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Hydrogen Fuel May Not Be So 'Clean'

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posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 06:23 AM
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"LOS ANGELES — Hydrogen-fueled cars have been hailed as the future of transportation — clean, safe and propelled by a power source whose only by-products are air and water.

"Your main three drivers for developing hydrogen are energy independence, economic growth and environmental sustainability," said Patrick Serfass, technical and program development coordinator of the National Hydrogen Association (search).

The problem, critics say, is that the technology that makes the fuel of the future generates just as much pollution as the gasoline-powered vehicles we drive right now.

"We need to understand where it's going to come from," says Dr. Michael J. Prather, earth-systems science professor at the University of California at Irvine (search).

Extracting useful quantities of hydrogen (search) from water requires a massive amount of energy — energy that typically comes from burning oil or coal."

www.foxnews.com...

Here again is an example of the liberal left and their insanity. What is said in this article is very true, however, it is a backhanded attack on the new and more cost effective Fuel cells that use natural gas to generate both electricity and a by product of pure hydrogen. Using natural gas as a cost effective fuel in hydrogen production is "blasphemy" to enviro-purist.

Burning fossil fuel in existing power plants to make electricity to make hydrogen is insane. Direct power generation done with fuel cells utilizing methane is 80% efficient.




posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 06:30 AM
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If its not going to help our atmosphere, then why bother with it. Research should be done on alternate methods of hydrogen production (Solar?), or another method of clean energy all together. You wont find anyone arguing with this one Doc. If you do , I'll be suprised.


Edit for:
Your article IS from Fox news. It might just be trying to put Liberals in a bad light? No?

[edit on 1/24/05 by Kidfinger]



posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 07:18 AM
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this has little credibility at best I feel. While hydrogen extraction would require massive amounts of energy to meet the worlds demands, do not think that it would take the same amount of fossil fuels in cars today to make it, I feel that's a bit of an overstatement. I feel that they do not take into account other factors and that are required from getting the fuels out of the ground and into the marketplace, which the energy requirements too are massive for fossil fuels. If the requirement of these fuels were only limited to power plants and petrochemical plants, it would save a massive amount of energy that is required today to satisfy the massive marketplace created by the automobile.

This also doesn't take into account alternative methods to supplying power to hydrogen facilities, or even the latest breakthroughs that are happening in nuclear fusion technology, as a new prototype reactor is being constructed in the United States right now that is a totally new way of attempting nuclear fusion (it basically is a chamber with a small target material and many highly amplified lasers will fire at this target material, causing fusion, though it is far more complicated than I have just explained
). One cold fusion plant has enough potential output to satisfy the worlds energy demands (though of course there will be at least one fusion plant on each continent for obvious reasons and an inability to attain maximum theoretical output). I am willing to bet that their will be a successful nuclear fusion prototype somewhere in the world by 2020 (i am confident that the US project will suceed in 2008/2009) and the first large scale fusion reactor at latest by 2030. I am not convinced that the ITER project will be successful, but I feel that the US experimental reactor gives me great hope.

What environmentalists don't understand exactly though is that we NEED fossil fuels, not for petroleum or other fuels for combustion, but we need the oil and coal for the production of plastics and chemicals that our society would come to a halt without. What we need to be doing is stop wasting this valuable resource on cars and transportation and devise alternative methods to power our vehicles and engines and leave the use of fossil fuels strictly for plastics and chemicals.

This is a problem that the media overlooks and what many geologists and scientists are concerned of this, because people just don't understand how dependent we are on fossil fuels and how we just waste it in our cars.

Natural Gas is okay and I feel it to be a more economical alternative to hydrogen, but I feel that there is another alternative that few in the media talk about and that is methane-hydrates if we had to pursue other fuels. The earth has enough methane-hydrates locked away under the sea to give us more than enough energy for ages.

thanks,
drfunk



posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 07:22 AM
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by DRfunk While hydrogen extraction would require massive amounts of energy to meet the worlds demands, do not think that it would take the same amount of fossil fuels in cars today to make it,

Your right it wouldn't take as much, it would take more. The fact is were all cars to switch to fuel cells tomorrow the level of pollution in the air would rise.



posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 02:21 PM
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All we need is a fast food franchise to invest in vegitable oil and build pumps near the drive thru windows.

Hi, May I order a number 7 super sized with 10 dollars worth of premium McOil?



posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 02:29 PM
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Originally posted by mwm1331

by DRfunk While hydrogen extraction would require massive amounts of energy to meet the worlds demands, do not think that it would take the same amount of fossil fuels in cars today to make it,

Your right it wouldn't take as much, it would take more. The fact is were all cars to switch to fuel cells tomorrow the level of pollution in the air would rise.


Yup you're right mwm. The only way we'll be able to do it without screwing up the environment more is to convert it using clean sources of power, like Wind, Solar, Tidal and Geothermal. There is more then enough energy in those four sources of power to give us more than enough H2 to power over 10 billion cars for thousands of years and plus have more then enough left over to provide most of the world with cheap and clean power.

Also there are new ways to get H2 as well. Hear of the GM Pond Scum that releases H2 when in sunlight? Cool stuff IMHO.


XL5

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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Hydrogen is just a way to store energy in this case, it they made capacitors with a very high energy density, we wouldn't need gasses to run our cars. Capacitors are the perfect battery, if it weren't for the low energy density. Capacitors can charge fast and not lose as much energy as batteries do or be slowly charged and only lose 5-10% of the total energy input, they can also be discharged as low as you want and not get damaged.


E_T

posted on Jan, 24 2005 @ 04:11 PM
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Originally posted by mwm1331
The fact is were all cars to switch to fuel cells tomorrow the level of pollution in the air would rise.
It isn't so simple, it would depend on method used to produce fuel for fuel cells.

Also remember that internal combustion engine is very inefficient so it needs much more fuel to produce same output power... although it would be unimportant if we would use biofuels which doesn't add new carbon to atmosphere/circulation.

ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu...'s%20Web%20Project%20Folder/EICE%20-%20power%20losses.htm



Originally posted by drfunk
This also doesn't take into account alternative methods to supplying power to hydrogen facilities, or even the latest breakthroughs that are happening in nuclear fusion technology, as a new prototype reactor is being constructed in the United States right now that is a totally new way of attempting nuclear fusion (it basically is a chamber with a small target material and many highly amplified lasers will fire at this target material, causing fusion, though it is far more complicated than I have just explained
)
I am willing to bet that their will be a successful nuclear fusion prototype somewhere in the world by 2020 (i am confident that the US project will suceed in 2008/2009) and the first large scale fusion reactor at latest by 2030. I am not convinced that the ITER project will be successful, but I feel that the US experimental reactor gives me great hope.

Natural Gas is okay and I feel it to be a more economical alternative to hydrogen, but I feel that there is another alternative that few in the media talk about and that is methane-hydrates if we had to pursue other fuels. The earth has enough methane-hydrates locked away under the sea to give us more than enough energy for ages.
Methane hydrates have same problem as oil, they release additional carbon to atmosphere.


And about fusion reactor types, Tokamak type (magnetic confinement) reactors have been studied more and longer (over 40 years) than inertial confinement/"those reactors with lasers".
But neither those are new, inertial confinement has been studied in Lawrence Livermore for couple decades. (Shiva and newer one called Nova)


hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...
hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 03:27 AM
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Thanks for the clarification on the reactor types E_T. I do realise the dangers of Methane Hydrates (you just have to look at the theories on the Permian Mass Extinction as an example) but I was just saying that there is plenty of it there for our energy needs into the future if the petroleum empire cannot be broken.

thanks,
drfunk



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by drfunk
What environmentalists don't understand exactly though is that we NEED fossil fuels, not for petroleum or other fuels for combustion, but we need the oil and coal for the production of plastics and chemicals that our society would come to a halt without. What we need to be doing is stop wasting this valuable resource on cars and transportation and devise alternative methods to power our vehicles and engines and leave the use of fossil fuels strictly for plastics and chemicals.


Agreed 100%!
I couldn't have said it better myself. (Just think -- the PC you're typing on wouldn't exist without fossil fuels!)



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 08:31 PM
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There is a free and clean way to get pure hydrogen out of water. Pond scum or green algae was a metabolic switch in which it will produce Hydryogen from water all by itself. All you have to do is provide algae the right enviroment and it will start making hydrogen.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 03:24 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
There is a free and clean way to get pure hydrogen out of water. Pond scum or green algae was a metabolic switch in which it will produce Hydryogen from water all by itself. All you have to do is provide algae the right enviroment and it will start making hydrogen.


sounds like a good method to me, but would it be able to produce the amounts required?



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 03:37 PM
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Originally posted by drfunk


sounds like a good method to me, but would it be able to produce the amounts required?


Well right now we can use 500 liters of water and algae to produce up to 1 liter of hydrogen per hour. Researchers at Berkeley has thus far only been able to achieve 10 percent of the algae's theoretical production capacity. Some people claim in time output could be increase a 100 fold.

Once the process reaches a 50 percent yield, it will be cost-competitive with fossil-fuel energy.

We would need big algae farms but all we would need is the algae,water and the power of the sun for it to work then.

www.wired.com... ry_related



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 03:47 PM
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Originally posted by DrHoracid
Here again is an example of the liberal left and their insanity.


And you post is an example of a rabid right wing drivel.



What is said in this article is very true, however, it is a backhanded attack on the new and more cost effective Fuel cells that use natural gas to generate both electricity and a by product of pure hydrogen.


As people stated in their previous posts, we would like to keep natural gas for the production of plastics.

Anything related to hydrogen tech is an important part of tomorrow. Like they said, it's a way to store energy.

Last I remember, the most modern power plants produce less emission per unit energy than cars. Maybe I'm wrong. But in any case, the thermonuclear power will be here in like 40 years, and we'll need H2 to fully exploit its potential.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 11:00 AM
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Drfunk says:

"this has little credibility at best I feel. While hydrogen extraction would require massive amounts of energy to meet the worlds demands, do not think that it would take the same amount of fossil fuels in cars today to make it, I feel that's a bit of an overstatement."

I agree; it is a bit of an overstatement. I am sure that the economies of scale for hydrogen generation, coupled with the fact that the extractive, refining, and transportation processes for in-ground hydrocarbon are inherently dirty, will give you somehat less pollution from hydrogen.

But there are other factors as well, including the tremendous cost required to develop an entire hydrogen infrastructure, including all the additional generating facilities, infrastructure for compressing, transporting, and storing the hydrogen, and, finally dispensing it into a whole new generation of vehicles which may or may not cost less to run, but which will have insanely high developmental (non-recurring) costs which must be amortized over the first ten or fifteen years of mass production.

These, I believe, tend to counteract your comment " ... they do not take into account other factors and that are required from getting the fuels out of the ground and into the marketplace, which the energy requirements too are massive for fossil fuels...."

You go on to say: "This also doesn't take into account alternative methods to supplying power to hydrogen facilities, or even the latest breakthroughs that are happening in nuclear fusion technology ... "

Agreed. But neither Horacid nor I (if I may speak for him) are looking at a hydrogen economy which may work if we can get an alternative fuel source for the H2 generation, but H2 with our present state-of-the art in science and engineering.

There are two ways to do this. The first uses a readily-available solution (existing nuclear reactors providing the power to crack and compress the H2). The second has already been proven but will need more engineering dollars to convert it to a large-scale approach. This is offshore Stirling-cycle engines running off the temperature delta between surface- and 200-meter depth water to produce hydrogen from the sea itself.

"What environmentalists don't understand exactly though is that we NEED fossil fuels, not for petroleum or other fuels for combustion, but we need the oil and coal for the production of plastics and chemicals that our society would come to a halt without."

Absolutely. This is all the more reason, as you have said, not to waste hydrocarbons as firelogs.

My guess is that you, Horacid, and I are probably not all that far apart in our views of energy requirements.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 11:59 AM
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One thing about using centralized power plants to make hydrogen fuel for cars, is that it will move the pollution from the cities,where traffic is high, to the countryside, where the plants will be.


do not think that it would take the same amount of fossil fuels in cars today to make it,

Think of it this way, x amount of energy is required to run a car. That can't be changed. Hydrogen fuel means that all that energy is gotten from hydrogen. another net amount of energy has to be used to make the hydrogen fuel. So you need that car running X amount of energy created by burning fossil fuel at hydrogen production plants, (to 'insert' it into the hydrogen) along with an extra amount of fossil fuel burned, because the transfer process isn't going to be 1:1 for putting energy into the fuel.

So the question becomes, which is more efficient, making water into hydrogen fuel, or making petroleum into gasoline?

Has there been a study on that, just in general terms at least?



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 12:11 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
One thing about using centralized power plants to make hydrogen fuel for cars, is that it will move the pollution from the cities,where traffic is high, to the countryside, where the plants will be.


do not think that it would take the same amount of fossil fuels in cars today to make it,

Think of it this way, x amount of energy is required to run a car. That can't be changed. Hydrogen fuel means that all that energy is gotten from hydrogen. another net amount of energy has to be used to make the hydrogen fuel. So you need that car running X amount of energy created by burning fossil fuel at hydrogen production plants, (to 'insert' it into the hydrogen) along with an extra amount of fossil fuel burned, because the transfer process isn't going to be 1:1 for putting energy into the fuel.

So the question becomes, which is more efficient, making water into hydrogen fuel, or making petroleum into gasoline?

Has there been a study on that, just in general terms at least?


Here is your answer but it will take some reading

www.nrel.gov...



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 12:30 PM
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I havn't done any research on this but what about methanol as a source for methane to drive fuel cells? Methanol is renewable.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 01:03 PM
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Originally posted by jtma508
I havn't done any research on this but what about methanol as a source for methane to drive fuel cells? Methanol is renewable.



You got it dude..........

www.fctec.com...

Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC)

The technology behind Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC) is still in the early stages of development, but it has been successfully demonstrated powering mobile phones and laptop computers—potential target end uses in future years.

DMFC is similar to the PEMFC in that the electrolyte is a polymer and the charge carrier is the hydrogen ion (proton). However, the liquid methanol (CH3OH) is oxidized in the presence of water at the anode generating CO2, hydrogen ions and the electrons that travel through the external circuit as the electric output of the fuel cell. The hydrogen ions travel through the electrolyte and react with oxygen from the air and the electrons from the external circuit to form water at the anode completing the circuit.


Anode Reaction: CH3OH + H2O => CO2 + 6H+ + 6e-
Cathode Reaction: 3/2 O2 + 6 H+ + 6e- => 3 H2O
Overall Cell Reaction: CH3OH + 3/2 O2 => CO2 + 2 H2O

Initially developed in the early 1990s, DMFCs were not embraced because of their low efficiency and power density, as well as other problems. Improvements in catalysts and other recent developments have increased power density 20-fold and the efficiency may eventually reach 40%.

These cells have been tested in a temperature range from about 50ºC-120ºC. This low operating temperature and no requirement for a fuel reformer make the DMFC an excellent candidate for very small to mid-sized applications, such as cellular phones and other consumer products, up to automobile power plants.

One of the drawbacks of the DMFC is that the low-temperature oxidation of methanol to hydrogen ions and carbon dioxide requires a more active catalyst, which typically means a larger quantity of expensive platinum catalyst is required than in conventional PEMFCs. This increased cost is, however, expected to be more than outweighed by the convenience of using a liquid fuel and the ability to function without a reforming unit."


[edit on 27-1-2005 by DrHoracid]


XL5

posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 04:39 PM
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Why not use as few steps as possible and save the energy thats wasted in chemical/element to energy conversions and just use electricity? They just need to increase the energy to weight ratio, then every thing will use a capacitor instead of a battery.

Solar and wind would become options if you could store the power with alot less loss then batteries or hydrogen.





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