Hydrogen Energy

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Richard Hull
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Hydrogen Energy

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Nov 04, 2002 6:32 pm

The whole idea of fusion might be moot if hydrogen energy does an "end run" around things.

Fuel cells are ready. hydrogen burning engine systems are relatively mature. So a lot of oil burning technologies are at risk if we do only one thing..........Figure out how the hell to crack water cheaply into H2 and O2. There is little to gain with burning more fossil fuels to electrolyize water to make hydrogen to have pollution free vehicles. We would just be localizing the pollution to giant power facilities and spending more money than burning the oily stuff in normal cars. Not to mention putting a lot of folks outta' work (politics).

If we could do a 50% total cost conversion, dollar wise, water to hydrogen back to water we would be ahead of the game. Right now it is about 125-150% cost conversion at best, not including the cost of the fuel cells, conversion to hydrogen burner engines, etc. We just have to pay more to get the hydrogen than we get back.

Hydrogen fuel cell and burner technology is the ultimate clean fuel for transport and small site energy and heating.

Will it scale to replace the major power production facilities........I doubt it very seriously. What could happen, if we had a 5% or 10% actual conversion cost, is that individual homes could be totally power self-sufficient and self-generating. The Hydrogen truck would pull up bi-weekly and load you up just like the oil truck of today. This is a really big pipe dream too and would absolutely demand a virtually free water to Hydrogen conversion system.

From this boy's vantage point, fusion futures are a much darker horse than even fission futures right now in the short-haul and not looking real good for the long-haul either.

I predict hydrogen will prevail and just like the fusion promises of 50 years ago claiming that the energy contained in water WILL produce endless amounts of pollution-free energy with no exhaustion in sight, the dream will come true, but the energy will be MOLECULAR (chemical at 100% conversion of quadrillions of 3-5 ev molecular transactions/second/cc) yielding up no pollution and potable distilled water as waste rather than ATOMIC (.05% conversion of millions of fusions at 3.45 mev per second/cc) leaving neutron activated facilities and short lived radioactive gases that have to be stored and dealt with over a 20-30 year span. The former would be local and small in use with big facilities for making the hydrogen. The latter would be same old, same old, with a giant all in one facility with electricity distributed over a grid.

We will see which matures first.

Hydrogen has only one single problem in physics and engineering...... Separate water economically and with little pollution in the process to where using the hydrogen only demands 50% of the current energy draw or, hopefully, much less. (chemical process) This issue is much less daunting and far more low tech than doing power efficient fusion. ( a still mysterious and never achieved goal).

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by guest » Wed Dec 25, 2002 4:48 am

Hydrogen has one terrible Achilles heel as an energy carrier. Energy density. Unless it is stored in metal hydrides, which are still HEAVY and not nearly as good as the familiar hydrocarbon fuels. It is TERRIBLE. Practical airplanes are nearly impossible. You can make up for it somewhat with greater efficiency from a fuel cell/electric motor combo, but still not great. Forget Jet aircraft. Hello Train. Cars have very short ranges. Another Issue is the wide flammability range of hydrogen in air. You can't see the fire without infra red gear. At least it is lighter than air and goes up and away. Hydrogen must be stored in either Hydrides or as a high pressure gas. Would you want grandma handling liquid, or even gaseous hydrogen at the filling station? One possibility is using a catalytic reaction to convert hydrogen and CO2 to methane. Then compress and liquefy the methane. In order for this to be economically feasibly Oil will have to be much more expensive than it currently is.

I do, however, agree that it will happen before fusion. The energy necessary to do this must come from somewhere. Probably Fission. We have a lot of fuel in the form of Plutonium and weapons grade uranium that needs to be dealt with. It is already ugly stuff. We won't be making any more ugly stuff if we just burn it up. Serves two purposes. Best use for this stuff I can think of. How to convince the irrational public of this I haven't the slightest Idea. I hope I am wrong and one of you guys hits breakeven as I am writing this.

Monty

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by hellblazer » Wed Dec 25, 2002 5:28 am

I agree that burning hydrogen for our power requirements has a much higher probability of becoming a reality than generating power from hydrogen fusion. What really worries me looking into the future is that sooner or later the methane deposits under the sea are going to start looking very tasty to an energy starved world. Mining that is going to be seriously problematic, not to mention potentially dangerous to anyone living on the coasts (think Tsunami when accidents occur and huge shelfs collapse).

Lots of countries are coming online that are going to start using energy at the rate we consume it here in the good old USA. Not to mention energy that's going to be needed for desalination, giving our dwindling fresh water supplies.

No matter what you believe about oil supplies or the lack there-of, no body seriously believes that the rest of the world can consume oil at the rate we do without seriously screwing with this planet's environment - even the energy barons.

Let's hope that some bright someones out there figure this out quick, or we're likely to see a lot of chaos that no one - other than Sauron, and he's fictional - would consider a fun time.

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by hellblazer » Wed Dec 25, 2002 5:35 am

Actually, there is some encouraging news on this front:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 092302.php

Until recently, scientists thought that molecular hydrogen (H2) was too
small to be contained in clathrate hydrates - crystalline solids where a
framework of water molecules enclose molecules of gas. Now, researchers at
the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Geophysical Laboratory, University
of Chicago, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, have been able to trap the
gas inside water-ice structures forming hydrogen hydrate. According to team
member Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao, "This result could be a first step toward an
alternative way of storing environmentally friendly hydrogen gas. It also
points to the possibility that hydrogen might exist in icy bodies in our
solar system that we thought were incapable of retaining it." The scientists
report their findings in the September 27, 2002, issue of Science.

Hydrogen is the most abundant gas in the universe and the race has been on
to find a cost-efficient, practical way to store it for fuel use. Using a
diamond-anvil cell, the researchers subjected a mixture of hydrogen and
water to a pressure equivalent to about 2,000 times the atmospheric pressure
at sea level (220 megapascals) at room temperature (300 K or 80°F). Two
regions formed --an H2 bubble and liquid water. When the mixture was cooled
to minus 11°F (249 K) the two regions reacted and formed one solid compound.

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by 3l » Wed Dec 25, 2002 3:47 pm

Guess what guys .. the fuel cell has been commercialized by Ballard fuel systems and Coleman Industries. (yes the camping lantern people)
You run it off a cylinder or use metallic storage the size of the small kitchen extinguishers.

First run production for 1kW backup ...$5990 turn key.
Fits under your desk...under 100 lbs.
Interesing package.
It is portable and as cute as the Mr Fusion unit in "Back to the Future"
It is the first fuel cell product to pass the Don Lancaster smell test. It will be sold at Wallmart or Sam's in spring 2003. A slow running demo but very interesting.....will it make me jump ship? ....Naw but it does give you pause tho.

http://www.colemanpowermate.com/images/ ... n-unit.swf

Larry Leins
Fusion Tech

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by LehighUBoy » Thu Dec 26, 2002 4:46 am

Hal Hildebrand wrote:
> Let's hope that some bright someones out there figure this out quick, or we're likely to see a lot of chaos

I believe enough ingenuity and resources exist in this newsgroup to tackle the problem. All of us tend to share ideas or ask questions, however, a more collaborated effort is required to achieve our ultimate goals. Generally, each member fights in the proverbially and actual vacuum, i.e. an exceptional neutron detector on one system with a powerful power supply on another apparatus. My suggestion is the FUSOR equivalent of the ITER project, all our advanced ideas and equipment in a single device. Perhaps the device could be designed to support several approaches including (of course not limited to): virtual grids, different grid geometries, and magnetically assisted confinement.

Comments, suggestions, questions, or ridicule anyone?

-garrett

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by hellblazer » Thu Dec 26, 2002 5:13 pm

Kind of like a research co-op. It's an excellent idea, but I shudder at the kind of organization skills required.

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by LehighUBoy » Thu Dec 26, 2002 5:49 pm

Hal Hildebrand wrote:
> Kind of like a research co-op. It's an excellent idea, but I shudder at the kind of organization skills required.

Maybe a forum should be added in order to discuss the possibilities of a collaborated fusor effort. I would definitely sign up, anyone else?

-garrett

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by 3l » Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:42 pm

Hi Gang:

Got some interesting news on the hydrogen front.
I always wondered why President Bush went to hydrogen cars.
Well it seems a certain Stanford Ovshinski's team showed up at the White House with a H2 powered scooter.
Who? (The inventor of amorphous semiconductors.. ovonics)
It seems that Ovonics has created a new group of newer cheaper hydrogen storage media.
They have teamed with Texaco to make H2 cars a reallity.
For a blow by blow account goto :
www.ovonics.com
and click on hydrogen tech

Larry Leins
Fusion Tech

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Re: Hydrogen Energy

Post by Carl Willis » Mon Feb 24, 2003 10:03 pm

Garrett,

The concept of a group effort in which there are centralized facilities, coordinated schedules and sharing of actual expenses / equipment / liabilities by amateurs is, like Hal has mentioned, a supreme organizational challenge. You're right that much great, cutting-edge work could be effected that way, but only if the organizational problems inherent in such a setup are solved!

Suppose I want to do an experiment on group-owned facilities that happen to reside in another state. I have to get there somehow, I have to have my experimental schedule rigorously planned out and ready to go, and everybody else's parts of the apparatus had better be working because I will have to take time off work or school and pay an airfare that might cost as much as a small fusor itself, just to get out there. For those collaborative groups that are geographically confined, such as Richard's HEAS in Richmond, there is some flexibility in such things because the costs and time involved are small. Moving people and equipment is vastly more complicated and expensive than moving ideas (what this board does), and in my opinion it really takes professional-grade financial support for geographically dispersed individuals to effectively utilize a centralized fusor lab.

With all that said, I do happen to think that we can "grease the wheels" for large-scale amateur efforts through collaboration. Perhaps a sort of time-sharing / lending system can be organized to deal with expensive but rather mobile equipment, i.e. neutron counters, RGAs, turbopumps, gas regulators, high vacuum fittings, etc. As a group, we buy such things and then members can sign up to rent or borrow them. That way we could get our hands on a world-class equipment lineup that probably no individual member in isolation could. Second, I would propose a "services" system built on the same principle, where members provide their special talents at minimal cost to others. We have already seen much of this, e.g. when Tom Dressel offered his neutron detector workalikes. We want our members to participate in the advantages of collaboration, but we do not want to get involved with massive centralized operations.

My two cents!
-Carl
Carl Willis
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