Hydrogen hydrogen from water

Published on February 29th, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


Scientists Say New Hydrogen Process Is 100% Efficient

February 29th, 2016 by  

We know that Elon Musk refers to fuel cell cars as “fool cells.” We also know that there are people who still cling to the idea of a civilization that runs on clean hydrogen fuel. Honda and Toyota are both investing billions  of dollars to bring hydrogen fuel cell cars to market. Mercedes and BMW are also experimenting with hydrogen powered cars.

hydrogen from water

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. There is an awful lot of water in the world. Why don’t we just split water molecules apart and get the hydrogen that way? There are two problems with that idea.

First, splitting water into its component atoms requires more energy than is contained in the hydrogen produced. Some people think this objection can be overcome by using solar power. That may be possible 50 years from now, but today, there is not enough solar power available to meet all of the world’s needs. There’s simply not enough left over to divert some of it to producing hydrogen. It hardly makes sense to use fossil fuels to produce hydrogen.

Second, the infrastructure to support hydrogen fueled cars is in its infancy. While a Tesla SuperCharger station might cost a few hundred thousand dollars to construct, hydrogen refueling stations can cost up to $2,000,000 or more. Once again, the future simply isn’t here yet.

Now, researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology in Israel say they have found a way to complete on part of the process required to obtain hydrogen from water with 100 percent efficiency. In other words, all the energy going into the reaction comes out the other side. That first step is known as reduction. if the second step in the process — oxidation — can be improved upon, hydrogen fuel could become a viable, emissions free fuel.

“I strongly believe that the search for clean and renewable energy sources is crucial,” lead researcher Lilac Amirav from the  told Phys.org. “With the looming energy crisis on one hand, and environmental aspects, mainly global warming, on the other, I think this is our duty to try and amend the problem for the next generation.”

The process is so efficient because it was powered entirely by light. Nanorods just 50 nanometers long absorb photons from a light source and then release electrons to help split water into hydrogen and oxygen. “Our work shows that it is possible to obtain a perfect 100 percent photon-to-hydrogen production efficiency, under visible light illumination, for the photocatalytic water splitting reduction half-reaction,” said Amirav. “These results shatter the previous benchmarks for all systems, and leave little to no room for improvement for this particular half-reaction, The potential here is real.”


The key to success was identifying a bottleneck in the process. The researchers discovered that every time an electron left the catalyst, it left a vacant hole which then needed to be removed in order to continue on with the process. By redesigning the nanorods to streamline this process, the researchers increased the efficiency from 58.5 percent to 100 percent.

The team is now working on making the system more scalable. Right now, it requires a very high pH level, which isn’t ideal for real-world applications, and the nanorods can also become corroded over time. The hope is that by perfecting this half-reaction, it will move hydrogen one step closer to being a viable fuel source. “We hope to implement our design rules, experience and accumulated insights for the construction of a system capable of overall water splitting and genuine solar-to-fuel energy conversion,” said Amirav. “I believe this is an important milestone.”

Discoveries in the laboratory can take years or even decades to become commercially viable. It’s unlike that hydrogen fueling stations will start dotting the landscape any time soon. But just a few years ago, we laughed at the idea of using laptop batteries to power electric automobiles. Perhaps it would be best to keep an open mind on the subject of a hydrogen economy.

Photo credit: Phys.org

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About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • AaronD12

    An amazing advancement. What’s missing from the equation is compression, cooling, and storage. All the things not necessary with electricity. While this advancement is great at *creating* hydrogen, we need to be able to better store and transport it.

    • Steve Hanley

      All valid points. I won’t be ordering my Toyota Mirai any time soon!

      • Joseph Dubeau

        I noticed nobody actually talked about the technology in your article accept for Brian.

    • One-Of-A-Kind

      It’s not like battery charging or discharging is 100% efficient either. If you factor in the climate control / BMS system having to spend large amounts of energy cool or heat the battery, there’s not much of a difference. Fuel cell vehicles have the perk of being able to use waste heat, taking their efficiency from about ~60% to around ~75%. And, you don’t have negative impacts on the range.

      • Ed

        All of that is true. Somewhere I saw an estimate that over half of the energy in the hydrogen put off by any process is needed to compress, cool and transport the remaining hydrogen to the place needed. If the original hydrogen was generated by direct solar, that is OK. So….we should encourage direct solar hydrogen development. But, since I won’t be around for the 30-50 years it will take to develop a hydrogen supply network, I have placed my bets on solar panels and BEVs. It works NOW….and although it has limits, it is good enough to have a favorable impact on the planet TODAY!

        • One-Of-A-Kind

          Come on. It only takes 2-3 KWh to compress (to 700bar) 1kg of H2, depending on ambient temperature. The ‘cooling’ is done during compression, in which a subtance MUST expel it’s electron field energy to allow a more dense state. It’s TRIVIAL…. a battery loses more energy while trying to discharge its energy, let alone having to climate control itself!

          • Ed

            Best wishes with your new Mirai!

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Holding out for my Hilux FCV 🙂

          • AaronD12

            [citation needed]

            Additionally, you’re not going to store uncompressed hydrogen at a filling station. It’s an extremely sparse gas. You’re going to store it in a very dense, liquefied form, which means continuous cryogenic cooling. More like several kW per hour that the liquefied gas is stored. That is in addition to the power needed to compress the gas originally. While some of that can come from solar power, some (most?) of it won’t.

            Batteries in a BEV do not lose 10% of their power discharging. More like 2-3% in a worse-case scenario — exactly the same as the battery and fuel stack in an FCV.

          • Heinz Skipper

            In a vehicle batteries loose up to 60% power well to wheel in winter or summer, because of heating or cooling.

      • Raphael Sturm

        Climate control is also a factor in fuel cell cars. To cool a car you need energy and that energy has to come out of somewhere, so you have to use the fuel cell with its 60% efficiency to still generate electricity.

        If you wanted to use waste heat, you could at least heat the car, but even that is very limited, because of entropy. Most thermal energy, really is just stored in the water vapor. And thats the point where entropy kicks in.

        To give you an example:
        It takes the same energy to heat the coffee in your coffee mug from10C to 60C as it takes to heat 5 full coffee mugs from 10C to 20C but if your hands are cold, you can only warm them on the 60C coffee mug, not on the 20C ones, because even cold hands are hotter than 20C. Some energy just can’t be used anymore, thats called entropy.

        • One-Of-A-Kind

          You mis-understand.

          The fuel cell does not need phase changing to cool itself. (a Tesla BMS does)

          It also does not need to constantly heat itself up during winter to maintain optimal operating temperature.

          The cabin is irrelavant – I am talking about cooling / heating the battery vs. a fuel cell not needing such pampering.

          • Raphael Sturm

            A PEFC fuel cell still needs 70C to work properly, so it still needs to be heated. And while I am not sure if you know what BMS means, it means battery management system, I don’t know what phase changing is and how it cools the battery, or battery management system.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            PEM FC, not PE.

            And yes, you are right, the operating temperature is around 70-80 C (less than boiling point of water)

            But once initially heated to this temperature, (which doesn’t take a lot of energy), the fuel cell sustains its own heat, in which it eithers emits some of it in a slow cooling process, or some of it is transferred to the cabin for utilization there (in which overall energy efficiency goes up)

            On the other hand, a BMS system has heating, and cooling. Lithium ion batteries need to operate between around 10C – 30C for optimal efficiency. A Phase changing system is the same thing your refrigerator and AC use to reduce a temperature below ambient temp. This is required for a BMS because on a 40C day (happens every summer where I live), the car and battery will destroy itself.

            During winter, the battery cannot even be charged until it is heated. It also cannot support regenerative braking (one of the reasons the range is hindered in cold weather). This is likely why Toyota is still using NiMH traction batteries because they can still be effective in temps below 0C.

            Fuel cells can be cooled even with ambient temperatures around 45C because it is still way below its ideal operating temperature! No Phase Changing Needed!

          • Raphael Sturm

            So you really want to tell me, that heating heavy as hell the fuel cell to 80C is less energy extensive as heating a, still heavy as hell, battery to 30C? And from my own experience as a Tesla owner I can tell you that if you don’t use air conditioning the range gets even higher at 40C, well at least at 30C, because there were few days with more than 40C in Germany last year and I used air conditioning on all but one, just to test it. And even if you are completely right and its called PEMFC, a BMS is still a battery management system and I am still not sure about your phase changing, I am still pretty sure they use a heatsink with convection cooling for their cooling circuit.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Sorry; Tesla is the ‘pioneer’ in BMS systems, and they indeed use an AC system that brings temps BELOW ambient temperatures (not possible without ‘phase changing’ which is simply the science behind a high and low pressure cooling system)

            A heatsink can only insure a temp falls to ambient temp. But if that is 40C – that’s way too hot for a lithium ion battery. It’s own internal resistance is going to produce more heat (which it needs to shed) and its internal temp will be much higher than 40C.

            This is why ‘phase changing’ is needed. So you can refrigerate the coolant.

            It’s amazing you own a Tesla, yet I know more about how it works despite not owning one.

            Maybe you should take a hint from me….

          • Raphael Sturm

            I am an electric engineer with a doctor in the field of electric propulsion systems, and all we need is convection, but I guess you might be right, I really did not know that batteries are that temperature sensitive. But still the reason remains that heating a fuel cell to 80C is a lot more energy intensive, than to heat a battery to 20C. So we just end up with a very slim interval, from 30-40C where the FC has its benefits and I don’t know where you live, but I guess the majority of days should be below 30C.
            But, just because you got my interest with phase changing, could you explain the basic principle? Is it because of energy used to evaporate a liquid, like in a heat pump?

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            I don’t fully agree. You did not take weight into account.

            The fuel cell that needs to get heated is a little over 100 lbs

            The battery that needs to get heated is over 1,300 lbs.

            That’s not a slim interval, that’s about a 12:1 ratio if you are aiming for equivalent temperatures. still a 4:1 ratio when you consider the fuel cell needs 3X as much heat (from 0C)

            Also, once the fuel cell is ‘warm’ it sustains its own temp from internal resistance. Instead of needing to be cooled during frigid weather, it’s simply just keeping itself (and maybe the cabin) warm.

            The battery, meanwhile, is constantly having to fight the elements with 1,300+ lbs of mass, rather than just a little over 100lbs. See the difference?

            Meanwhile, the NiMH traction battery is not nearly as thermally sensitive as a lithium ion, so it also does not need any climate control beyond a basic heat vent.

            Toyota sells over 10M vehicles / year. Sure, maybe only 5% are in extreme climates, but still, thats 500,000 / year being sold in extreme climates. That’s still 10X as many vehicles as Tesla produces in 1 year.

            Phase changing is simple. Compress a gas into a liquid, and the heat that makes it a gas must get expelled (through the condenser). Then, once in liquid form at ambient temperature, or somewhere near it, if you release it from pressure it evaporates (through an expansion valve) and it becomes much colder than ambient temperature. This is how your AC works, how your ice box works, and pretty much any method of cooling beyond ambient heat dissipation (like a heat sink). There are water evaporative coolers, but they only drop the temp a couple of degrees, no real CHILLING effect going on. Hence, those are used only for outdoor purposes

          • Raphael Sturm

            Very interesting, thank you for your information about phase change cooling!
            But the fuel cell is a lot heavier, just look at the Hyundai FC and the Toyota Mirai, those two are very heavy and since electric motors are a lot lighter than their ICE counterparts and the fact that they can loose another 200 lbs in gearbox, there has to be something very heavy in it. And since the hydrogen is light and so seem to be the cylinders holding them, the last thing to amout to all that weight is the fuel cell…

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            seriously, just stop while you’re ahead.

            The gravimetric power density of Toyota’s fuel cell is 2 KW / KG. (over 2x better than their previous generation)

            The stack is 114 KW, which makes it 57 KG, or about 126 lbs….

            You could have gone straight for a technical source (wikipedia) instead of conjuring up some nonsense…

          • Heinz Skipper

            Sorry, but a PEMFC heats up itself and then Needs to be cooled at higher temperatures. The problem with your Tesla is, that you can charge only around 10 000 vehicles with a nuclear power plant at the same time.

          • Raphael Sturm

            And how much hydrogen could you produce with your nuklear power plant? I would say enough for a third, I guess.

          • Heinz Skipper

            But hydrogen can be stored…in tanks, in the gas grid …

          • Raphael Sturm

            And electricity can be stored in batteries, or as hydrogen in the gas grid. I don’t doubt that we could use hydrogen as a nice storage solution, especially long term, I just doubt that using it in a fuel cell is the right way to go, especially since we would have to store more energy in hydrogen, while it would be most efficiently used in half year cycles. Another problem would also be the hydrogen stations, because they need pure hydrogen and our gas gird would still be lots of methane. So they would need to produce hydrogen on demand from water, because water is easier to store and to deliver and then it needs grid power, too.

  • Scientists and Engineers calculate “efficiency” by drawing a bounding box around a process, then measuring energy going “in” and “out” of the box.

    efficiency = energy output / energy input

    “energy output” is always less than “energy input” to conserve entropy.

    FYI: To say a process is 100% efficient is either to say no work was done in the process, or the laws of physics were broken.
    ie: Would be like saying gravity on a planet can be negative. Clearly these scientists are from a different universe than the one we live!

    • One-Of-A-Kind

      Old world antics you’re onto here. The SUN breaks this law you speak of. Where’s the massive energy input that keeps this fireball going? (maybe it has something to do with hydrogen)

      This idea that energy is limited and is continually getting used out of existence is crazy. The entire universe would already be dead.

      • Nothing new here … mass and energy are closely bound by the physics of the universe.

        Our Sun like other suns in the universe radiate mass and energy as its mass slowly decreases. Really not much different than the fuel in a vehicle being converted to energy … the vehicles mass decreases as energy is consumed. The Sun just happens to have a much, much larger fuel tank. The amount of energy IS limited by the mass in the tank!

        FYI: No massive energy input is required, as the Sun’s energy is already stored in the huge mass of the Sun! As long as the mass of the Sun is large enough it will continue to release energy for hundreds of million years.

        It’s not that the SUN breaks any laws, it just happens to be very efficient. Just as we can measure efficiency of a vehicle (mpg), we can measure efficiency of the sun by weighting before/after a period of time.

        A vehicle loses weight by emitting burnt fuel (exhaust), the sun also emits mass as a solar wind. eg: 10 gallons of gasoline weighs ~60 lbs. Yes when the fuel is gone both a vehicle and the Sun will die. The mass still exists in some form, or different location.

        The perspective for measuring efficiency is the bounding box on the system, be it the Sun, or a vehicle. A vehicle just happens to burn fuel much faster than a sun so will die much faster without energy being added … thus is much less efficient than a sun over a given period of time.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      ” a process is 100% efficient” breaks the laws of thermodynamics.
      That was first red flag.

  • James Rowland

    They’re talking not about energy efficiency but ratio of photons absorbed to reduction half-reactions that occur. It just means the reaction isn’t slamming back the other way or starting unwanted side reactions half the time like it usually does with photocatalytic water splitting.

    Photons would have to be somewhere in the infra-red range to have the same energy as the overall reaction – and they did say “visible” light – so it’s certainly not 100% energy efficient. Probably nowhere near.

    While it’s all very interesting from a physics standpoint, they’re doing this with a cadmium sulphide nanostructure that’s guaranteed to fall to bits under use and has no obvious means of mass-production. For now, I’m filing this under “lab curiosities”.

  • Joe Viocoe

    ALERT: Research breakthroughs announced on Phys . org are generally hyped up from the most basic and preliminary research….. and tend to have less than 1% probability of coming to fruition.

    Please, let’s avoid using them as a source for either battery or hydrogen. There is just too many unproven ideas mucking up the landscape there.

    • One-Of-A-Kind

      What’s better, green car reports? My favorite hype from them: “Tesla can supercharger 200 miles in 20 minutes” – REMEMBER THAT ONE? 🙂

      • Joe Viocoe

        Or anything from Tina Casey. Palpable bias with her.


        So you are referencing a 2013 article from Green Car Reports, from Anthony Ingram, who was a guest contributor. And surprise, he was directly quoting the Wall Street Journal.

        That product is the network of so-called Supercharger rapid-charging stations, which the company says take just 20 minutes to fill a battery with enough power to drive for 200 miles

        So yeah, Gas2 is wrong to take Phys . org as credible, and GCR is wrong to take the WSJ as credible. Glad we solved that one.

        • One-Of-A-Kind

          It’s not WSJ – it’s Green Car Reports!

          “A Supercharger station can recharge the Model S battery pack to 80 percent capacity–or about 200 miles of range in the top-end 85-kWh model–in about 20 minutes.” – George Parrott

          “The main advantage of hydrogen vehicles is that they can refuel for 300 miles in less than 10 minutes. The Tesla Model S can now Supercharge to get 200 miles in 20 minutes, and some analysts suggest larger batteries can be DC quick-charged in the future at even higher power than Tesla’s 135 kilowatts.” -John Voelcker

          “But Tesla’s Supercharger technology is among the best fast-charging tech out there, and stations that can replenish 200 miles of battery capacity in 20 minutes have plenty of potential outside Tesla’s realm.” -Antony Ingram

          “Allied with a rapidly-spreading network of DC fast-charging “Superchargers” that give a Model S 200 more miles of range in under 20 minutes, the Model S has become all the things electric cars were never envisioned to be” -John Voelcker

          None of them ever reference other articles.


          200 miles @ 325 KWh / mile = 65KWH. To get that in 20 minutes means it needs to be at a charging rate of more than 3X 65KW. (195KW) … and that’s assuming there is ZERO losses. Of course, the smarter of us know that at higher amps, you always get more charging losses. Probably charging somewhere around 75% efficiency when you go on the high end. That would put us at about 260KW. But then, the BMS will also want to cool the battery (or heat it up) depending…. there is always a sweet spot with temperature and batteries. A whole ‘nother variable to have to consider in all of this.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Ben, stop misquoting and selectively quoting. Go straight to the source.
            All GCR articles are referencing the report from the WSJ from May 31st 2013.
            And that article was misquoting the Tesla site which said 30 minutes. Not 20.

            Learn to use the WayBackMachine at Archive dot org (remove spaces)

            web.archive .org/web/20130812051436/http: / /blogs.wsj. com/corporate-intelligence/2013/05/31/tesla-is-a-carmaker-but-it-could-also-be-a-gas-station/

            And don’t get me started on your math being way off. First, its 380 Wh/mi… and right now, it is 170 miles charged per half hour. This would be impossible using your math. As that would require 130 KW.
            The reason your math is wrong… is because you are assuming the same efficiency of charging, as driving. Superchargers can put miles into a Model S at a higher efficiency than driving on the road takes miles off.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            All jibber-jabber from a stone thrower, as usual.

            I am not “MISQUOTING” I am simply quoting. None of the articles I QUOTED mention anything of the WSJ. And don’t start correcting me about 30 minutes, not 20, I am just quoting green car fudge. It’s all crap anyway, because you can’t even get 200 miles in 30 minutes either.

            And my math is not WRONG, it’s just based on a different figure than yours! Funny enough, my 325 Wh / mile is giving Tesla more benefit than your 380 Wh / mile figure! If I use 380 Wh / mile in my calculations above, 200 miles in 20 minutes is even more absurd when you try to piece the numbers together.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Again… caught you in a lie.
            You quoted

            “But Tesla’s Supercharger technology is among the best fast-charging tech out there, and stations that can replenish 200 miles of battery capacity in 20 minutes have plenty of potential outside Tesla’s realm.” -Antony Ingram

            And now

            None of the articles I QUOTED mention anything of the WSJ.

            READ the article! He links directly to the Wall Street Journal not 4 sentences before that.

            Your selective quoting is MISquoting.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Touche; out of 4 easily found articles (with many more), one of them mentions WSJ (to help make the phony fact more credible). But it just sends you to a paywall. Doesn’t do much for spreading a false fact, but it’s perpetuated when places like Green Car Reports start taking one bad article, and turning it into a fact used in many many future articles, that are NOT behind a pay wall. See the difference?

            Many authors, same site, same bad fact. They didn’t want to fact check / logic check it, because, well, it goes against their doctrine. So they push the fudge. Now you’re saying it’s WSJ’s fault. But WSJ authors could just point their finger to some Tesla sales rep, and suddenly, are they not responsible for the bad reporting? Bad Logos my friend. Your argument is weak. The FACT is, The LIE is found most on the site Green Car Reports than any other site out there. It’s not defensible. And they will never come out with an article to correct the lies they perpetuated because they will have to suddenly get realistic about the limitations of battery vehicles.

          • Joe Viocoe

            I showed you the link on archive.. No pay wall.
            All other articles were written much later.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            WSJ is all paywall.

          • Joe Viocoe

            I don’t have a subscription. Read the words. Archive dot org has cached copies, no pay wall.

    • Steve Hanley

      I will bear that in mind, Joe. Thanks for the tip.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      Just isn’t true Joe, you can’t refute the message so you bash the messenger.
      Are you afraid a little science?

      I guess in your book the guys at Caltech and Berkeley are the bad guys for working on this technology.

      • Joe Viocoe

        They are the good guys. But news media makes more money by hyping to bait clicks.

        The science is fine… Just like the dozens of potential breakthroughs in batteries, this has such a miniscule chance.

  • Joe Viocoe

    The researchers found that the efficiency increased from 58.5% with two platinum catalysts to 100% with only one.

    If they had 58% efficiency before… they certainly aren’t talking about efficiency the way it should be described.

    The 100% efficiency refers to the photon-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency, and it means that virtually all of the photons that reach the photocatalyst generate an electron, and every two electrons produce one H2 molecule

    Which means they are being very specific about which part is 100% efficient.

  • One-Of-A-Kind

    Why quote Elon Musk for the first sentence of this article? He is a fool when it comes to hydrogen, and by that, I mean he knows very little. He certainly has zero industry experience with fuel cells, whether in usage, or R&D efforts.

    How about quoting Nissan, the #1 producer of BEVs in the world.

    From their chief R&D engineer: “Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are another type of zero-emission vehicle producing no CO2 or other emissions. FCEVs are the obvious next step to complement today’s battery electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation”

    • Rick Danger

      That would be because Tesla is the only one out of all of them with the sense not to waste their time with it.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        Starting off your comedy career?

        Tesla is the only one with sense as a vehicle manufacturer? HAHAHA. Don’t kid yourself. Tesla is a 2 year old that your claiming can do trigonometry. It’s simply just not possible….
        Toyota did over $250B in revenue last year. That’s more than the GDP of some first world countries (that also have better education than the US). Tesla is a joke to the rest of the auto industry. They lose more money per car than it takes for most companies to build a car.

        • James Rowland

          The incumbents know best how to innovate? Tesla loses money every time they make a car? Now you’re the comedian.

          Model S profit margin: Consistently 20-30%
          Model S production rate doubling every ~5 quarters for 3 years
          Model S now outselling MB S-Class (previous F Segment leader by ~2x) in US market

          Tesla made a profit in early 2013, but have since been spending all available cash on their own growth – as any start-up that is supply constrained should.

          They’re spending on, among other things: exponentially growing their production capacity, building a global fast charging network, building the world’s largest battery factory and designing a car that will likely be far more disruptive than Model S or X.

          Meanwhile, most incumbent manufacturers were doing business as usual, changing nothing of consequence.

          Yes, Toyota presently has the largest valuation of any car company. GM used to be the biggest, not many years ago (then they went bankrupt.) Volkswagen Auto Group were second to Toyota until very recently, with ambitions to become first.

          You see, the fortunes of even large and experienced companies can change when they fail to innovate or commit to poor decisions.

          For many reasons, hydrogen fuel cells are a poor decision for cars. Probably not poor enough to burn through Toyota’s $170B valuation, but it’s a good start.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            lol. a gross margin does not equal profit. Tesla is heavily burdened with fat cat executives and hungry engineering talent. They manufacture in arguably the most expensive state in the country to manufacture in, and despite having massive amounts of subsidies to help people with purchasing the over priced vehicles, sales tax alleviations within CA for equipment, zero emission vehicle credit sales, and well as other federal subsidies and incentives that have been taken advantage of by Tesla. Despite all of this, the company still LOSES hundreds of millions every QTR. Learn to read a cash flow statement. Because I’m talking BEFORE cap-ex or investments.

            For the Qtr ending Dec 31 2014, Operations cash flow – ($86,402,000)

            For the Qtr ending Mar 31, 2015, Operations cash flow – ($131,794,000)

            For the Qtr ending Jun 30 2016, Operations cash flow – ($159,519,000)

            For the Qtr ending Sep 30 2015, Operating cash flow – ($203,340,000)

            Whoever told you Tesla is making money is not correct. SEC required balance sheets dont lie. Don’t let the “non-GAAP” crap fool you. There’s a reason there’s laws that require GAAP, no matter what else you want to do.

          • James Rowland

            Model S is overpriced? Not if you compare ASPs of other similar F segment cars. It’s actually nearer the bottom than the top.

            Yes, I know the cash flow has been negative and I already explained why. You have a comprehension problem?

            Tesla are getting “massive” subsidies? No.

            ZEV credits aren’t even a subsidy – they’re traded between manufacturers – and have accounted for no more than 2% of Tesla’s revenue. Telsa are only able to sell theirs because other manufacturers failed to make their quota.

            Tesla are selling cars in territories that don’t even have purchase incentives. In those that do have them, there isn’t anything specifically aimed at Tesla; they’re available to anyone making qualifying vehicles, and for well known and understood reasons of public interest.

            Besides, if you don’t want them you don’t have to claim them. It’s money off for you, not extra money for Tesla.

            Tesla’s balance sheets don’t lie. You do, though. You lie a lot.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Really, what do I lie about?

            Tesla’s cash flow is negative BEFORE cap-ex and R&D (the reason you claim they lose money) – nothing wrong with my comprehension, you just seem to fail to properly categorize financial bits.

            And Yes, Tesla receives lots of subsidies. There’s an entire LA Times article on the topic if you are un-familiar.

            Tesla can add $7,500 to purchase price, because the feds will take that off for the customer when it comes time to their Uncle Sam bill. If that purchase incentive wasn’t there, Tesla would either take a hit in sales, or have to bring the price down. Basic common sense here. HOW IS THAT NOT A SUBSIDY!?

            Wake up and smell the scam. Solar City has a less than 2 star rating with consumer affairs because so many people are livid over being lied to, and now they risk losing their homes to a solar scam because they signed for the right for Musk to put a lien on their HOME (where they raise their family).

            It’s safe to say I’m not the only one wishing he’d take a one way trip to Mars and spare us all the wasted resources on his glutinous life

          • Joe Viocoe

            I don’t know, what did you lie about today… I stopped counting. Maybe you can change your account again, and start from zero.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            What… you mean, you can’t even list one thing, despite trying to still hold your ground that I lie? Pretty weak sauce, if you ask me.

            Start from zero? Sounds like you’re accusing me of things that are not true. I changed my alias to something enrelated because my business was being attacked by you psycho’s who disagree with me, and I needed to protect my family. That’s why all of you BEVangelists were so emphatic about trying to uncover my identity instead of having any respect, that way you can put me in harms way. You guys nurture extremism that turns into eco-terrorism. And here you are; all you respond is by accusing me of being a liar. Go Figure!

          • James Rowland

            I just listed four of your lies above. That’s not exhaustive.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            You’re arguing with me, in which we obviously disagree. But instead of being an adult, you just accuse the other side of lying.


            Please list 1 (one) LIE . (not a refute to something you disagree with)

            I say that Tesla loses money on every car it sells, because, as a business who lawfully submits to the SEC, it is declaring losses larger than their Cap-EX.

            You seem to want to break down the finances into it itty-bitties that become irrelevant, when, AT THE END OF THE YEAR, the BOTTOM LINE, is NEGATIVE.

          • James Rowland

            I listed four factual errors, plus one instance where you misrepresented me. Those are not differences of opinion, they are lies.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            List ONE LIE. Let’s use quotation marks.

          • James Rowland

            I already block quoted one above. You just told another:

            “I say that Tesla loses money on every car it sells, because, as a business who lawfully submits to the SEC, it is declaring losses larger than their Cap-EX.”

            From most recent 10-K:

            Comprehensive loss: ($892,197k)

            Property and equipment purchases: ($1,673,511k)
            R&D expenses: ($717,900k)
            Business acquisitions: ($12,260k)

            That’s $2,403,671k of capital expenditure, which is more than $892,197k (that being their declared loss).

            Seems like you don’t even care what the truth is.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            2.4 B in cap-ex?

            Well… if that’s your number, that’s your number.

            I’m going with what Yahoo Finance has to say… (so i’m not lying)

            In 2015, they have listed ($1,634,850,000) in CAP-EX.

            Operating Cash Flow for 2015 is ($524,499,000)

            The only reason the BOTTOM LINE is only ($888,663,000) is because of FINANCING ACTIVITIES like stock sale of $839,586,000 and BORROWING of $683,937,000

            Yet, despite financing activities enough to almost directly offset all CAP-EX and investments, they still lose over half a billion last year (in operations cash flow).

            That is over $10,000 / car of PURE LOSS. Most manufacturers can make cars for less than $10,000 (albeit their cheap ones)…. Back to my original point that got you guys all hot and bothered.

            In the last 3 years, they have borrowed around $3B, and have sold stock in the sum of over $1B. How much money do they have on hand?….

          • James Rowland

            The figures you quoted here still directly contradict your claim about 2015 capex being less than loss.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            No, I said they lost money, even when you take out all of the CAP-EX.

            Do you not pay attention to the enormous amount of debt that Tesla has taken on!?

          • James Rowland

            Do I really have to teach you arithmetic?

            Take a $1.6B expense out of accounts with $0.8B in losses and you have a $0.8B profit.

            Debt is a separate issue; it is normal for start ups to borrow money and/or raise capital.

          • One-Of-A-Kind


            Here’s basic arithmetic…

            1.6 Billion expense out.
            0.8 billion in OPERATIONS losses (not profit)
            2.4 Billion total lost

            There’s no profit…. Zip. Nada.

          • James Rowland

            Comprehensive loss includes operational expenses (and all the other expenses). That’s why it’s called “comprehensive”.

            Since you’ve now demonstrated near-total imbecility with respect to reading accounts, I think we’re done here.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Here’s James:

            TESLA IS PROFITABLE ($0.8 Billion) “Take a $1.6B expense out of accounts with $0.8B in losses and you have a $0.8B profit.”

            Here’s Reality:

            Tesla has done nothing but lose money. $888,663,000 LOST last year alone. Nearly 1 billion. If you take out the borrowing and selling stock, they actually burned through $2,412,186,000 last year…. but the bottom line gets enormously offset by stock offerings and borrowing.

            Still, they lose outrageous amounts of money. This is not excusable for a company that is supposedly “sold out” for the next year of their recently released product offering. That’s the lie (if you’re looking for one)

          • James Rowland

            Where did I say Tesla returned an overall profit last year?

            Hint: I didn’t.

            You’re the one perpendicular to reality: You say A < B, reality says B < A. End of.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            No; you said without investing in the future, they’d be profitable:

            “Tesla made a profit in early 2013, but have since been spending all available cash on their own growth – as any start-up that is supply constrained should.” -James

            What I am saying, is even if CAP-EX is zero, Tesla still loses hundreds of millions. The growth they’ve been investing in comes from funds raised on the stock market and in the bond market. The operations losses just further tax that, and make it all that much more un-sustainable.

            You’re a MuskRat. Just admit it. An article defined your type well: a Tesla apologist. You are constantly defending the indefensible. Tesla is as sustainable of an idea as going to live on Mars – go figure, the two ideas come from the same head.

          • super390

            Yes, let’s stick with worshiping our existing dictatorship of capitalist criminals who appeal to our worst instincts rather than our best. It’s not like they ever crashed the world economy and got bailed out by taxpayers while keeping trillions for themselves and buying politicians to make sure it all happens again.

          • James Rowland

            “You’re a MuskRat.”

            This from the guy chastising others for immaturity.

            You’re a joke.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            No James

            You preach that Tesla makes money. I am forced to enlighten you that Tesla loses more money, the more cars they build. It’s just simple, obvious math.

            And somehow: This is the type of response I see from you…

            “You’re the one perpendicular to reality: You say A<b, reality="" says="" b

            ^^^^^^ MAKES NO SENSE ^^^^^^^

          • James Rowland

            We’ve been hearing that Tesla is on the brink of running out of cash for a long time. It hasn’t been even remotely true since early 2013.

            Model S is earning Porsche-level margins; that’s what’s been sustaining the business. If margins were negative as you imply, they would’ve run out of cash a long time ago.

            Model S production is not the only thing Tesla are doing or preparing to do, though; contrary to your claim, capex is nearly double reported loss, not less than it. You say A < B, reality says B < A.

            If you can't comprehend that, it's only your failure.

            “^^^^^^ MAKES NO SENSE ^^^^^^^”

            … mostly because what you quoted is not what I posted. Must’ve been like that for all of ten seconds before I overrode Disqus’ dodgy mark-up parser.

            Seeming as you are so reliably arguing in bad faith, I see no reason allowing you to waste any more of my time.

          • Joe Viocoe

            No, I remember you being banned. Do not try to illicit sympathy, as if anyone cares about your personal life.

          • super390

            Extremism? Eco-terrorism? We have actual terrorism by American patriots against abortion clinics, national parks, opponents of police brutality, and everyone who protests at Trump rallies. People are being beaten and killed and the media is afraid to talk about the ideology behind it marching to the White House. What’s eco-terrorism compared to that?

          • James Rowland

            … purchase incentive… HOW IS THAT NOT A SUBSIDY!?

            I already acknowledged purchase incentives are a subsidy (available to all manufacturers, mind you). It’s the ZEV credits system that’s not a subsidy, contrary to what you wrote earlier. More comprehension problems?

            GAAP vs. Non-GAAP at Tesla is nothing to do with profit margin on the Model S.

            The former affects how, where and when lease agreements accrue in the accounts; GAAP takes revenue out that will later go back in. (That’s a big deal when your revenue’s gone up an order of magnitude during a typical lease period.)

            The latter is simply (average) profit over cost price for each article sold, and it’s among the best in the industry. It’s nonsense to state each one sold loses money.

            Operating expenditure includes fixed cost items that have nothing to do with manufacturing and sales volumes, including the R&D budget (contrary to your earlier statement). Despite this, they already saw positive cash flow of $179M in core operations last quarter.

            You should also note that 2015 non-operating expenses are nearly double the reported loss, and consist almost entirely of property, equipment and business acquisitions.

            With sales growing and more products in development than shipping, it’s obvious that cash flow equilibrium for the company is going to be negative now and positive later. This is part of the take-off burn expected at any start-up that’s rapidly expanding its revenue – which Tesla is doing at a rate unmatched for decades in the car industry.

          • super390

            Hydrogen cars will receive subsidies too.
            So will you condemn that when they come out in actual meaningful numbers?
            Or are you intentionally backing technologies you want to lose because you are a self-acknowledged repairman who doesn’t want gas cars and their maintenance needs to become obsolete?

          • Heinz Skipper

            Tesla is spending his Money in a Gigafactory, which will not run with full production, because the Lithium production rate wordlwide is lower than only the Gigafactory will Need. and not even talking about the electrolyte.

          • James Rowland

            Materials supply is a risk factor for sure. They’ll be able to get raw materials, but not necessarily at the price they want or ramping volume up at the rate they want.

            However, it’s not like they’re building the whole facility at once; what’s on the ground today is about 1/7 the planned final size, with expansion contingent on the pilot size working. There’s no cause for concern about billions worth of manufacturing lines sitting idle.

            I’m actually more concerned by cobalt than lithium; the former is a critical resource for high performance chemistries such as NCA, and the majority of supply comes from some rather unpleasant entities.

      • Joe Viocoe

        Notice the hate come out a little stronger whenever TSLA short sellers are running to cover. Nothing sours grapes like losing money.

        • Rick Danger

          I shouldn’t be surprised that one of a kind is the super hydrogen troll Ben Helton. I will not waste 1 more minute of my time reading or replying to that gaping maw of malcontent and misinformation. I think the real reason for the name change is that Zach kicked him out of here last time he dipped his rancid quill to ink, so to speak. He didn’t hang around here long last time, maybe we’ll get lucky again.

          Nobody likes you Helton. Nobody respects you. Nobody cares. Go find a hydrogen fan site that gives a damn.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Little bit of a witch hunt, are we on?

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        They must be the only one with sense to not worry about money either, right? That must explain why they burn cash like crazy every QTR, where as all the other manufacturers have to actually make money….

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        Tesla is the only one with the lack of sense to know how to make money in the auto industry. Especially considering the financial suicide Tesla is managing to get people to take, the fact they cant make money is even more pathetic!!!

    • Joe Viocoe

      And most of those automakers promised to sell FCVs by 2015. Only one did, and then, after a few months, issued a stop sale to dealers.

      Being a member of a group did not do anything but pay lip service to the Oil/Gas industry.

  • Joe Viocoe

    ALERT: Research breakthroughs announced on Phys . org are generally hyped up from the most basic and preliminary research……. and tend to have less than 1% probability of coming to fruition.

    Please, let’s avoid using them as a source for either battery or hydrogen research. There is just too many unproven ideas mucking up the landscape there.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      If you don’t like the article, you don’t read it.
      Did this Hydrogen news ruin your day?

      • Joe Viocoe

        If you don’t like the comment, you don’t have to reply either. This is a forum designed to discuss.
        Does criticism ruin your day, or your confidence in physorg?

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        Hydrogen Troll (From the MuskRat Camp)

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    The article provides a link to the original article in Phys.Org that is well worth a read. The original authors do not make any crazy claims of 100% energy efficiency for the process, just 100% conversion in a particular half reaction thus not breaking any known physical laws.
    Anyway the Gas2 version does point out the process requires a very high pH for the solution and the platinum tipped nanorod catalysts are subject to corrosion so a couple of reasons right there why this may end up going nowhere.
    It seems a shame that reports on pure or applied research in hydrogen or to a lesser extent secondary cell production always seem to start such vitriolic responses. While I can’t see hydrogen ever being a serious large scale transport fuel that is no reason to attack the PhyOrg piece.

    • One-Of-A-Kind

      You’re only going to see more of this.

      As hydrogen penetrates its way through the ZEV market, the all committed, super extremist type coming from the battery camp HATE anything hydrogen, and with the slam a gavel, they declare that the hydrogen car is the battery car’s worst enemy. (It’s actually just like this in the Chelsea Sexton documentary) and then people like John Voelcker perpetuate the hate and bias, and make the situation that much worse.

      In the end, I think logic and practicality will win. It’s not always about cost and efficiency, otherwise we’d all be riding bikes. If one tech can provide better results in a certain area, it will win in that area. For this reason, I genuinely believe the future of ZEVs will be a lot like today. Instead of gasoline and diesel, you’ll have hydrogen and plugs. For larger applications that need higher sustained power output for long durations, hydrogen will win, much like diesel wins. in other applications, BEVs may win.

      Do we need a war as to which is better? No.

      Although many will call me a troll, you’ll notice I am only found on articles about hydrogen. The evangelists that want to trash talk hydrogen don’t belong here, as much as I don’t belong on an article about Tesla.

  • bdam

    Please, use the right way of comparing apple and banana when comparing the cost of refueling stations. A H2 HRS recharges a car in 5 mn for 600 km range. That’s not what a Tesla fast charger can do. The only valid comparison is the cost of refueled miles-km (Capex + Opex). If you do that, you discover that a Telsa charger is at least 3 times costlier than an HRS… providing that you don’t have too much civil work to upgrade the electric network for this charger, because then, it would be even worse (I know a case in France where the electric utility ERDF refused to upgrade a local grid for a Tesla spot because the overall cost would have been 9 million €).
    Actually, the business model for electric chargers just don’t work. EY (Ernst&Young) recently demonstrated for a pool of bankers and investors (study presented on Feb 4th at HyVolution in Paris), that electric chargers cannot be profitable unless you make the price of kW/h many times more expensive at the dispenser to the extent that it would become more expensive than petrol. Simultaneously, they demonstrated that HRS have a NPV of 10% with a public taxed price competitive to petrol.

  • Israel the jewel of the Middle East.Greatest scientist and the only middle eastern noble price winners. Talking too much is no good. Can this process be commercialized ?

  • WE learn from science class in high-school that the plant leaves ( trees , grass or bushes) cannot survive in earth without carbon dioxide. WE also learn that the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat come from carbon dioxide in air after the process of photo-synthesis by plant leaves. However, there are good reason to believe that acidic gases such as sulphur dioxide acts as an inhibitor for the process of photo-synthesis by plant leaves. One of the important source of acidic gases like sulphur dioxide emitted to the atmosphere is from the combustion of fossil fuels ( gasoline and diesel). When the process of photo-synthesis to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and sugar is slow because of these acidic gases, carbon dioxide stay longer in the atmosphere and cause global warming. Another important sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide is fog and rain. Acidic gases decrease the solubility of carbon dioxide in fog and rain droplet. Carbon dioxide stay longer in the atmosphere. So I think there is no such thing as carbon tax , but it should be sulphur tax. Hydrogen based economy show that it is wrong to say carbon tax or zero carbon. It should be sulphur tax or zero sulphur.

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