Hydrogen generation use and storage.

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Martin W

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The Hydrogen Economy was a grand idea back last century when it was worked out.

X things to remember.

1. Hydrogen is a gas "battery". It's how you transport and temporarily store power made by another means.

Temporary, because it leaks like crazy. Through steel. A nice thick steel tank isn't really that much "worse" than a gasoline storage tank, since gasoline has a shelf life, for sake of argument a year? I'll WAG they're close enough to not argue about.

The sub-point is, Neither fuel can be put in a corner of your hanger for years and still be good. Arguably the Hydrogen doesn't go "stale" so you still have some ( but less than you put there ) fuel after a given time.

2. Hydrogen isn't very efficient at turning electricity/energy into portable storage.

Although using chemical feed stock like, say, methane, is more efficient than splitting water, on a scale of Power In vs. Power Out, there are still huge losses. Feel free to argue numbers but Zero ain't one of them. Which leads to

2A. Thus you need Lots of Cheap Power to make the Hydrogen Economy work. Period.

Cheaper and Lots More than today. (A government could Demand that you accept higher prices and scarcity, but their competitors won't, and out perform economically. )

3. Transport and storage are expensive. You don't use pipes to move it any distance. Leaks.

Complex chemistry solutions, like shipping it as a different chemical, just shoots your efficiency in the foot, again, so why not just use that chemical, instead?

4. Despite the doom & gloom that physics hands us, in certain cases Hydrogen is potentially great stuff.

Given lots & lots of Cheap Power, it can make sense, economically, and is VERY low pollution, except for oxides of nitrogen in ICE s that a catalytic converter can solve, and a potent, but health friendly, greenhouse gas.

It's a possible use for methane from biomass. The system used in the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, is used routinely on pig farms. That just burns the methane. I'll suggest analyzing methane as fuel.

4A. It's a fairly rational way to transition from fossils fuels, which is the Reason the concept exists.

5. Unfortunately if your goal is CO2 control, unless you use nuclear en mass you have to emit more than you gain, if I understand the math right. So if that's your goal, pick a different "battery". Imho.
.

Well said , thank you

I live in Manitoba Canada and we have huge hydro electric dams and some of the lowest electrical rates in the world.

Should we then make hydrogen .... NO ... because there is no demand for it and simply producing it will not create a sufficient demand ... then the transportation costs to move it must be considered .

During the Olympics in British Columbia the organizers decided to save the planet and used a fleet of hydrogen buses .... cost multiple millions of dollars more than regular buses.

Clean burning ... ?? .... yes of course .... but what they dont tell you is the hydrogen fuel had to be trucked 3000 miles from Quebec .... those semis used more diesel hauling the hydrogen than diesel buses would have used at the Olympics.

Not only that .... those very costly buses had no value after the games .... nobody wanted them.

,
 

TFF

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If we don’t have options for fuel, we will loose cars and airplanes as cool. That is the real problem of changing fuel format. Music and movie storage is the best example. Home movies on 8mm or Super 8 to a Beta cam to mini vhs to digital to high definition digital. Music records, cassettes, DVDs, Walkman, … Improvements, not necessarily. Ease of use, yes. Electric it temporary, just like gas. Gas has hung on because it still works better overall, despite the marketing. And marketing hates when new can’t come out. Car companies have no interest in the model they just sold you, only the one you are just about to buy. Auto companies are desperate to monopolize on the new, to monopolize the customers. Old gas cars are the Bain of their existence, because they mean people not buying new. Go electric, shorten the overall life cycle of a car, they make more money. At some point they will stop improvements to the chassis and just offer body options. The love of electric for the enthusiast is about being first and being special, but what you think is a Rolex is really a Cassio. New and special is about over and autos are about to hit the biggest low point since 1975 malaise. Everyone is buying white, silver, and grey cars already, so most are just droning along in car life. It’s about to be any color as long as it’s black model T days when it comes to what we get. That will trickle down to airplanes because the infrastructure will change for the worse and flying will be truly too expensive.
 

tspear

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@TFF

Such a negative view. The super majority of the public does not look back on cars from fifty years ago and say I want one. They may say cool, I wish I could aford one. But they will never want to drive one daily. People look at cars as a mode of transportation, sometimes as art, and occasionally as something fun to drive. People on HBA are a rarity, in general they are gear heads. They want to hear the roar of that V8.

With all that said, do I miss my old 6.2L V8 Diesel truck? Yes, I love the way it sounded, same for a long time ago the LS1 engine I had in my TransAm. However, at the end of the day, my car is about getting me from place A to place B as comfortably as possible. Which includes NOT hearing the road noise, or other cars, or other peoples music, or the wind. I want quiet to listen to the "Hall of the Mountain King". As a result, the creature comforts, the lack of needing to stop at gas stations, lack of getting oil changes and all the other associated maintenance, my next vehicle will wither be fuel cell or pure electric.

If you want gas vehicles to stay around, then you really need to consider how to push biofuels. They are the only longer term option to keep fossil fuels in the ground. They do have a cost, mostly for the potential of raising prices of fuel, but this can be solved.

Tim
 

TFF

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All cars go from place a to b. They have all become tasteless blobs. Remove the badges and most would not know who’s they are. Yes most people have to settle for something less, but no one buys red, green or blue or yellow cars of lesser models. They just go grey. Urban camo. It’s like everyone wants to own a fleet car.
 

BJC

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but no one buys red, green or blue or yellow cars of lesser models. They just go grey. Urban camo. It’s like everyone wants to own a fleet car.
Not so where I live; we are seeing more variety in car and truck colors than ever before, everything from flat black to brilliant reds, yellows, blues, and even a few (wrapped?) in chrome.


BJC
 

PMD

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@TFF

If you want gas vehicles to stay around, then you really need to consider how to push biofuels. They are the only longer term option to keep fossil fuels in the ground. They do have a cost, mostly for the potential of raising prices of fuel, but this can be solved.

Tim
The problem with bio-fuels is that they are produced mostly from misguided idiots in government who subsidize the shyte out of the ag sector to produce them. The amount of soil and water damage from such intense ag practices are NOT in any way sustainable. The chemical and energy inputs also don't look that good.
 

Martin W

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The problem with bio-fuels is that they are produced mostly from misguided idiots in government who subsidize the shyte out of the ag sector to produce them. The amount of soil and water damage from such intense ag practices are NOT in any way sustainable. The chemical and energy inputs also don't look that good.
EXACTLY .... including ethanol .... a very inefficient way to create energy because it takes so much energy to make it.

If all the taxpayer funding was withdrawn they would wither and die.

.
 

Aesquire

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my next vehicle will wither be fuel cell or pure electric.
If you use a car for local driving, then electric is a grand idea. If you don't mind the compromise of long lunches on trips, you can plan your cross country.

Fuel cell cars? That depends on where you live. Afaik, there is ONE hydrogen filling station in a hundred mile circle. And I only know about that one because it's at the airport, and had a fire. ( It's all fine now ) CNG? yep. Gasoline? sure. Hydrogen or methane? Not widely available. How many filling stations near you?

I admit, it really like the idea of Fuel cell stacks giving you real range and reasonable recharge times, and be ever so clean at your car. How dirty making the Hydrogen is may not matter to you.

Personally I went Hybrid gas/electric to get good economy in what my political guess tells me is an oncoming storm. Also I wanted to see if I could live with the technology. ( so far, so good ) I used to have an efficient diesel, but let the company buy it back after a scandal. I don't have any more range anxiety than any regular car driver.
 

Highplains

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Our entire vehicle system is based primarily on liquid fuels. Contrary to the noise from big oil, ethanol works well in virtually any car produced the past 20 years in blends up to 40%. Testing has shown that E30 hits all the marks, of higher power and lower cost. Perhaps the worst idea that was implemented was the so called flex fuel vehicles which are low compression engines. When the energy conversion subject is brought up they always overlook how little liquid fuel (diesel) is used in the production of ethanol. Most is natural gas.

I’ve known for several years that the DOE had switched most of their research grants from H2 fuel cells toward NH3 as a easy transport method for H2. The difficulty has been the NH3 fuel cell. While I use about 125-150 tons of NH3 each year, it’s a fairly mature technology. The amount that a car would hold is insignificant probably less than 10 gallons. The primary advantage is that it does not take large tanks for H2 in gaseous form or cryogenic if liquified. Both methods take a lot of energy to achieve.

Pure electric cars are not cost effective, nor do we have the infrastructure to support them. Hybrids make much more sense.
 

Martin W

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Most USA ethanol is made from corn

--- farmer tills his land with diesel power to prepare the seed bed
--- farmer applies fertilizers derived from fossil fuels
--- farmer uses diesel power for his corn planter
--- farmer crop sprays for disease or pests ... sometimes by air
--- farmer uses diesel power for harvest
--- if moisture is high farmer uses propane grain dryers
--- electric fans aerate and cool grain storage bins
--- farmer uses diesel power to truck corn to market
--- ethanol plant uses diesel power to haul in corn
--- ethanol plant uses natural gas to cook the corn mash
--- ethanol hauled to blending sites with diesel trucks
--- farmer uses diesel power to till down corn stalk residue.
--- most farmers use government subsidies which creates a false economy
--- ethanol uses more gallons to equal the energy of a gallon of gas or diesel.

.
 
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Martin W

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.

South America is even worse ... they use a lot of ethanol .... they slash the rain forest to grow sugar cane to make the ethanol.

Save the planet .... ???? .... yeah right ... !!!!
 
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PMD

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.

South America is even worse ... they use a lot of ethanol .... they slash the rain forest to grow sugar cane to make the ethanol. Save the planet .... ???? .... yeah right ... !!!!
When resource use and emissions issues come up, what amazes me is that EVERYONE spends all of their time and money trying to figure out more ways of dong MORE of what we do to destroy our children's future instead of looking at the ridiculously obvious and doing either less - but in the case of intense ag NONE of what is killing our soils and aquifers. On top of that, in the case of carbon emissions the real problem is that we have destroyed the ocean's abilities to be able to absorb the carbon we and Mommy Nature produce - but NOBODY wants to tackle the job of regulating and enforcing international waters (and don't get me started on how ineffective and corrupt the UN has become).

Then, of course, the is the looming end-game problem: population control.
 

PMD

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Our entire vehicle system is based primarily on liquid fuels. Contrary to the noise from big oil, ethanol works well in virtually any car produced the past 20 years in blends up to 40%. Testing has shown that E30 hits all the marks, of higher power and lower cost. Perhaps the worst idea that was implemented was the so called flex fuel vehicles which are low compression engines. When the energy conversion subject is brought up they always overlook how little liquid fuel (diesel) is used in the production of ethanol. Most is natural gas.

I’ve known for several years that the DOE had switched most of their research grants from H2 fuel cells toward NH3 as a easy transport method for H2. The difficulty has been the NH3 fuel cell. While I use about 125-150 tons of NH3 each year, it’s a fairly mature technology. The amount that a car would hold is insignificant probably less than 10 gallons. The primary advantage is that it does not take large tanks for H2 in gaseous form or cryogenic if liquified. Both methods take a lot of energy to achieve.

Pure electric cars are not cost effective, nor do we have the infrastructure to support them. Hybrids make much more sense.
I think you are thinking of methanol from Nat Gas. While you COULD make ethanol, the Ethane (CH4) is usually much less than the Methane (C2 H6), And, as it is ethane is the major feedstock for ethylene production for plastics (that happens to be one of our most seriously environmentally bad products).

On the electrical infrastructure side: I work in that industry and can tell you that there actually IS the generating capacity to handle some significant amount of energy use spread over off-peak times, but to get it into car batteries would take some really severe modification of our infrastructure. It would also entail running "peaking plants" that tend to be less efficient than base load generation far more often. Any kind of sane government would tax the living crap out of electric or fossil fuel use to STOP US FROM WASTING IT.

What I strongly suspect is behind a lot of virtue-signaling legislation and regulation is the realization that there are short term economic benefits to specific sectors that can easily be mined for the "benefits" of peddling influence and privilege.
 

tspear

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EXACTLY .... including ethanol .... a very inefficient way to create energy because it takes so much energy to make it.

If all the taxpayer funding was withdrawn they would wither and die.
Inefficient ethanol production has more to do with politics than science. We can produce efficient ethanol in the USA, however it would take planning and coordination which would likely run afoul of anti-trust rules or some other perceived injustice.

Getting back to hydrogen. For conversion purposes, I think burning hydrogen works (ignoring the storage and distribution issues). However, what is the actual changes required to make this happen on the vehicle?

In terms of fuel cells, what is the realistic energy efficiency on these now? Is heat still a major problem? The BLOOM converter was one of the last ones I looked into, and it still used rare earth materials which are actually slowly consumed. Has this improved any? What about Toyota's fuel cell car? How does it get fuel? How have the reviews been?
 

Highplains

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Most USA ethanol is made from corn

--- farmer tills his land with diesel power to prepare the seed bed
--- farmer applies fertilizers derived from fossil fuels
--- farmer uses diesel power for his corn planter
--- farmer crop sprays for disease or pests ... sometimes by air
--- farmer uses diesel power for harvest
--- if moisture is high farmer uses propane grain dryers
--- electric fans aerate and cool grain storage bins
--- farmer uses diesel power to truck corn to market
--- ethanol plant uses diesel power to haul in corn
--- ethanol plant uses natural gas to cook the corn mash
--- ethanol hauled to blending sites with diesel trucks
--- farmer uses diesel power to till down corn stalk residue.
--- most farmers use government subsidies which creates a false economy
--- ethanol uses more gallons to equal the energy of a gallon of gas or diesel.

.
I use on average about 8,000 gallons of diesel a year for the tractors, sprayer, combine, and semi’s to farm nearly 3000 acres of corn and wheat. The equipment is large and very efficient. The sprayer uses maybe a tenth of a gallon to spray an acre, a tractor pulling a 24 row planter well under a half gallon per acre. The combine is probably the highest user, but it can cut over 1200 bushels of corn in an hour with ease.
 

Highplains

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I think you are thinking of methanol from Nat Gas. While you COULD make ethanol, the Ethane (CH4) is usually much less than the Methane (C2 H6), And, as it is ethane is the major feedstock for ethylene production for plastics (that happens to be one of our most seriously environmentally bad products).
The majority of natural gas is CH4, which is abundant and not called Ethane, but is correctly called methane. While the Brits tend to call it Me-thane, Yanks know it as Meth-thane. Because it is a gas and not a liquid, it is easily used in stationary applications. Of course with the correct catalysts, pressure and heat you can make almost any carbon based product from it just like you can from a lump of coal.

CH4 is also used to produce most nitrogen based fertilizer starting with the Haber-Bosch process. The first step is steam reforming of the CH4 to release the Hydrogen before combining it with nitrogen at high pressure and temperature over an iron catalyst. This is how we get NH3, which handles about like propane C3H8 in terms of ease to make liquid and storage. You can burn NH3 directly in an engine, though it usually requires another more flammable fuel with it to run.
 
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BBerson

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This book is about hydrogen for aviation and everything else. The odd title "Smelling Land" is from people on the beach thinking they are smelling the ocean. They are smelling the land.
 

PMD

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The majority of natural gas is CH4, which is abundant and not called Ethane, but is correctly called methane. While the Brits tend to call it Me-thane, Yanks know it as Meth-thane. Because it is a gas and not a liquid, it is easily used in stationary applications. Of course with the correct catalysts, pressure and heat you can make almost any carbon based product from it just like you can from a lump of coal.
Thanks for catching my meth/eth inversion....my very bad!!!
 

Hot Wings

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Then, of course, the is the looming end-game problem: population control.
It is interesting to compare the spread of lights on the earth at night as seen from space with a time laps of a growth on a petri dish.
This curve is seen not only in nature - but unfortunately in our own little hobby.

bacterial_growth_curve.jpg
 
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Aesquire

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IMHO the problem with thinking you can save the planet with Hydrogen is you are ignoring the big picture of the energy Problem.

IF you replace fossil fuel power plants with , for example Clean Safe Thorium Nuclear, so oil and natural gas can be used for chemical feed stock and not burned for energy, ( a desirable goal for a limited resource ) THEN Hydrogen may be very useful as an energy transportation medium. It doesn't really matter the exact technology you store the Hydrogen with, you have to make it in the first place. ( of course it matters for economics, safety, and convenience, but not a bit to Global Cooling. )

And if you have already transitioned from fossil fuels, to, for example, Breeder Reactors, Bird Cuisinarts, and Orbital Solar, then the Claimed goal of reducing Carbon Dioxide made by man's activities has already been accomplished. The Hydrogen is just a nice, if challenging aspect of the entirely NEW economy you have to build to feed the planet and maintain a lifestyle Rich enough to accomplish the important things, like deflecting Civilization ending Asteroids and mining Saturn's rings for terraforming Mars. Because a poor, marginal economy can't do anything important, including feed the people.

I'm not going to argue the need to control Global Cooling. ( yes this means I've been paying attention since 1977 )
 
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