this shows some promise..

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by jon_forward, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    from yahoo news...

    Hydrogen Reactor
    Thu Feb 12, 4:50 PM ET Add Science - AP to My Yahoo!


    By GREGG AAMOT, Associated Press Writer

    MINNEAPOLIS - Researchers said Thursday that for the first time, they have produced hydrogen from ethanol in a prototype reactor small enough and efficient enough to heat small homes and power cars.





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    The development could help open the way for cleaner-burning technology at home and on the road.


    Current methods of producing hydrogen from ethanol require large refineries and copious amounts of fossil fuels, the University of Minnesota researchers said.


    The reactor is a relatively tiny 2-foot-high apparatus of tubes and wires that creates hydrogen from corn-based ethanol. A fuel cell, which acts like a battery, then generates power.


    "This points to a way to make renewable hydrogen that may be economical and available," said Lanny Schmidt, a chemical engineer who led the study. The work was outlined in Friday's issue of the journal Science.


    Hydrogen power itself is hardly a new idea. Hydrogen fuel cells already propel experimental vehicles and supply power for some buildings. NASA (news - web sites) has used them on spacecraft for decades.


    But hydrogen is expensive to make and uses fossil fuels. The researchers say their reactor will produce hydrogen exclusively from ethanol and do it cheaply enough so people can buy hydrogen fuel cells for personal use.


    They also believe their technology could be used to convert ethanol to hydrogen at fuel stations when cars that run solely on hydrogen enter the mass market.


    Hydrogen does not emit any pollution or greenhouse gases. But unlike oil or coal, hydrogen must be produced — there are no natural stores of it waiting to be pumped or dug out of the ground.


    The new technology holds economic potential for Midwest farmers, who are leaders in the production of corn-based ethanol.


    George Sverdrup, a technology manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, said he was encouraged by the research.


    "When hydrogen takes a foothold and penetrates the marketplace, it will probably come from a variety of sources and be produced by a variety of techniques," he said. "So this particular advance and technology that Minnesota is reporting on would be one component in a big system."


    The Minnesota researchers envision people buying ethanol to power the small fuel cell in their basements. The cell could produce 1 kilowatt of power, nearly enough for an average home.
     
  2. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    As a casual student of chemistry I see one potential, inherint flaw. If ethanol is degraded to produce hydrogen, what is its by-product. I'd be very suprised if it isn't our old friend CO2. But step in the right direction for sure as it will burn cleanly at least in absence of sulphur or nitric oxides.
     
  3. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    If they maintain a big picture view and realize that even CO2 has its uses then this should work out great
     
  4. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    a major step in the right direction...co2 or nuke waste.....small enough for a home to use...power companys not going to like ..they will buy and make us pay a monthly fee...still better then nukes
     
  5. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Yeah, but what I would really like to see is the energy input - output efficiencies. Producing hydrogen traditionally with water has huge energy input costs and hence that economy is only viable where hydro, nuclear or geothermal power is available. So specifically what i'm interested is how much energy does ethanol produce, how much energy it taken to turn ethanol into hydrogen and then how much energy is produced with the reduction of hydrogen into water. From that we could find an efficiency to see whether or not we should just burn ethanol instead.
     
  6. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    I follow you Isaac efficiency would have to be in the range of sencablity[sp]..if it takes more to make then it produces....but at least folks are out there trying... :)
     
  7. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    No doubt! A very interesting experiment is going on right now in Iceland. They are converting their entire economy to a renewable hydrogen economy by 2050. This includes power sources, cars and boats. If they pull it off, the economic benefits will be absolutely staggering. Imagine an economy where all energy is produced and used locally. The implications for standard of living improvements is... staggering. If we could copy that system here, it would be a great improvement, perhaps with hydro or other renewable sources.
     
  8. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    blows the hell out of a oil/fossil fuel based economy....
     
  9. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    And we're losing precious years needed develope the infrastructure for a hydrogen economy because Dubbyuh's more interested in shoring up the revenues for the oil companies.
     
  10. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    50 years or so out there yet bully....we as a nation are a smart and mobile people..by that I mean we move on our feet fast!!! why not let Iceland take some of the stumbles,,, help them as needed and learn FROM THEIR MISTAKES....THE AMERICAN WAY...G.W. is not the problem so lets not politicialize this thread as thats not what its about... deal?
     

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