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  #1  
Old 12-13-2007, 06:42 PM
aurgathor aurgathor is offline
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why hydrogen

(continuation from the ethanol thread since this has nothing to do with ethanol)
Quote:
the references I found to it were when I got into this arguement before and it's found that the only real economically feasible way to produce hydrogen to make these vehicles work is from NG
It is no question that making hydrogen from NG is cheaper right now, but that will not last forever. In the long run, crude and NG prices will continue to rise faster than the price of electricity, and it may not take very long to make other processes competitive, especially since hydrogen can be made in place, the only things needed are a bit of equipment (one time purchase) then water and elctricity to run it. The latter two is already available at virtually every gas stations.

No, that won't happen in a year or two, more like in a 5 - 15 years time frame.

If you look at what is available right now as a vehicle fuel, either in common use or in a lab, there is basically a very few of them: gasoline, (bio)diesel, gas (CNG, LNG, propane, etc.), coal/fuel oil, hydrogen, electricity (stored in some kind of battery) plus various alcohols, mainly ethanol, and to a lesser extent methanol and butanol.

Both crude and NG will be available for quite a while, but at a higher, or much higher price than today. That is mostly because of the limited supply. Coal or fuel oils are normally used on big vehicles or ships, so they don't apply here. Barring orders of magnitude of increase in crop yields and some other major breakthroughs, alcohols will never become a major fuel for a very simple reason that there is simply not enough land to grow the amount needed. The details of this can be found in the various ethanol threads. That leaves hydrogen and electricity.

Electricity, and then hydrogen can be generated without using any fossil fuel by harnessing the Sun's energy using either photovoltaic cells or wind driven generators, or by building nuclear or fusion power plants. (ATM fusion is confined to labs, but it can become a reality any time) In any case, with cheap and plentiful electriciy, generating hydrogen is a no-brainer.

Of course, there's a non-zero possibility that someone comes up with something new and radically different, like storing 'liquified electrons' in a bottle that could allow a car to travel 1000 miles on a pint of 99.9% pure electrons, or even better, using anti matter to generate energy, but I don't find that to be a likely scenario.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:19 PM
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hydrogen can be produced very easely please reseach hydrogen because it can save this planet.
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Old 01-06-2008, 01:39 PM
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Hydrogen or electricity from non-polluting renewable resources is the only path with a future that shares modern life with the entire planet. Oil is a limited resource and despite arguments for or against man made global warming Oil is still a limited resource. Man needs to find a different source of energy and we need it soon or human society across the globe will start to move backwards...
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:01 PM
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Hydrogen problems

Hydrogen, can come from basically two sources. From some type of natural gas, or split from water, by electrolysis. We aready know what natural gas prices are doing. The price of hydrogen from natural gas will be dependant on that.
The other source is electrolysis. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have the advantage of having many hydroelectric dams on our many rivers to generate cheap electricty.
The dams do not generate enough electricty to supply the need we have now for electricty, we are burning natural gas to supplement the generation limits of the dams.
Switching motor vehicles over to hydrogen will not solve the problem. Instead of CO2 coming out of the exhaust pipe of a car, it will come out of an exhaust stack of a natural gas electric generating plant, if electrolysis is used.
Even if cars and trucks were converted to totally electric, we would still have to burn fossil fuels to make the electricty.
Wind power is an option, but many do not want those unsightly wind turbines in thier back yard, or in the area they might sail their boats off the coast of Massachusetts.
Solar cells are coming down in price, but they are still cost prohibitive, currently.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielC
Switching motor vehicles over to hydrogen will not solve the problem. Instead of CO2 coming out of the exhaust pipe of a car, it will come out of an exhaust stack of a natural gas electric generating plant, if electrolysis is used.
Even if cars and trucks were converted to totally electric, we would still have to burn fossil fuels to make the electricty.
The share of fossil fuels used to generate electricity will lessen over time.

Quote:
Wind power is an option, but many do not want those unsightly wind turbines in thier back yard,
But others would want the fat checks that come in that requires no investment or work on their part. I don't have the source, but the Seattle Times wrote a while ago that a farmer can get significantly more money from a given area from wind farming than from raising crops.
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielC
Switching motor vehicles over to hydrogen will not solve the problem. Instead of CO2 coming out of the exhaust pipe of a car, it will come out of an exhaust stack of a natural gas electric generating plant, if electrolysis is used.

Not necessarily true....it is much much easier to contain and mitigate CO2 and real pollutants like Mercury released from a centrally located place like a power plant than trying to mitigate from 500m cars and trucks. C02 from cars is only a very very small percentage of the C02 released into the atmosphere annually anyway. C02 emissions are not the thrust of my post, energy independence is and Hydrogen is the only way to get there at this point in time. Whether the Hydrogen is produced using local Natural Gas (America has huge reserves) or Nuclear power does not matter....



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Old 01-07-2008, 10:06 PM
aurgathor aurgathor is offline
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While one can scrub for pollutants and CO2 out of the exhaust gases, there are 2 problems I see with CO2 scrubbing:
a) it will decrease the efficiency of the powerplant
b) what do they do with all the CO2 they get?
Pumping it underground somewhere deep might be the only economical solution.

IMHO, a simpler and better solution is to phase out major CO2 sources whenever possible.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aurgathor
While one can scrub for pollutants and CO2 out of the exhaust gases, there are 2 problems I see with CO2 scrubbing:
a) it will decrease the efficiency of the powerplant
b) what do they do with all the CO2 they get?
Pumping it underground somewhere deep might be the only economical solution.

IMHO, a simpler and better solution is to phase out major CO2 sources whenever possible.
(bolding mine)

Not to mention that electrolysis is already a very inefficient process. A switch to hydrogen would seem to, at least for the forseeable future, require a huge increase in fossil fuel use. Maybe solar panels will get better someday, or we will finally build more nuclear plants*, but I'm not holding my breath.

* Nuclear of course has its own set of problems.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:30 AM
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There is a relatively new development in the extraction of hydrogen from water that doesn't require electricity.

Check out Perdue university's Prof Woodall and his developmental work using aluminum and gallium to extract hydrogen on demand. Here's a report: http://www.physorg.com/news98556080.html

Happened to see this last night on the Science Channel's Eco-Tech program. Thought it was very interesting....

Very new... If the technology can be commercialized, it can definitely change things.

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Old 01-08-2008, 11:48 AM
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This technology would certainly solve the transportation and storage problems of hydrogen, but it doesn't solve the energy problem. It takes a lot of electricity to make aluminum and you still have to generate that electricity.

From the article:

Quote:
"Right now it costs more than $1 a pound to buy aluminum, and, at that price, you can't deliver a product at the equivalent of $3 per gallon of gasoline," Woodall said.

However, the cost of aluminum could be reduced by recycling it from the alumina using a process called fused salt electrolysis. The aluminum could be produced at competitive prices if the recycling process were carried out with electricity generated by a nuclear power plant or windmills. Because the electricity would not need to be distributed on the power grid, it would be less costly than power produced by plants connected to the grid, and the generators could be located in remote locations, which would be particularly important for a nuclear reactor to ease political and social concerns, Woodall said.
I agree totally with him that nuclear is the way to go. But the enviro's are determined to kill that.
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Old 01-08-2008, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62_Galaxie_500
(A switch to hydrogen would seem to, at least for the forseeable future, require a huge increase in fossil fuel use.
You seemed to miss one point in my original post, that is, hydrogen can be generated without fossil fuels. It doesn't really matter in 15 - 25 years how H2 is generated today.

It makes not much sense to make hydrogen that will be used as a car fuel from methane because:
a) there will be no net reduction in CO2
b) it's probably better just to use the CH4 as a fuel as-is (this would definitely be the case with IC engines)
c) hydrogen cars will be tied to an increased capacity in "clean" (meaning no CO2) electric plants
d) there are better uses for methane

For pilot programs, it doesn't make much difference how the hydrogen is generated and how much the cars cost, but for widespread use, a hydrogen powered vehicle has to be better, cleaner, and cheaper to operate than a fossil fuel based one; also, it should be priced within the reach of average Joe Blow. If the hydrogen/electricity is made from methane (or coal) than it can't be much cleaner with respect to CO2 emission. (unless the hydrogen/electric plant does CO2 scrubbing, but that would lead to decreased efficiency and increased cost)
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:14 PM
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conservation of energy

Basic physics. Energy can neither be created or destroyed. The energy we use to move all our cars is mostly energy that was stored a long time ago, by plants, that absorbed sunlight, that were ate, or sat under ground for a very long time. We use gasoline, or diesel because these fuels can be combined with the oxygen in the air, and a little fuel mixed with a lot of air can release a lot of energy in the form of heat. That large block of iron in front of our feet just converts that heat to forward motion.
A switch to hydrogen would not really change much, free hydrogen can be mixed with oxygen in the air an create a lot of heat. Hydrogen is less dense than a liquid fuel, it would require a different storage system.
That leaves the problem of getting the free hydrogen in the first place. Unlike oil, which does exist in nature, most of the hydrogen in the world has already combined with oxygen. In order for the hydrogen to be put into a form that it can be put into a motor vehicle, and used for fuel, more energy has to be used to split the water molecule apart than you can get from burning the hydrogen again. No energy conversion process is 100% efficient.
The problem facing a hydrogen fueled vehicle is basically the same as an electric vehicle. Where do we get the energy to charge the batteries of millions of electric cars, or where do we get the energy to convert lots of water to hydrogen and oxygen so we can fuel our cars with hydrogen? Remember, we are already burning fossil fuels to make electricty
Right now, as I write this, Brazil does not import oil or they import a lot less than they would. They made a decision to use ethanol in their cars. Energy released in a Brazilain car today was probably captured from the sun less than six months ago.
Brazil is not more advanced than we are, thay just chose a different method to fuel their cars.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:56 PM
aurgathor aurgathor is offline
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You're not getting it. First, no one claimed a perpetuum mobile, or that there's anywhere a conversion with 100% efficiency. You are probably the first one to mention that in this specific thread, BTW. Don't throw in universal truths or generalities just to make yourself look correct when no one were arguing about those.

In any case, the energy comes from the Sun, for completely free, and you can treat hydrogen as a carrier of energy, if you wish. The main advantage of hydrogen over other fuels is that it can be inherently greenhouse gas free. (all the way from generation) As far as I know, the only other, similarly clean and viable method is the battery based storage of electricity, but their weight to power ratio is nowhere near as good.

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Old 01-09-2008, 03:21 AM
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Hydrogen where do we get it?

I would love to be able to run my vehicles on Hydrogen, especially if I could get it for free. It has been suggested that we use use photo cells to generate the electricty. Is there a source of inexpensive photocells? Not that I know of. Wind turbines? This is a new tech idea that is starting to be implemented, but, there is not a lot of them, yet. As the population continues to grow, we are going to need even more electricty for the homes we all live in.
The fact still remains, we are currently burning fossil fuel to generate electricty, even here in the Pacific Northwest, where we historically have had an abundance of electric power. Why do you think the aluminium smelters in the Northwest have been shut down?
With most of the aluminium smelters shut down, where do we get the aluminium to use the process mentioned in this thread.
I still find it ironic that many people, and I am one of them, use electricity for a heat source in our homes, and to generate the electricity, power companies are burning natural gas, to create heat, to turn a turbine, to generate electricity.
If we do go to a large scale use of hydrogen for motor vehicles, where do we get the electricity to make it?
One more thought, I could be wrong, but is not water vapor a greenhouse gas?
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aurgathor
You seemed to miss one point in my original post, that is, hydrogen can be generated without fossil fuels. It doesn't really matter in 15 - 25 years how H2 is generated today...
I realize that fossil fuels are not needed to generate hydrogen, and I understand your point. It's just that you're assuming in 15-25 years a better method will be in place.

I'm just skeptical that new nuclear plants will get built in large enough quantities to allow a hydrogen economy. The general public, and some politicians, have a poor view of nuclear power. Solar power needs to make a big jump in efficiency, and wind/wave power doesn't work in the majority of areas. That's why I said "for the forseeable future."

I guess I'm just a pessimist.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:00 AM
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