Add carbon atom to pure hydrogen


by melch
Tags: energy hydrogen
Kmenex
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#19
Oct21-10, 02:41 PM
P: 29
This is turning into a mental struggle, and not a struggle with facts and figures but over the validity of an idea.
alxm
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#20
Oct21-10, 02:55 PM
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Quote Quote by melch View Post
You may be correct, but 1) hydrogen cannot be shipped through natural gas pipelines, 2) there are 1800km of natural gas pipelines in most counties; but only a few hundred km of hydrogen pipelines in the whole US.
So you're looking to solve the entirely non-existent problem of moving hydrogen from the North Sea to continental Europe, or from Alaska to the "lower 48", etc? That's what most of the pipelines are for. As for local distribution networks, then you are entirely capable of utilizing existing infrastructure for hydrogen. In fact, in many European cities, the existing gas distribution infrastructure was originally built for a hydrogen gas mixture, namely coal gas.

I get the impression that you've read that one book on risk, and you're deluding yourself that it's given you some unique insight into the issues that engineers don't have, despite not knowing anything about chemistry or chemical engineering yourself. It does not. Process economics and risk management are basic parts of every chemical engineering program worth its name. I have a close friend with an M.S. in chemical engineering who works full-time with risk management.

You're presenting solutions to non-problems and non-solutions to actual problems, and rather than actually learn something, you're dismissing any criticism on the grounds that people are resistant to change, and "the science is not an issue" - when it clearly is. Consider the possibility that the reason nobody has had your idea before isn't because you know something everyone else doesn't, but because you don't know enough to know why it's a stupid idea in the first place.

You've literally suggested that we form methane from hydrogen using carbon, i.e. coal - which completely defeats the reasons why we want to use hydrogen as a fuel in the first place - so that we can transport it using infrastructure connecting places where there isn't any hydrogen being produced, all while losing lots of energy in the conversion process. That is undoubtedly one of the stupidest ideas I've heard in a while.
MacGyver2
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#21
Jan15-11, 09:48 PM
P: 10
Crew

I'm brand new here and this is my first post. I am a regular at TheBackshed.com out of Australia and I found this forum by following a link on the subject of methane production from pure hydrogen. I tried to put my 2-cents' worth in as a "reply" to a comment on this thread, but it wouldn't let me so here I am. That being said, here's my question:

How can I produce methane gas from pure hydrogen without using the Sabatier Reaction?

Let me give you a little background. On TheBackshed.com, most of us build windmills, myself included. The windmills produce electricity using several methods. I build three-phase alternators and rectify the current for use in charging batteries on the ground. To that end, there are times when the alternator puts out more than the batteries either want or can handle and the "excess" is diverted to what is called a "dump load" which is more often than not, merely a resistive load like a water heater. This saves the whole shebang from catching fire, etc.

What we'd like to be able to do is run the excess d.c (direct current) through a Brown's Gas generator (simple electro-mechanical device) to create hydrogen and oxygen from water. The oxygen is "scrubbed" off with iron filings--steel wool and what is left is almost pure hydrogen gas. We'd then like somehow to turn this elusive gas into methane, to be stored under a water column (most likely) and used as a method of storing excess electricity. The methane could be used for cooking or heating or as a weak motive fuel.

Any ideas?


. . . . . Mac (MacGyver @ TheBackshed.com--MacGyver2 here)
Kracatoan
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#22
Jan16-11, 03:02 AM
P: 119
a) We are getting pretty good at transferring electricity from place to place, and although you would get some energy loss from the wires, I can't see how it would be more efficient to use that electricity to muck around extracting hydrogen, reacting it, transporting it, extracting it again(?) and then using it for whatever purpose you want to use it for, seeing as you could probably use electricity to do that job anyway.

b) You mentioned something about hydrogen fuel being more "eco-friendly", and really, at the moment, thats a joke. Yes, in the future we could use solar panels and the like, but making a solar panel is in no way a "green process".

c) In my opinion, stop trying to get energy from sources like solar power and wind power and go and build a nice, safe, nuclear reactor. It worked for the French.
Kracatoan
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#23
Jan16-11, 03:11 AM
P: 119
Mac,

The only method I can think of off the top of my head is to use the Hydrogen (and a nickel catalyst) to reduce methanol to methane and water, but this probably isn't very helpful, unless you have a large supply of methanol lying around. I suppose you could make some from a bacterial colony, but that would be messy.
Borek
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#24
Jan16-11, 03:29 AM
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Quote Quote by MacGyver2 View Post
What we'd like to be able to do is run the excess d.c (direct current) through a Brown's Gas generator (simple electro-mechanical device) to create hydrogen and oxygen from water. The oxygen is "scrubbed" off with iron filings--steel wool and what is left is almost pure hydrogen gas. We'd then like somehow to turn this elusive gas into methane, to be stored under a water column (most likely) and used as a method of storing excess electricity. The methane could be used for cooking or heating or as a weak motive fuel.
If you use DC and have well separated electrodes, there should be no need for oxygen scrubbing, hydrogen evolves only on the cathode.

From the economical point of view using hydrogen directly should be much more efficient than converting it to methane first.

And no, no idea about how to convert hydrogen into methane. Note that you will need additional source of carbon for that, and in fact most of the energy stored in methane would come from that carbon. While not necessarily impossible, it sounds like buying coal for heating would be much simpler...
melch
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#25
Jan16-11, 08:18 AM
P: 12
Quote Quote by Borek View Post

From the economical point of view using hydrogen directly should be much more efficient than converting it to methane first.
Borek: The only point to creating methane is the ready infrastructure for natural gas. You can ship it cheaply, use it in ready made appliances, buy Natural Gas if your supply of manufactured methane is inadequate.

If we solved this problem, there would be a funding source for clean energy development, and many minds on many paths is a lot more powerful than the best minds on a single path.
JaredJames
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#26
Jan16-11, 10:56 AM
P: 3,390
It's been a while since this thread popped up.

Personally, I support nuclear and would rather see money spent developing a number of nuclear power plants, and then wiping gas out of public use - everything in the home could run on electric. No need to bring things like oil and gas into the equation unless you live way out in the sticks.

I say this because to me, spending excess money on creating what I see as a complex and expensive way to achieve the same thing is pointless - which is exactly what I see this as.

If you remove the need for gas in the home by doing the above, any gas is purely for industry.

Plus, nuclear would reduce dependence on other countries for oil, gas and coal. Which would hopefully allow cheaper energy prices over time.
melch
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#27
Jan16-11, 12:09 PM
P: 12
JNJ: Nuclear is very clean, but it is only safe under rigorous conditions so its not suitable everywhere. There are still the issues of radioactivity that lasts millions of years and the limited availability of nuclear fuel. Plus people hate nuclear. My front window looks out on Shoreham, which is a plant that never opened because it would be impossible to evacuate Long Island in case of a meltdown. No nuclear power plant has been opened in the US since 3-mile-island because of the people's distaste for them.

If you read the whole thread, I am kicking around some ideas that would allow solar energy to be stored as hydrogen. When Solar runs out, we will no longer need any energy on earth anyway, so it is a permanent solution.
JaredJames
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#28
Jan16-11, 12:20 PM
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Firstly, what people think of nuclear is irrelevant. They either want electric or they don't. Eventually it won't be a debate. It will be the only viable option - especially when you consider the numbers of renewable sources required to provide equal output. Besides, the public are idiots and are all about hype. Rational and reasonable discussion is the only way forward, with decisions on such topics by people who actually have knowledge in the field. Not random eco-warriors campaigning against it and the public who know only what is in the news (you hear about Chernobyl yearly, but how often do you hear about other plants "running perfectly"?).

Then have the rigorous conditions in place. No reason they can't be.

I wasn't aware nuclear materials are in short supply. Everything I've seen indicates otherwise, do you have a source?

So far as getting rid of it goes, I like the idea of putting it in subduction zones so it is 'reclaimed' into the earth eventually. Factor in the amount of nuclear waste produced by each plant yearly and it really isn't that much of a problem.

Now, I've been with the thread from the start and I haven't seen anything that shows it as a viable means, especially over nuclear production.
JaredJames
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#29
Jan16-11, 12:20 PM
P: 3,390
Firstly, what people think of nuclear is irrelevant. They either want electric or they don't. Eventually it won't be a debate. It will be the only viable option - especially when you consider the numbers of renewable sources required to provide equal output.

Then have the rigorous conditions in place. No reason they can't be.

I wasn't aware nuclear materials are in short supply. Everything I've seen indicates otherwise, do you have a source?

So far as getting rid of it goes, I like the idea of putting it in subduction zones so it is 'reclaimed' into the earth eventually. Factor in the amount of nuclear waste produced by each plant yearly and it really isn't that much of a problem.

Now, I've been with the thread from the start and I haven't seen anything that shows it as a viable means, especially over nuclear production.
MacGyver2
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#30
Jan16-11, 12:23 PM
P: 10
Crew

Thanks for all the insight, but methane seemed to me to be the easiest route as an alternate "dump load" since that is my main goal in all this.

As for using hydrogen directly, I've tried that, but it's such a small atom, it's hard to contain and when it is oxidized at only 4%, it burns 'explosively' without much heat. Someone said the major heat value here would be from the carbon atom in the methane and I concur. Still, there just has to be a simple way to do this (Mac crosses his fingers).

As for separating the cathode and anode to achieve individual gas isolation, yes, that works, but the amount of current needed to pull it off is ginormous! My windmills are small and generate only about 400 watts in a stiff breeze, so I would need to keep the electrodes as close as physically possible, without them touching and short-circuiting them. I do this with a high-nicklle-content center electrode suspended within an aluminum tube, carried by small "doughnut" insulators. The resulting gas flow is huge, but I must scrub off the oxygen or face questioning by the local police bomb squad (which has actually happened onc! and is not high up on my "things I'd like to do again" list!).

I'll keep searching; there's got to be some easy way to do this


. . . . . Mac
Borek
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#31
Jan16-11, 02:20 PM
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Quote Quote by MacGyver2 View Post
As for separating the cathode and anode to achieve individual gas isolation, yes, that works, but the amount of current needed to pull it off is ginormous!
That's an economical argument and it makes sense. But then you say

I must scrub off the oxygen
and from the same point of view - economy of the whole process - it doesn't make sense. You need first something to scrub the oxygen, then you need energy to convert hydrogen to something else. I doubt additional costs are worth additional energy you can get from the system this way. Additional battery to add energy storage seems more logical to me.
MacGyver2
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#32
Jan16-11, 03:37 PM
P: 10
Borek

We're not talking efficiency here. This is a hobby; who cares about efficiency? If this becomes too large a white elephant, we will use a resistive load as has been done forever. I was just trying to be creative and come up with a new trick, that's all.

And as for scrubbing the oxygen, all one need do is pass the H-O mixture under its own partial pressure through steel wool and it's a done deal. I wish adding a carbon atom was as easy!


. . . . . . Mac
Borek
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#33
Jan16-11, 03:57 PM
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Quote Quote by MacGyver2 View Post
And as for scrubbing the oxygen, all one need do is pass the H-O mixture under its own partial pressure through steel wool and it's a done deal. I wish adding a carbon atom was as easy!
And what is a chemistry behind? Is it not reaction of iron with the oxygen? If so, you need to replace the steel wool now and again.
MacGyver2
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#34
Jan16-11, 07:29 PM
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True; I've got a shopping bag full! No biggie.


. . . . . Mac
Borek
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#35
Jan17-11, 01:57 AM
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No biggie, but it makes economy of the process worse again.
MacGyver2
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#36
Jan17-11, 11:24 AM
P: 10
What part of "economy is not part of this" don't you get? I don't give two hoots about economy or feasibility or anything like that. All I'm after is a quick and dirty way to go from hydrogen gas to methane. That's it! I originally intended this to be less complicated than your hairdo.

Maybe it's not in the cards. If that's the case, I will either resume using a resistive load as a dump load or I'll do something else.

Anyone else out there with a clever idea?


. . . . . Mac


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