Does R E + H = Practical Solution?

A recent article tells of Mazda’s research into a practical method of utilizing (H) hydrogen in (R E) rotary engine cars, like the RX-8.

It can be brought to market fairly fast, unlike most other hydrogen fueled concept cars.

Also, being dual-fuel, you can run out of hydrogen and extend your range on gasoline!

The article also has information about an RE van that relies on generating electicity for propulsion.

Does that dual (hydrogen/gasoline) fuel rotary engine-powered car sound like a practical short-term “hydrogen car”, while we’re waiting for fuel cells to be developed?

Where would one fill-up on hydrogen?

Is Mazda trying to use CPR on the rotary engine that they have somehow kept alive all these years?

Link to article:



The EPA states that hydrogen is available in very few locations; mostly in Cali. Honda tested the FCX in LA and refueled at a Shell station in the video. I would guess that most of the Cali refueling stations are in the LA area.

The issue of Hydrogen as a car fuel is – I think – widely misunderstood. Hydrogen actually has only one significant advantage over gasoline, diesel, or natural gas. The waste product of burning Hydrogen is water rather than CO2. So, If you use a non-Carbon emitting source like nuclear, solar, wind, or the more or less mythical “Clean Coal” for the energy to produce the Hydrogen Fuel, you get transportation without CO2 emissions.

I don’t think that your car is going to run significantly better on Hydrogen than it does on regular gas. But with huge infrastructure investment, your car might run as well without emitting greenhouse gases.

I fail to see the point of burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine. Why not just burn fossil fuel directly in the engine instead of using the energy of fossil fuel to generate hydrogen to then burn in an engine?

Hydrogen is just a way of storing energy from another source. Water is burned hydrogen. If you really think that water can be turned back into hydrogen, without giving back all the energy that is released when that hydrogen is burned, then you probably also think that it is possible to build highways that go downhill in both directions.

But isn’t that only true for water-derived hydrogen? I mean, in that sense, H2 is like a battery…a store of energy, and the “carbon footprint” is determined by the means of generating the energy to produce the hydrogen.

However, I thought most hydrogen now available is derived from petroleum hydrocarbons. This wouldn’t be “zero carbon” unless the carbon was sequestered (and I’m skeptical about most of the “sequestation” scemes out there.)

I seem to remember BMW putting a lot of work into a hydrogen-powered 7 series, with an IC engine. I wonder why a RE would be good for this, they’re not very efficient in terms of gasoline mpgs. Seems like more of a ‘so what’ kind of thing, as long as there’s not a ready source of hydrogen.

as a side note, multi-fuel is easy. there is a high performance kit that allows you to switch between e85, gasoline, and race gas with the flick of a switch. and the kit isnt very complex either. just some sort of computer box and some other pieces.

Internal combustion engines exist. And they do not require rare metal that fuel cell and battery combos do. Hydrogen can be produced from renewable electric sources. Biologists are working on growing algae with enzymes that releases hydrogen in large quantity. That is another renewable source of energy. Burning hydrogen in a rotary is the same as burning it in a V8, which BMW tried. But hydrogen wouldn’t flood a rotary, and rotary is much lighter than a V8. That’s all the good thing I can say about the hydrogen hype.

The thing that I don’t like about hydrogen is that energy is stored at high pressure in a big container. Maybe that works for a RX8 with a fashionable rear seat. But I’d like to see straight vegetable oil powering our vehicles in the future. Algae is also a good source of that oil. Virgin Atlantic has demonstrated that by flying a 747 with that stuff.