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Offline h2fan

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When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« on: 23/02/2008 16:03:23 »
I've been a hydrogen fan for a lot of years now due to a book called 'Hydrogen World View' written by Roger Billings.

He wrote it in a way that even a non-scientific person like myself could understand and enjoy it!

With gas prices the way they are now, I've really been hoping to see more commercialization of hydrogen being used as a way to fuel our cars.

Bush has talked big about it but that's been tax dollars wasted.

The major car companies are saying they're doing research on fuel cell cars but the projected time for completion is way out there.

Does anyone know of any REAL work going on that can give us some hope for the future and our pocketbooks?  (Not to mention our planet's condition)
« Last Edit: 04/03/2008 23:33:03 by chris »


 

another_someone

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #1 on: 23/02/2008 18:02:54 »
hydrogen will not replace oil as a primary fuel - you cannot dig hydrogen out of the ground, you need to obtain it chemically from some source (such as from water) which costs at least as much energy as it will recover when you use the hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be used as an energy transport medium to deliver energy to the end user, but you still need to obtain the initial energy from somewhere.

As a means of delivering energy to the end user, hydrogen has lots of competition from many other sources, from compressed air, to ultra-capacitors, to plain old rechargeable batteries.
 

Offline lex anderson

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #2 on: 23/02/2008 18:37:42 »
I think that some comments from another_someone might be a little misleading for those who do not understand hydrogen.

There are some hydrogen gas fields underground in Kansas, so the comment about hydrogen cannot be mined is misleading.  However he is right that most of the hydrogen on this planet is in the form of water. However, one of the incredible things about hydrogen, is that it can be produced from almost any energy source, and in some cases, it is actually CHEAPER.

In an internal combustion engine, 75% of the energy is lost through heat, exhaust, and the radiator. It is possible to convert hydro-carbon fuels (gasoline) into hydrogen. Gasoline is really just hydrogen with a bunch of carbon. If you free the hydrogen in gasoline, and use that in a fuel cell system, you can actually GAIN because fuel cells are 75% - 90% efficient. Therefore, you only need 1/3 the amount of fuel, and the end price is cheaper.

Interesting stuff about Roger Billings and the Hydrogen World View. He really sounds like the kind of guy who can make a difference. I might want to look deeper into that.
 
Also, you can access "The Hydrogen World View" online for free, if anyone wants to take a look, they are at:

newbielink:http://www.billingsenergy.com/Research.html [nonactive]

newbielink:http://www.roger.billings.name/ [nonactive]
 

lyner

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #3 on: 23/02/2008 19:04:31 »
Quote
If you free the hydrogen in gasoline, and use that in a fuel cell system,
What process does this? Is is cost effective?
I could envisage problems with selectively oxidising(?) the constituent atoms on a hydrocarbon molecule. The process would have to involve low energy input to be worth while  and Hydrogen can be more reactive than Carbon. Perhaps with the right catalyst. . . .
 

Offline lex anderson

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #4 on: 23/02/2008 20:15:49 »
I know of a few different products that convert hydrocarbon fuels in hydrogen, but I do not know the scientific term for the process.

After doing more research, this Roger Billings sounds like a real somebody in the Hydrogen world.

Dubbed Dr. Hydrogen by prestigious Time Magazine, he has been doing hydrogen research for decades, including converting the world's first engine to hydrogen in High school and converting the world's first hydrogen car soon after. He received his first grant as a Freshman in college from the Ford Motor Company.

He has over 20 hydrogen engine conversions, and in 1991 he created a hydrogen fuel cell car, which is before the next “first” hydrogen fuel cell car 5–10 years later.

As a young man, he has had incredible results in business, creating a multi-million dollar company before 25 years old. He sold out, and used the money to fund private hydrogen research. When the money ran out, he started another company and when it was profitable, he sold out and again and used the money on more hydrogen research.

That cycle continued, but now he has about half a dozen profitable companies, from computers to health and wellness, and this time he is keeping them, spending the surplus on hydrogen research.

He is a strong believer in the American Free Enterprise system, and he is planning to make hydrogen happen with cash out of his own pocket.

He has developed fuel cells with a life of hundreds of thousands of miles, and a way to store hydrogen called metal hydride that can store more than anything the competition has, and it is safer than anything else on the market.

This could get exciting really, really fast.

This is the link for the Time Magazine article:
newbielink:http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030721-464641,00.html [nonactive]
 

another_someone

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #5 on: 23/02/2008 21:50:21 »
There are some hydrogen gas fields underground in Kansas, so the comment about hydrogen cannot be mined is misleading.

I must admit I had not known about these fields, but:

http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=6532504
Quote
Hydrogen gas occurs in ten Kansas wells near the Mid-Continent rift system.^Since 1982, two wells have yielded small amounts of gases containing an average of 29-37 mole % H/sub 2/, the remainder being chiefly N/sub 2/ with only traces of hydrocarbons.^Isotopic compositions for hydrogen (delta D = -740 to -836 per thousand) imply near-ambient (about 10/sup 0/C) equilibration temperatures for the gases, which are among the most deuterium-depleted in nature and resemble the H/sub 2/-rich gases described from ophiolites in Oman.^Isotopic values for the Kansas N/sub 2/ differ slightly from those of the atmosphere, but not enough to rule out an atmospheric origin.^Because they are low in CH/sub 4/ and CO/sub 2/, expected byproducts of biogenic activity, the gases are probably abiogenic in origin.^The existence of such gases near a major rift system, containing mafic rocks, and not far from known kimberlites is consistent with an origin from reactions involving Fe/sup +2/ oxidation, for example during serpentinization.^Because the gases may be associated with kimberlites and deep-seated rifting, mantle outgassing is possible, but such an origin would be difficult to reconcile with the low isotopic temperatures.^The H/sub 2/ gases from Kansas (and elsewhere) seem to be too low in pressure to have commercial value.^However, neither the Kansas gases nor those from other H/sub 2/ occurrences have been adequately examined to assess their importance as potential resources.^4 figures, 3 tables.

So, while there is room for much more research, this not not seem like it will have any global significance in terms of global energy needs.  It is ofcourse possible that tomorrow someone will suddenly find these fields popping up all over the place, and larger and at higher pressures; but until that happens, it is something more of a curiosity than a basis for future global, or even national, energy policy.

However, one of the incredible things about hydrogen, is that it can be produced from almost any energy source, and in some cases, it is actually CHEAPER.

Yes, which makes it a potential energy transport medium, rather than an energy source; but at the expense of an intermediate conversion process that ads another source of complexity and potential efficiency cost.

In an internal combustion engine, 75% of the energy is lost through heat, exhaust, and the radiator. It is possible to convert hydro-carbon fuels (gasoline) into hydrogen.

It is also possible to use methane in fuels cells, and methane is more readily available without a separate conversion process (i.e. as a primary energy source) - it is something that is piped directly into most people's homes these days.

Gasoline is really just hydrogen with a bunch of carbon. If you free the hydrogen in gasoline, and use that in a fuel cell system, you can actually GAIN because fuel cells are 75% - 90% efficient. Therefore, you only need 1/3 the amount of fuel, and the end price is cheaper.

As I said, you could use methane fuel cells, which I would guess to be as efficient, but with fewer problems in transportation and storage (since methane has a much higher boiling point than hydrogen, it can be stored in liquid form), and if oil is anyway your starting point, then you don't waste energy having to break down methane into hydrogen and carbon.

In terms of efficiency, what matters is not the efficiency of the engine, but the overall system efficiency, and while the overall system efficiency cannot be greater than the efficiency of any one part of it (e.g. the engine), simply quoting improvements in the efficiency of that component without looking at the end to end efficiency can be misleading.

 

Offline lex anderson

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #6 on: 24/02/2008 00:14:23 »
Like another_member pointed out, we could be using methane for fuel cells. It is readily available. However, it is the supply that is the problem. If we were to convert everything to methane, it would have many benefits, the only problem is that this earth only has a finite amount of methane, and when we turn over to methane, we will still have the price and supply crisis we have today with oil.

As hydrogen is "used up", it becomes water vapor. We can take another source of energy, and convert water back into hydrogen, as long as there is sunlight and water, we will never run out.

Many of the problems of storage can be fixed by using Metal Hydride, but that is another topic in itself.
 

lyner

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #7 on: 24/02/2008 01:13:59 »
Roger Billings sounds to be quite a businessman but that is not necessarily the same as saying that Hydrogen can do anything special other than to make HIM a deal of money.

Quote
As hydrogen is "used up", it becomes water vapor. We can take another source of energy, and convert water back into hydrogen, as long as there is sunlight and water, we will never run out.
As a way of storing energy which has been obtained from another source Hydrogen has advantages. That is an entirely separate issue from discussing it as a possible SOURCE of energy.
There is still no significant source of Hydrogen to use 'raw' so it has to be obtained some other way. The details of how it can be obtained from hydrocarbons is very relevant to the  whole viability of using Hydrogen and, unless you have some information about suitable processes to achieve it then we really can't discuss it seriously; everything hinges upon such a system and on whether or not it really exists.
 

Offline lex anderson

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #8 on: 24/02/2008 01:36:10 »
Sophiecentaur does have some good points. We do want to be careful of WHO we give all or our money too.

In my personal opinion, if we could give the money we spend at the pump to someone other than the Arabs, I would consider it a good step in the right direction. If that was an American, even better. I am just not really big on sending hard earned American dollars, to the people who we are at war with. If we could get off Arab oil in anyway, I think that would be a good idea. We have spent to many lives trying to protect our precious gasoline.

Hydrogen is a way of STORING energy. That is where it is incredible. For example, we have hydro-power dams all over the USA. During the day, they power our American cities. But, when night comes, the amount of power we need drops significantly. So, at night when thousands of gallons of water pass though those dams, and the need for power is low, we could use the electricity to produce hydrogen, and store it to run our automobiles the very next day.

People talk about hydrogen storage being so hard because it does not readily compress into a liquid. However, how much of our nations propane and natural gas is delivered by truck... as compared to pipeline?

If we pipe hydrogen, we can use the existing lines we now pump propane and natural gas through.

Also, we can still carry hydrogen by truck, especially with metal hydride, but I will not go into that here.

That should be at:
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=13134.msg157981
 

lyner

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #9 on: 24/02/2008 10:20:55 »
When you get down to it, the things that count are efficiency, pollution and availability. Without actual figures about total costing, there is little point in recommending any particular choices about how to store  source  or convert energy.
Yes, Hydrogen sounds attractive but it isn't a magical substance. It is only as good as it is. The details are what countt.
 

another_someone

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #10 on: 24/02/2008 13:29:21 »
Firstly, methane is not that difficult to generate either (any compost heap will do it, and methane digesters have been around a long time).  At present, mineral sources of methane are available more cheaply and in larger quantities, but if we are talking about scaling up current small scale technologies, methane is there.

We also already have well established technologies for producing oil from coal. South Africa lived on the technology while it was subject to international embargo during the Apartheid years, and the technology goes back to when the Germans were using it during WWII.

Also, if the primary reason for avoiding oil use is because you don't want to buy from the Arabs, because you are at war with them - then I think a few misconceptions should be cleared up.  Firstly, the USA has more alliances with Arab nations that it has nations it is at war with.  Secondly, a very substantial portion of the worlds mineral hydrocarbon supplies do not come from Arab states (which is why OPEC no longer has the power it once had).

What is true is that most regions that contain mineral oil are politically unstable, or potential adversaries (this includes the Russian Federation, which is now one of the World's largest natural gas suppliers, but there is much suspicion that it is using its dominance in that area to further its political interests).

So, yes, there are good political reasons to reduce one's dependence on imported mineral hydrocarbon fuels (although the shift to biofuels scarcely does that, as much of that is still imported from places like the Far East); but it should not be confused with tensions in the Middle East.

It is true that we have had a more established hydrogen generating capacity in the past, or to be more precise, a mixed hydrogen and carbon monoxide generating capacity - it was called town gas, or more properly, coal gas, which is exactly one of the processes Roger Billing's seems to be promoting for the production of hydrogen, although Roger Billing's does not seem to be suggesting what we should do with the carbon monoxide component of the gas.  In the past, the carbon monoxide was pumped with the hydrogen to the end users, where it contributed to the energy value of the fuel.  If we now discard this portion of the fuel, then we are throwing away part of the energy of the fuel.

With the advent of cheap mineral methane supplies (marketed as natural gas), the market for town gas disappeared, and soon after that, so did the British coal industry.

Ofcourse, one of the problems with carbon monoxide is its toxicity, and in that respect the replacement of town gas with natural gas removed gas as a common means of suicide.
 

Offline lex anderson

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #11 on: 24/02/2008 15:00:20 »
Hydrogen can be produced from hydrocarbon fuels at 80% efficiency.
So if you paid $3.25 per gallon of gasoline, and converted that into hydrogen, you would have lost $0.65 (20%), and let us throw in another dime per gallon of gas equivalent for maintenance. That means that if we set up converters at gas stations, and connected them to the pumps already in use, we could sell hydrogen for $4.00 gallon of gas equivalent (I have to say gallon of gas equivalent because hydrogen is a gas and gasoline is a liquid. So, we say gallon of gas equivalent because that is the same amount of hydrogen it takes to do the job of one gallon of gasoline.)

So, if we have hydrogen fuel cells cars, we can fill up and use hydrogen straight from the gas stations in place today. We can generate over three times the efficiency. On one gallon of gasoline, a car might travel 30 miles. On a gallon of gas equivalent of hydrogen, utilized by a fuel cell, you could travel 90-100 miles per gallon.

If we do that, than we are really only spending $1.20 to get the same mile per gallon. For gasoline to even have a chance to catch up, hydrogen would have to cost $9.75 per gallon of gas equivalent. True, the gas stations might want more cash and possibly charge a fee, but they would have to be almost charging double for prices to get that high.

Also, if every car in the USA was running off hydrogen fuel cells, and let us say they were run off of converted fossil fuels, we would only have the buy 1/3 of the oil what we now purchase. If there is not as large of a demand, the price is pushed further down. That is the simple law of supply and demand. That would cut the price even more.

Right there you have a simple supply that is available almost ANYWHERE in the USA. If you have a gas station, you can have hydrogen. If you can have a source of even cheaper hydrogen, like maybe a hydro-electric dam when not at peak power demand, you can produce cheaper hydrogen locally, and use that, but we do have a backbone that we can rely on anywhere in the USA.

We could save 64% off our gasoline by converting it to hydrogen, and utilizing it in fuel cell cars. Just think what you could do if you only paid 36% of what you currently spend for gasoline.

In my personal opinion, we need to move over to hydrogen as quickly as we can, but it will have to be step by step. If we convert gasoline to hydrogen, it solves the price and availability issue. It is true than this conversion does produce greenhouse gasses, but since we only use 1/3 of the amount, we can cut our pollution by 1/3. It is just simple math there.

“When you get down to it, the things that count are efficiency, pollution and availability”

Efficiency – increased by 64%
Pollution – cut to 1/3
Availability – everywhere. If you can fill up a car with gasoline, you can fill it up with hydrogen. No loss at all.

I believe that it is a step in the right direction if we convert our cars to hydrogen, even if we start by using converted gasoline. Then, as our technology increases, I would really like to get off oil completely. It is a precious resource for plastics and other valuable uses, and we are burning it up, literally. There is only so much, and if we want any of it saved for our grandchildren, we better stop using so much. I believe coal gasification, wind, solar, and other technologies should take over, at least until we have fusion going. But, this is only going to happen one step at a time. Even now, we have major advantages in converting from gasoline, it is just that most people do not know that.

In response to another_member, we can use methane and other things like that, but one of the major reasons I am pro hydrogen, is because it has no pollution of itself. If you produce it from gasoline, there will still be pollution from the conversion, but it will only be 1/3 of what it would be if we burned it in cars. That is only the first step. I want to see this country GREEN, pollution free, and I believe that in time, we can see that goal, maybe in our own lifetimes, but the only solution I see is hydrogen.

However, methane will produce pollutants in every way that I know of, and I do not see how we can escape that. That is why I am not pushing it. If we convert gasoline into hydrogen, we produce less pollution, but it is only the first step.
 
My goal with hydrogen is to have NO pollution. As long as we still get pollution, I believe that we still have work to do, and I cannot see anyway to be completely pollution free from methane. In the future, I believe that natural sources of hydrogen will be available that produce no pollution, but we need to start going in the right direction if we are ever going to get there.

The carbon monoxide you were referring to is an odorless, colorless, tasteless poison, which can easily kill a human before they even knew what was happening. It lulls them into sleep and they never wake up. Like you stated,

“Of course, one of the problems with carbon monoxide is its toxicity, and in that respect the replacement of town gas with natural gas removed gas as a common means of suicide.”

Do you really WANT that in you car, your home, or anywhere near you?

One of the things about coal gasification, is I recommend we do NOT make carbon monoxide. With a simple change, you can change it to produce carbon dioxide, which is soda pop fizz and a major component of air. However, too much Carbon Dioxide is bad too, but I would rather have that in the air than monoxide.

Coal gasification is a start, and if we converted our regular coal plants into gasification plants to produce hydrogen, we would slash a large amount of the pollution we pump out. It might not be the end product, but it will really help us get there. That would cut a lot of the pollution this country is choking on.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #12 on: 24/02/2008 17:50:56 »
"It is true that we have had a more established hydrogen generating capacity in the past, or to be more precise, a mixed hydrogen and carbon monoxide generating capacity - it was called town gas, or more properly, coal gas, which is exactly one of the processes Roger Billing's seems to be promoting for the production of hydrogen, although Roger Billing's does not seem to be suggesting what we should do with the carbon monoxide component of the gas.  In the past, the carbon monoxide was pumped with the hydrogen to the end users, where it contributed to the energy value of the fuel.  If we now discard this portion of the fuel, then we are throwing away part of the energy of the fuel."
Well, nearly.
Coal gas, also known as Towns' gas (from mister Towns) is a mixture of many components prepared by roasting coal in airtight chambers- the other major product is coke.

Watergas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen made by reacting steam with hot coke or coal. The reaction is endothermic so you also need to add energy to get the hydrogen.
There is a trick called the water gas shift reaction where you convert most of the CO into more H2 but, again, that's another matter.

Let's stop focusing on hydrogen (or methanol or synthetic gasoline) as a transport fuel and look at the real question "Where are we going to get energy from?" Coal won't do it so things like this "Coal gasification is a start, and if we converted our regular coal plants into gasification plants to produce hydrogen, we would slash a large amount of the pollution we pump out. It might not be the end product, but it will really help us get there. That would cut a lot of the pollution this country is choking on." are not really helping. Don't forget that burning coal makes CO2 and that's generally recconed to be the bigest polution problem we have at the moment. Turning the coal into gas first doesn't solve the CO2 problem (in fact, due to reduced efficiencies, it makes it worse).
 

another_someone

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Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #13 on: 24/02/2008 18:01:43 »
Hydrogen can be produced from hydrocarbon fuels at 80% efficiency.

How are you measuring this efficiency?

I cannot see any reasonable measure that would provide this, since you would be throwing away the energy value of the carbon.

What is the energy source you are using to drive this.  It is all very well to talk about 80% efficiency in conversion in one step of the process, but if the original source energy that drives the process is only 20% efficient, then the overall efficiency (up to that point in the process) remains a mere 16%.

So if you paid $3.25 per gallon of gasoline, and converted that into hydrogen, you would have lost $0.65 (20%), and let us throw in another dime per gallon of gas equivalent for maintenance. That means that if we set up converters at gas stations, and connected them to the pumps already in use, we could sell hydrogen for $4.00 gallon of gas equivalent (I have to say gallon of gas equivalent because hydrogen is a gas and gasoline is a liquid. So, we say gallon of gas equivalent because that is the same amount of hydrogen it takes to do the job of one gallon of gasoline.)

You are quoting these numbers, but what measures are you using.  What is the energy value of the gasoline you start with, and what is the energy value of the hydrogen you finish up with, and do you need any other energy source to drive this process?

Also, if every car in the USA was running off hydrogen fuel cells, and let us say they were run off of converted fossil fuels, we would only have the buy 1/3 of the oil what we now purchase. If there is not as large of a demand, the price is pushed further down. That is the simple law of supply and demand. That would cut the price even more.

If all your assumptions are true, then that is fine; but you have not shown that the assumptions are true.

At least with a methane fuel cell, you can use natural gas (something that is already available as a primary fuel), and arguably could gain the same efficiencies using fuel cell technologies.

The problem at present is that fuel cell technologies (whether for hydrogen or for methane) while providing good efficiency, do not with present technology provide the same power density (i.e. you will need a very massive bank of fuel cells, with present day technologies, to create enough power to drive a conventional motor car).

Rechargeable batteries also provide at least as good an efficiency as fuel cell technology, although there we presently have limitations in terms of energy density, and in terms of long term storage (self discharge).  Both of these issues are being addressed, and improved upon, and at present it seems that battery technology is advancing faster than fuel cell technology.

Right there you have a simple supply that is available almost ANYWHERE in the USA. If you have a gas station, you can have hydrogen.

This would still require re-equipping all the gas stations with hydrogen generating equipment.

We already have in place an established methane distribution network (both the piped fuel network that supplies gas to most households, but we also have a smaller established network of filling stations that already distribute CNG, and already have many buses in the country running on compressed natural gas - the problem is that at present fuel cell technology cannot yet deliver the power levels to run the buses, so the CNG is being burnt in internal combustion engines - but this at least has the advantage that we can develop an incremental technology that could move from internal combustion to fuel cell technology running off the same distribution network).  The other problem with CNG (and this is every bit as true of hydrogen) is that while you can quote very good mass energy density figures for these fuels, you still have very much inferior volume energy densities for these fuels when compared to traditional long chain hydrocarbons.

In response to another_member, we can use methane and other things like that, but one of the major reasons I am pro hydrogen, is because it has no pollution of itself. If you produce it from gasoline, there will still be pollution from the conversion, but it will only be 1/3 of what it would be if we burned it in cars. That is only the first step. I want to see this country GREEN, pollution free, and I believe that in time, we can see that goal, maybe in our own lifetimes, but the only solution I see is hydrogen.

I cannot understand how you get the idea that we will have 1/3rd of the pollution from gasoline conversion to hydrogen.  If you extract energy from gasoline, it creates pollution, however you do it.  You have made an arbitrary statement that the conversion of gasoline to hydrogen is an 80% efficient process, which would imply to me that if you take 1 Kg of gasoline, and convert it to 187g of hydrogen (which is all the hydrogen there is in octane, which is the major constituent of gasoline), that the 187g of hydrogen will contain 80% of the energy value of the 1Kg of gasoline, and that even ignoring any energy input you need to make to separate the hydrogen from the carbon (although you might argue that some of the carbon you derive from the gasoline could be used to feed the energy requirements of the conversion process, but you are still left with the problem that you are going to have to convince me that the 187g of hydrogen does indeed have 80% of the energy value of 1Kg of gasoline).

However, methane will produce pollutants in every way that I know of, and I do not see how we can escape that. That is why I am not pushing it. If we convert gasoline into hydrogen, we produce less pollution, but it is only the first step.

Depends on what you mean by 'pollutants'.  At present there CO2 is considered a pollutant, and water is not - but I suspect in the long term this position is not sustainable.  Water is in fact a greater greenhouse gas than CO2; but ofcourse, both of them are also naturally generated substances.  But, yes, in the current political climate, methane does produce CO2 when oxidised for energy, but for a given mass of fuel, methane will only produce 56% of the CO2 that octane will produce (which is why it is presently favoured as an ecofriendly fuel for buses).

Furthermore, if methane is derived from biological processes rather than from mineral sources, then there is no nett increase in atmospheric CO, since the CO2 being put into the atmosphere is merely that which was originally extracted from the atmosphere to create the methane in the first place.

I am not trying to argue that methane is a panacea - I don't believe it is.  I am merely trying to suggest that there are other technologies (by no means only methane technology) that in their own way are at least as valid as hydrogen cycle technology.  None of the competing potential solutions have yet to deliver on their promises, but many are more mature than hydrogen cycle technology, but they all still have their problems.
 
My goal with hydrogen is to have NO pollution. As long as we still get pollution, I believe that we still have work to do, and I cannot see anyway to be completely pollution free from methane. In the future, I believe that natural sources of hydrogen will be available that produce no pollution, but we need to start going in the right direction if we are ever going to get there.

What do you mean by 'natural' sources of hydrogen?

As I said, it is possible to derive a methane cycle that does not contribute to global CO2, by virtue of using atmospheric CO2 to generate the methane in the first place.

Pure electrical battery technologies also are regarded as pollution free at the point of use (which is all that can be said for hydrogen technology - since both hydrogen and electrical batteries are merely energy storage and transport technologies, not original energy sources).

On the other hand, what you have not factored in is the effects of hydrogen leakage into the atmosphere (this is also true of methane, but methane is at least a natural component of the atmosphere anyway, even though it is also regarded as a greenhouse gas - but less of a greenhouse gas than water).  When CFC's were first introduced, they were introduced because they were considered so stable that they could pose no threat to the environment.  Some decades later, CFC's were considered the pariah of environmental chemicals as there was a greater understanding of how this chemical reacted in the atmosphere.  Hydrogen is less stable than CFC's, I would still ask how much we know about large scale releases of hydrogen will impact on the atmosphere.

The carbon monoxide you were referring to is an odorless, colorless, tasteless poison, which can easily kill a human before they even knew what was happening. It lulls them into sleep and they never wake up. Like you stated,

“Of course, one of the problems with carbon monoxide is its toxicity, and in that respect the replacement of town gas with natural gas removed gas as a common means of suicide.”

Do you really WANT that in you car, your home, or anywhere near you?

One of the things about coal gasification, is I recommend we do NOT make carbon monoxide. With a simple change, you can change it to produce carbon dioxide, which is soda pop fizz and a major component of air. However, too much Carbon Dioxide is bad too, but I would rather have that in the air than monoxide.

While I agree totally with your concern, but there is still the issue that carbon monoxide has an energy value that can be utilised, and to simply convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide without utilising the energy available from that conversion process is wasteful (and will undermine you conversion efficiency figures).

Coal gasification is a start, and if we converted our regular coal plants into gasification plants to produce hydrogen, we would slash a large amount of the pollution we pump out. It might not be the end product, but it will really help us get there. That would cut a lot of the pollution this country is choking on.

In the bad old days, coal gasification plants were certainly not regarded as low polluters, but modern technologies could overcome many of the problems of the older plants.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: When will hydrogen become a commonplace fuel?
« Reply #13 on: 24/02/2008 18:01:43 »

 

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