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Author Topic: The Hydrogen Economy: And So It Begins...
EDanaII
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The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on the entirely-new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack. Featuring tremendous improvements to driving range, power, weight and efficiency - and boasting a low-slung, dynamic and sophisticated appearance, previously unachievable in a fuel cell vehicle - the FCX Clarity marks the significant progress Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell car.

They have an interesting strategy to get around the fact that there is no hydrogen infrastructure to support these cars: Honda's Home Energy Station technology is designed to facilitate the broader adoption of zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles, like the FCX Clarity, by developing a home refueling solution that makes efficient use of a home's existing natural gas supply for production of hydrogen, while providing heat and electricity to an average-size home.

Should be interesting where this all leads.

Ed.

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WeAreAllJust LooseChange
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Cutting the middle man (Gas stations) - that won't be allowed.
Who's going to sell you the squishies, the slurpies, the high-and-low-fat chips, etc.?
Not in this country, bubba [Smile]

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scifibum
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Well, considering how much I and some others I have observed stop at gas stations without visiting the gas pumps...I think the slurpee market is in no danger.
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Jesse
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quote:
Compared to the average U.S. consumer's home with grid-supplied electricity and a gasoline-powered car, a home using Home Energy Station IV to help produce heat and electricity and also to refuel an FCX Clarity can reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 30 percent and energy costs by an estimated 50 percent.
I'd love to see a comparison to a plug-in Hybrid and 2kw of solar panels.

In any event, we're already running a bit short on Natural Gas, and the price is rising. It's a big investment for a relatively short term fix.

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KnightEnder
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Our new Kroger near our new subdivisions has no live people to check you out after a certain time. I used to hate it, but you get used to it.

KE

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philnotfil
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I love the self checkout. When I'm just grabbing one or two things, on my way out I can see people still in line who were in line when I came in.
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KnightEnder
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Pretty soon you won't have to encounter "real" people except when you want to. But I can't imagine why anyone would want to.

The last vestiges will probably be sex and machines and jacking-in will eliminate STD's, unwanted pregnancy, and unwanted social entanglements there, too. Ahh, the future will be great.

KE

[ November 16, 2007, 09:17 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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0Megabyte
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"Ahh, the future will be great."

Eventually, you won't be able to tell if the person you're talking to is real or not.

Farther in the future than that, there won't even be a difference anymore, since computers and humans will have become one, and you won't even need to bother with holding onto your original body any longer.

When both so-called "AI" and so called "humans" both go from body to internet to body again at leisure, and communicate and talk with the same general capacity and ability, the difference between them will eventually dissapear, and the meaning of the word "human" will have changed irrevocably.

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Boy Logic
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quote:
Originally posted by Jesse:
quote:
Compared to the average U.S. consumer's home with grid-supplied electricity and a gasoline-powered car, a home using Home Energy Station IV to help produce heat and electricity and also to refuel an FCX Clarity can reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 30 percent and energy costs by an estimated 50 percent.
I'd love to see a comparison to a plug-in Hybrid and 2kw of solar panels.

In any event, we're already running a bit short on Natural Gas, and the price is rising. It's a big investment for a relatively short term fix.

I'm glad you pointed out the energy cost reduction, because I was wondering about that. Last time I had checked (granted, it was two years ago), we were a long way off from obtaining an efficient method of hydrogen separation, but I didn't consider any methods that were using fossil fuels. I guess having the byproduct of heat for your water heater or home heater is a good solution when it comes to using natural gas as your hydrogen source. Still, while it reduces our CO2 emissions from other fossil fuels, as you said it still doesn't cut our reliance on fossil fuels at all.

I suppose the only real bright side to a system like this, is that it can act as an intermediate point for our conversion from fossil fuels. If people are already using hydrogen powered cars, it will be easier to introduce hydrogen refueling stations to the economy.

Unfortunately, I still haven't seen any good systems for hydrogen 'production' that are efficient enough to put into practical widespread use. I'm constantly amazed that we put such an investment into creating technologies that use a fuel to power them that we don't have an economically viable and sustainable method of producing yet. Granted, it constantly seems like we have a viable method of hydrogen production on the horizon... but it's on the horizon for years....

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Hitoshi
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This has all been done before with the EV-1. It was an electric car with a home charging unit. *shrug* I'd rather have the EV-1, to be honest.
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EDanaII
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@ Boy Logic:
quote:
I suppose the only real bright side to a system like this, is that it can act as an intermediate point for our conversion from fossil fuels. If people are already using hydrogen powered cars, it will be easier to introduce hydrogen refueling stations to the economy.
BINGO! We have a winner! [Smile]

Yep. That's the whole point of the unit. It helps kickstart the hydrogen infrastructure by getting these cars on the road, instead of waiting for that infrastructure to develop so these cars can get on the road.

@ WeAreAllJustLooseChange:
quote:
Cutting the middle man (Gas stations) - that won't be allowed.
All the home stations do is provide you fuel. Any trips you make would still be limited to a 270 mile (round trip) journey from your house. If you want to go further, then you're gonna need gas stations with a hydrogen pump. The middle man ain't goin' nowhere.

Ed.

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LoneSnark
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Hydrogen sucks as a storage medium because it is just so gosh darn inefficient to make. This is why I believe lithium batteries combined with ultra-capacitors will be the storage medium of choice. Sure, you could get more mileage with the same weight, but each mile driven would cost substantially more.

Now, as I understand it, because the batteries are designed to re-capture regenerative braking, you can recharge them in a matter of 10 to 20 minutes if you can tap into a sufficiently large power-source, say a 440V line at a gas station.

But this is only if you want to stop and eat and get a slushy. I still like electric cars with a small auxiliary 3 cylinder gasoline engine hooked up to a generator for long trips.

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KnightEnder
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"And so it begins..."
"Needles and pins..."

That song was playing on the radio as I loaded Stacy and newborn Little John into our car for the ride home....18 years ago.

KE

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LetterRip
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Hydrogens only advantage is that its point source emissions are water.

It has huge disadvantage such as -

1) Very poor energy density
2) Can't be easily stored
3) Can't be easily transported
4) Expensive and energy inefficient to make
5) Hydrogen is Ozone depleting

It is basically a total non starter and I can't see why anyone considers it even a vaguely good idea.

Biodiesel/biogasoline; battery; or capacitor based systems seem the only reasonable replacements for the forseeable future.

LoneSnark - as an alternative to batteries, capacitors can be 'instantly' charged, but have a lower energy density than batteries. One possibility for batteries and capacitors is quick 'swapping' out of the battery or capacitor bank.

LetterRip

[ November 17, 2007, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Link


quote:

Microbes Churn Out Hydrogen at Record Rate

In new table-top reactor, bacteria from wastewater produce abundant, clean hydrogen from cellulose, or even vinegar, and a little electricity

In a microbial electrolysis cell, bacteria break up fermented plant waste to form hydrogen
Credit and Larger Version


November 12, 2007


By adding a few modifications to their successful wastewater fuel cell, researchers have coaxed common bacteria to produce hydrogen in a new, efficient way.

Bruce Logan and colleagues at Penn State University had already shown success at using microbes to produce electricity. Now, using starter material that could theoretically be sourced from a salad bar, the researchers have coaxed those same microbes to generate hydrogen.

By tweaking their design, improving conditions for the bacteria, and adding a small jolt of electricity, they increased the hydrogen yield to a new record for this type of system.

"We achieved the highest hydrogen yields ever obtained with this approach from different sources of organic matter, such as yields of 91 percent using vinegar (acetic acid) and 68 percent using cellulose," said Logan.

In certain configurations, nearly all of the hydrogen contained in the molecules of source material converted to useable hydrogen gas, an efficiency that could eventually open the door to bacterial hydrogen production on a larger scale.

Logan and lead author Shaoan Cheng announced their results in the Nov. 12, 2007, online version of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Bruce Logan is a clear leader in this area of research on sustainable energy," said Bruce Hamilton, NSF director of the environmental sustainability program at NSF and the officer overseeing Logan's research grant. "Advances in sustainable energy capabilities are of paramount importance to our nation's security and economic well-being. We have been supporting his cutting-edge research on microbial fuel cells for a number of years and it is wonderful to see the outstanding results that he continues to produce."

Other systems produce hydrogen on a larger scale, but few if any match the new system for energy efficiency.

Even with the small amount of electricity applied, the hydrogen ultimately provides more energy as a fuel than the electricity needed to drive the reactor. Incorporating all energy inputs and outputs, the overall efficiency of the vinegar-fueled system is better than 80 percent, far better than the efficiency for generation of the leading alternative fuel, ethanol.

Even most electrolysis techniques, methods to extract hydrogen from water using electricity, pale in comparison to the new method.

"We can do that by using the bacteria to efficiently extract energy from the organic matter," said Logan. By perfecting the environment for the bacteria to do what they already do in nature, the new approach can be three to ten times more efficient than standard electrolysis.

Additional information about the new technology and how it works can be found in the Penn State press release at http://www.psu.edu/ur/2007/biohydrogen.htm.

The work of Logan and his colleagues has been featured in two prior NSF press releases:

Waste Not, Want Not

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=104098

Fuel-Cell Microbes' Double Duty: Treat Water, Make Energy

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=100337

Too cool. I remain convinced that the solution to both our energy needs and environmental problems is not less technology, but more technology.
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KonerAtHome
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I would like to see a government "sponsored" program on the scale of the Manhatten Project or the Apollo moon missions to get the US off of oil all together. Make it a 10 or 15 year program and sink billions into research, development and infrastructure. Do whatever it takes to get off of oil as soon as physically and technologically possible.

Is this type of project still possible in the US like it was in the 60's with Apollo?

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EDanaII
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@ FiredrakeRAGE

Excellent, FDR, thanks for the links.

I've long envisioned a future where we've mastered recycling our waist. It looks, just as I hoped, that the Hydrogen Economy might move us in that direction.

Ed.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

I've long envisioned a future where we've mastered recycling our waist.

You mean we walk everywhere?
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KonerAtHome
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quote:
I've long envisioned a future where we've mastered recycling our waist
I wish I could recyle my waist, Maybe then I could fit into smaller clothes. [Smile]
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kenmeer livermaile
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I think he meant 'recircling our waist'?
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Mynnion
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We need to develop a means of using kudzu as a bio fuel. We could cut the loan daily for our power. When we ran low we could stop beside the highway and cut some more. At least in the South. LOL
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velcro
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Letter Rip wrote about hydrogen

quote:

1)Very poor energy density
2) Can't be easily stored
3) Can't be easily transported
4) Expensive and energy inefficient to make
5) Hydrogen is Ozone depleting

1)Actually it has the highest energy density of any material per kg, although not per cubic meter.

2)5000 psi tanks are feasible. Metal hydride or other methods may become feasible.

3)Not much worse than CNG. There is actually a large hydrogen pipeline in CA to feed refineries.

4)Electrolysis is not particularly efficient, but reasonable in the short term or where energy is wasted off-peak, e.g. hydroelectric. It is a fuel that can be made with no petroleum based feedstocks. Biodiesel takes fertilizer which takes petroleum. (Actually the fertilizer takes hydrogen, which is made from natural gas in most industrial applications, so to take the petroleum out of biodiesel production, you would need to make hydrogen from electrolyzers first [Smile] )

5)Don't know about ozone depleting. How much would be released compared to other ozone depleting gases?

Hydrogen is far from perfect. But as I said, it can be made with no petroleum feedstocks. At multiple point sources, where pollution is hardest to clean up, there is no pollution. At the electrical generator, where electricity is made, it is easier to clean up pollution, or if it is a renewable source, there is no pollution at all.

With batteries, if you want more range, you add more batteries, which adds a lot of weight. With hydrogen, if you want more range, you make the tank just a little bigger, which doesn't add a lot of weight.

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velcro
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As far as government spending on hydrogen research, it is about $1B a year, the cost of a few days of fighting in Iraq.
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LetterRip
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1) It is the cost per volume that matters for pretty much every non-space application

2) Hydrogen leaks through about every tank, in theory carbon nanotubles could possibly contain it. They also embrittle the metal of the tank

3) See 2, also pipelines only get you to primary distribution points, not to your stations - trucking it to distribution locations isn't feasible due to 2

4) As you note it is hydrogen that is required not petroleum - if you use the hydrogen as it is created by what ever process then you don't have the storage/transport issues

5) I think it is like 5% loss per day is what is expected

See these links,

http://www.energybulletin.net/4541.html
http://www.energybulletin.net/11963.html

Some of the stuff is overly pessimistic, but it covers a lot of the issues.

LetterRip

[ November 18, 2007, 10:51 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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velcro
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1) Why?

2)So? Hydrogen embrittlement is not an issue with 300 series stainless steels, among the most common type of stainless. Linings can be applied to other tanks to solve this problem. How much leakage are you talking about? Is this your sum total reason why it Can't Be Easily Stored?

3)Tell that to the hundreds of tanker trucks that transport hydrogen regularly. Natural gas is in pipelines around the country, and it gets to millions of homes.

4) I'm not sure what you mean. Are you agreeing with me?

5)5% of what? How does that compare to other ozone depleting gases?

The links look interesting, I will look more carefully.

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LetterRip
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quote:
1) Why [is energy per unit volume more important vs energy per kilogram]?
See the link I provided previously, volume and weight of the tank (which is proportional to volume and pressure of the gas) are the constraining factors.

quote:
2)So? Hydrogen embrittlement is not an issue with 300 series stainless steels, among the most common type of stainless. Linings can be applied to other tanks to solve this problem. How much leakage are you talking about? Is this your sum total reason why it Can't Be Easily Stored?
Hmm for the embrittlement - 300 series - so that would include 304?

quote:
Hydrogen embrittlement of 304 stainless steel with different hydrogen concentrations hasbeen investigated. An electrochemical technique was used to effectively charge the highlevel of hydrogen into 304 stainless steel in a short period of time. At 25 ppm of hydrogen, 304 stainless steel loses 10% of its original mechanical strength and 20% plasticity. Although the ductile feature dominates the fractography, the brittle crown areanear the outer surface shows the intergranular rupture effected by hydrogen. At 60 ppmof hydrogen, 304 stainless steel loses 23% of its strength and 38% plasticity, where thebrittle mode dominates the fracture of the materials. Experimental results show that hydrogen damage to the performance of 304 stainless steel is significant even at very low levels.
http://sti.srs.gov/fulltext/tr2002558/tr2002558.pdf

For more on the storage issues see my link below and the link I gave above.

quote:
3)Tell that to the hundreds of tanker trucks that transport hydrogen regularly. Natural gas is in pipelines around the country, and it gets to millions of homes.
See here for transport tech and my previous link - transporting even liquid hydrogen doesn't result in particularly many refuels per truckload. If you are running the tanker on hydrogen, then for any sort of distance it would seem that you are using the majority of your fuel capacity to deliver the fuel.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/delivery/current_technology.html

Regarding natural gas - it is far cheaper and easier to transport than H2 - although it might be possible to switch to a mixed hydrogen and NG distribution which may only be modest price increase to distribute.

quote:
4) I'm not sure what you mean. Are you agreeing with me?
I'm stating that doing a small amount of hydrogen generation via powerplants to replace our current agricultural usage, plus a modest increase to grow agri based fuel, would probably be far more economical than generating a drastically larger amount of hydrogen for fuel purposes.

quote:
)5% of what? How does that compare to other ozone depleting gases?
5% loses due to boil off per day - the ozone depleting potential hasn't been significantly investigated as far as I know.

LetterRip

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velcro
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Weight vs. volume - think airplanes and spacecraft. Weight is much more important.

The problem with hydrogen storage is the storage, not the hydrogen. On a per kg basis, hydrogen is the highest energy of any fuel. We just need a way to store it. We can figure something out.

Oil is also a high specific energy fuel. If 100 years ago you told people that it needs to be brought up from miles underground, half way around the world, they would never want to start using it. Coal worked fine, and it was much easier to get. But those obstacles were overcome, and oil has a 100 year headstart now over hydrogen.

But in the long term, oil won't work. We need to start with hydrogen now so in 20 or 30 years it will be workable. Dismissing it because it is not workable now is like saying that space exploration is not economically feasible. So? We need to work on space now so that hundreds or thousands of years from now, when we NEED to go into space, because Earth is unlivable, or we need the asteroids for resources, or because a meteor will hit earth, or whatever, we will have the ability.

The best way to get ready for when we need hydrogen is to start using it.

Anyone who says it will be easy is not telling the truth. But it needs to be worked on. The fuel is good, the infrastructure is undeveloped. Can you see why some people might think it is a vaguely good idea?

And I am not saying to ignore batteries, or biodiesel, or ultracapacitors. But hydrogen has a place in any energy strategy, and with reasonable breakthroughs along the lines of what has been done with oil and ICEs over the last 100 years, it has the potential for sucess in many areas.

BTW, 316 stainless works fine, and a 25% reduction in strength for 304 means a slightly larger factor of safety. Also, coatings can be applied to prevent hydrogen penetration.

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LetterRip
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velcro,

quote:
Weight vs. volume - think airplanes and spacecraft. Weight is much more important.
Spacecraft already use liquid hydrogen. Aircraft contribute about 2.5% of anthropogenic CO2, so are not a driving concern for a 'hydrogen economy'.

quote:
The problem with hydrogen storage is the storage, not the hydrogen.
That seems a silly statement. Due to its small size and relatively reactive nature - hydrogen is inherrently difficult to store.


quote:
On a per kg basis, hydrogen is the highest energy of any fuel.
Which is irrelevant for most applications since it is the per volume that is the limiting factor as has been pointed out repeatedly above.

quote:
We just need a way to store it. We can figure something out.
The question is can an economically and energetically sound storage method be found in a reasonable time frame? In 100 years almost certainly. However by then it would probably be completely irrelevant.

LetterRip

[ November 21, 2007, 02:07 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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LetterRip
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Pressed add reply by accident early, so splitting into two posts.

quote:
But those obstacles were overcome, and oil has a 100 year headstart now over hydrogen.
What is your point?

quote:
But in the long term, oil won't work.
If you consider CO2 a potential issue (I do) then long term fossil fuel won't work. However sythesized oil - ie from biogenic sources which are just recycling atmospheric CO2 then it doesn't seem to be problematic. Of course it depends on what you mean by 'long term'. Of course in 100 years technology could be ridiculously more advanced.

quote:
We need to start with hydrogen now so in 20 or 30 years it will be workable.
Why? You need to show why it would be of greater benefit to switch to a hydrogen economy as opposed to a biodiesel/biogasoline or battery/capacitor based transport economy.

quote:
Dismissing it because it is not workable now is like saying that space exploration is not economically feasible. So?
Actually much of current 'space exploration' is an absolutely horrendous waste of money.

quote:
We need to work on space now so that hundreds or thousands of years from now, when we NEED to go into space, because Earth is unlivable, or we need the asteroids for resources, or because a meteor will hit earth, or whatever, we will have the ability.
Actually if we just used the money to work on improved materials, and improved energy technologies then a vastly greater benefit could be achieved and 'cheap space' could be achieved relatively near term.

quote:
The best way to get ready for when we need hydrogen is to start using it.
Except there appears to be no 'need' for a hydrogen economy is the entire point.

quote:
Can you see why some people might think it is a vaguely good idea?
Not someone informed on the issue, no.

quote:
But hydrogen has a place in any energy strategy, and with reasonable breakthroughs along the lines of what has been done with oil and ICEs over the last 100 years, it has the potential for sucess in many areas.
You keep repeating that - but you haven't suggested any evidence that that is the case.

I don't see any reason to pursue an energy strategy that requires a substantial number of 'breakthroughs' (ie 10-20 order of magnitude improvements according to NAS
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10922 ) that will even with the hoped for break throughs have little or no advantages, and significant disadvantages relative to existent or near term technology.

LetterRip

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velcro
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My point is that no energy technology is perfect.

Biofuel will cause us to have our energy needs and our food needs competing for exactly the same resources (land, fertilizer, etc.) Right now the amount of energy it takes to make biofuel is more than what you get out.

Does that mean biofuel is not even vaguely a good idea? Only if you are an absolutist that requires perfect solutions to our problems, right away.

Nuclear has advantages, but is not perfect. Same with solar, hydro, wind, tides, etc.

For fueling cars, only batteries, biofuel, and hydrogen make sense. All of these will require significant effort, significant number of breakthroughs, and significant tradeoffs. None of these will be a major energy carrier for 20 years, and all of them need to be researched starting now.

Is hydrogen head and shoulders above any other option? No. Is it a stupid, worthless idea, as you seem to believe? No, not any worse than any other idea once you scrutinize it to the same extent.

I claim hydrogen has "the potential for success", because it is being used now, because the energy density is high, and because it can easily be made from renewable sources.

Do you deny that it has ANY potential for success?

Why are you so adamant about this, when all technologies have major obstacles?

And despite your many repetitions, you have never explained why volume is more important than weight, in and of itself. My point was that for aircraft and spacecraft, weight is far more important than volume. I would venture that for cars this is the case as well, absent any evidence to the contrary. (And the evidence is indeed absent)

My point about the headstart is that you are comparing the shortcomings of hydrogen (storage difficulties) to current expectations of an oil-based transportation system. When gasoline was first used, the flammability, the difficulty in getting it out of the ground, the toxicity, the lack of infrastructure, were all reasons why people said it would never work. Hydrogen is in its infancy, and you are complaining because it can't run as fast as a high school track star.

If it took us 100 years to develop an economic method for storing and using hydrogen as fuel, why would that be too late? Because you think other technological improvements will come first? Only if they are worked on and researched for decades. But maybe hydrogen will come first if we work on it.

Finally, saying the problem with hydrogen storage is the storage, not the hydrogen, is not silly. As I said before, oil is a very impractical fuel, due to its being miles underground half way across the world. But that has nothing to do with the physical properties that make it useful.

I can have seawater very accessible, but that does not make it a good fuel. It is also very easy to store, but that does not make it a good fuel. Every good fuel has disadvantages. But for a very good fuel (high specific energy), it makes sense to overcome the disadvantages.

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Jesse
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Sure, except that it's something we will always have to produce, and produce with large energy loses.

Why have we got no comparison to, say, just fueling up a CNG hybrid (and yeah, I've seen CNG Prius test vehicles on the road) at home?

What's the energy savings of converting that natural gas to hydrogen before burning it?

Once we've got a means to produce it from water affordably, Hydrogen makes sense and it's shortcommings can be dealt with. Untill then, there isn't much of a reason to mess with it.

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LetterRip
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velcro,

quote:
Biofuel will cause us to have our energy needs and our food needs competing for exactly the same resources (land, fertilizer, etc.) Right now the amount of energy it takes to make biofuel is more than what you get out.
see this paper regarding energy balance and biodiesel

http://www.uidaho.edu/bioenergy/NewsReleases/Biodiesel%20Energy%20Balance_v2a.pdf

As regards resource competition - I see potential, country specific problems as relates to water resources but haven't investigated in depth to come to a definitive conclusion.

http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_food.html

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/17/europe/EU-GEN-Sweden-Biofuels.php

quote:

For fueling cars, only batteries, biofuel, and hydrogen make sense.

Electric 'tracks' work well also for the majority of the travel - and then the batteries/capacitors could be used as a backup.

Also if you think hydrogen makes sense then synthesizing and number of other energy intensive fuels does as well.

quote:
All of these will require significant effort, significant number of breakthroughs, and significant tradeoffs. None of these will be a major energy carrier for 20 years, and all of them need to be researched starting now.
Battery and biodiesel can and are being done right now and a large chunk of our vehicle fleet could be switched over on relatively short notice if we were so inclined.

quote:
I claim hydrogen has "the potential for success", because it is being used now, because the energy density is high, and because it can easily be made from renewable sources.

Do you deny that it has ANY potential for success?

What do you define as success? If by success you mean capable of being used as an energy carrier then it has potential for success. If you mean being widely used and being an energetically reasonable method then no.

The question though is like asking me if I think the space shuttle is capable of getting me from my house to school, and if so why I don't support it as a method for public transportation - it is physically possible - but there are so drastically more practical methodologies that it isn't an option worth considering.

quote:
And despite your many repetitions, you have never explained why volume is more important than weight, in and of itself. My point was that for aircraft and spacecraft, weight is far more important than volume. I would venture that for cars this is the case as well, absent any evidence to the contrary. (And the evidence is indeed absent)
I provided a number of links as to why that is the case.

Here is another

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_storage

quote:


My point about the headstart is that you are comparing the shortcomings of hydrogen (storage difficulties) to current expectations of an oil-based transportation system. When gasoline was first used, the flammability, the difficulty in getting it out of the ground, the toxicity, the lack of infrastructure, were all reasons why people said it would never work. Hydrogen is in its infancy, and you are complaining because it can't run as fast as a high school track star.

That is a misleading comparison. Hydrogen has been used as a fuel since the 1800s. It has had huge investments in storage and safety research. All of the advancements in storage for other gasses are of benefit to hydrogen storage research. It isn't in its 'infancy' it is a fuel that has had a great deal of funding thrown at its various problems and has never had particularly useful returns.

Also as noted earlier it is the numerous and substantial disadvantages of hydrogen versus technologies that are already adequate or close to adequate.

You don't bet on the one in a million shot when the sure thing gives the same or even better payoff odds.

quote:
If it took us 100 years to develop an economic method for storing and using hydrogen as fuel, why would that be too late?
At that point you can probably do unimaginable technical feats that would make current storage technologies obsolete.

quote:
Because you think other technological improvements will come first? Only if they are worked on and researched for decades. But maybe hydrogen will come first if we work on it.
The technical advances are along the natural development of current technical improvements in materials and energy technologies. Hydrogen storage will likely be solved by the natural development of CNT technology. CNT improvements are natural developments of existing material science trends. Investing a hundered billion in hydrogen storage research would likely only yield a very slight increase in the rate of material science improvements.

Its like the problem in simulation - you have a problem that will take 100 years to compute on current technology - the most efficient method is invest the money you had set aside for the computation, wait 7 years, then buy the current newest hardware and run it on that for 1 year, and you finish in 8 years for a fraction of the (or the same cost).

LetterRip

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kenmeer livermaile
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"That is a misleading comparison. Hydrogen has been used as a fuel since the 1800s. It has had huge investments in storage and safety research. All of the advancements in storage for other gasses are of benefit to hydrogen storage research. It isn't in its 'infancy' it is a fuel that has had a great deal of funding thrown at its various problems and has never had particularly useful returns."

Contextually, hydro competed against much more easily resolved energy formats like petroleum and coal. As fossil fuels decline, things like hydro may appear more useful.

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velcro
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Jesse wrote
quote:
Once we've got a means to produce it from water affordably, Hydrogen makes sense and it's shortcommings can be dealt with. Untill then, there isn't much of a reason to mess with it.
And Jesse, how exactly will we get this "means to produce it"? I say it is from research that we start now.

LetterRip,

Do you think that faster chips arise spontaneously from natural processes? Several chip companies spend billions and billions on new fabs to make the incremental improvements. On top of this is decades of government sponsored research.

And I will take you up on that challenge. You take your money and invest it, then wait 7 years to buy the hardware. I'll take the money, spend it on developing the hardware, use the beta hardware to solve the problem a year before you, and eat your lunch. Then I will sell the hardware to you and everyone else and make even more money. You will have saved a little bit of money, if you are still employed.

I will use your method of analysis on your statement- "Electric 'tracks' work well also for the majority of the travel -" So laying down uncountable tons of expensive conductors, each with major resistive losses, is the solution? Compared to that, a hydrogen dispensing infrastructure is laughably simple.

But I admit, in certain congested areas where it is feasible to dig up the roads or add posts to hang overhead wires, there may be a useful niche. It is worth examining.

quote:
Battery and biodiesel can and are being done right now and a large chunk of our vehicle fleet could be switched over on relatively short notice if we were so inclined.
True for hydrogen, as the lead post indicated. Since you provide no evidence for the cost or practicality of the conversion, I don't need to either.

quote:
You don't bet on the one in a million shot when the sure thing gives the same or even better payoff odds.
OK, OK, here is where you can shut me up, or you can show to everyone how your insistence that "hydrogen has no value" is completely wrong.

What is the sure thing? What uses no fossil fuels and has the POTENTIAL to fuel cars without putting a wire down millions of miles of roads throughout the world? What technologies are already adequate or close to adequate to replace significant portions of the fossil fuels we burn?

What is this magical silver bullet? I agree it is not hydrogen. But it is not batteries, it is not biofuels, it is not wind, it is not solar, it is not tides, it is not Mr. Fusion. It is nothing. There is no perfect solution, no sure thing. We need to take risks, and try to make something work. If we knew the right answer now, it would be easy.

You apparently can see into the future. You know, apparently, that "The technical advances are along the natural development of current technical improvements in materials and energy technologies. Hydrogen storage will likely be solved by the natural development of CNT technology. CNT improvements are natural developments of existing material science trends. Investing a hundered billion in hydrogen storage research would likely only yield a very slight increase in the rate of material science improvements."

So you dismiss hydrides out of hand? There are several other compounds that allow hydrogen to be incorporated, and released, which all have current shortcomings, but for all you know they will be resolved tomorrow. 20 years ago, you never even HEARD of CNT, so how can you be certain of its performance 20 years from now? What about storage as microbubbles? What about something my 12 year old will invent as a grad student?

Must be nice to know.

I am saying we don't know, that hydrogen has potential and should be studied. The US gov't has spent about $1B/yr on hydrogen research over the last maybe 3 or 4 years, much of that involving fuel cells, not production or storage. What is the combined R&D on the internal combustion engine and oil exploration and refining over the last 100 years?

It's reasonable. It is worth pursuing. It's not a slam dunk, but none of our options are. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying.

[ November 25, 2007, 10:28 PM: Message edited by: velcro ]

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velcro
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LetterRip wrote
quote:
At that point (100 years from now) you can probably do unimaginable technical feats that would make current storage technologies obsolete.
So you (and Jesse) think that we shouldn't spend money to research hydrogen because in the future a better solution will somehow appear? Do you realize how that sounds?

If Ford and Fulton and Edison said that, we would still be sitting in our houses with candles and riding horses. It doesn't just happen. Real people have to do real work. And, despite what you seem to believe, we don't know what the right answer is ahead of time.

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LoverOfJoy
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I don't think LetterRip and Jesse are arguing against basic research. That's what will set the stage for the major developments 100 years from now. And sure, runs some tests to see how far we push hydrogen power/hydrogen transportation.

But in applied research you have to take into account the law of diminishing returns. Of course, continuing researching all kinds of things we don't fully understand. But let's not put any big investments into developing a time machine because we're really just not there yet.

There are other things that sure seem on the verge of breakthroughs that will likely get more bang for our bucks. We can't abandon basic research because who knows where the next breakthrough will come...but on the applied side we can make educated guesses on where our money will give us the best returns based on what basic research has already taught us.

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LetterRip
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velcro,

you mentioned the articls that started the thread (I admit I had jumped in as a response to other posts, and hence hadn't read the initial articles).

The approach is interesting and more promising than I'd thought - researching it further (well have school... but will read more when I find the time).

Perhaps I am being overly harsh as relates to the practicalities of a hydrogen economy.

LetterRip

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Jesse
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quote:
So you (and Jesse) think that we shouldn't spend money to research hydrogen because in the future a better solution will somehow appear? Do you realize how that sounds?
Not close - I don't think we need to build infrastructure for a product we cannot produce economically in quantities that will make any significant difference just because it sounds neat.

You want a hydrogen economy, you need relatively inexpensive energy - because hydrogen is just an energy storage medium.

Tidal, geothermal, hydro, solar, wind, carbon sequestration, - research in all of these fields benefits us whether we use hydrogen, OR electrical storage, or a combination of the two.

Fuel cells are neat, but expensive. Burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine is extremely simple and cheap - we could convert the entire auto industy in a year for a couple hundred billion worldwide - but we need the hydrogen to do it.

I think reasearch into more effecient ways to produce hydrogen from water ought to be explored, and I don't consider that a waste, but I do think the obsession with expensive fuel cells is a waste of money, and making hydrogen from fossil fuels is, well, silly.

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velcro
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I agree. (Nice to say that once in a while here [Wink] ) I'm sorry if I was getting snarky.

Making hydrogen from fossil fuels is silly, but if it is needed to jump-start the infrastructure, it is a short-term workaround.

I am turned off by anyone who says technology X is the cure-all.

I am also frustrated by anyone who says technology X is a loser because it is not a cure-all.

Everything has its place. The fact that Honda has launched a real fuel cell car tells me that it is not just an obsession with a cool technology - they seem to be a pretty smart company.

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Jesse
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They are - but fuel cells are still DAMNED expensive.

The thing I always try to bear in mind is that the problem *isn't* fuel, it's energy. If we had the energy available from a cheap, non-polluting, renewable source - we could have plug in hybrid cars burning hydrogen in an internal combustion generator in about three years.

If we had the cheap energy, we could construct 20 story hydroponic greenhouses churning out soybeans for biodiesel, or put a third rail in the middle of every interstate lane in the county to constantly charge electrical cars.

I think the lions share of the research dollars ought to go into the production of that cheap, clean power - all the rest will easily follow and the market will determine what is the best means to store, transport, and utilize it.

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