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How hydrogen technology suppression is keeping humanity from progressing - Part 1

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posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:20 AM
Hey fellow ATSers,

today I want to share some thoughts why, IMHO, hydrogen technology suppression is keeping us -as humanity- from progressing into a world with more freedom of travel and better environmental circumstances. Countries that are now poor and underdeveloped because of their remote location or missing resources could become central hubs for our future energy supply.

For starters, here is an energy density chart

Image credits, unmodified: Scott Dial

As we can determine from the chart above, hydrogen has about three times the energy density than let's say gasoline or diesel. It has a higher self ignition temperature, allowing us to circumvent the knocking issue in gasoline combustion engines. However there are some problems around hydrogen storage, transport, that we could not overcome yet... Or have we?* Hydrogen is highly flammable, needs to be pressurized and it seeps / diffuses through storage walls. An intercontinental hydrogen storage tanker would loose some on the travel because of diffusion through the storage walls.

To harvest hydrogen, the fastest and easiest way is to do electrolysis. We send a electric current through a pool of water, what we get is hydrogen decoupling from the oxygen molecule and rising to the atmosphere, because it's lighter than water. You might remember the loud bang in chemistry class when the teacher ignited a small amount of it after doing some makeshift electrolysis. For that we need electricity, it's not viable and counter productive to use electricity from fossil fuel sources to do it.

We mainly face two problems, that on first glance, look like they disqualify hydrogen for a future energy source:

- Generation takes a lot of energy
- Storage is difficult and problematic in terms of safety because it's high flammable and needs to be pressurized to store it. It diffuses away too.

To summarize, it boils down to politics but first the technical challenges:

Generation / Harvesting

Image credits, unmodified: Nevit Dilmen

To produce massive amounts of hydrogen fast and easy, we need water and electric current. There are plenty of places on Earth where we could utilize wind, hydro or solar power (not only photovoltaic) to generate hydrogen and e-fuels. I will do a separate thread on e-fuels soon because during the time I prepared this thread, I found out some additional information about e-fuels that are very interesting and promising.

Electrolysis takes up huge amounts of energy to split the H20, that's why it's only viable if we use regenerative energy sources to do it. I will introduce the two techniques used that are not dependant on flowing water. There are currently ebb-flood driven hydro power plant's allowing to use the seas and oceans but as far as I am informed, these are not ready for mass production and still prone to failure and efficiency depends on the waveforms it can utilize.

Solar power
The ROI in terms of energy of an electric PV array is about 2.5 years. After 2.5 years, depending on the local climate and weather zones that dettermine efficiency, we have harvested enough solar power to make up for the energy needed. This does not include transport though. I has been expected that these modules degrade over time, meaning that in ten years, a 300W-peak solar array will not churn out the same amount of energy in relation to the irradtiation from the sun. After twenty years of usage here in Germany, we could determine that this is not happening on the level we thought it would. It's smaller and almost not detectable sometimes. Often dirt and other influences are the reason.

However these modules have different failure sources, like impact and shattering the glass, moisture intruding and short cutting, cells dying because of core-shadows and other modes of failure. These failures are in most cases not viable to repair so they need to be recycled. Most of the modules density is glass and the aluminium frame. There are different types of modules, some use double the amount of glass to replace the aluminium frame.

There are different obstacles like harvesting the rare earth elements and the environmental impact. On a side note, rare earth elements are not really rare, they are just hard to get to currently. If we expect a 25 years life for a solar array / pv module, we get about ten times the energy we put in but still have the environmental impact.

How they work:
Solar rays hit the cells, a physical effect separates the electrons residing in them, building up a potential, the electrons want to even out the potential and therefor if the circuit is closed, the electrons flow = electricity. Common and up-to-date PV arrays show an efficiency of about 20% in terms of energy conversion sun light to electricity. You get 1000W per square meter roughly on earth and from those 1000W, only 20% can be converted to energy, the rest is reflected or lost due to heating. Heating the modules reduces their efficiency further. In winter when it's cold and sun comes out, if the angle and orientation is perfect you harvest more energy in winter than in summer. The relationship between iradiation and power output is given in kWh per kWp.

Depending on the location, orientation and climate, a pv panel can do about 900-1300kWh/kWp. It's important to know that the power output is kilowatt-peak. It means that this is the maximum amount of power we can expect. The calculation works like this:

300W-peak module per year = 900-1300kWh * 0.3kW = 270kWh / 390kWh, this term will be important later.

Because of that reason and because of the fact that these modules rely on sunlight hitting the cells under the glass panel, it's subject to getting dirty. There's no rain in the desert that would wash off the fine dust, that also grinds down the glass with the help of wind. From the 20% efficiency we had, normalized to 100%, we can easy extract 5-80% in efficiency if the module is extremly dirty.

There are other environmental impacts like local heat zones and reflection too.


posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:21 AM
Wind energy
THe ROI in terms of wind turbines's energy return after production is 5-12 months. It includes making them, serviceing them for lifetime and recycling too.

However there are downsides. Let's look at the theorethical turnout from wind power:

P = 1/2 ( A * p * Vwind³)

A = rotor surface area
p = air density
Vwind = air velocity

In easy terms this simple equation tell's us that the energy output depends on the windspeed, to the power of three(^3). This in return is dependant on the location. We can determine that the rotor length influences it to the power of two(^2) because of the surface, on a side note. In more simple terms this tells us that if we reduce the wind input by 10%, we harvest 30% less energy. The rotor has physical restraints in how fast it can turn until it comes apart very violently (youtube). We can calculate that because of the 10/30% reduction that wind power plants need at least 14m/s wind speed to gain it's peak output that it will keep due to oscillating the blades until the wind reaches about 20-24m/s depending on the height and type of turbine. They will start to turn at very low efficiency at around 4m/s.

From the above we gain knowledge that the range of usable wind is very narrow. Here are some visuals

How they work:
The rotor is turning, either wires or magnets, and the turning motion of the magnetic field lines will induce a rate of change inside the different copper windings. The rate of change in an magnetic field is what makes electrons want to chooch along, when they are influenced by it. In very easy terms, we can imagine an archimedes screw, where the alternating magnetic field lines are the spiral screw, and the electrons are examplified by water. The screw / field turns, the electrons move along.

For those that didn't step out mentally yet, I know it's a lot of input, if you haven't looked into this at all yet. Consider this: A coil gun uses the same principle but in reverse. Instead of moving something magnetic through coils inducing a current, we introduce small current bursts along the projectiles trajectory. With coils that will in turn induce a current inside the projectile that in turn builds up a magnetic field that is attracted to the coil in front until it passes it half way through. It gains velocity, rinse and repeat until the projectile leaves the muzzle.

We learned before that the relationship between the power output kW and the anual possible amount of power to harvest is kWh. For wind power plants in the 10MW range, depending on the location we know from datasets in Germany, that it's in between 1456kWh/kWp and 2200kWh/kWp. Therefor, a typical wind turbine can do about 1456h - 2200h yearly.

The lifetime of these wind turbines is about 20 years under such conditions.

This is currently the best we can come up with, there are better efficiencies each year but we have to consider that the already installed ones are 10-20 years old. The first wind power plants are already being decomissioned that were built around year 2000. That's why most of my data is from 2010, to present and somehow normalize it to real conditions, without considering the distribution though. It will do for us.

Recycling these turbines is not as easy as recycling PV arrays, but they have way more energy density, in terms of material usage than PV-modules. For comprassion:

PV-modules surface area for 10MW using current module technology: 400Wp/1.6 square meters is 250Wp per square meter. This means, flat mounted, we need about 40.000 square meters. But this is not reality. For maximum output we need to tilt the modules according to our position relative to the sun. You might now think this would reduce the surface but consider the shadow we now get. Depending on the location we need to double the amount of surface needed. This link will give you an idea, it shows what I just explained perfect:
Scandia 3.3 MW Ground-Mount Solar Array

Wind turbines should be spaced about 3-5 (4) times the diameter of the rotor next to each other.
For stacking them behind each other in a row, we need 6-10(8) times the diameter. Because they span into both directions from the core, for turbines not located at the border of the wind park...

Aproximating this would mean for a 10MW wind turbine with a rotor diameter of 145m, we can easy calculate this in our head:

(4/2)*145m * (8/2)*145m = A
2*145m * 4*145m = A
290m * 580m = A
2.9*5.8 = A/(100*100)
16,82 = A/10.000 | *10.000
168.200 m²

This is about double the surface area that PV-arrays need but the difference is, less material, less equipment to fail than in solar arrays. If we use the above data and include the inverters that are available in the 1MW range, we would have over 10.000 electric components that could be damaged or fail. Some failures take a whole array offline, some take a MW offline, depending on if an inverter failed, or a module.

On the contrary, if the wind turbine fails, it's zero output, while the solar array can always count on reduncancy because the arrays are in parallel (thousands).

As explained before, hydrogen, because of the atom size, will easy diffuse through most materials. About ten years ago, we found a highly porous type of Magnesiumborhydrid. It can store hydrogen in two ways, at relative low temparature with a pore-volume of about 33%. These pores are big enough to shelter little gaseous molecules like N, or H.

-Chemicaly bound

Source: Valence_electron
Image credits, unmodified: DynaBlast

The valence electrons, according to generally accepted atom model that Niels Bohr came up with, are zipping around the atom core on the most outer shell. These valence electrons interact with the cores of the atoms involved. Long story short, these valence electrons like to bind together. In this case, they bind with the valence electrons from the Magnesiumbordhydrid, if circumstances allow.

-Physically absorbing
Under pressure, the material contracts and folds in itself and gains 80% more density than before. While it folds, additionally it shrinks about 44% in volume.

There are similar materials where we can manipulate these bonding and absorbing properties, effectively turning it into a relative safe, diffusion optimized storage material.

That's good enough right? No. If we want to maximize the efficiency on all parts of the production and delivery chain, we need something different. Something that we, the civil public, are not allowed to have because of weapons of mass destruction.

The images I used are all free to use, when credited with Author and License, to be found clicking the link). Should there be any problem in using them though, I will remove them and make my own.
Okay enough technical stuff.
Part two will include my thoughts about the current political situation and will follow in the next few days.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:25 AM
It takes as much energy to obtain the Hydrogen through electrolysis as you get from it. Then there is the storage issue. Hydrogen is a "slippery molecule" and will pass through between the molecules of it's container. I think that there is an issue with your energy density information.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:29 AM
a reply to: JIMC5499
Nice summary, four minutes and you got it all

I think that there is an issue with your energy density information.

Then by all means, please share if you think so. Merely hinting that you think there might be a problem is not constructive.

Thank you.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:32 AM
When I first became interested in Hydrogen, I ran into the Stanley Meyer thing. Now it's was easy enough for all to discredit him, based on what we KNOW, but the part of his story where he had garnered the interest of the US Navy, to the point of having a meeting with them about his work gave me pause. Does the US Navy meet with any crackpot who claims lunatic type progress?

What he claims to have found, was an easy way to do the electrolysis process, and to do it with a small cell. I don't want to get into how wrong he may have been, he's dead, so it doesn't matter. But if any slim chance exists where he was right, the process to do this still exists, and could be duplicated. To do the electrolysis on board, so your only "fuel" needed was water, would be a total game changer for all. It would decimate the fossil fuel industry, and likely the world economy in short order, as we would no longer value oil as we do currently.

But it does make me wonder, if using hydrogen is such a bad idea, why are big auto manufactures trying to design hydrogen cars? They may as well try to design cars that run on air. same pointless end.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:39 AM
a reply to: network dude
What JIMC5499 ommits about electrolysis and that tells me, in that four minute time span he just skipped lines...

It doesn't matter if it's 1:1 energy output in hydrogen:electricity. He should have read and not just hit and run. I use regenerative energies and the whole point of all the text is to show the ROI and energy harvests.

If solar has ROI of 2.5 years energetic and they can run for ten years, that's about half the expectation we still have factor 4 to gain.

Wind has ROI of 0.5 to 1 year, that's factor 20-40 to gain (!)

Some car manufactures like Hyundai already have hydrogen cars, using fuel cells. The thing with fuel cells is that if a plate becomes porous, it basically fails and is not producing electricity anymore. Fuel cells work in reverse.

German car manufacturers have announced they only will develop for heavy transport, not individual cars. Again we the public can not get it. But I will narrow this down in the upcoming thread or follow up post. It depends on how many replies this one get's if no one is interested and it's empty, I will put it all here for better overview.

edit on 20.7.2021 by ThatDamnDuckAgain because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:43 AM
How about solar and wind in a single unit?

Lay out ductwork in an empty field with a one way valve on the larger end and have the ducts step down constricting the flow of air towards the smaller end. Natural convection from the sun heating the ducts forces the air through a series of small wind turbines.

In the US and Australia there are some very large swathes of land in the middle of the country just sitting there with hardly a speck of shade to be found. Wouldn’t be an earth shattering amount of electricity generated. But clean and relatively cheap to produce on a daily basis. Even on a cloudy, windless day.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:48 AM
a reply to: Ahabstar
This has been done exact the way you described.

They are called solar updraft towers. Worldwide there is one with about 200kW peak power.

edit on 20.7.2021 by ThatDamnDuckAgain because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:53 AM
I just want to say that there was a guy who was using electrolysis to break the water molecules apart, but he was also using a frequency generator at the same time, because if you find the right frequency it should shatter the molecules apart. Just like glass breaking at a certain resonant frequency.

But then he died or got silenced or something like that.

I think he was using electricity that resonated at the water breaking frequency. So he didnt have to use a lot of electricity.

Not sure if it is a fraud or not. Just thoughts.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 07:55 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

You have to use pure water for electrolysis, and requires large amounts of electricity production. Then large pressurized tanks of hydrogen. Then for cars, you will need DOT approved pressurized hydrogen tanks.


What did you with all the “waste” creating pure water for electrolysis so you don’t make things like chlorine gas

Where is the EPA, and what communities are going to allow large tank farms of hydrogen.

How big of a power plant, how much energy, and how big of an electrolysis plant would you need to supply a city the size of Say Chicago to place this in perspective.

Or you just have pie in the sky dreams with no understanding of the actual magnitude, impact of such a dream.

I know guys that make their own biodiesel. If it was practical, rednecks would already have a sub culture of hydrogen cars…

They do offer electrolysis units for diesel trucks, but that is small scale hydrogen production that adds hydrogen to act as a catalyst in burning diesel.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:05 AM

originally posted by: neutronflux
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

You have to use pure water for electrolysis


You do not know what you talk about. Yes, electrolysis in pure water is slow, because pure water does not conduct electricity. That's bull# and exactly the other way around. Please my all means, at least know what you talk about!

Then large pressurized tanks of hydrogen.

Please read the thread the solution is in there, we have safe means of storing it so it won't release violently like a pressurized tank.

edit on 20.7.2021 by ThatDamnDuckAgain because: typo (water )

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:09 AM
a reply to: neutronflux

Your post is like asking the inventor of the car what it's really worth for because we do not have

gas stations


Add: And no I did not invent the car but you should get it.
edit on 20.7.2021 by ThatDamnDuckAgain because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:11 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

Might start here

Why did hydrogen cars flop? Why hasn't it taken over the car industry yet?

Or this…

How much less? In a 2006 Scientific American article, plug-in hybrid guru Andy Frank and I explain that the whole process of converting renewable electricity into hydrogen — so that the onboard fuel cell can converts it back into electricity to run the FCV — “would leave only about 20 to 25 percent of the original zero-carbon electricity to drive the motor.” But for a plug-in car, “the process of electricity transmission, charging an onboard battery and discharging the battery would leave 75 to 80 percent of the original electricity to drive the motor.”

“so that the onboard fuel cell can converts it back into electricity to run the FCV — “would leave only about 20 to 25 percent of the original zero-carbon electricity to drive the motor.””


“the process of electricity transmission, charging an onboard battery and discharging the battery would leave 75 to 80 percent of the original electricity to drive the motor.””


Making hydrogen wastes lots of energy that could go to charging a battery.

Hydrogen technology will never compete with wasting that 60 percent difference in efficiency that could go directly into a battery for use.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:18 AM
a reply to: neutronflux
For godsake I am loosing my patience with you.

Read the damn thread if you want to act so smart. And try to understand it. I don't want to charge EV with it. Hydrogen can be burned in combustion engines. We don't need to high pressurize hydrogen tanks anymore, we can have tanks that can release it from the hydride safe and slow.

You could cut into it with an abrasive cutting wheel and it would not explode violent because it's bound to the hydride.

Making hydrogen wastes lots of energy that could go to charging a battery.

The energy comes from renewable energy sources with an ROI between at least 4 and 40.
Go figure.

Hydrogen technology will never compete with wasting that 60 percent difference in efficiency that could go directly into a battery for use.

You say that because you do not grasp what ROI means and that the factor of 4 already kills your argument.

Seriously try being a bit more competent if you try to lash out.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:19 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

It all sounds dandy.
Hydrogen has a lot of pop for sure.

As you said though it takes loads of electricity to make vast amounts of hydrogen.
Then loads more to compress the hydrogen to 5k-10k pounds of pressure.

Nuclear might help.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:21 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

We looked at this when I was in college (2004). That was quite a while ago. I'm in the middle of a rather large design job at this time and don't have the time to look for a reference. I'm just going off memory.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:21 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

Water Electrolysis
Water electrolysis allows for high purity H2 to be obtained and its production cost is determined by the cost of the electricity used to a great extent.

These electrolyte are desired to have high purity. Chlorides and sulfates must be excluded completely because of their corrosive action on the electrodes, especially anodes.
Though the conductivity of the electrolyte and the energy efficiency of water electrolysis increase as the temperature increases, the present day water electrolysis cells are usually operated at 60 − 80 °C for the caustic potash cell and at 50 − 70 °C for the caustic soda cell, respectively, in order to reduce the consumption of electrolyzer materials.
As the water is electrolyzed, make-up water must be supplied. Any nonvolatile impurities present in the added water remain as contaminants in the alkaline solution and in order to preserve the electrolysis cell operating characteristics, water of high purity is required to be added. Therefore, high quality water purification plants are necessary.

“ water of high purity is required to be added. Therefore, high quality water purification plants are necessary.”


posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:22 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

I didn't hit and run. Unless you want to go nuclear, it's not efficient.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:24 AM
a reply to: ThatDamnDuckAgain

I am not lashing out about anything.

There is a reason why hydrogen power keeps flopping. It’s not efficient, the pressurized hydrogen tanks are dangerous, directly charging a battery is more efficient.

posted on Jul, 20 2021 @ 08:25 AM
a reply to: JIMC5499

So you were using 17 year old information that probably wasn't brand new back then. Things have changed since then. I feel that's the problem here, no one reads and tries to understand it. The hydride is ten year old technology and everyone still thinks we would do it by filling containers with liquid nitrogen to ship them. Things are changing.

It's not like this is my idea, this is being developed now and we have the technology.

Even better, but that would be in a different thread, we can make e-fuels out of H that was harvested through electrolysis and still come out on top of it. With better octane levels, better storage life time, almost zero dirt in it.

Unlike gasoline. I am a fuel head but H is the future, well would be if we would want to, sorry would be allowed to.
edit on 20.7.2021 by ThatDamnDuckAgain because: (no reason given)

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