This past year the price of an oil barrel on the world oil market has hit an all time high. This is not at last due to an ongoing and increasing oil demand of south-eastern countries. It seems rather likely that - as an immediate result - gas prices will keep on increasing in the next 10 to 20 years up to a point, where alternative energy sources become of interest due to economical reasons rather than ecological ones.
Here in Europe, the fuel prices are already considerably higher than in the US. As a result, there is e.g. a strong market for cars using modern direct fuel injection turbo-diesel engines with improved gas mileage. (In Germany the percentage of newly sold cars with these diesel engines has come close to 50% in the past year. This affects also the motorcycles: A German motorcycle mag recently reported about a small local company developing a 1400 ccm diesel engine cruiser. Its mill produces almost ridiculous amounts of torque that should leave any Harley engioneer green with envy...
A similar development already seems to have affected the US car market considering the somewhat unexpected sales success of the Toyotas hybrid engine technology. Its combination of a conventional fuel motor with several electric engines seems to result in considerable better gas mileage without a noticable change in the way these cars are operated. (Apart from the fact that this Prius car is one ugly mother... )
The added advantage of this hybrid technology is that the electric engines, while noise-wise rather unspectacular, can be very nice torque monsters - they may outperform even big block fuel-based motors.
As a fact, BMW recently equipped one of their big SUVs with an electric motor hybrid option for internal research purposes. This fuel combustion/electric motor combination results in a peak torque of more than 1000 Nm. First tests report that this two-ton mother accelerates in a way that the allwheel-drive becomes essential to get its power onto the street. Drag racers should love this one!
In about ten to twenty years we might see that mineral oil-based fuel has become so expensive that its use even in motorcycles may no longer be affordable for Joe Public. Right now, this new hydrogen fuel cell "motorcycle" may be still sort of a joke considering its current "performance" specs.
Even if this thing still has more similarity to a mountain bicycle than a "real motorbike", we may see here the start of an interesting development, which may not be a bad thing for us:
If a future fuel cell bike has a peak performance-output of more than 100 kilowatts and a possible weight of less than 200 kilos, it is on par with the best of contemporary Japanese superbikes: how could that be a bad thing?
In the future, if you are not Donald Trump, able to afford a full tank of mineral oil fuel, and you still want to ride on just two wheels, then you might even might want to come to terms with the missing sound of such fuel cell run "stealth fighters". We can be optimistic that the engineers will also come up with some solution for those motorcyclists who have no chance of ever attracting women without the help of a "noisy" motorcycle. ;-)
Advantages of fuel-cell bikes are similar to those of electric bikes, except the fuel cell is perhaps a more promising source of electrical energy.
I might enjoy an electric/fuel-cell bike for cruising mountain roads and back roads. It would be like riding a very fast bicycle - silent, smooth, peaceful. I'm always surprised by the silence when I stop at a vista and shut down the motor. What if I could have that silence every time I coast to a stop? Only the crunch of gravel as I cruise along. Very attractive.
Of course I can get that on a mountain-bike, but at the expense of short range and great physical exertion.
To be fair this thing is about emissions, not efficency. They are not the same thing.
Of course while the little cycle emits water the energy used to the seperate those cute little hydrgen atoms requires making CO2.
There is no alternative to oil, in any thermodynamic sense, save nuclear power. (There isn't enough uranium to replace more than a fraction of the worlds electricity needs by the way) The energy is already cooked into oil. Every other conceiveable alternative requires a significant amount of energy added to make useable.
Think about this. It takes more energy (calories) to produce process and store food crops than they yield, when used by the human body. I know it sounds crazy but agriculture is also a thermocynamic loser.
Biodiesel production is a winner not a loser (facts and data not opinions)
"According to a study written by Drs. Van Dyne and Raymer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the average US farm consumes fuel at the rate of 82 litres per hectare (8.75 US gallons per acre) of land to produce one crop. However, average crops of rapeseed produce oil at an average rate of 1,029 L/ha (110 US gal/acre), and high-yield rapeseed fields produce about 1,356 L/ha (145 US gal/acre). The ratio of input to output in these cases is roughly 1:12.5 and 1:16.5."
Independent third-party, peer-reviewed studies show biodiesel has the highest energy balance of ANY fuel. A prominent USDA/DOE study shows for every unit of fossil fuel used to make biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained in energy output. That's a 320% increase and includes soybean planting, harvesting, fuel production and transportation.
What good is a clean fuel if it is too expensive to produce it... You logic seems flawed dude. Engineering has taught me that successful engineering is all about compromises... Seems like your emissions point is irrelevant...
"This past year the price of an oil barrel on the world oil market has hit an all time high."
Is that inflation-adjusted? Methinks not.
"Here in Europe, the fuel prices are already considerably higher than in the US."
Because of taxation, not supply-and-demand.
"A similar development already seems to have affected the US car market considering the somewhat unexpected sales success of the Toyotas hybrid engine technology."
A ridiculous fad, not nearly as big as everyone's making it.
"Its combination of a conventional fuel motor with several electric engines seems to result in considerable better gas mileage"
Honda CRX's were getting 50 mpg back in '85. Priuses are getting less than that in the real world.
"The added advantage of this hybrid technology is that the electric engines, while noise-wise rather unspectacular, can be very nice torque monsters - they may outperform even big block fuel-based motors."
And the disadvantages are - added complexity, added cost, and battery packs that will require replacement after 60,000 miles or so for a couple thousand dollars and, being huge and lead-acid, will be an environmental disaster to dispose of. On balance, hybrids are more environmentally destructive than a standard car. Oh, and apparently, emergency crews aren't thrilled about working near these things - something about the shock danger.
"In about ten to twenty years we might see that mineral oil-based fuel has become so expensive that its use even in motorcycles may no longer be affordable for Joe Public. "
Heard the same thing in the '70's. According to Paul Ehrlich and his crew, we were supposed to be oilless, frozen in the pollution-caused Ice Age, and starving by now.
Back to the fuel cells - if they do catch on, I hope they have evaporation collectors on them - imagine New York City in the summer with every car spitting water vapor. Of course, between the NIMBYs and the trial lawyers, there will never be hydrogen filling stations of the density of present day gas stations, so it's moot.