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Author Topic: Hydrogen fuel  (Read 2994 times)

Offline BombShelterBob

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Hydrogen fuel
« on: 01/09/2005 14:59:15 »
Hi I'm new. I was reading the site, and came across a thread about using sodium as an alternative fuel, and started wondering about the cost of producing fuel, which is the reason lots of potentially good fuels sources are scraped: Which brings me at last to my question. What is the realtime cost of producing hydrogen? Also I hear alot about hydrogen used as a catalys to produce electricity, but not much about an internal combustion engine. Why is that?


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Offline Ultima

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Re: Hydrogen fuel
« Reply #1 on: 01/09/2005 19:11:24 »
Hydrogen is far to explosive to use in combustion, but the use of hydrogen ions or protons is really useful for producing electricity. Hydrogen is used this way in lots of chemical processes in cell membranes to move large molecules across a concentration gradient. Also called "proton pumps".

Hydrogen is pretty much "free". You can use floating solar stations on the sea to get it through Photo-electrochemical Water Splitting. Or you can use microbes, since lots of biological reactions produce hydrogen peroxide which can be used to get water and hydrogen out, with just the use of a catalyst. If you engineered a really efficient microbe that also produced a yield of high quality protein for food too you would be quid’s in!

http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/proj_production_delivery.html

Shame it's big oil/car companies ‘driving’ :) the fuel markets, not likely to get hydrogen being used for a while yet... It's depressing to see China use coal now that oil is running out :(

Hydrogen fuel cells for small scale power use, along with hydrogen fusion reactors (requiring deuterium & tritium) for large scale grid use will fuel our requirements for a VERY long time. Plenty of water/heavy water flowing about the place!

The explosive problems of transporting hydrogen could be solved with the use of fullerene (C60) molecules or nanotubes to "store" the hydrogen. Then using some other chemical to break up the carbon when inside a fuel cell, releasing the hydrogen.


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« Last Edit: 01/09/2005 19:20:45 by Ultima »
 

Offline anthony

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Re: Hydrogen fuel
« Reply #2 on: 07/09/2005 11:26:33 »
Hydrogen is not a fuel in the sense most people mean it, since it can't simply be "dug up" and needs to be made. The most energy efficient process I know to make it is by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. This obviously requires lots of energy, more energy than you'll get out by recombining it. It's best to see hydrogen as energy storage, a battery.

You couldn't use microbes, since microbial fermentation is actually energy intensive, lots of growth medium and warmth is required. Huge amounts of sea would be required for that idea, so you'd kill the sealife beneath. Nuclear is the only real option, developing countries should pull their finger out of their arses and go nuclear, there is no way to ask developing countries to stop using fossil fuels if the developed world continues too. As far as I am aware Finland is the only western country to have built a nuclear reactor in the past twenty years.

It would be nice to believe Fusion power will eventually save us, but we should really solve the energy problem now and not just wait twenty years maybe fifty for commercially available fusion power. Nuclear power may also alow us to solve the water crisis as it makes sea-water desalination an option. Remember it is the only power source that is greenhouse-safe, and works whatever the weather, wind power, even in the UK only generates significant power one day in three. Unfortunately government and lobbyist figures are based on that one day.
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: Hydrogen fuel
« Reply #3 on: 07/09/2005 14:29:12 »
Couldn't you use microbes in a hot place say coastal Africa or Arabia (replace the oil industry), and pump water into vats. Then just transport the hydrogen to where it's needed. Plus splitting water can be done using solar power! You're right in saying it's not energy efficient, but it's solar energy we wouldn't be getting otherwise. I agree that nuclear power should be used more now. But you can't have a nuclear powered car! and battery technology just isn't there to charge up a car from the mains. Fusion isn't a pie in the sky idea, France just won the bid to have the first experimental plant built there.

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Re: Hydrogen fuel
« Reply #3 on: 07/09/2005 14:29:12 »

 

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