run the hydrogen as a piston engin would rust out fron the hydrogen burn. Second item musk has no say as he is bias in the fact he is vested in electric cars.

CatchPhase : 13:01 well played Brian, well played Also, thank you so much for having this video... it really helped with my Engineering Studies Assessment Task on Private and Public Transport... I chose hydrogen cell cars.

King Julien : Great video, but I think there are still some questions left, for example: What about the ecological impact and energy needed to build the lithium ion batteries/ hydrogen fuel cells? And how do the lifespans compare? Are there potential hazards/ security issues involved? There's still so much to talk about, maybe a pt. 2 would make sense :p