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Topic: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming...  (Read 63668 times)

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Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallacy
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2007, 10:37:41 PM »
DHMO is also a greenhouse gas!

Yes - but a finite one == unlike carbon dioxide which is not limited

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallacy
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2007, 11:07:14 PM »
For the most part I agree with Zubrin.  There has been too much hype about hydrogen fuel and there are many scientific, engineering, and policy issues that have to be worked out before a hydrogen economy could be implemented.  One technology Zubrin ignores, however, is solid-state storage of hydrogen, for example, in the form of metal hydrides.  Solid-state storage of hydrogen offers the possibility to solve the issues pertaining to the safe storage and transport of hydrogen fuel. 

Of course, the technology is nowhere near adequate.  Solid-state storage technologies are currently too slow to recharge, too expensive to produce, and too heavy to transport efficiently.  However, these problems are not insurmountable as new research could improve the technologies to the point where they are commercially feasible.  Although this is a big if, this is still an area of research which shows promise and deserves the funding its getting.

Hydrogen production, as noted by Zubrin, is the more fatal flaw of a hydrogen economy.  However, some promising research is going on in this area, for example, in the biological production of hydrogen and in catalysts which use energy from the sun to produce hydrogen.  If these technologies can be developed, they would offer cheap, environmentally-friendly means of producing hydrogen.  Again, this is a big if.

So, I wouldn't come to the same conclusion as Zubrin that a hydrogen economy would not work.  However, some major scientific breakthroughs are required before hydrogen would become a commercially-feasible and environmentally-helpful fuel.  So, we should still be putting some research money into hydrogen technologies, we definitely shouldn't be putting all of our eggs in one basket.

On the issue of biofuels, Zubrin is a bit more optimistic than he should be.  Currently, it is not clear whether the production of ethanol from corn is economically or environmentally advantageous since the energy needed to grow, transport, ferment, and distill the corn into ethanol may be more than the energy contained in the ethanol.  Furthermore, growing corn and refining it into ethanol produces other types of pollution, for example, water pollution due to fertilizer use.  On an "ethanol economy" scale, the US would not have enough suitable land to produce enough corn for fuel production while also keeping up with demands for food.

These problems would, however, be overcome by the development of "cellulosic ethanol" technologies, which convert cellulose (IIRC the most common biological material on the planet) into ethanol.  Cellulosic ethanol would allow farmers to grow plants which are less expensive and demanding to grow (e.g. switchgrass) as well as obtain a higher yield of ethanol.  While promising research is going on in this area, the technology is not near the point where it could be implemented yet.  So, like hydrogen, biofuels (ethanol at least) require significant scientific breakthroughs before it can be a viable alternative to gasoline (albeit, cellulosic ethanol is definitely closer to reality than a hydrogen economy).

Offline enahs

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallacy
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2007, 11:12:37 PM »
DHMO is also a greenhouse gas!

Yes - but a finite one == unlike carbon dioxide which is not limited

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XttV2C6B8pU
If you want to watch a long video. It is quite convincing, and I am willing to believe it, since I have looked at some of the statastical data before, and on a purely statistical basis (which is not always the correct answer) the conclusions are crap, crap crap, even if the theory is 100% correct.

And technically, they are both equally finite, as there are only a certain number of carbon atoms on the earth, and a certain number of hydrogen. So, unless we start making some, or importing some from outside, they are both finite.

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2007, 11:31:37 PM »
Hydrogen production, as noted by Zubrin, is the more fatal flaw of a hydrogen economy.  However, some promising research is going on in this area, for example, in the biological production of hydrogen and in catalysts which use energy from the sun to produce hydrogen.  If these technologies can be developed, they would offer cheap, environmentally-friendly means of producing hydrogen.  Again, this is a big if.

"This work has shown that it is possible to manipulate molecules and proteins that occur naturally in the human body by changing one small detail of their make-up, such as the type of metal at the heart of a porphyrin molecule, as we did in this study. It's very exciting to prove that we can use these biological structures as a conduit to harness solar energy to produce hydrogen gas from water. In the long term, these synthetic molecules may provide a more environmentally friendly way of producing hydrogen gas, which can be used as a 'green' fuel." - Dr Stephen Curry, a structural biologist from Imperial College London's Division of Cell and Molecular Biology.

Journal Reference
"Photosensitised reduction of water to hydrogen using human serum albumin complexed with zinc protoporphyrin IX", Journal of the American Chemical Society

Teruyuki Komatsu (1, 2), Rong-Min Wang (1, 3), Patricia A Zunszain (4), Stephen Curry (4), Eishun Tsuchida (1).

(1) Advanced Research Institute for Science and Engineering, Waseda University, 3-4-1 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8555, Japan
(2) Japan Science and Technology Agency, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi-shi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan
(3) Gansu Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
(4) Biophysics Section, Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2007, 11:36:53 PM »
These problems would, however, be overcome by the development of "cellulosic ethanol" technologies, which convert cellulose (IIRC the most common biological material on the planet) into ethanol.  Cellulosic ethanol would allow farmers to grow plants which are less expensive and demanding to grow (e.g. switchgrass) as well as obtain a higher yield of ethanol.  While promising research is going on in this area, the technology is not near the point where it could be implemented yet.  So, like hydrogen, biofuels (ethanol at least) require significant scientific breakthroughs before it can be a viable alternative to gasoline (albeit, cellulosic ethanol is definitely closer to reality than a hydrogen economy).

I believe the secret chemical formula to achieve that is in the hands of scientists at University of Utah. I remembered reading up about a secret chemical substance patented by the University of Utah which can dissolve cellulose to facilitate the synthetic production of ethanol from cellulose.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2007, 12:20:24 AM »
I support the methanol economy with a gradual transition from mass usage of internal combustion technology to mass usage of electrochemical oxidation (fuel cell) technology. Existing technology is able to convert Carbon Dioxide to Methanol, which in turns create an economic incentive for CCS.

Let me explain how this would work. Under the Kyoto Protocol, an energy/chemical/etc company would have to pay X £/ton of CO2 emitted to the environment. If a chemical company can convert CO2 to fuel, then the revenue for that chemical company would be (X + Y) £/ton of CO2 where Y is the selling price of the fuel converted from 1 ton of CO2. However, for this work,  the values of X and Y have to be sufficiently high to cover the cost of transporting CO2 and the chemical conversion process. I will not go into the specifics of the technology because I am in the process of securing venture capital and incubation fund to build a demonstration pilot plant.

This technology (chemical conversion) addresses the current issue faced by the CCS sector at the moment. The only economic incentive for CCS at the moment is Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Oil companies are willing to pay the premium to pump the CO2 into depleting oil-fields in order to extend the life of oil fields by 10-15 years in doing so. At the moment, the CO2 for EOR is procured from coal power plants which are situated within 20-30km away from the the oil field. The EOR economy is thus localised by due to geographic restriction of the clients of the CCS Sector - the oil companies. The technology which I am proposing frees the CCS sector from the geographic lock and opens up opportunities for CCS sector to spread all over the country.

In order to harness energy from fuel, we oxidise it via the following reaction: Fuel + O2 -> CO2 + H2O

In reversing the combustion process to convert CO2 to Fuel, Oxygen will be a major by-product which I foresee will have a very good market value. This is because of the increasing strategic importance of oxygen in future energy generation as centralised power plants all over the world will move towards increased efficiency. On top of using the latest coal-gas turbines to generate more power, using oxygen-enriched air will increase the heat obtained from combustion of coal. Oxygen will also play a key role in generating energy from coal fields which are either depleting or too deep. Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is a process that pumps air or oxygen into deep. Using pure oxygen instead of air increase the calorific value of the coal-gas streaming out of the coal mines by 30-60%. If you let the revenue generated from oxygen sale be Z £/ton of CO2, then the total revenue for such CO2-fuel conversion process would be (X + Y + Z) £/ton of CO2.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2007, 12:39:27 AM by geodome »
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2007, 12:31:23 AM »
In reversing the combustion process to convert CO2 to Fuel, Oxygen will be a major by-product which I foresee will have a very good market value.

Where will the energy come from to perform the reverse combusion?

BTW, why did this topic get merged with the other one.  They seem like completely different subjects (aside from the DHMO tangent).

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2007, 12:48:35 AM »
BTW, why did this topic get merged with the other one.  They seem like completely different subjects (aside from the DHMO tangent).

I merged them. Isn't the recurring theme for both topics the energy challenge?

Where will the energy come from to perform the reverse combusion?

Renewable and Nuclear. Ellingham Diagram suggests the process requires at least 900C but I managed to find a cheap catalyst which can do the process at 400-600C at less than 10 bar and still have a pretty good yield.
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Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2007, 01:20:19 AM »
Just want to add that methanol is a versatile compound. It can be converted into ethene catalytically which is a major petrochemical commodity / feedstock for the manufacture of many chemical products. Converting CO2 to Methanol has a potential of achieving carbon sequestration.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallacy
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2007, 04:39:46 AM »
I stand corrected ever so slightly.

Carbon dioxide gas is limited by the amount of carbon on the earth and water vapor is limited by approximately 100 % relative humidity. Water vapor can attain less concentration than the carbon dioxide gas even if you imported more hydrogen and carbon from the universe.




DHMO is also a greenhouse gas!

Yes - but a finite one == unlike carbon dioxide which is not limited

Quote
enahs
...
And technically, they are both equally finite, as there are only a certain number of carbon atoms on the earth, and a certain number of hydrogen. So, unless we start making some, or importing some from outside, they are both finite.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2007, 04:55:50 AM by billnotgatez »

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2007, 05:20:13 AM »
I must be too cynical. Every time I hear “secret”, I think here comes another conspiracy theory. I must be listening to too much of the “Rollye James Show”.

...
I believe the secret chemical formula to achieve that is in the hands of scientists at University of Utah. I remembered reading up about a secret chemical substance patented by the University of Utah which can dissolve cellulose to facilitate the synthetic production of ethanol from cellulose.

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2007, 11:40:11 AM »
Water vapor production is still a pretty valid concern, however.  While it may not contribute to global warming, it could still contribute to climate change.  It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that increased production of water vapor from the energy and transportation sectors would increase the amount of precipitation in some areas.  This could have some pretty profound effects (e.g. increased soil runoff, flooding in areas not meant to handle an increased amount of rain, change of wildlife habitat, etc.).  Of course, it's still not clear whether increased nuclear power/the hydrogen economy would be able to cause such effects, but it's still worth looking into.

Offline Borek

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2007, 02:17:54 PM »
I have a gut feeling that exhaust water - when compared with the amount/speed of natural water evaporation and precipitation and physical properties of the water/vapor/ice system - is of no concern. I suppose rising temperature and increasing evaporation will be much more prominent here.

Assuming annual fuel consuption in US of 170 million gallons, Poland surface of slightly over 310 thousands sq km and 500 mm of annual precipitation in Poland (these are numbers I happened to remember) looks like water from all fuel consumed in all US is equivalent to about 4*10-6 of water falling every year here. Note that Poland is of a size comparable with many US states.

Changes in precipitations year to year are in the few percents range (or more?) - thus even if all water from US transportation system falls here we will be not able to tell the difference. Natural processes plays much more important role, several orders of magnitude higher.
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Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2007, 07:01:23 PM »
It took Mankind a few hundred years to emit enough CO2 to cause global warming.

How many more hundred years will we need to achieve global precipitation?
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline constant thinker

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Re: Hydrogen Economy Fallancy, Nuclear Power Plants, Global Warming..
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2007, 09:08:57 PM »
How about we just all use straight electricity. Can you say, "Pluggable car."

Ok, I had to propose that one. No one is talking about using straight electricity. I know it has its problems, and coal is the primary source of power (in the U.S.), but with more nuclear power plants and "green" coal plants. It may help to reduce CO2 emissions.

As far as the whole electricity storage problem for cars, I happen to remember hearing about a group at MIT developing a new type of battery using nanotechnology that has the potential to store more electricity per volume than a lithium battery. If I can only find the article again. I'll look for it.

I honestly though, I think the straight electricity thing has a downfall, or any electrical drivetrain for a car, because they are good in stop and go situations, but what about on the highway. Around here, I'm regularly doing 70-80mph on the highway. If I recall correctly it would take quite a bit of electricity to maintain that speed.
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