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View Poll Results: Do you think hydrogen power is viable as a solution?
Yes, its great and should start as soon as possible. 6 54.55%
Yes, but surely it just wont catch on. 2 18.18%
Dont care - let the world fry. 1 9.09%
No, it sounds just too space age. 2 18.18%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll


Thread: Lucas Forums Push for Hydrogen Power
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:09 AM   #1
Thor the Bassis
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Lucas Forums Push for Hydrogen Power

Ok. So the planets warming up and CO2 is bad. Whatever your veiw on what causes global warming cleaner fuels can't be bad right?

Why not use hydrogen.

The process is something like this:
Using a catalyst hydrogen is split into a proton and an electron.
Electrons are basically electricity when they all travel in one general direction.
The protons are allowed through a membrane that only allows positively charged stuff through.
This causes a positive charge on one side of the membrane.
The only way the negatively charged electrons can move is by going through a motor.
This powers the motor.
Going in: hydrogen Coming out: water

Other possibilities include burning hydrogen which also gives of just water - no CO2.

The slight drawback is that the hydrogen has to be made (step in canada with the hydro-electric dams and one business tycoon ready to make both the cars and the hydrogen for export).

Check out these links to how the hydrogen can be harnessed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcs662uA7zY (Clarkson gibbers for about a minute before it gets to the stuff)
http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/.../fuel-cell.gif

A revolution has to start somewhere


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Old 06-05-2007, 09:05 AM   #2
Ray Jones
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Nothing against that idea or other alternatives, but the revolution has to start somewhere else, I think. Most important is the saving of energy and resources and the development of low energy consuming devices and such, not the switch to other forms of energy resources where we do not really know what impact these will have on earth's climate in the next hundred years. I just cannot imagine that a massive use of wind power stations would not influence air streams in a way which eventually causes climatic effects, for instance. Also, most alternatives do not produce a comparatively equivalent of energy to what we have now.

The revolution has to start at a point where everybody UNDERSTANDS that at the end of the day (and for the time that we live in) it is not about new forms of energy - it is about new ways to use it. And by understand I do not mean people making a somewhat sorrow face while claiming to make it better in the future and then they drive home with their 200 horsepower engine driven car :/


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Old 06-05-2007, 12:04 PM   #3
Thor the Bassis
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Hydrogen power is, in fact, perfectly safe. Its just hard to produce. The technology works on small sized totally contained power cell. And produces large amounts of energy.

Its basically about taking the energy made in renewable energy sources which are reliable and storing them in hydrogen which can be transported, stored and eventually burnt or used to get the energy back out.

The science is quite brilliant but hard to execute and has been researched for decades (so it isn't new).

In the end being green is only going to buy us time to develop ways to make energy as there is a finite supply of fossil fuels (so this will run out - be it in 100 years or 200 years). Even being green wont last us another three hundred years let alone another millenium.

The fact is that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and humans will one day have to depend on renewable resources. The fact that we proberably wont know the people who will have to rely on renewable resources still means we can make a difference by making them as reliable and efficient for them and saving the planet earlier.


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Old 06-05-2007, 04:59 PM   #4
Ray Jones
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I know the facts about hydrogen and find it pretty cool, too. But my point is another one. I mean, I don't say that "being green" will save us. I also don't say that fossil fuels are better than anything else. But right now we have yet to enhance hydrogen technology or others. We have to deal with the fact that we will depend on fossil fuels for some time until we can fully replace it. And as I see it, being green is, regardless whatever energy source we use, a good idea and it is especially as long as we have to rely on fossil fuels. There is just no point in wasting any resources. Also, although burning hydrogen just gives water, we simply don't know what will happen if we blow tons of it into the air, every day, for like hundred years.


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Old 06-06-2007, 04:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor the Bassis
The slight drawback is that the hydrogen has to be made (step in canada with the hydro-electric dams and one business tycoon ready to make both the cars and the hydrogen for export).
That's hardly a slight drawback. First let's point out that hydrogen used for transportation will not likely come in the form of liquefied hydrogen gas but rather fuel cells which will convert methane or other hydrocarbons and water into cabron monoxide (and carbon dioxide) and hydrogen gas:

CH4 + H2O → 3H2 + CO
CO + H2O → CO2 + H2

So even though combustion of hydrogen doesn't produce greenhouse gases, production of hydrogen in fuel cells does. Furthermore, the energy efficiency of hydrogen power is often overstated. In theory, hydrogen fuel cells could produce electrical energy at 83% effeciency, but in practice, the fuel cells generate electricity less than 50%, which is still greater than an internal combustion engine (20-38%), but fuel cells cost over 30x more. That money could better spent on reducing carbon emissions and improving energy output in inefficient coal-fired plants.

Centralized hydrogen production doesn't fare any better. Though there are areas where electolysis of water could be done cleanly via hydoelectric, wind, solar, etc, the power needed for electrolysis is greater than the power output by hydrogen oxidation. You might as well keep making clean electricity instead. Cars running on liquified hydrogen would demonstrate a total energy efficiency (from production to wheel) of a mere 17%, not to mention the fact they would require fuel tanks 5x bigger than their current gas tanks. Transporting and storing liquefied hydrogen has its own problems, including hyrdogen embrittlement (which would be costly to infrastructure maintenance) and energy costs of cryogenics or hydrate formation.

Hydrogen, though impressive at first glance, actually has a lot of hidden price tags on it and the fine print that it does little if anything to reduce greenhouse gases. Hybrid vehicles on the other hand truly make more efficient use of their fuels and reduce greenhouse emissions.
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
Thor the Bassis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
First let's point out that hydrogen used for transportation will not likely come in the form of liquefied hydrogen gas but rather fuel cells which will convert methane or other hydrocarbons and water into cabron monoxide (and carbon dioxide) and hydrogen gas:

CH4 + H2O → 3H2 + CO
CO + H2O → CO2 + H2
You may notice that I never once mentioned hydrocarbons in my original debate. This is because the use of hydrocarbons is basically just burning petrol under controlled conditions and there are many renewable ways to make hydrogen without this method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tk102
Furthermore, the energy efficiency of hydrogen power is often overstated. In theory, hydrogen fuel cells could produce electrical energy at 83% effeciency, but in practice, the fuel cells generate electricity less than 50%,
For a start hydrogen has the highest energy to weight ratio of any fuel - about four times more powerful than petrol so even working at 17% efficiency the fuel is still more powerful than petrol working at 60% (which it never does and never will as you rightly pointed out its 20-38%).

As for hydrogen embrittlement this is overcome in the existing hydrogen industry which produces 50 million tonnes a year (check the link you posted yourself).

Cryogenics - you mean freezing stuff - is possible and quite common in many areas of science, technology and industry.

Hydrates are a simple matter of equilibrium reactions and conditions. This could easily be overcome by use of chemicals or conditions that do not favour the formation of hydrate crystals - a good guess would be the use of high pressures to favour liquid and gas states not solids.

Your point about hybrid cars also fails to add up. They run off whatever the national grid has given you - mainly from oil, gas or coal fired power stations. At the moment hybrid cars simply shift the blame off the person so he can sleep better in his bed believing that he has helped the environment when indirectly he has still contributed.

I would like to leave you with a list of names:
Exxon Mobil, Texaco, BP, Shell, Mercedes, Honda, Ford, GMs Holden, Toyota and BMW
All of which are supporting hydrogen and name it as the next major power supplier.

SIDE NOTE
I totally agree with you Ray Jones we do need to be greener and it is a good idea. So both should be done at the same time so we're ready to switch as soon as possible and try to make things greener at the same time. I just think that by the time people start being greener there wont be time left for development of renewable sources before we've spoilt the earth too much.


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Last edited by Thor the Bassis; 06-06-2007 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 06-06-2007, 01:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor the Bassis
You may notice that I never once mentioned hydrocarbons in my original debate. This is because the use of hydrocarbons is basically just burning petrol under controlled conditions and there are many renewable ways to make hydrogen without this method.
The use of hydrocarbons in making hydrogen is the cheapest and most efficient method. It is also the most prominent technology for use in transportation. Electrolysis consumes the usefulness of electricity so there's no advantage to using it over a simple electric vehicle.

If you're talking about large plants producing hydrogen in a centralized fashion (where you'd be going to the station for liquid hydrogen instead of gas), you run into the same disadvantages as above for hyrdocarbon or electrolysis plus the added problems of distribution and storage. Storage issues are especially important for non-stable energy sources such as wind, biomass, and solar. A breakthrough technology, perhaps in the form of biological engineering (an algae powered fuel cell?) might be feasible.

Quote:
For a start hydrogen has the highest energy to weight ratio of any fuel - about four times more powerful than petrol so even working at 17% efficiency the fuel is still more powerful than petrol working at 60% (which it never does and never will as you rightly pointed out its 20-38%).
*buzz* You're right about the weight ratio, but you forget that hydrogen takes up a huge volume. It has 1/4 the energy density of gasoline.

Energy density of gasoline: 8.76 kW-h/liter
Energy density of liquid hydrogen at -253C: 2.36 kW-h/liter

That's why you would need a tank 4x times bigger than your current one. (Sorry I misspoke earlier when I said 5x )

Quote:
As for hydrogen embrittlement this is overcome in the existing hydrogen industry which produces 50 million tonnes a year (check the link you posted yourself).
Which means having to build a new infrastructure. One study estimates only about 1/3 of the natural gas pipelines could be retrofitted to support hydrogen transport.

Quote:
Cryogenics - you mean freezing stuff - is possible and quite common in many areas of science, technology and industry.
I was referring to energy cost in keeping hydrogen under high pressure/low temperature. The same pro-hydrogen study mentioned above acknowledges storage of hydrogen is costly "with today's technology".

Quote:
Hydrates are a simple matter of equilibrium reactions and conditions. This could easily be overcome by use of chemicals or conditions that do not favour the formation of hydrate crystals - a good guess would be the use of high pressures to favour liquid and gas states not solids.
I haven't seen any hydrogen transportation scheme that uses hydrate or hydride formations that has shown to be cost effective. Transport in this fashion was estimated to be about 5% of hydrogen by weight, meaning 95% of the mass you're transporting is just carrier. I didn't see any specific $$ associated with this, but it doesn't sound very efficient to me.

Quote:
Your point about hybrid cars also fails to add up. They run off whatever the national grid has given you - mainly from oil, gas or coal fired power stations.
I think you are confusing hybrid cars with electric cars. Hybrid cars still use gasoline, but get 20-35% more efficiency due in part to regenerative braking and more even rpm-to-torque profiles.

Quote:
I would like to leave you with a list of names:
Exxon Mobil, Texaco, BP, Shell, Mercedes, Honda, Ford, GMs Holden, Toyota and BMW
All of which are supporting hydrogen and name it as the next major power supplier.
I do hope they see something that I'm missing. From what I've seen, the production of hydrogen gas either contributes to emissions of greenhouse, has no advantage over simply using electric power, and/or has infrastructure costs that could be better allocated towards cleaning up and improving existing technologies or provide incentives to grow more solar and wind generators.

* * * *
Believe me, I also desperately want to find/use a cleaner technology than what we currently have in place. I drive a Saturn SC1 that on a recent road trip got over 42 mpg. I've driven it for 12 years and can't stand the idea of buying an SUV or the horrible tax loopholes that encouraged many Americans to purchase them. I wish for the adoption of carbon trading to reduce industrial emissions and that more pressure would be applied to the automotive industry to improve fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. I'd also like to see continued incentives given towards solar roofing and solar collectors.
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:06 AM   #8
Thor the Bassis
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I think we both agree there are problems. I just believe these can be overcome by the correct investment by people. Say America investing a tenth of what they invest in defense in alternative energies every year?

I would also like to see more investment into nuclear fusion power (please nobody post talking nuclear power as bad, becasue nuclear fusion uses or produces no radioactive substances unlike nuclear fission which is the technology that is opposed) which also uses hydrogen and directly produces masses of power but that is decades off.

Looks likely that renewable energy will have to take over pretty soon.


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Old 06-07-2007, 08:25 PM   #9
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Fusion CAN NEVER Happen on earth. It would be to dangerous and even in decades we could never control fusion, which is like the power of the sun.


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Old 06-07-2007, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLONECOMMANDER501
Fusion CAN NEVER Happen on earth. It would be to dangerous and even in decades we could never control fusion, which is like the power of the sun.
Fusion has actually happened on Earth; good ol' hydrogen bombs have the honor of being the first such occurrence.

I'm pretty sure we could maintain a controlled fusion plant with the use of magnetic fields and, if everything goes to Hell, giant containment walls of lead and concrete. Chances for that though are unlikely, and judging from what wikipedia says, the chances for the fusion reaction to grow uncontrollable is virtually nil.




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Old 06-08-2007, 07:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrion
Fusion has actually happened on Earth; good ol' hydrogen bombs have the honor of being the first such occurrence.

I'm pretty sure we could maintain a controlled fusion plant with the use of magnetic fields and, if everything goes to Hell, giant containment walls of lead and concrete. Chances for that though are likely, and judging from what wikipedia says, the chances for the fusion reaction to grow uncontrollable is virtually nil.
Fusion has already happened on earth in controlled reactors. It just takes so much power at the moment to get it started that it uses more power than it gives off and only runs for a few seconds. Scientist are hoping that within the next few generations we will be able to produce more power than the amount we use and will be able to keep the reactor going for longer.

Magnetism is the chief way of keeping the plasma in one place (at tens of millions of degrees other ways just dont work) although other methods such as cold fusion and muon catalyst fusion do exist.

Check this out for more details:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion
and the links leading from it (especially fusion power).


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Old 06-08-2007, 10:58 PM   #12
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You guys didn't watch Spiderman 2, huh? Fusion doesn't work...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't hydrogen fuel cells on the Hindenburg, and those exploded and the ship blew up? What's to say that that tech can't be turned into a weapon bigger than the standard car now?


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Old 06-08-2007, 11:40 PM   #13
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Actually, natural gas tanker ships contain enough energy to rival a small nuke. There's only a few ports that will even take that kind of risk. Hydrogen is pretty explosive stuff. Having it in a car does is a definite risk when there's a crash. I'm not saying that it isn't possible to use, but it does have it's own drawbacks.


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Old 06-27-2007, 03:16 PM   #14
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I decided to read a bit more about Tesla Motors, makers of Li-Ion battery powered Tesla Roadster which is going on sale this winter. A truly slick electric vehicle.

But anyway this caught my eye:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elan Musk, owner of Tesla motors, testimony before U.S. Senate Mar 7, 2007
250 mile EPA highway range
135 mpg equivalent, per the conversion rate used by the EPA
$3 for a full charge
The Roadster's wiki page describes the various equivalences of electric/gasoline.
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Old 07-06-2007, 05:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Actually, natural gas tanker ships contain enough energy to rival a small nuke. There's only a few ports that will even take that kind of risk.
Brings back memories of that time when a Dutch ship loaded with explosives blew up Bergen harbour. 160 dead, 5000 wounded, 5000 homeless. I can imagine huge tanks would make similar bangs or worse.

As for the dangers of hydrogen in cars, we now have the hydrogen pill. Watch the guy hold this thing to a lighter flame without anything happening. Actually looks safer to use in a car than gasoline.

Wiki has more. As usual.


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Old 07-07-2007, 08:54 PM   #16
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No. Changed my mind

If you want to watch something eye-opening (and I would be described by most people as a conservative and I was stunned by it), watch the Documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? Seeing that makes me never want to invest a single dime ever again in GM (and my parents for my first car got me a GM one).


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