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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:58 PM

The "Hydrogen Economy" .... One step closer?

The "Hydrogen Economy" - the use of hydrogen gas as an energy source has several problems and one big advantage. The big advantage is that hydrogen combustion produces nothing but water / water vapor - no pollutants. The big problem is that there isn't any real source of free hydrogen - it's made through electrolysis, which requires electricity, which has to come from somewhere. Wherever that somewhere is, it could just as easily be put into the grid and used directly.

So if a "hydrogen economy" is ever to become a reality, some more or less direct source of hydrogen must be found. I was surprised to find promising new research that is aimed at doing just that.

From Science News:

Hydrogen fuel edges a step closer Chemical setup creates clean-burning gas

Making hydrogen gas in water just got a little easier. The discovery may lead to inexpensive, practical means of harvesting sunlight to create clean-burning hydrogen for powering cars or generating electricity. Scientists would like to mimic plant photosynthesis, which harvests sunlight and splits water molecules to create fuel. It sounds simple, but even in plants the task is a highly orchestrated set of reactions, with multiple players acting in multiple places.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/346339/description/Hydrogen_fuel_edges_a_step_closer

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Response to reACTIONary (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:22 AM

1. Stop waiting for some great breakthrough which will be owned by big business

to save the world. Start isaving it yourself. Build your own solar thermal air chimney to help heat your home. These DIY solar heaters are at least 10 times more cost effective than the photovoltaic solar cells, the government and business would have you mortgage your life for. Add R 20 more to your walls and we can do a lot now. We do not have to wait.

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Response to daybranch (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:55 PM

8. Thanks for the info. I did a short google and came up with...

...these two wiki articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_chimney
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower

They explain the concept, however, they weren't too informative about practical residential applications. Do you have any good links concerning practical, residential applications of this technology?

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Response to reACTIONary (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:34 AM

2. I read the same kind of "just around the corner" stories years ago.

 

I doubt that civilization will last long enough to make it a reality. It could be 100 years before they make it real, and I don't think we have that long.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:45 PM

7. "Just around the corner" is the mainstay...

...of the popular science press. If they didn't use this angle, there wouldn't be much interest in their stories.

However, over the last lifetime or so, we have seen some very amazing progress. 100 years IS just around the corner in terms of human history and development, and I don't think we will have any great difficulties making it to that milestone.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:50 PM

11. Before I retired

 

I was a software engineer.

It almost became a joke that each year, starting in about 1970, somebody published a scholarly article stating that computers that could rival human thinking were only 10 years in the future. Maybe some breakthroughs are like the event horizon of a black hole. Time slows down as you approach it so that no matter how long you wait, it's always still 10 years in the future.

And now that it's 2013, we're probably something like ten years away from computers that... oh wait. I've heard that one before.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 10:23 PM

13. AI has been exceptionally noted for a constantly receding event horizon. (nt)

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Response to reACTIONary (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 02:45 AM

3. Fuel cell cars cost a $1 million plus, but EVs are actually affordable for some

With something like 94% of our hydrogen still coming from natural gas, hydrogen I fear is simply the Do Nothing And Burn More Fossil Fuel meme of Big Oil in a well greenwashed wrapper.

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Response to Kennah (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:40 PM

5. You are right about our current hydrogen sources ---

--- this would be a source that does not depend on fossil fuel or hydrocarbons.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:10 PM

9. It's just 10 years away, and it will likely remain as such for some time to come.

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Response to Kennah (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:37 PM

10. At work, our projects are generally 90% complete for 90% of the time. (nt)

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:52 PM

12. I think I add two weeks to the completion date every week

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 08:41 PM

6. Thanks for the information (nt)

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