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Alternative sources of green energy . Why are we not using hydrogen ?

I am going to keep this post short and add some links for you to read .

Please try to read all of this first link and see if it has the same effect on you that it had on me when I first read it

 

http://www.americanhydrogenassociation.org/ahaknow.html

 

These links are about a device that could with a little more development solve most of our energy problems .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rofx6Gaz40

 

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/hydrogen

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RE: Alternative sources of green energy .

I think one of the issues is that it isn't as easy to store and transport as they make out due to how small atoms or H2 molecules are. 

Stuff.

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Why are we not using hydrogen ?

The future is almost certainly Hydrogen.

Not sure about the ultimate efficiency of it all though- it takes a fair bit of electricity to liberate hydrogen from water in the first place, then by the time it has been compressed/stored/transported it may have taken more energy than will be released by its use as fuel.

Using solar cells to crack water would obviously help. The main plus point is the total lack of pollution when it's burnt, the minus is the tendency for catastrophic explosions. At least leaks would be easy to detect- hydrogen has a strange nose-burning effect and weird smell, unlike natural gas which is almost odourless and must have other compounds (propyl and butyl mercaptans) added to it to give it an aroma.

The good points would far outweigh the bad points- it's just the huge expense of building the hydrogen infrastructure in the first place. Get past that and we could be on to something...

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

It will never be cheaper (even if it was) because any increasing loss of oil profits/fuel taxes would be imposed on this as well.

Even if everyone stopped using powered vehicles, there would be punitive walking/horse/bicycle/dog sled/breathing taxes imposed instead.

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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RE: Alternative sources of green

Window tax. Hat tax. 

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RE: Alternative sources

Whilst there is oil left on the planet, Hydrogen will have to wait its turn so the fat cats can liberate as much profit as possible. 

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

There are a whole heap of reasons why we aren't using hydrogen:

 

* It's a lot more expensive to produce it via electrolysis of water. Electricity is currently closely linked to fossil fuel prices, because that's the main source of energy used to generate it, but only about 40% efficient. On top of that, electrolysis is at most maybe 70% efficient. So the energy you have available in the hydrogen is likely less than a third of that from the fossil fuels themselves - much better to burn the fuel directly

* Making hydrogen from steam reforming requires hydrocarbons as the input, and still produces CO2, so unless you capture it in sequestration (not yet demonstrated industrially, and adds cost) the environment is still no better off. Extra processes, achieving no benefit environmentally or thermodynamically = wasted effort and cost inflation

* There is no large scale infrastructure for storing and transporting it at present for consumers, so no point in buying hydrogen vehicles

* Hydrogen fuel cells use platinum catalysts, which are very expensive. Burning it in an internal combustion engine uses a much more mature technology and should be cheaper, but is less efficient and because of the lack of infrastructure or any environmental benefit there isn't a point

* All gases are difficult to store in large quantities (mass) in small spaces. As the lightest gas, hydrogen is particularly problematic in this regard. To get anything like a useful quantity of fuel for vehicles it requires very high storage pressures, and pressure vessels are big, awkward to package, heavy things with associated safety issues. Watch the video of the Hindenberg disaster and then think about if you want a load of hydrogen under your boot when you have a rear-end shunt or your car catches fire.

 

Because of energy density, ease of storage and transport, maturity of the technology and infrastructure, hydrocarbon-based liquid fuels (either biologically or synthetically manufactured) will stick around for a long time yet, and from most technical angles remain the best choice.

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RE:

moon wrote:
Whilst there is oil left on the planet, Hydrogen will have to wait its turn so the fat cats can liberate as much profit as possible. 

^^^WHS
Don't forget that Rudolf Diesel never intended for his engine to be powered primarily by a petrolium distillate. He did experiment with coal dust but really he envisaged that his engines would run on vegetable extracts. For example his prototype ran on peanut oil.
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RE:

Kryten wants to add his two pence worth...

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

siggy_7 wrote:

There are a whole heap of reasons why we aren't using hydrogen:

 

* It's a lot more expensive to produce it via electrolysis of water. Electricity is currently closely linked to fossil fuel prices, because that's the main source of energy used to generate it, but only about 40% efficient. On top of that, electrolysis is at most maybe 70% efficient. So the energy you have available in the hydrogen is likely less than a third of that from the fossil fuels themselves - much better to burn the fuel directly

* Making hydrogen from steam reforming requires hydrocarbons as the input, and still produces CO2, so unless you capture it in sequestration (not yet demonstrated industrially, and adds cost) the environment is still no better off. Extra processes, achieving no benefit environmentally or thermodynamically = wasted effort and cost inflation

* There is no large scale infrastructure for storing and transporting it at present for consumers, so no point in buying hydrogen vehicles

* Hydrogen fuel cells use platinum catalysts, which are very expensive. Burning it in an internal combustion engine uses a much more mature technology and should be cheaper, but is less efficient and because of the lack of infrastructure or any environmental benefit there isn't a point

* All gases are difficult to store in large quantities (mass) in small spaces. As the lightest gas, hydrogen is particularly problematic in this regard. To get anything like a useful quantity of fuel for vehicles it requires very high storage pressures, and pressure vessels are big, awkward to package, heavy things with associated safety issues. Watch the video of the Hindenberg disaster and then think about if you want a load of hydrogen under your boot when you have a rear-end shunt or your car catches fire.

 

Because of energy density, ease of storage and transport, maturity of the technology and infrastructure, hydrocarbon-based liquid fuels (either biologically or synthetically manufactured) will stick around for a long time yet, and from most technical angles remain the best choice.

Some very good points but Smile

Hydrogen can be stored at room temperatures as a hydride (hydrogen chemically combined with a metallic element) under little or no pressure and in a volume that is less than if it were a super-cold liquid.

No one sustained hydrogen burns in the 1937 Hindenburg accident. Seven million cubic feet of hydrogen, equal in volume to a structure three football fields in size and 49 ft. in height, burned in less than one minute. However, diesel fuel that was stored for the propulsion engines fell to the ground and continued to burn for many hours.

To make hydrogen available for use as a fuel, energy is required to separate it from other elements. Solar energy is the most abundant available source of energy on earth. Solar energy reaches the Earth at a rate that is 18,000 times the energy consumed by human activities and is an ideal source for separating hydrogen from other elements.Solar hydrogen fuel can be produced to supply a clean sustainable supply of fuel for virtually all human energy needs, FOREVER .

It is true that the infrastructure to supply hydrogen would take some time to organise and roll out countrywide but we have millions of unemployed people in this country desperate to find work so the new hydrogen industry would go along way to solving  that problem .

Existing internal combustion engines can simply be converted to run on hydrogen in a similar way that they are converted to run on LPG .

Platinum can be reclaimed from all the many millions of redundant catalytic converters that are currently in use on all vehicles .

I just a fraction of the money that is spent annually searching and testing for new offshore oil wells not to mention the cost of extracting it and transporting it to a refinery was spent on hydrogen infrastructure and development then a hydrogen based society would happen very quickly Smile

 

 

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

Electro wrote:
Some very good points but :)

Do you have any thoughts of your own or are you going to actually look at all the issues involved and think about those as well or are you just going to ignore them?

Quote:
To make hydrogen available for use as a fuel, energy is required to separate it from other elements. Solar energy is the most abundant available source of energy on earth. Solar energy reaches the Earth at a rate that is 18,000 times the energy consumed by human activities and is an ideal source for separating hydrogen from other elements.Solar hydrogen fuel can be produced to supply a clean sustainable supply of fuel for virtually all human energy needs, FOREVER .

Yeah, maybe if we covered the ENTIRE surface of the earth in solar panels. Solar panels are woefully inefficient, if you wanted to power a car purely from solar panels you'd currently need a couple of hundred square feet of panels. Cracking hydrogen through electrolysis of water is not an efficient process, so to create the hydrogen to power your car instead you'd need a much much larger array of panels. Just for ONE car, never mind anything else.

Quote:
It is true that the infrastructure to supply hydrogen would take some time to organise and roll out countrywide but we have millions of unemployed people in this country desperate to find work so the new hydrogen industry would go along way to solving  that problem.

Yeah, be nice if they were actually qualified to build a transportation system for one of the most combustible gases known to man though...

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

The_Lhc wrote:

 

Do you have any thoughts of your own or are you going to actually look at all the issues involved and think about those as well or are you just going to ignore them?

 

Yeah, maybe if we covered the ENTIRE surface of the earth in solar panels. Solar panels are woefully inefficient, if you wanted to power a car purely from solar panels you'd currently need a couple of hundred square feet of panels. Cracking hydrogen through electrolysis of water is not an efficient process, so to create the hydrogen to power your car instead you'd need a much much larger array of panels. Just for ONE car, never mind anything else.

 

Yeah, be nice if they were actually qualified to build a transportation system for one of the most combustible gases known to man though...

 

Yes I do have my own thoughts about this subject and have done for about the last 30 years Smile

It is true that solar panels are inefficient a generating electrical energy for immediate use but the trickle of power can split water to release hydrogen and used to store the energy that they produce to be used when needed .

Solar Gen sets are far more efficient than solar panels and a much smaller area of these would be sufficient to produce a significant amount of energy to be stored as hydrogen in a hydride or as compressed gas.

Waste energy from existing power station at times of low demand could be used to split water into hydrogen and stored until peak demand times and then turned back into electricity using large proton exchange membranes ( Hydrogen fuel cells ) this would save an incredible amount of wasted energy.

Excess compressed hydrogen gas can be pumped into the empty redundant natural gas fields and used as required through the existing natural gas pipe network for domestic usage .

http://www.eere.energy.gov/basics/renewable_energy/dish_engine.html

You are right to point out that the majority of the unemployed people will need re training to install the hydrogen infrastructure but they will need to be trained for something anyway so why not this .

It is a myth that Hydrogen is any more dangerous that any other energy carrier in fact it is the safest and least polluting of all of them.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/alternative-fuels/dangerous-hydrogen-fuel.htm

 

 

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

Electro wrote:

Hydrogen can be stored at room temperatures as a hydride (hydrogen chemically combined with a metallic element) under little or no pressure and in a volume that is less than if it were a super-cold liquid.

Indeed it can. But then you have the weight of the hydride compound to combat, which is significantly greater than the hydrogen alone (as the metal bonded to the hydrogen is much heavier than the hydrogen itself). The target for hydride storage is currently 3kWh/kg by 2015, which is better than batteries by about a factor of three but still not great. This compares with about 12.5kWh/kg for diesel fuel - so the hydrogen store in a vehicle would be more than 4 times the weight of hydrocarbon fuels. And these are development targets which hydride storage hasn't reached yet. It has potential, but it's not yet developed, which is why we aren't all using hydrogen (your original question).

Electro wrote:

No one sustained hydrogen burns in the 1937 Hindenburg accident. Seven million cubic feet of hydrogen, equal in volume to a structure three football fields in size and 49 ft. in height, burned in less than one minute. However, diesel fuel that was stored for the propulsion engines fell to the ground and continued to burn for many hours.

I'm sorry, but this is just plain nuts. The majority of the people who died in that accident burned to death. Hydrogen is an extremely volatile fuel, much more so than petrol or diesel, and by weight has roughly three times the calorific value of hydrocarbon fuels. In air it is combustible in concentrations of 4-74% and explosive in mixtures of 18-59%. To try and dismiss these dangers is just ludicrous. Like all risks they can be managed, but hydrogen is a particularly dangerous substance to have around even when compared with hydrocarbon fuels, and the dangers shouldn't be under-estimated.

Electro wrote:

I just a fraction of the money that is spent annually searching and testing for new offshore oil wells not to mention the cost of extracting it and transporting it to a refinery was spent on hydrogen infrastructure and development then a hydrogen based society would happen very quickly Smile

 

Do you really, really believe this? It sounds very much like the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist. I'm all up for informed debate, but this statement just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The majority of the world is a free-speaking, market-orientated system. There are millions of people who are very concerned about existing energy generation, and a good number of them are scientifically literate. Vested interests will of course try and suppress things that threaten a market, but if it were really that easy and cheap to use hydrogen as a much cleaner fuel, don't you think that a group of concerned scientists and engineers would have done something about it by now and be richer than God as a consequence? The fact is, it's not cheap to develop these technologies to mature, affordable, consumer-friendly products and the technical challenges are really quite significant. Which, again, answers why we aren't all using hydrogen today.

Electro wrote:

It is true that solar panels are inefficient a generating electrical energy for immediate use but the trickle of power can split water to release hydrogen and used to store the energy that they produce to be used when needed .

Solar Gen sets are far more efficient than solar panels and a much smaller area of these would be sufficient to produce a significant amount of energy to be stored as hydrogen in a hydride or as compressed gas.

With renewable energy, "efficiency" is a really quite silly thing to think about. In conventional power, it's important because you have to pay for your fuel. Renewables have their input power for free, so the only thing that matters is installation cost per kWh. Completely disregarding the efficiency of Solar PV then, I come back again to my rather obvious point as to why we aren't all using this stuff today. Cost. Photovoltaics, wind turbines, wave power - all these renewable power sources are, today, more expensive per kWh than conventional power. And more expensive by a long way. Therefore, commercial hydrogen production isn't an environmental panacea as it relies on fossil-fuel emitting technologies to produce it (unless you want to quickly go out of business by paying way over the odds for your electricity to produce hydrogen). One day, these things may change and fossil fuels will be so scarce or so heavily taxed, and the alternatives will be developed to the point where they are cheap enough to take seriously, that these alternatives will be cheaper. When that day arrives, you will probably find a lot of people selling hydrogen powered cars. That you look out of your window in the morning and see fossil fuel powered cars should tell you something - we aren't there yet.

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

siggy_7 wrote:

Electro wrote:

Hydrogen can be stored at room temperatures as a hydride (hydrogen chemically combined with a metallic element) under little or no pressure and in a volume that is less than if it were a super-cold liquid.

Indeed it can. But then you have the weight of the hydride compound to combat, which is significantly greater than the hydrogen alone (as the metal bonded to the hydrogen is much heavier than the hydrogen itself). The target for hydride storage is currently 3kWh/kg by 2015, which is better than batteries by about a factor of three but still not great. This compares with about 12.5kWh/kg for diesel fuel - so the hydrogen store in a vehicle would be more than 4 times the weight of hydrocarbon fuels. And these are development targets which hydride storage hasn't reached yet. It has potential, but it's not yet developed, which is why we aren't all using hydrogen (your original question).

Electro wrote:

No one sustained hydrogen burns in the 1937 Hindenburg accident. Seven million cubic feet of hydrogen, equal in volume to a structure three football fields in size and 49 ft. in height, burned in less than one minute. However, diesel fuel that was stored for the propulsion engines fell to the ground and continued to burn for many hours.

I'm sorry, but this is just plain nuts. The majority of the people who died in that accident burned to death. Hydrogen is an extremely volatile fuel, much more so than petrol or diesel, and by weight has roughly three times the calorific value of hydrocarbon fuels. In air it is combustible in concentrations of 4-74% and explosive in mixtures of 18-59%. To try and dismiss these dangers is just ludicrous. Like all risks they can be managed, but hydrogen is a particularly dangerous substance to have around even when compared with hydrocarbon fuels, and the dangers shouldn't be under-estimated.

Electro wrote:

I just a fraction of the money that is spent annually searching and testing for new offshore oil wells not to mention the cost of extracting it and transporting it to a refinery was spent on hydrogen infrastructure and development then a hydrogen based society would happen very quickly Smile

 

Do you really, really believe this? It sounds very much like the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist. I'm all up for informed debate, but this statement just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The majority of the world is a free-speaking, market-orientated system. There are millions of people who are very concerned about existing energy generation, and a good number of them are scientifically literate. Vested interests will of course try and suppress things that threaten a market, but if it were really that easy and cheap to use hydrogen as a much cleaner fuel, don't you think that a group of concerned scientists and engineers would have done something about it by now and be richer than God as a consequence? The fact is, it's not cheap to develop these technologies to mature, affordable, consumer-friendly products and the technical challenges are really quite significant. Which, again, answers why we aren't all using hydrogen today.

Electro wrote:

It is true that solar panels are inefficient a generating electrical energy for immediate use but the trickle of power can split water to release hydrogen and used to store the energy that they produce to be used when needed .

Solar Gen sets are far more efficient than solar panels and a much smaller area of these would be sufficient to produce a significant amount of energy to be stored as hydrogen in a hydride or as compressed gas.

With renewable energy, "efficiency" is a really quite silly thing to think about. In conventional power, it's important because you have to pay for your fuel. Renewables have their input power for free, so the only thing that matters is installation cost per kWh. Completely disregarding the efficiency of Solar PV then, I come back again to my rather obvious point as to why we aren't all using this stuff today. Cost. Photovoltaics, wind turbines, wave power - all these renewable power sources are, today, more expensive per kWh than conventional power. And more expensive by a long way. Therefore, commercial hydrogen production isn't an environmental panacea as it relies on fossil-fuel emitting technologies to produce it (unless you want to quickly go out of business by paying way over the odds for your electricity to produce hydrogen). One day, these things may change and fossil fuels will be so scarce or so heavily taxed, and the alternatives will be developed to the point where they are cheap enough to take seriously, that these alternatives will be cheaper. When that day arrives, you will probably find a lot of people selling hydrogen powered cars. That you look out of your window in the morning and see fossil fuel powered cars should tell you something - we aren't there yet.

 

I agree with most of your points but I am still convinced that far more could be done to speed up the transition to a hydrogen based society .

There is some good work being done by most of the major vehicle manufacturers especially Honda who have a working hydrogen fuel cell car that is fully developed but only available to lease in Japan and the United States where hydrogen filling stations have been made available .

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/honda/6501889/Honda-FCX-Clarity-review.html

 

The link below highlights almost everything that I am trying to say . It is a video about the first public UK Hydrogen vehicle filling station in Swindon .

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14983805

 

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

Electro wrote:
I agree with most of your points but I am still convinced that far more could be done to speed up the transition to a hydrogen based society .

There is some good work being done by most of the major vehicle manufacturers especially Honda who have a working hydrogen fuel cell car that is fully developed but only available to lease in Japan and the United States where hydrogen filling stations have been made available .

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/honda/6501889/Honda-FCX-Clarity-review.html

 

The link below highlights almost everything that I am trying to say . It is a video about the first public UK Hydrogen vehicle filling station in Swindon .

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14983805

Can't see what you've changed in your recent edit but it doesn't matter, you really don't understand "not currently feasible" do you?

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RE: Why are we not using hydrogen ?

siggy_7 wrote:
Electro wrote:

If just a fraction of the money that is spent annually searching and testing for new offshore oil wells not to mention the cost of extracting it and transporting it to a refinery was spent on hydrogen infrastructure and development then a hydrogen based society would happen very quickly Smile

 

Do you really, really believe this? It sounds very much like the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist. I'm all up for informed debate, but this statement just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The majority of the world is a free-speaking, market-orientated system. There are millions of people who are very concerned about existing energy generation, and a good number of them are scientifically literate. Vested interests will of course try and suppress things that threaten a market, but if it were really that easy and cheap to use hydrogen as a much cleaner fuel, don't you think that a group of concerned scientists and engineers would have done something about it by now and be richer than God as a consequence? The fact is, it's not cheap to develop these technologies to mature, affordable, consumer-friendly products and the technical challenges are really quite significant. Which, again, answers why we aren't all using hydrogen today.

I seem to remember hearing something similar to this in a BBC documentary on space-based solar power - though to be fair, it wasn't "a fraction" of the money spent on oil exploration, it was all the money spent on oil exploration in a couple of years I think.

The problem with the above of course is Angel no single company / government is spending all that money, so unless you got them all to agree to stop spending it on oil exploration and instead on an alternate energy solution, it's not much use except as an interesting fact. Also, (b) what we do in the meantime whilst that solution is being developed and no oil is being discovered is also a bit of an issue.

What it does show is, we have the the know how and the ability to develop the technology to end our reliance on fossil fuels today, were the entire world so inclined to group together and get on with it. What we don't have is the necessity to do anything about it, and therefore it won't get done (history has taught us that). Yet. Oil and gas is working just fine for us thanks very much, and the affects of global warming in 100 - 1000 years time is none of our concern as we won't be alive - let the people of that time sort that little problem out for themselves, the bastards. 

NB - what we also know is, whilst the cheapest and easiest solution is always the most attractive option, it often isn't the best option.

 

The owls are not what they seem...

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