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Hydrogen power for all

Hydrogen power for all our power needs
  (+12, -7)
(+12, -7)
  [vote for,

No new technology needed to generate, distribute and use hydrogen power for home, factory or automobiles. 1) use windpower to generate electricity 2)use electricity to seperate hydrogen and oxygen from water by electrolysis. 3)ditribute hydrogen via pipelines, and/or tankers to all parts of the country. 4) Generate electricity for general applications using conventional steam powered turbines or use fuel cells. Use it in autos by burning in internal combustion engines or using fuel cells. Use in homes for heating or use fuel cells for electricity. The best places to wind farms are by our shorelines, where wind is and water are abundant. It also happens to be where most of the U.S. population lives. The problem of high and low periods of wind can be solved by storing hydrogen in tanks during periods of high wind and releasing it into pipelines for distribution during periods of low winds. Pumping hydrogen in pipelines also solves the problem of power loss.There is a lot of resistance to electricity in a wire but almost none in a pipeline. A leak in a hydrogen pipeline causes no pollution. Although the gas is highly flammable, it is light and will escape directly up into the atmosphere. Developing a system using hydrogen as a base for all our power needs is going to be expensive. Wind farms must be made, electrolysing and pumping stations must be made, electricity generating plants must be converted from coal,and natural gas, to hydrogen burners. Cars must be modified to burn hydrogen,or use fuel cells. Homes can use hydrogen too, using fuel cells to generate electricity,and heat water (a byproduct of a fuel cell). Water is also a byproduct of using hydrogen. The Federal government has to take the initiative to convert this nation into a hydrogen powererd country. In the long run we will be more independent (less foriegn fuel), cleaner (hydrogen is almost 100% non-polluting), and millions of new jobs will be created (for fuel cells, electrolysers, wind turbines, pipelines, automobiles and other new technologys). Its going to take big bucks, the government has it, the government should use it to get the ball rolling.
hydrogenman, Oct 10 2000

(?) SolarII http://wemweb.com/t...daggett/what's.html
Solar Two, which was connected to California's grid in 1996, can itself power 10,000 homes, and a larger-scale commercial plant based on it could handle as many as 200,000. [StarChaser, Oct 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Hydrogen http://www.memagazi...es/cells/cells.html
[flapmaster, Oct 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(??) Blyth offshore wind farm http://www.blyth-offshore.co.uk/
Stupid wind power (it's a start!) [DrBob, Oct 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Free Atmosphere Fuel Cell http://www.halfbake...phere_20Fuel_20Cell
As conceived by st3f. [Dog Ed, Oct 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Hydrogen is explosive... http://www.vidicom-tv.com/tohiburg.htm
...or have we forgotten? [angel, Oct 10 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Hydrogen Didn’t Cause Hindenburg Fire http://www.seas.ucl.../releases/blimp.htm
...UCLA Engineer, Former NASA Researcher Find [Detly, Mar 12 2005]

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement http://www.vhemt.org/
"May we live long and die out" [Detly, Mar 14 2005]

Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells http://www.acta-nanotech.com/
They're the future [django, May 25 2006]

Don Lancaster - hydrogen economics http://www.tinaja.com
it's in there somewhere... bloody PDFs [BunsenHoneydew, May 29 2006]


       Hydrogen is not all that unsafe, really, but it remains expensive and difficult to transport and store. It's a lot easier to slosh gasoline into a tank than to pump highly compressed gas or a cryogenic fluid. You can replace the whole tank, but that's also expensive (and you still need to worry about detachable connectors).   

       Wind and other alternative power sources also remain uneconomical compared to conventional generation plants.   

       All told, the only way this would work would be massive subsidies (for hydrogen and alternapower) or massive taxes (on fossil fuels and pollution). Would the added cost to society be outweighed by the reduction in pollution? *shrug*
egnor, Oct 11 2000, last modified Oct 12 2000

       Now I had to go and delete my annotation so I wouldn't have my stupidity preserved for future generations of halfbakers. Anybody know just what the conversion ratio is for Hydrogen? watts per joule or something?
Scott_D, Oct 11 2000

       Wind farms (or at least the wind farms in California) don't look very nice. I think you'll meet some opposition to covering the coastlines with them especially, as you say, as that's where the majority of the US population lives.
hippo, Oct 11 2000

       Feh, there are plenty of Hydrocarbons, and there _always_ will be... I've always wanted to own part of what will eventually be the largest-producing member of OPEC... JUPITER!   

       if we can ever manage intra-system transit, there's more than likely enough raw hydrocarbon out there to drive our Ford Expedition Gas-Powered-Orbiters until the air turns black...
bear, Oct 11 2000

       An idiotic idea. If nuclear plants were allowed under political correctness, this MIGHT be made to work. The problem is, the hydrogen is in effect a giant wind-up spring: energy storage. The prime mover "has to be" solar or wind or stupidity. Solar and wind are far too dilute. Burning fossil fuels to make hydrogen is a losing proposition. Where does the original energy come from?   

       Solar and wind are orders of magnitude too dilute and expensive to use for direct power or conversion of water to hydrogen via electrolysis.   

       Hydrogen is an intensely cryogenic liquid at a temperature of around -420 F. The tanks ("dewars") are really giant thermos bottles: heavy, expensive and bulky. Active refrigeration would probably be required. Presumably the refrigeration would be powered by, um...burning hydrogen?..or solar power again. Hydrogen's density is 11 times less than gasoline. Hydrogen develops more energy per POUND than hydrocarbons--but less per GALLON (don't have the figures handy).   

       Did an interesting calculation recently. Suppose God transformed every car and truck in the U.S. into an electric vehicle. How many new power plants would be required?   

       Right now, there are so few electrics that they can be easily accomodated as "bottoming" loads at night for the existing power grid. If ALL road transportation were electric, you would need roughly 500 brand-new 1000-MW generating plants.   

       Take your pick: nuclear, coal, gas. All the hydro sources are fully utilized. Wind is a joke. Solar would require carpeting the state of Arizona edge-to-edge with solar cells.   

       Economies of scale in power generation require INTENSE sources (compact). Only nuclear or fossil fuels are sufficiently intense. Only luddites prefer dilute power sources--precisely BECAUSE they are expensive and impractical.   

       We have become a people who have no idea why it is that the light goes on when you flip the switch. Magic. Just as much understanding as an aboriginal savage. People want electricity without the messy necessity of generating plants.   

boris, Oct 12 2000

       Dang, you people actually deleted comments because I made fun of you? I think I'm afraid...   

       Anyway, Boris, you don't understand. The point of electric cars is that we can put those big, smelly generation plants in someone *else's* country, where they don't have to stink up our pretty (or not-so-pretty) cities.   

       (Well, yes, and "it's easier to scrub a smokestack", and so on.)   

       Wind is actually surprisingly close to being viable; it's probably next in line if fossil fuels start to run out. The total quantity is unfortunately limited, though.
egnor, Oct 12 2000

       There's always orbital power. You can build incredibly large solar mirrors when you don't have to support them against gravity. They can maintain themselves in orbit using their own electricity, with swept up junk used as 'fuel'. Beam it to Earth as microwaves, convert it to electricity. You lose some going through the atmosphere, but so what? Once the original mirror is built, it's free.
StarChaser, Oct 12 2000

       It would be absolutely trivial to build a feedback mechanism in that turned the beam off if it varied. Power beaming works; Popular Science reported on a pilotless airplane kept in the air for weeks by it. Put the receiving antenna on a large floating island somewhere safe in the ocean, if you don't want to use something like the top of a mountain. <I suggest the Bermuda Triangle; if you tow it into place with -really- long ropes from outside it, it should be safe from anyone trying to get into it...<grin>
StarChaser, Oct 13 2000


       Think about birds flying through the beam. You could catch your dinner pre-cooked.   

       Aircraft would probably be safe: they're big Faraday cages. Probably.   

       And the cost would be, well, astronomical. How much do you think an orbiting solar power/microwave station would weigh? Say 1000 megawatts each. They would require 719,000 square meters of solar cells at 100% efficiency. At a more realistic efficiency of ~20%, each 1000-megawatt station would require five times the area: 3,597,000 square meters, or 38,713,135 square feet. This neglects losses in transmission through the atmosphere, conversion losses at both ends, etc.   

       I bet it would weigh around 20 kilograms per kilowatt--under the best possibile assumptions. That means it weighs 2,000,000 kilograms, or 4,400,000 lb. It currently costs probably $10,000 per pound to place stuff in orbit; I'll let you do the rest of the math.
boris, Oct 14 2000

       Boris, your calculations are a little pessimistic.   

       You're assuming photovoltaic cells, which are (as you note) expensive and heavy. A more practical solution is to use large mirrors (which can be very thin and light -- think Mylar) to focus the sunlight onto a more conventional heat-engine-based generation plant (in orbit, or even on the ground).   

       It's still not worth it at $10,000/lb. or whatever, but if we can shave an order of magnitude or two off launch costs, it might become viable.
egnor, Oct 14 2000

egnor, Oct 15 2000

       Egnor, I began with 100% efficient solar cells, which would compare favorably with giant mirrors. Giant mirrors kind of are not so good when the weather is bad.   

       Also, giant mirrors make a dandy weapon. I'm sure nobody would have evil thoughts like me...right?
boris, Oct 15 2000

       Solar cells (even 100% efficient ones) are much heavier than mirrors; you could probably do much better than 20kg/kW with nice reflective sheets. And, um, there's no bad weather in space...
egnor, Oct 15 2000

       Don't use solar cells. Make the mirrors out of the thinnest possible mylar silvered on one side, supported by inflated tubes. Against the vacuum of space, you'd need only a few ounces of gas to support thousands of square feet of mirror, because it doesn't have to be structural. Focus the mirror on, as Egnor said, something like a liquid-sodium generator. <There is something like this already going, see link. Unfortunately I can't find a picture, but it's been referred to as a 'Metal petalled power flower'.> You'd also have a huge temperature gradient, from superheated in the mirror focus to supercooled in the darkness behind.   

       Unless the birds stayed in the beam for a long time, it's unlikely to bother them. With the free power, you can send down a less concentrated beam onto a larger target, and collect the same amount. Make sure it's not in the migration path of anything, and it shouldn't be any more of a problem than Earth based power generation pollution.   

       Yes, it would cost money to get it going. But once it's going, it would only be necessary to maintain the groundside installation. Damage to the mirror is possible, but unlikely. The generator would have to be heavily insulated anyway, which would tend to stop smaller 'attacks'; unless huge pieces of the mirror were ripped away, small holes wouldn't affect it at all. Damage to the structural inflated tubes would cause a problem, but could easily be fixed with 'FIx-A-Flat' or something similar.
StarChaser, Oct 15 2000

       Lots of Hot Air and Spinning Wheels going 'round and 'round on this one. Cost effectiveness and relative portability in Production and Consumer form are of paramount importance. Investment would only be made on large scale projects if return on investment is feasible. No conglamerate will actively consider something that lowers their stock price for an extended period of time at exorbitant expense. Whatever idea is considered must be tested on paper first to fulfill maximum efficiency per investment dollar. This is the bottom line before being able to suggest an infrastructure on a Micro and Macro level. That said, I've been working on something myself for a few years, no details will be shared until it is considered a failure or success. I find it commendable and encouraging that my fellow halfbakes are putting their thoughts and energy into such a worthwhile proposition.
thumbwax, Dec 15 2000

       Concerning burning hydrogen in raw atmosphere (air), I understand the reaction of hygrogen and oxygen, but what about the other roughly 70% nitrogen. I thought I read somewhere, that nitrogen compounds would form. The result would be acids created during rain; ultimately harming the environment.
metapyx, Jan 28 2001

       You all have made some brilliant deductions and suggestions...and should be proud that at least we are all on the same side, working toward the good of the planet, and the human race. We have come to see first-hand that our government and large profiteering organizations (you know who you are) would never stand for independent small company power generation. The current infrastructure would NEVER support the free enterprise of individuals....What we need is a working model (Hydrogen electrolysis and combustion), with the bugs worked out. Something that is very safe and that can be dropped into a neighborhood. It needs to be as small as a 10'x10'x10 cube so that it can be utilized in apartment complexes, housing tracts and even rural locations. Most of us think small because we don't have the funding to produce the equipment or continue experimentation. Make the device as simple as you can. Think, semi-permeable membrane technology for the front-end. H20 source with an internal combustion engine(They're cheap and readily available)...or perhaps ramjet who knows?? Most places have water and if they don't, you probably wouldn't want to live there. We need a device that can be made by hand if possible. Distribute the plans on every hobbyist website available and record the data from active participants. Someone will come up with the best design. Think of scaling the design for application and do not let initial inefficiency worry you. A device that can run on water can pay for itself faster than you can say corporate-controlled power grid! Secondly, Igor...I don't hear any constructive criticizm here. As bright as you are, I am surprized that you haven't solved the puzzle yet! Thirdly, I agree that there are potentials in the orbital theories, but they are inaccessible due to financial support, technology resources and materials manufacturing costs. Perhaps we should confine our efforts into meaningful advances with what limited resources we have. Maybe then, the rest will work itself out! Good Luck to you all!
manvsdirt, Jul 08 2001

       One of the bugs in "hydrogen electrolysis and combustion" is that 'you can't win, you can't even break even'. You won't get as much power out of that <if I'm understanding you correctly. Electrolyze water, burn the gas in an engine to create electricity to electrolyze water...> as you put into it. There are ways to make it more efficient, but it still isn't going to approach 1:1, let alone pass it.
StarChaser, Jul 08 2001

       Hello Again, I spoke too soon as you may have guessed...Thumbwax had already endeavored to stress the importance of small, energy efficient packages that can be sold on an almost retail level. The bottom-line thinking is the most practical and will gain the most headway, very quickly surpassing better ideas in incorporation due to the inate value proposition. "It may not be the best, but it is cheap", besides there are others out there that are working on offshoot core technologies that will play an important part in the final construction of the first production working model. I expect the big players in these technologies to be GE, 3M, DuPont and a number of other spinoff subsidiaries. The question is: "Who is going to allow the bills show up on their balance sheet?" This "pie-in-the-sky" energy concept may seem too far-fetched, so I bet on the big guys to work on small developmental projects that can be signed-off by the board. Simply stated, "We have to get there first", meaning the private sector. We have the idea of unlimited, clean power for the good of all, but we also know that if the government gets involved first, they'll be so much red tape and regulation that we'll get squashed. Design and distribute your inventions carefully. When the time is right, you''ll need a perfect track record when it comes to press releases and public announcement. Starchaser, I read and understand what you are saying. I agree that there is inefficiency in the process, but we are still driving cars, right. Talk about a meaningless argument in technology. We should have done away with gasoline-burning engines a few decades ago. The problem is greed. What strikes me as rational is the idea that hydrogen gas (H2 gas) can be liberated by a physical process, rather than chemical, that requires very little input energy to the system...and the decay of the gas at disassociation is not hazardous or harmful to human or plant life. The system may be innefficient but so cheap that it could be made in the garage with nothing more than basic tools. Use a solar panel to collect and disassociate the hydrogen in a tank. Water cost so little that we don't even want to count it as an expense! No add components like a garden trimmer motor, flywheel and squirrel-cage generator. What is the yeild? With so little invested, if this thing could run a refrigerator, we'd all be in heaven, even with all it's inefficiency. We need it to be simple enough that your neighbor could fix it! That is the challenge. Just think of what it costs to keep the Hoover Dam running! Nearly nothing, after the project costs have been paid, it's all free! You'd think they might charge us less, right? Not a chance! Private citizens have a need for economy whereas power producers know we will pay the cost, no matter how much they decide to charge! I'm paying nearly $.30 a kw against $.05 of four years ago! How are they justifying the increase? Perhaps the next step is charging us for the gravity used to propel the water through the damn! Less the sarcasm, we need to find the answer soon!
manvsdirt, Jul 09 2001

       Actually, manvsdirt, we had a considerable discussion on possible sources of hydrogen for fuel in the annotations for another idea (Free Atmosphere Fuel Cell, I'll post a link). The US Dept of Energy has some good stuff posted about research into such sources as waste H2S, and there are links under the FAFC. It's an active area of research.   

       On a lighter (!) note, a Danish patent describes a device which uses electricity to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water; the gasses rise up a very tall stack (turning a turbine along the way) and at the top they are recombined and as the resulting water cascades back to earth it spins a hydropower generator. Sounds like a Halfbaker to me.
Dog Ed, Jul 09 2001

       Dog Ed, The company "Xybernaut" @xybernaut.com have been using a battery that shows the power of membrane technology, except that the permeation causes current flow in their working model. Who knows if this will be a viable large-scale technology. I'll be sure to check the link! As far as the danish patent goes... Have you ever seen the big foam "Number 1" hand at sports stadiums? Big ideas in this project may well come from meager beginnings. Always an optimist! Thanks for the input. MVD
manvsdirt, Jul 12 2001

       Any move that reduces hydrocarbon pollution *has* to be a good thing. Also, I'd prefer my country's energy trunking system to consist of hydrogen pipelines rather than electricity pylons anyday. A croissant for your trouble.   

       metapyx: //. I thought I read somewhere, that nitrogen compounds would form// A worrying thought but I don't think that it would be a problem. After all, we're only using the hydrogen and oxygen as a means of storing and transporting energy. We start off at one end with water, electrolise out oxygen and hydrogen and recombine them at another location producing water and getting some of the stored energy back. We should not be changing the overall composition of the air.   

       Apart from: We will be taking water in liquid form and (if our cars use hydrogen engines) will be putting it out as water vapour. This will make it rain more over large concentrations of traffic. What a thought.
st3f, Jul 12 2001

       "Any move that reduces hydrocarbon pollution *has* to be a good thing."   

       Oh really? I didn't realize that Chernobyl was a good thing.
MuddDog, Jul 12 2001

       All renewable sources have a place like in the UK and on the western coast of Europe wind is a huge resource and in some of the Equatorial countries solar power is a huge resource and so on. But with these power sources the biggest problem is the wind turbines and solar furnaces can only function at certain times so the best way to make a stored fuel from these primary energy souces is to split water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. To reduce the corrosion on the electrodes in the electrolyser unit the water could be de-salinated but that isn't hard so why isn't this being done, it's not like there's a stortage of water to split
chris13, Aug 12 2001

       Also people say that hydrogen is a highly hazardous fuel, but so is petrol.
chris13, Aug 12 2001

       the reasone we don't use hydrogen right now is because we have got plenty of petolium, every time we think there is a shortage a new site is found. And Hydrogen is very costly to make and purify, it is not as simple as you think. And wind farms would never be able to produce enough electricity to make enough Hydrogen. It is not as dangerous as some people think but it is costly to handle, car engines have to be coated with a special type of synthetic material that agian is very costly. The reason we use Petrolium instead of hydrogen is because petrolium is cheaper. But hey if you can figure out how to make hydrogen cheaper go for it. Right now I think the first step to over come is figureing out how to make the synthetic coating at a cheaper price.
wood2coal, Sep 02 2001

       is it possable to create hydrogen using static electricty?
sawdust, Feb 05 2003

       //Hydrogen is an intensely cryogenic liquid at a temperature of around -420 F. The tanks ("dewars") are really giant thermos bottles: heavy, expensive and bulky. Active refrigeration would probably be required.//   

       If the public could be made to realize that hydrogen isn't nearly as dangerous a fuel as it's sometimes portrayed (the fabric in the Hindenberg was coated with what amounted to solid rocket fuel, and despite that most of the people on its fateful voyage survived) it might have some advantages as a commercial airline fuel. The reduced weight per unit energy would be a major plus, as would be its rapid dissipation in case of a crash. If the fuel were put into the airliners immediately before takeoff, active cooling would probably not be necessary as the act of taking fuel from the tanks would probably cool them sufficiently.
supercat, Feb 05 2003

       A huge mylar mirror. I think I remember seeing some contraption like this on the cover Popular Science, but it wasn't for generating power. It was a prototype for an interstellar space-vehicle.   

       Basically, the surface acts as a huge sail in the solar wind. Also , since it, reflective and huge, light from the Sun would push it along, constantly accelerating it to near light speed!   

       Pretty impressive and cool stuff, but it wouldn't work very well as power generator, because the first solar storm to come by would rip it to shreds.
zifferent, Feb 10 2003

       2 things:   

       Solar power is much more efficient with the advent of indium-gallium-nitride cells. (50% better)   

       Hydrogen can be stored at low pressure, yet hundreds of times denser, as metal hydride (super fine nickel and other metal powders in tank), making it much safer and smaller than would normally be necessary (1000 kms' worth in a litre container). If you don't hear about it on easy-to-find sites, it means OPEC paid 'em to shut up.
galukalock, Feb 10 2003

       You have to be realistic about where the hydrogen is going to come from! General Hydrogen president Dr. Geoffrey Ballard is among those that thinks Hydrogen power really means NUCLEAR POWER. Does getting rid of fossil fuels mean lots of nuclear power plants? Check out Jack Bryar's article at Live Power News http://www.livepowernews.com/stories03/0701/174.html
Alex51, Jul 01 2003

       A very good way of storing and transporting hydrogen has been created and hopefully will be hitting the markets as soon as possible. http://www.safehydrogen.com
benkrown, Jul 15 2003

       People have been pushing for a "hydrogen economy" since at least the 1970s. This is a really old not-original-by-the-author idea. Still, a few new things might have-been/will-be said here, one of which I didn't happen to notice in skimming. It has recently been realized that LEAKING hydrogen gas is likely to be extremely bad for the ozone layer (ozone is made of very active oxygen atoms, that would like nothing more than to latch onto loose hydrogen -- and when that happens, it's goodbye ozone). So in addition to all the other high expenses of getting a hydrogen economy going, there is this new expense of having to make every piece of hydrogen plumbing as totally leakproof as possible. This is a LARGE expense! Alas!
Vernon, Jul 15 2003

       I agree 1.602*10^23 %. We need to have a hydrogen economy. As soon as the Chinese start using cars as much as Americans do, the worlds hydrocarbons will be used up in some liberal estimates as early as 20-30 years! If we don't develop this technology in 20-30 years it will be back to the horse and buggy to get to work. Candle lights, and other things. I think building more nuclear power plants that directly create hydrogen would be a good idea to do first. Does anyone know if there is a way to create hydrogen from water using nuclear power? or from radioactive decay? Maybe instead of generating electricity in reactors from heat to mechanical, mechanical to electric in a reactor we could go directly from heat of the uranium to diffusion of water into hydrogen and oxygen. If we build more nuclear power and solar power we could even clean the atmosphere up and make oil from air! You take the C02 out of the air and water and rearrange the atoms to make hydrocarbons for plastics and other things for not if but when we run out of hydrocarbons.
JoeLounsbury, Feb 13 2004

       Does anyone have the faintest Idea how much Coal is out there? Billions upon Billions of tons worth, enough to last us for hundreds, maybe a thousand years. Hydrogen or electric cars are fine if you live in Cali or Florida, but anywhere else, they just won't operate in the winer. In addition to that, would anyone in the MidWest like to drive for half an hour in a car without any sort of heating? Sure, you could use a propane tank... but you're kinda counteracting the whole "Fossil Fuels are uncool" idea.   

       If you're interested in saving energy, the best solutions at the current moment are the simple ones, and won't make a dent in the wallet. Buy compact Fluorescents instead of Incandescent bulbs, and turn them off when not in use. Get a fuel efficient-car. Maybe a hybrid if you live in a warm climate. With that being said, don't feel required to drive it for every two minute trip.   

       Uranium, however, is a very good source of energy, provided one can store the waste. Fortunately for America, there is this state called Nevada, and this form of transit called "RAIL." Unfortunately.. there are also those blasted terrorists.   

       Talking of Uranium brings up another source of energy: Fusion. This involves Hydrogen, (Deuterium and Tritium, actually), and large reactors called Tokamaks. Inside the tokamak, large magnetic fields contain volumes of hydrogen atoms that smack into each other and fuse together to form Helium. Unfortunately, this reaction must be kept constant at 70,000,000 degrees kelvin, and we've only been able to get up to a couple Million. Also, I would imagine it would be somewhat difficult to harness all that energy in small, useable portions.   

       We're moving towards a cleaner society, but it'll be a while yet.
WordUp, Feb 14 2004

       Oh yeah, and the deal with Microwaves is... if one beam happens to miss, you've just toasted whatever unfortunate creature has stepped in front of its path.
WordUp, Feb 14 2004

       Generating hydrogen from electricity is about 60% efficient. Doing the reverse is about the same, so we end up with a 36% (= 0.6*0.6) system efficiency. That's about the same as a thermal power plant, and worse than long distance power lines.
willard_b_trophy, Mar 14 2004

       Why not use Hydrogen Peroxide instead of Hydrogen? You could still produce it from alternative energy sources, but it would be easier and safer to transport since it would be a liquid instead of a low BTU gas. Still not a gain in energy from the original source, but an interesting fule possibility. When 50% or greater Hydrogen Peroxide solution is forced through a catylist a hot high pressure stream of O2 and Steam is produced. A biofuel such as ethanol can also be burned inside of the exhaust stream greatly increasing the power derived. The biofule will burn cleaner inside the stream, because if will be fed the oxygen from the steam instead of the ambient air. The catylist is usually a silver mesh which is expensive and deteriorates quickly under its strenuous conditions, but other catylists are being made which will not degade as quickly, The Real Trick will be to make a catylist that will be less expensive and easy to replace. Possibly a special frequency could do the trick instead. Check out: www .tecaeromex. com/ingles/destilai.html or www.the-rocketman.com or all of the other hydrogen peroxide comments in the bakery.
fity, Dec 21 2004

       As for windfarms in coastal areas: why not make them out at sea? I envision a central buoy as the main tank, with windmill bouy arms arrayed in a circle around it. The wind and waves would continue to rachet the windmill arms around (they might only go clockwise, for example) which would provide mechanical energy to compress the hydrogen in the tank for a sort of reverse Stirling process. The compressed hydrogen gas (not liquid; it couldn't compress H2 that much) would be picked up by an unmanned blimp, which could use seawater for ballast and either burn hydrogen or use solar power (or both) for its own energy needs (pumps, props, onboard nav, etc.).   

       Uncluttered beaches? Sure. Fewer birdstrikes for the windmills? Definitely. Increased complexity? OH YEAH!   

       Thirty-six percent efficiency may be acceptable for home use, but not as the basis for an entire energy industry. My optimism for hydrogen power is officially dead. :-(   

       Hydrocarbons remain king. :-((
justibone, Mar 12 2005

       [angel] - Hydrogen wasn't responsible for the Hindenburg disaster. In fact, it appears that no hydrogen ever ignited in the crash. See link.
Detly, Mar 12 2005

       In so far as electrolysis of water into hydrogen is an efficient (I think) means of 'storing' the fluctuating output of solar, wind or wave energy, this must be a good idea. Fluctuation of supply is a big problem for all these energy sources. However, I can't believe that someone hasn't proposed this before. If not, then well done.   

       As for the general transition to hydrogen as a fuel, I think it's inappropriate to compare it to petrol or oil. Presumably, the logical comparison would be with gas, already accepted and widely used (and not usually in cooled or compressed liquid form).
Basepair, Mar 12 2005

       Why not just lessen the population?   

       The BNP would have no qualms about that.   

       I think that there's this website/society dedicated to the extinction of the human race... Can't remember how I came across it...
froglet, Mar 12 2005

       [froglet] - see link.
Detly, Mar 14 2005

       //Power storage has always been an issue because nothing in existence can store even a day's worth of grid power in a reasonably small space. Compressed hydrogen is better than batteries, if you ignore the 76% of the energy that you dump, but still not so hot.//   

       How much space would it take to 'store' that energy in the form of coal? (of course, nature already stored it for us that way).   

       BTW, I was wondering whether it might be efficient to use coal gassification to convert C+H2O into H2+CO, separate out the H2 from the CO, bottle the H2, and burn the CO for immediate energy? How would the efficiency of this compare with that of electrolysis?   

       On a related note, would there be any benefit to coking coal before burning it, on the premise that the volume of gas to be scrubbed after coking would be smaller than the volume of gas to be scrubbed after combustion?
supercat, Jul 01 2005

       [supercat], there is at least one very great benefit to coking coal before using it a fuel. The coal tar you get as a byproduct is just about as useful as crude oil, for plastics, chemicals, etc.
Vernon, Jul 01 2005

       Did anybody mention that the Hindenburg went up not because of the hydrogen -- but because the entire ship had been painted with photographic silver flash powder to make it pretty? This finding was published by German scientists in journals within two years of the explosion. As for using wind or wave power, has anyone considered harnessing tsunamis? A bigger bang, so to speak, for the buck.
Dood, May 25 2006

       Sorry but this is a pipedream.   

       Hydrogen has no future because you waste way too much energy on producing it.   

       Better use that energy directly in batteries to power a car with. No need for the detour via hydrogen.   

       Or even better: use Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells, much handier, climate friendlier and more efficient. [See link.]
django, May 25 2006

       "Did anybody mention that the Hindenburg went up not because of the hydrogen"
Yes Dood, they did.

       "Hydrogen has no future because you waste way too much energy on producing it."
I'd be interested if you had any figures comparing the efficiency of storing electricity in a chemical battery and a hydrogen fuel cell, django. I think the Apollo programme used hydrogen/oxygen fuel cells in preference to chemical batteries so they must have some advantages.
st3f, May 26 2006

       A good set of figures and calculations is available at Don Lancaster's site [link]
BunsenHoneydew, May 29 2006

       And from memory only, H2 is -way- less energy dense, both by weight and by volume, than petroleum. Several orders of magnitude less, even when compressed.
BunsenHoneydew, May 29 2006

       Just noticing how old this post is. It must have been grandfathered in because hydrogen economy is a concept that is widely known to exist and this is pure advocacy for a political solution.   

       I think it is kind of funny that he thinks it is benificial to locate near the ocean because of the water demand. My guess is that a person's energy needs for the day would be about the same volume of water as they drink which would be a large volume of hydrogen. Considering most people bathe wash dishes and do laundry and flush toilets. it shouldn't affect the water bill.
MercuryNotMars, Apr 25 2007

       Actually if u were to do it right it would recycle the water and halve minimal energy waste (heat). It wold also run on verry littel electricty.if u were to have power going to A battery in the device the intital electrolosis would start from that the hydrogen and oxygen molecules would then move to a chamber and were it will then be made to H2O2. The H2O2 willl then move down a line to the engine the engine will be just like a regular 4 stroke engine. THe H2O2 will be injected into the chamber the piston will compress the H2O2 and in doing so will open a valve to a compartment that will have replaced the spark plug. The compressed H2O2 will then react with the cattalist wich will be on the other side of a verry fine mesh screen which will be placed there to prevent loss of the catalyst(silver, pladium, platnum, and gold) by way of tarnishing. when the H2O2 reacts with the cattalyst it will be converted into H2O(g) and O(g) almost instintaneously, expanding to 5 times its initial volume. The gas will then push down a piston which will drive a turbine (acting as a regular gas powerd generator). the exaust will then pass through a pipe at high velocity (do to pressure) and drive compression and power turbines. these turbines will extract kinetic energy and cool the gases down the H2O will condense and be returend to the electrolisis chamber as a liquid. U may also Put Heat Cells to capture energy from heat loss around the engine and exaust pipe. OR maybe if it helps Run some of the heat back to the electrolosis chamber.
bogeld_mind21, Apr 25 2007

       Wow [bogeld_mind21], I really wish I could fishbone annotations.
coprocephalous, Apr 25 2007

       ???? what do you mean?
bogeld_mind21, Apr 28 2007

       This is to everyone who knows about the productin of converting water into hydrogen and oxygen called electrolysis. There are many ways to make electricity solar, wind , nuclear. But By Far Has anyone ever though about using a large Sterling/Steel engine? it only takes a 15 Degrees differance from the high end to the low end. If you sink the low temp end in the ground and the high end in a plate made of cast iron , point it at the sun and you can get a very large ammount of heat power to operate a very large electrolysis aparatus and have more than enough energy to compress it to a liquid state. By the way I am already powering my house using this item , and I am also powering a car by using this and 2 other items non of which use gasoline . gemmangary , August/23/2009
gemmangary12, Aug 23 2009

       I have been watching many forums and reading all the info I can find on this subject for the last few years. I have performed a few small scale experiments, one of which was my son and I made his science fair project using a solar panel from harbor freight use to charge up car batteries and a small electrolysis device we made from stainless steel sauce cups/ss threaded rod and nuts/rubber grommets/pool filter housing (worked better than I expected). And I have concluded after all my research, though limited by funds and other resources, that Hydrogen is by far our best shot at an alternative fuel. The barriers that need to be overcome are of far less concern than the results from continuing to rely on Petroleum products. My Inlaws had swapped to solar power for their home, they generate way more power than they use, they could easily power an electrolysis device such as United Nuclear had developed which could power both their vehicles. Sure widespread shipping and distribution would face some difficult obstacles. But as individuals with solar roofs on our houses, car ports, shop buildings and the like we could possibly overcome most of those. My son's science project can sit in the sun all day long and generate hydrogen the whole time. I am sure there will be a need for maintenance and further research to better implement these ideas, but it is looking more possible than not. We just gotta quit thinking about it like we do with our current fuels which we need to go buy from a retailer who orders it and has it shipped and stored which is where the majority of the complications come from. But as individuals there would be not need to order, ship or store vast quantities. Start small and work towards more complex applications, just like all other things in the past. The first boats weren't huge ocean liners made from steel, they we small practical vessels. Keep it simple and work up from there. Just my 2 cents worth of halfbakery.   

       Oh I almost forgot to caution about the wasted energy from producing Hydrogen from electrolysis using solar panels, make sure to get every ray of sunlight so you don't waste it. Oh no! My whole yard and driveway is just wasting power!   

       When considering solar power, the whole argument about "power in/power out" kinda loses its weight. I think we can scratch that off as an obstacle.
JaKaL, May 11 2010

       [JaKaL] you're allowed to use paragraphss breaks - we don't mind.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 11 2010

       I wonder if much cheaper chemical plants could make things cheaper. like rather than welded stainless alloy reaction tanks, if something like nonpermeable "union jack" kindagraphene bags of sufficient size could be like gas centrifuges, yet if of vast size could concentrate hydrogen from some biological hydrogen source, like engineered algae. Niftier yet would be a vatfood like electric eel tissue culture that just makes hydrogen from water and carbohydrates. Or genetically engineered air plants that produce hydrogen.
beanangel, May 25 2016


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