24th April 2007 - 03:49 PM
Wow! Combine this new development with the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and we would quickly gain total independence from the O.P.E.C. cartel. It would reduce greenhouse gasses and help toward fending off global warming as well. What"s stopping us from accomplishing this?
24th April 2007 - 04:01 PM
Perhaps the answer to your question is in the last paragraph of the article.
“The question that remains is of economics and not feasibility,” said Agrawal.
24th April 2007 - 06:04 PM
Do you hear the sound of squashing going on? That is the government and idiot's of bureaucracy meddling in the process of saving the planet. This thing will be so stomped on you'll need a defibrillator to revive it. CLEAR!!!!!!!!
24th April 2007 - 06:14 PM
I don't get it. Did I miss something? What's so terrific about this solution? As I read it, all of the energy comes from hydrogen combustion - which has been produced in a separate process altogether. This seems to have taken a clean fuel and made a polluting one out of it - while using up 15% of our crop land at the same time to do it. Won't it produce hydrocarbons when it burns, rather than just water? In addition, the crop production required for this would create it's own problems. Why add the overhead of 15% of the available crop land to an already usable fuel?
The only advantage I can see to this plan is to the coal, nuclear, automobile and fuel distribution industries - since they wouldn't have to change much to put it into practice. For the rest of us, the bill from all of that land use and tractor fuel to produce the biomass, and the production processes to combine it with the (also currently non-existent) hydrogen just adds to the final cost of fuel at the pump without adding anything useful - but while also turning a clean fuel into a dirty one.
Finally, the hydrogen production 'from a carbon-free energy source' they gloss over seems to be using electrolysis. That requires enormous amounts of electricity for the hydrogen produced. With current sun-to-electricity, and dynamo, technology, there isn't enough sunshine and river water in the US to produce the hydrogen needed to fuel all of our cars. Adding biomass to this just obfuscates where the real energy is going to come from - coal and nuclear reactors.
24th April 2007 - 06:22 PM
IMHO this idea is flawed.
Consider the big picture. The ultimate source of all energy is from nuclear reactions which convert mass into energy. Currently we harness this via the Sun or Nuclear plant. The Sun delivers our energy as photons which get processed by plants and solar panels. We will continue to use fossil fuels as long as economically viable. Fossils are a large cheap hydrocarbon battery of stored solar energy gathered by plants and animals over the eons. Using the fossil fuel battery buys us time in developing better solar cells or clean nuclear power.
We already have the solar cells which are getting closer to economic viability. These should be put as close to the point of consumption as possible i.e. roof tops. It is all about efficiency. Homes should be powered on DC not AC. DC is safer. Most devices in the home use inefficient transformers to convert the useless AC into usefull DC. Friction braking on cars should be replaced with dynamo braking like on the new hybrids.
Scientifically we already have the solutions. It is purely a matter of economics. Economics dictate that oil and coal is cheaper today because we already have its infrastructure in place. As the price ($ per Watt) of fossils vs solar cells nears equilibrium then the new solar infrastructure will grow.
Talk of using plants etc is a waste of time if you look at the big picture. Plants are inefficient solar energy gatherers, costly to process and distribute to consumers. Solar panel power is the way it will go until clean cheap nuclear is available.
24th April 2007 - 10:12 PM
While this is an interesting proposal, the author does not appear to realize that economics is feasibility. Otherwise, what else determines feasibility? These kinds of statements are red flags and justify a healty skepticism of the author's assertions.
There is no science or industry without economics. As others have pointed out, there are issues with installed infrastructure and the capital investments required to change to another system. The problem is that investors and governments want certainty that a new energy system will actually work, something formulas and scientific papers cannot provide.
Thus a working prototype plant and system must be the next step. The economics of the working prototype will determine if the concept will attract capital for scaling to the next level.
25th April 2007 - 02:09 AM
I would agree with you when you say solar is likely to be ONE of the renewable technologies to replace fossil fuels for power generation, but it is hard for me to see the entire world's transportation industry powered by solar vehicles. I believe the potential of this energy lies in it's applicability to the transportation sector, not electricity generation for home/industrial/commercial use.
The article also indicates this technology could be combined with current hybrid technologies, so it could be implemented in conjunction with dynamo braking (I agree, it boggles my mind how much energy is wasted in a day by the simple act of braking).
to Blue Energy:
The idea is that all the carbon produced by the process comes from plants (the biomass) at the beginning of the process. The process would be carbon neutral, as any CO2 produced by the hydrocarbons (the end product) would be used up by plants that provide the biomass the second time the process is implemented.
25th April 2007 - 05:21 AM
The point is that we can achieve higher energy density using liquid hydrocarbons than with batteries or hydrogen gas. We also have already got the infrastructure to distribute them. What they propose is a sustainable system that uses both biomass and carbon-free electrical energy to create hydrocarbon fuel. It's often said that global warming has more than one solution, and the nice thing about this idea is that it draws from multiple energy sources but creates one fuel.
25th April 2007 - 09:51 PM
I took this concept apart last month in "H2CAR: Another blind alley" at The Oil Drum: www.theoildrum.com/node/2397 (sorry about the text but the BB prohibited me from using links or even the http prefix).
Executive summary: It would take far more energy, whether from nuclear, renewables or what-have-you, to make just the hydrogen for the H2CAR scheme than to electrify the vehicles directly.
27th April 2007 - 10:17 AM
Wonderful - pilot-sized technological optimism - the answer to all our problems.
I studied Fischer-Tropsch catalysis for a while for a well know french entity. I find two things lacking -
1) No talk about the real practicalities of the technology
- (Platinum-Rhodium or Iron catalysis) - The catalysts are VERY easily poisoned - the feedstock has to contain almost no sulfur at all. Otherwise all you have is a very reliable way of wasting money - platinum is about twice the price of gold
2) All this biomass (and lots of copper-tainted sand for the most efficient fluidized-bed gasification techniques) has to be brought to near 1000 °C. ALL THAT BIOMASS - which would probably be quite wet.......and not necessarily close-by - to 1000 °C it is perfectly possible and currently fairly optimized, but would require quite a lot of energy (biofuel ?)
This sort of "technological optimism" would lead us to suppose that we are absolutely fine running around in our ICE powered vehicles, turbine-powered planes, and have no need whatsoever to change anything in our clumsy, unintelligent, slovenly, selfish existence. Hmmmph
27th April 2007 - 10:27 AM
"clean nuclear technologies" ?
I do not expect anyone contributing to this forum to claim that current nuclear fission is "clean" Low CO2 yes, but clean.......
Nuclear fusion research is underway, but the current sate-of-the-art failures rely on Helium3 - there isn't that much on earth, apparently there could be quite a lot on the moon, but I defy you (well, anyone really) to go and get it. Nuclear Fusion is not clean either
- the damage sustained by the reactor walls (through high-energy radioactive particle impacts)in current research centre (ITER, for example) is prohibitive - large advances in material science is needed (according to current specialised sceptics) - and no-one has any hope ofcreating a net power producing fusion reactor in the next 30 years.
- fairly scary (I remain vague as I far from fully understand the complexities of fusion technology) levels of high-energy radiation penetrates the reactor walls on each "run".
I hope I am wrong, but waiting until the billion-dollar state-of-the-art failures manage to achieve significant breakthroughs sounds a bit risky to me.
6th May 2007 - 01:00 AM
At the first time, I realized that this paper is a joke. How to produce such large amounts of hydrogen (> 80% of transportation energy, i.e. > 20% of the whole US energy supplies)? If we can produce hydrogen in large scales, everything has been solved.
In the end of this month, the paper publsihed in PLOS ONE (may 2007) will tell every one how to produce 100% of transportation fuels only by biomass. That will be the final solution to transportation fuels.
6th May 2007 - 01:27 AM
I think it's a terrific idea. Add our gaseous wasteproduct (lower end) to it and we won't even have to use that 15 percent..