World Leading Engine Expert: Combustion Engine Remains The Future, “Hydrogen Will Be Nada”

Also: lithium battery e-vehicles not practical, not affordable…future of e-mobility still “wishful thinking”. 

In a very recent interview, Germany/Austria’s top automobile engine expert Prof. Dr. Fritz Indra says hydrogen fuel cars will amount to “nada” because of the high inefficiency and costs. The same applies to e-vehicles.

No to government engineering

The Austrian engineer also says German and European policymakers are making a big mistake by prescribing to the industry what drive technology to use. “They can give us the targets, but they have to leave it up to engineers to find out how to best reach the targets, and to build a car that is affordable to the buyer.”

Electric battery cars no match for the combustion engine

Indra also says electric cars offer little to be desired, saying that although the efficiency from battery to transmission is high, no one is looking at what happens before the battery and after the transmission, which he calls “an inexcusable error.” In the assessment of battery powered vehicles, Indra describes the problems of range and battery disposal that still profoundly plague electric battery vehicles.

Bosch backs out of lithium ion batteries

“When it comes to batteries, what has company Bosch done? Bosch, about one year ago, stopped research in the lithium ion battery. That means they have backed out completely from the topic of batteries,” says Indra. “That’s an unbelievable decision, because that’s a global company.”

Hydrogen as a fuel will not be feasible as well, Indra explains: “On the subject of hydrogen cars, we have to look at Daimler, Mercedes,” says Indra. “On the subject of hydrogen, Mercedes was always way ahead. […] About half a year ago, Mercedes announced that it was getting out of hydrogen. That means that as a way for mobility, they see no chance for it.”

Hydrogen fueling stations impractical

According to the Austrian engine expert, hydrogen as a fuel for fuel cells is plagued by too many efficiencies and dangers, describing how a fueling station would need three stages of piston-type compressors to get the fuel into the car at the “unimaginable” 1000 bars of pressure – never mind the technical obstacles building such a car poses.

A quarter to one third of the energy offered by hydrogen would be consumed just to pressurize the gas, Indra reminds.

Moreover, hydrogen refueling stations would need to be supplied by tankers transporting the highly explosive gas at 50 bars of pressure.

Indra notes, however, that the hydrogen technology may have a chance for use in cargo vehicles.

China controls the lithium raw material market

Indra also sees no chance for Germany playing an important role in the electric battery market, explaining that China has already secured all the raw materials, in countries such as Congo and Chile, and thus “practically controls the market”. Germany will never ever be able to produce the lithium ion batteries at a cost like that in China.

Recycling is very expensive

Indra sharply criticizes claims that lithium batteries can be recycled: “But for those who don’t know, the recycling of lithium is an unbelievably difficult and expensive process.”

He adds that electric cars also will also never be able to meet Europe’s recycling directives, which call for minimum 80% of devices be recyclable.

Indra thinks policymakers are blowing large sums of money when it comes to subsidizing e-mobility. “It’s an absurdity to subsidize something that doesn’t make any contribution to climate protection,” he says.

Combustion engine still the future

He sees China’s strategy of “giving every technology a chance” as the way to go, and to not become dogmatically stuck on one such as e-mobility, which he feels will never lead to an economic boost in Germany.

Indra sees a cleaner combustion engine with new fuels as the future, and finds it’s a pity that this is not being supported by the German government.

“A combustion engine car with synthetic fuel a is much cleaner and can be used much longer than electric cars,” Indra says. The retired engineering expert also says countries who have declared an end to the combustion engine are “full of politics” and predicts they will push off their targets, if not completely abandon them as reality hits.

In summary: the combustion engine will be around for a long time because it is cleaner, extremely practical and affordable.

19 responses to “World Leading Engine Expert: Combustion Engine Remains The Future, “Hydrogen Will Be Nada””

  1. pochas94

    When we’re out of options, it’s hydrogen.

    1. Lyndell Brown

      When you are that far along, you are dead.

  2. Vic Pearson

    It to the is pandering Greens that is causing these bad decisions.Especially as
    there is no climate emergency.

  3. Graeme No.3

    Politicians think that passing a law will change reality.

  4. LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks

    I had an idea to replace hydrogen… rather than splitting water into H and O, use a low voltage to split it into OH- and H3O+.

    So you’d have one tank with low voltage electrodes to split that water into hydroxide and hydronium. We’ll call this the ‘segregation tank’. It would have a bipolar permeable membrane in the middle of it to slow recombination of the OH- and H3O+ when the current is turned off.

    H3O+ is more dense than water, so an electrically-insulated teflon (or similar material) lined tank below the segregation tank at the negative electrode end of the segregation tank would collect this more-dense H3O+ and store it for use.

    Similarly, OH- is less dense than water, so an electrically-insulated teflon (or similar material) lined tank above the segregation tank at the positive electrode end of the segregation tank would collect this less-dense OH- and store it for use.

    Now, the H3O+ and OH- are pumped from their tanks and direct-injected into the engine via two injectors, whereupon a spark would cause them to recombine into water. The heat of recombination would flash some portion of that into steam, driving the piston.

    This could be in combination with gasoline or diesel, which would be used to get the engine up to operating temperature, then either cut off or leaned out to the point that fuel efficiency is much higher than in a conventional internal combustion engine.

    Given that water is an integral component of fuel combustion (I’ve got the chemical equations but they’re not in front of me… if anyone wants them, let me know and I’ll post them when I’m in front of my home computer), the fuel mixture could be leaned far beyond the typical combustion limit and still combust… IIRC, it is the OH- which starts the combustion process in the first place, initiated by the spark.

    So you’d have a hybrid steam engine / internal combustion engine rather than a conventional internal combustion engine… in my experiments combining fuel and water, using a 175 cc fuel-injected liquid-cooled engine, the torque increases dramatically (to such a point that I had to increase the gear ratio to keep the engine from red-lining, and the vehicle (which was factory-rated for 65 MPH) now tops out at 82 MPH), and fuel efficiency increases (in my case, by ~30%). I’m sure fuel efficiency would be even higher if I could limit myself to the rated 65 MPH… but it’s so much more fun to go fast. 🙂

    A side benefit is NoX emissions go way down… the peak combustion temperature is moderated to a point below where significant NoX generation takes place.

    1. Darc

      What happens to thos design in winter with freezing temperatures half the year?

    2. Nicolás

      You just simply inject eater into cilinder. It is known sins 2 WW. Thecproblem with that is a corrosion. Haw you solved that problem? Is you motor aluminium build?

    3. Yonason


      Good one. The funny is strong in your family?

  5. Brian G Valentine

    Older people have this habit of understanding the real world.

    Unless they happen to be “progressives” or “leftists.” In that case,the results are variable.

  6. sch

    One kg of H2 via electrolysis of water requires 45-50 kw-hrs of electrical energy and has about the same energy content as 1 gallon of petrol if burned as fuel. Added to the basic cost of electrolysis is the transport, storage and dispensing. For vehicle power, it is much better to use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity but you end up with less than 60% conversion efficiency, ie instead of 50 kw-hrs per kg you will need 80+. Current H2 fuel cells have a ~1000 hour life span. More discussion as to storage problems here:

    As Mr. Indra implies a good bit of engineering ‘deus ex machina’ will be needed
    and it will all cost a LOT more

  7. JohnM

    “He adds that electric cars also will also never be able to meet Europe’s recycling directives, which call for minimum 80% of devices be recyclable.”

    How do wind turbines recycle 80%? Reinforced concrete base (3000 tonnes) left in the ground; helice buried – non-recyclable; tower of reinforced concrete; that only leaves a small amount of steel, the copper, electronics and magnets to recycle.

  8. bonbon

    Politicians are not listening to engineers, rather to finance.
    The smell a trough full of green credit, swill indeed, but who cares about the smell?
    Prince Charles, to speak at the the Davos Great Reset, puts is thus :
    enthralled about the paradigm shift to green finance. He is about to be the King of the USA with Biden’s “stimulus” bill.

    How is it that experienced engineers do not see what is happening ? Surely they, if they really are bona-fida engineers, came up against the corporate bean-counters?

    I can not believe engineers are so dumb. Playing the hapless victim just will not cut it!

    1. John James

      Most are not dumb and most do speak out, but there is also a great many who couldn’t give a damn as “fees are fees” so to speak. And there lies the problem: all it takes is a few “authoritative experts” to blow Lots of smoke up politicians and the usual cartel of crooked bankers to construct a new scam. Every one of them though, absolutely knows it is all a crock of bull dust. In a few short years, many more engineers will be needed to fix the mess created by these politicians, “authoritative experts” and bankers.

  9. bonbon

    As regards EU politicians, not the public kow-towing to Pompeo’s rage fits – the EU just signed a comprehensive trade deal with China, D.C. be damned. Nordstream II goes ahead.

    So “speaking with forked tongue” is truly a European specialty, as the Amerinds noted.

    The joke is Europeans still do not get it!

    So it sure looks like some sane heads are keeping out of fake news.

  10. David Dirkse

    what about methanol as a hydroxen carrier:

  11. Greg Vezina

    Ammonia is the fuel of the future, and it has been for decades.

    2006-11-06 CBC – Back to the Future

    Greg Vezina of Hydrofuel Inc., a pioneer in the field of ammonia fuel technologies, was profiled in this news item on the CBC National News, originally broadcast across Canada on Nov. 6, 2006, and broadcast worldwide on CNN World Report by CNN International on Dec. 16, 2006.

  12. TomR

    If you look at diesel rail engines, locomotives, almost all use serial hybrid engine – with diesel being just an electricity generator, and the electric engine doing the real work. This allows to utilize the best of technologies – diesel can work within optimal range of rotation, while electric has no problem with good momentum and controlability for acceleration that is both: smooth and fast. Diesel-hydraulic are a minority locomotives (eg. Voight Maxima) despite higher power/mass ratio, because they are less controllable, have more wheel sliding during acceleration or attempt to go upwards slopes.
    So electric engine can significantly change cars by promoting serial hybrids.

    1. Yonason

      Ahh, so, …take away the wasteful battery, and replace it with a fuel driven electric generator? Is that what you’re suggestion? I like it. Seems like it cold work.

  13. geoffrey pohanka

    Absent access to home charging relying solely on public ‘fast’ chargers has its own obstacles. Lack of infrastructure and the time to charge are major issues.

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