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Old 09-29-2005, 09:15 PM
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Hydrogen fuels are the answer?

I read an interesting article in Car & Driver while waiting for my truck to get aligned.

The idea is that we all see hydrogen as a cure-all for our energy crisis.

It's not, because it would take double the amount of energy to produce the hydrogen that we would need than if we just continued using gasoline.

In other words, in the year 2000, we used 16 quadrillion BTUs of energy driving our cars around. If we were burning hydrogen, we would have used 32 quadrillions BTUs of energy to produce the hydrogen that we would need to drive the same cars the same distance. That's twice as much energy.

So what will we do? Eventually, we will run out of oil. That's a fact - there is a definite supply, and we are running out. What's our alternative? Nuclear?

The article is at: http://www.caranddriver.com/article....rticle_id=9978
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Old 09-30-2005, 07:36 AM
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That's funny. It's interesting to read a technical comparison like that. I hope his calculations are accurate (and have an underlying suspicion that they are). I love it when you do an in depth analysis of all these miracle cures for our energy woes the math doesn't add up.

My kid was telling me in his technology class they were talking about bio-diesel. I listened. He was telling me how cheap it was. "The oil comes from fast food places for free." I mentioned to him that it was free now because not many people wanted it. Then I asked him what would happen when everybody wanted it. We happend to be in the grocery store. I took him over to the cooking oil isle and asked him to check the prices. $6.00 a gallon for new veggie oil. I left him to think about that.

I'd love to see a similar analysis of using crops for fuel -- biodiesel, ethanol etc. Is there a net gain by the time you factor in all the energy required to produce the crop and then convert it to an engergy source.

The bottom line is that the reason we use so much oil is that it is the most efficient and cheapest way to produce energy. There is no conspiracy to keep alternative fuels from us. If there was a better way, someone would have packaged and marketed it.
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Old 09-30-2005, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andym
I read an interesting article in Car & Driver while waiting for my truck to get aligned.

The idea is that we all see hydrogen as a cure-all for our energy crisis.

It's not, because it would take double the amount of energy to produce the hydrogen that we would need than if we just continued using gasoline.

In other words, in the year 2000, we used 16 quadrillion BTUs of energy driving our cars around. If we were burning hydrogen, we would have used 32 quadrillions BTUs of energy to produce the hydrogen that we would need to energdrive the same cars the same distance. That's twice as much y.

So what will we do? Eventually, we will run out of oil. That's a fact - there is a definite supply, and we are running out. What's our alternative? Nuclear?

The article is at: http://www.caranddriver.com/article....rticle_id=9978
Yes, the answer is nuclear. Not as you might first think, but to produce hydrogen from water through electrolysis. Keep in mind that, once you get past the fixed costs (which are admittedly huge), the cost for nuclear fuel is very small. That's how hydrogen becomes a cure-all.

Last edited by MrBSS; 09-30-2005 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 09-30-2005, 12:26 PM
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Are people implying that we are physically "running out" of oil next week, or next millenium? No one can truthfully say how much there is in the first place. That's impossible and scientists know it. Studies are always biased and we all know it but believe them anyway. If you listen to any argument ever given about oil, half of it is always prefaced with possibly and could be, and "scientists believe". It's like listening to my professor about evolution, never PROVEN "fact" and yet it's taught as truth and these students/sheep just accept it as such even though every book ever printed is full of acknowledged supposition and conjecture.

sorry, but sometimes my professors and classmates bother me... alot.
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Old 09-30-2005, 12:46 PM
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It doesn't matter when we run out of oil - we will eventually. It matters that we have to stop burning this crud called "oil" before we muck up the Earth to the point of no-return - which may have already happened.

Nuclear power to produce hydrogen isn't a bad idea - but it's still wasteful. It would be better to produce electricity with it and run electric cars than to produce hydrogen with it and then burn it. Lots of wasted energy there in an internal-combustion engine. Not to mention the transport/distribution changes necessary - the electric grid is already in place.

I'd rather see ethanol production ramp up, at least in the short-term. Engines exist, the technology exists (see flex-fuel vehicles like the Ford Explorer V6's). We're already running "gasahol" like they tried to do in the 70's - gasahol was just plain 90% gas, 10% ethanol. Metro NY and other metro areas are already running it. And I personally see no difference in performance. E85 is 85% ethanol. Again, the technology already exists for ethanol, especially E85. However, there are some pollutants that come from burning ethanol, so it's not the perfect solution.

By the way, about evolution - ever notice how it's called the "Theory of Evolution"? - that's right, it's a THEORY - that one word immediately points out the difference between fact and theory. If the "sheep" can't figure that one out without a teacher going over and over the fact that it's a THEORY, well, they all need to learn English. That goes for people who do not agree with it - it's a THEORY - don't like it? Come up with your own theory that fits the FACTS.
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Old 09-30-2005, 03:21 PM
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How much water is produced by a car burning hydrogen? Just curious what the total output of the worlds cars would be over 10 or 20 years.
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Old 09-30-2005, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krewat
It doesn't matter when we run out of oil - we will eventually. It matters that we have to stop burning this crud called "oil" before we muck up the Earth to the point of no-return - which may have already happened.

.
Whether you like to admit it or not, you've just put forward two theories yourself as fact.
1. That we will run out of oil.
2. That we can 'muck up the Earth to the point of no-return'.
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Old 09-30-2005, 04:46 PM
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I agree with you Krewat, The ethonal is where I think a big gain can be made. What really needs to be done is to have engines built to run it. Right now they build them to run on both E85 and reg ol 87octane. Basic knowlage says that if you have high octane (like that of E85) you need high compression. I would almost put money on the fact that if someone built a engine specifically for E85 it would perform every bit as good as the current line up. In reality they would also have more power per CI with a 12 or 13:1 compression ratio than the same with the 8 and 9:1s they currently run. The distribution network is readily avalable, we just need the vehicles and plants for production.

As far as the cooking oil comment, the key to both E85 and Biodiesel is it's replenishable, unlike Dino oil. Yes cooking oil costs $6 per gallon but it's also not in production for fuel either! Right now biodiesel sells for about the same price as Dino Diesel, You can use it in current vehicles and no modifications have to be made, don't discount your kid and his teacher as they are definitly on the right track. In reality its quite cost effective to produce. How do I know this, well I can look out my window right now at work see the largest Biodiesel plant in the nation being built. It's a daily read in our local newpaper!!

The key to any fuel is three things: It has to be replenishable, it has to be enviromently friendly, and it has to be cost effective; End of story!! I personally think the oil companies are in bed with both the government and the car companies. I feel the same way with the chemical companies, if you look at the government programs for farming it would be a clear picture!!! There are no incentives for summerfallow which has been proven to be more productive with better weed control than a chemicly induced crop, yet on the other hand they have the CRP progam which I also feel is a complete crock. It has potential but is managed and governed poorly with even poorer policies.

The last of my rant has to do with why the oil companies are gouging us at this time period. It HAS been PROVEN that we are not in a shortage!!! There have been no reasons given why other than the recent excuses of the huricanes but before that point they had nothing to back up the price jumps. The record profits posted show some obvious greedy people that must think that our economy doesn't have a direct relation to gas prices, but there again what do they care, they aren't in the poor house trying to figure out if they need to put food on the table or gas in there car to get to work!! They may have some validity to the shortage of refineries but that religates directly back to the government and the EPA resriction making it so damn hard to build a plant that economicly feesable!!!

all right thats my take on things, end of rant, I need a beer!!!
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Old 10-01-2005, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 76supercab2
Whether you like to admit it or not, you've just put forward two theories yourself as fact.
1. That we will run out of oil.
2. That we can 'muck up the Earth to the point of no-return'.
Theories?

We will run out of oil eventually.

Did you ever see any Superfund sights? The places where toxic waste has been oozing from the ground? What do you think lives there? Nothing.

The Earth is a finite ball of rock. If we keep this up, it won't sustain itself (or us) forever.

But, please, go stick your head in the sand - you're not contributing anything to this thread.
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Old 10-03-2005, 11:20 AM
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"Nuclear power to produce hydrogen isn't a bad idea - but it's still wasteful. It would be better to produce electricity with it and run electric cars than to produce hydrogen with it and then burn it. Lots of wasted energy there in an internal-combustion engine. Not to mention the transport/distribution changes necessary - the electric grid is already in place."

REPLY:
Why do you consider hydrogen production so wasteful? Do you think that there are no losses in electric transmission? And there is a big natural gas grid which could be paralleled and/or converted to Hydrogen transmission. We could use the hydrogen to fuel current style engines and then transition to fuel cells.

And you really should not tell anyone here to stick their head in the sand. Its quite a stretch to equate my certified "Low Emission Vehicle" F150 to a toxic waste dump!

Last edited by MrBSS; 10-03-2005 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 10-03-2005, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krewat
Theories?

We will run out of oil eventually.
PROOVE it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krewat
Did you ever see any Superfund sights? The places where toxic waste has been oozing from the ground? What do you think lives there? Nothing.

The Earth is a finite ball of rock. If we keep this up, it won't sustain itself (or us) forever.
Again, PROOVE that anything we can to will permanantely and forever destroy the earth. My theory is there is nothing on this planet that hasn't always been here. That includes crude oil and all it's derivitives.

Let's take Hiroshima as an example. We !!!NUKED!!! it. Doesn't get much more toxic than that. But it's not a barren wasteland today. People live there right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krewat
But, please, go stick your head in the sand - you're not contributing anything to this thread.
EH. Personal attacks will get you nowhere. I'm saying that the statements you have made are widely accepted to be true. But there is no PROOF that any of them are, therefore they are THEORIES. They might be correct theories, but still theories. There might be something else we are not aware of now that would change that theory in the future.

For example, there is a contradicting theory that oil is simply a substance that Earth produces. It's not made from dead dinosaurs and it's not in limited supply. Why couldn't this theory be true? After all, oil is simply carbon and hydrogen atoms strung together in a chain. We can make it in the lab by simply inputting enough energy into the reaction. Why couldn't that be happening right now inside the Earth as we speak? Why should the two most pletiful atoms on this planet (or in the universe for that matter) be in limited supply?
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Old 10-03-2005, 02:30 PM
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If I see a funnel cloud, should I assume it's a tornado and run for the cellar or should I wait for the weather man to "proove it" and wait and see? Again, stick your head in the sand if you wish, but don't downplay other's attempts at doing something BEFORE the crap hits the fan.

As for hydrogen distribution - did you know that the size of the hydrogen atom is so small that it will pass THROUGH things that natural gas or propane will not? Lots of differences between NG/LPG and Hydrogen. I would "theorize" that would need a lot of retro-fitting.

The crust of the Earth is only so thick - there's only so many places where oil can be found - there is a FINITE (meaning NOT limitless) amount of ANYTHING on this Earth. Oil is not being replenished at a fast enough rate that we will never run out of oil.

And, using the Hiroshima example, again, ever see a Superfund site? Ever test the water in the Long Island aquifer that is tainted with MTBE and causes cancer? How long do you think that water will remain tainted without some form of intervention?

Do you think Japan did nothing after the bomb to clean up that area? Again, human intervention CLEANED IT UP - it didn't just go away on it's own - and besides, no one lived there for quite a while afterwards.

I see a dangerous anti-science mentality here - if you think the theory is sound, why not accept that fact and do something about it before hand? I just do not understand the "stick your head in the sand" mentality - and that's exactly what you are expounding.

"Let's wait until it's PROVEN we can run out of oil" - how? When it finally runs out?
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Old 10-03-2005, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
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How much water is produced by a car burning hydrogen? Just curious what the total output of the worlds cars would be over 10 or 20 years.
When you burn hydrogen you get one water molecule for every 2 hydrogen atoms, however, making hydrogen using electrolesis uses water.


The reaction to produce hydrogen via electrolysis is:

Water + Energy ==> Hydrogen(gas) + Oxygen(gas)

Where the energy used is electricity.


The reaction if you "burn" hydrogen, either in an internal combustion engine or fuel cell is the same reaction in reverse:

Hydrogen + Oxygen ==> Water + Energy

In the case of a fuel, the energy produced is in the form of electricity and heat.
In an Internal Combustion Engine, the energy produced is in the form of rotaional motion and heat.


So in the end burning hydrogen produces the same ammount of water that went into the production of that hydrogen.

Also one important thing to note is that hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy storage method. Gasoline can be pulled out of the ground and burned with relatively little energy consumption, whereas hydrogen is more like a battery. You have to use energy to charge the system and then you can later recover that energy. However, hydrogen has a couple of important advantages over batteries. While it is true that it is less efficient to store energy in the form of hydrogen and then recover it with either a fuel cell or an ICE than it is to do with batteries, hydrogen and it's associated storage container are much lighter than batteries. Also hydrogen can be refilled quickly, whereas it can take hours to recharge the batteries in an electric car. This means that a hydrogen car could be driven across the country with periodic short stops to refill the tanks whereas an electric car would require long stops. This means electric cars are more suited for around town use. The other important advantage of hydrogen is that you can modify an Internal Combustion Engine to run on hydrogen and gasoline, or a mix of the two. A supercharged pure hydrogen ICE can achieve the same power density as a comparitevely sized gasoline internal combustion engine. And hydrogen also has a larger combustion range than gasoline so it can be burned in a more lean mix, which leads to a higher efficiency.

Now on a different topic regarding crude oil availabilty, one thing to consider is that even if oil is produced in a continuous geological process and not by the decomposition of ancient sea life, the rate at which oil can be recovered from underground has reached a point where it is no longer possible to vastly increase annual oil production. So as the demand for oil increases, as it certainly will, due to the current industrialization in countries like China and India, it may soon reach a point that the demand for oil will overcome the ammount the can be pulled out of the ground and refined, regardless of how much oil is left underground. For instance, in the US, oil production peaked in 1970, and in Britain it peaked in 1999. China was an exporter of oil until the late 90's when they started importing oil. However, oil consumption is increasing which means a shortage will at some point occur.

Hydrogen by itself, is not an answer because it requires some other form of energy to be produced. To produce enough hydrogen to power the entire transportion sector in the US would require increasing the electrical production ability in the US to approximately twice its current level. But at the same time, since hydrogen could be produced when electrical demand was low, such as at night, it would not require doubling the current number of power plants. The existing plants could be operated at their highest power output all the time instead of just at peak load and the excess electricity could be used to produce hydrogen. With the addition of the new plants to produce enough electricity to produce hydrogen to power vehicles, the electrical supply grid would also become less vulnerable to massive power failures like the two major eastern US power failures.
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Old 10-03-2005, 08:14 PM
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^However; doesn't it require more energy to split the water molecule that you get by joining it back up?

Also, EXCELLENT description of hydrogen as an energey *storage* medium. That is the stone cold truth brother.
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Old 10-03-2005, 08:32 PM
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Krewat, I don't have time right now to compose a complete reply. Take a deep breath and reread all my posts. You might find something interesting.
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