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Dark Side of Hydrogen Power:

  1. Oct 21, 2003 #1
    The Dark Side of Hydrogen Power:

    As with most solutions, Hydrogen Power made by splitting the elements of water H2O, also creates new problems. Currently there is barely enough fresh drinking water on earth for our six billion people. Not only third world countries suffer this problem but even San Diego California now has a program called “From the sewer to the sink,” where they reclaim sewer water for drinking.

    If all of the energy needs for six billion people are addressed via splitting hydrogen from water, we will have to desalinate the oceans as a means of providing enough fresh water to split. Even more will be desalinated for drinking and agriculture as it will only mean building more and larger desalination plants.

    When the hydrogen is burnt and converted into energy you will not get more than a small amount of water vapor (its byproduct) back into the atmosphere and thus our oceans. You do not get one gallon of water back after the energy is sucked out from one gallon of water H2O split and used for the fuel. If our oceans decrease by only a few inches, they will become more salty unless the salt is set aside in world wide landfills. Even so, it is a sure bet that plant and other life in our oceans will die as a direct result of massive desalination for hydrogen based energy.

    Drawn to its conclusion, our earth may look more like the landscape of Mars with empty canals where mighty rivers and oceans once flourished. Far too little concern and therefore money and thus time is spent looking at the adverse consequences of future solutions to our critical energy problems of today.

    Perhaps if those who developed oil as an energy source would have also viewed the consequences, they would have viewed other options much sooner. We are wiser now via our experiences with pollution etc yet we do not seem wise enough to view the consequences of our proposed solutions yet.

    Any wise future solution will have to be in harmony with our earth as a whole and thus (with the technology at hand today) would most probably incorporate a variety of natural sources of energy. To totally use any one energy generation would most likely also have dire consequences.

    If the people of the entire earth used solar panels we would soon find that they would absorb heat that they convert to electricity and the earth would cool. If we all used windmills we would find that the wind would be diminished and seeds would not be carried as far in the wind as they once were. Our weather and thus climate would change artificially.

    If we all used geothermal energy by tapping our earth's core we would find that our earth's core would cool. Perhaps when we pump enough oil out we will find the earth's rotation will begin to wobble if it has not already. It seems that our magnetic poles are even now shifting.

    Some negative consequences can be predicted and then there are most always the unknown consequences that must be looked for to be spotted at their first sign of destruction and thus dealt with ASAP before they become critical. Out thinking must change before we poor all of our money and time into a popular solution of the day, that looks good today but will destroy our only earth and thus us and our children tomorrow.

    With our present technology and the lessons of our past mistakes, we should first spend more money looking for better solutions with manageable consequences as well as new technology. To meet our present day needs we can use a combination of sun, wind, and water energy that has almost zero pollution.

    By far the most effective and immediate solution is for all of us to create our own energy whenever possible and to consume it wisely. If people as individuals are encouraged to be more self sufficient and conservative, then our world will become more self sufficient as a whole. This will at least buy us, our earth, more time to find the best solutions to our past critical problems.

    I live on my sailboat with solar panels for electricity and a desalinator for drinking water while at sea. I ride my electric bike and charge its batteries with my solar panels Vs plugging into the grid. It is a simple and even fun and healthy lifestyle.

    If we all shouldered our personal responsibilities to make this a better planet to pass on to our children Vs looking to any government to fix anything and or everything, we all might find that our world's problems and thus solutions start and end with each of us and thus is within our personal power to solve. We should and must demand that our governments press on, find the BEST solutions, and do the right thing but, we must ALL also do our part or we and our very own children will ALL continue to suffer the consequences of OUR bad choices and or selfish apathy.

    What Say Ye?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2003 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think you have some valid concerns. I have also considered that putting food production in competition with energy, as in the production of fuel from crops, may be a bad idea. But as to your main point, there are many methods being explored for producing H2. Most any source rich in hydrocarbons can be used. Also, it may not be necessary to desalinate the water. For a discussion with many links and references please see this thread.

    Note that most links are found on pages 1, 4, 5, and 6:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4127
     
  4. Oct 21, 2003 #3
    You wrote:

    "I think you have some valid concerns. I have also considered that putting food production in competition with energy, as in the production of fuel from crops, may be a bad idea. But as to your main point, there are many methods being explored for producing H2. Most any source rich in hydrocarbons can be used. Also, it may not be necessary to desalinate the water."

    I agree with your assesment of not using farmland (and the water needed etc) to produce fuel crops but I feel you missed my main point ie: Work the solution backwards. Most solutions create new problems. Lets seek and factor in the negative consequences of any solution first. Solve the problems that the primary solution creates and we can choose the best solution.

    PS: Your Pro website here ---CIA,,, thing did not work. No Page...
     
  5. Oct 21, 2003 #4

    chroot

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    No one's really proposing that we do this, at least not in the near term.
    Splitting water does not generate energy. It requires energy. The separated hydrogen and oxygen are then a sort of chemical battery, and, when recombined, liberate the same quantity of energy.
    You don't have to desalinate water to make it easier to electrolyze. In fact, you need some ions in the water anyway for electrolysis.
    This is just patently and stupidly incorrect. If you electrolyze a pound of water and then burn the resulting hydrogen with oxygen, you get exactly one pound of water back. This is called the conservation of mass.
    As I said, this won't happen.
    I see you don't understand the conservation of energy any better than you understand the conservation of mass. The flux received from the Sun is constant. No matter how we use it, the Earth, as a closed system, will always receive the same flux.
    Sounds like abject blue-sky speculation to me. I wonder why you crackpots always seem to think trivial things are going to make the planet wobble? This defies all physical understanding. The pole shifts are a normal and continual process that existed long before mankind.
    As mankind has learned from hundreds of years of industrialization, this is exactly the wrong way to limit pollution and land destruction. Centralization of industrial resources is critical to conservation.
    You need to understand that residential use is TINY compared to corporate use. The people who built your sailboat and made you desalinator are far bigger problems for the environment than you, the end user. The solution to environmental problems is NOT to hound the consumers, whose usage is tiny in the first place.

    - Warren
     
  6. Oct 21, 2003 #5
    Warren said:

    "This is just patently and stupidly incorrect."

    Now, now, now... Again, as I stated above, I am addressing the "solutions create new problems that need new solutions,etc" that should be considered to find the best solutions Vs simply making a comment about Hydrogen. Hydrogen or rather the energy problem is simply what I used to explain that.

    Perhaps I should have picked something more simple such as hydroelectric surf cones.

    I can not blindly accept as fact that you can split 1 gal of H20, burn it and get 1 gal of H20 back. And if you are only getting the equal energy back out that it took to split it,,, then why bother unless you are only creating a battery / storage unit etc...? I probably have that wrong also. I t happens:-)
     
  7. Oct 21, 2003 #6
    Methinks ye have partaken too much of ye olde tetrahydrocannabinol on your sailboat-home, matey.

    On the contrary, one molecule of H2O yields two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. When burned, two hydrogen atoms combine with one oxygen atom to form one hydrogen molecule. NONE of the hydrogen is converted to energy. Burning simply releases the chemical potential energy that was stored when the water molecule was split. A bigger problem is finding a source of energy with which to release the hydrogen in the first place.

    Oh, and I'm not worried that the use of solar panels to generate electricity will cool the earth, either. When the electricity that they generate is used to provide light, or power to run machines, etc., that energy is converted back to heat -- the same heat that the sunlight would have been converted to, had it been allowed to simply strike the earth to begin with.
     
  8. Oct 21, 2003 #7

    chroot

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    You don't have to blindly accept it. Do an experiment. Let the universe show you.

    As far as "why bother?" that's exactly my point. If you electrolyze water from the ocean, only to burn the hydrogen somewhere else in your car or home, then you're really just using the hydrogen (which you store in a tank) and oxygen (which you release the atmosphere) as a battery. You are NOT releasing any kind of energy. It took energy to electrolyze the water, and you get it back when you burn it. No more, no less. What you've described is a BATTERY, not a GENERATOR.

    The hydrogen economy helps alleviate several problems:

    1) Pollution. Hydrogen combustion produces only water, so having our cars run on it means no more pollution. Cars are by far the largest slice of the pollution pie. As I said, centralization is the key to protecting the environment. Even if we evolve hydrogen from fossil fuels -- which will be the near-term solution -- we can build plants that don't pollute. The economy of scale allows us to amortize the cost of pollution-control equipment for a plant over the millions of consumers that depend on the plant. On the other hand, distributed pollution control is not economical -- we can't afford to put good pollution-control equipment on every car on the road.

    2) Efficiency. Hydrogen-based system, including fuel-cells and internal combustion engines, are much more efficient than the gasoline engines we now use. The is better efficiency means less wasted energy.

    - Warren
     
  9. Oct 21, 2003 #8
    GNOME, Thanks. Now I get it.

    So we get 1 gal of water in the form of vapor everywhere = a new problem... (The H2O came from somewhere to begin with)... and now is all over the earth in water vapor... Hummm will that create rain forests where there once was hot sand???

    As for heat being released when motors run??? It is not sunlight and does not have the purifying effects of sunlight etc... See what I mean? It is the question that the solution creates that must be looked into and answered before a nother bad solution is forced upon us...

    I am not saying it is a bad solution but it WILL have consequences and I hear nothing from anyone here about that... Hummm.
     
  10. Oct 21, 2003 #9

    chroot

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    OH NOOOOOO! CLOOOOOUDS!!!!!!

    Do the calculations. The amount of water evaporating from the surface of the ocean is WAY WAY WAY larger than the amount of water vapor released by all of mankind's energy consumption in the form of hydrogen combustion.
    You specifically said the world would get colder. This is false. Now you're talking about 'purifying effects?' What's a 'purifying effect?'
    The earth is much more robust than you give it credit. You are simply an alarmist lacking basic physical understanding.

    - Warren
     
  11. Oct 21, 2003 #10
    2) Efficiency. Hydrogen-based system, including fuel-cells and internal combustion engines, are much more efficient than the gasoline engines we now use. The is better efficiency means less wasted energy.

    - Warren

    Warren,

    I agree that we must get away from gas / oil based fuel but consider this. What fuel will we get the hydrogen from? We can make it from LP gas but why expend the energy when we can directly run cars on LP now and they burn cleaner?

    I would like to see capacitor batteries perfected and thus 1 amp created = 1 amp stored Vs 2 amps for 1 in current batteries. I would like to see the sun, wind, and hydroelectric sources used to create electricity (the amps)...

    What do you think?
     
  12. Oct 21, 2003 #11
    The earth is much more robust than you give it credit. You are simply an alarmist lacking basic physical understanding.

    - Warren

    You give me too much credit... Are you kidding? Look at my pic. I am only a chimp but willing to see how you would explain (answer simple questions) to others (students, govt non science types that hold the dollars you want, the general public in a news conferance, etc...)

    Life is an expirment but sometimes how we light the fire is as important as the fact that we lit the fire (sometimes more important)...
     
  13. Oct 21, 2003 #12

    chroot

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    Nothing burns cleaner than hydrogen.
    A hydrogen fuel-cell is essentially just such a perfect battery.
    There simply isn't enough energy in these resources. Besides, hydroelectric plants are some of the most environmentally costly projects the world has ever seen.

    - Warren
     
  14. Oct 21, 2003 #13
    That might not be such a bad thing, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it, either. Overall, we would expect an increase in rainfall to establish the appropriate equilibrium level of humidity. Locally, in areas where large amounts of hydrogen fuel is being burned, we might expect an increase in humidity. Well, given a choice of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide vs. humidity, I'll take humidity, thank you.

    Oh, and the purifying effects of sunlight??? Exactly which purifying effects are lost when the sunlight strikes a photoelectric panel, instead of striking the earth ten feet below the panel?
     
  15. Oct 21, 2003 #14
    Oh please... I am only a chimp not a GS...

    The main point was: Lets fully explore the consequenses (new problems that any such solution will create) and pick the best solution or combination thereof.

    Still unanswered: What will be used to make hydrogen? How much and what kind of energy (fuel also and polution thereof) will be used to extract the hydrogen?

    Remember, chimps have feelings also... Perhaps not very good brains but some chimps have alot of money LOL:-}
     
  16. Oct 21, 2003 #15
    Warren said:

    "OH NOOOOOO! CLOOOOOUDS!!!!!!

    Do the calculations. The amount of water evaporating from the surface of the ocean is WAY WAY WAY larger than the amount of water vapor released by all of mankind's energy consumption in the form of hydrogen combustion."

    OK. Lets see... 10,000,000 people in the LA Ca. area producing say,,, one gallon of water a day released into the air (and that is not much driving per person since hydrogen gets far less distance per gal than gas does... = larger fuel tanks unless we use say "Bucky tubes") = = = 10,000,000 gallons of water vapor (steam, clouds) into the LA air every day... Hummmm...

    Acording to you, this is not worth even thinking about and I am way out there...
     
  17. Oct 21, 2003 #16

    chroot

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    Let me get this straight. You think that out of the hundreds of thousands of people employed as power engineers and city planners worldwide, you're the only person who ever had the bright idea to:

    FULLY EXPLORE THE CONSEQUENCES AND PICK THE BEST SOLUTION?

    - Warren
     
  18. Oct 21, 2003 #17

    chroot

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    Where did you get this "one gallon a day" figure? Do you have any clue how wrong it is?

    - Warren
     
  19. Oct 21, 2003 #18
    GNOME said:

    Locally, in areas where large amounts of hydrogen fuel is being burned, we might expect an increase in humidity.

    Hummm... 10,000,000 people in LA X 10 gal of water vapor a week = 100,000,000 gals of ???clouds = alot of rain somewhere, no sun in LA ever again, and pollution sticking to and sitting under the permanate cloud where LA once was.
     
  20. Oct 21, 2003 #19
    Where did you get this "one gallon a day" figure? Do you have any clue how wrong it is?

    - Warren

    I got it from CHROOT and you people... read the second post here. Also,,, If you do not take Hydrogen from water and return it as water (an equal amount according to CHROOT so I thought) then what resource on earth will it come from? How much energy will be used = pollution created, and mostly,,, what new problems will arise???

    Not one person here can find one thing on the down side of hydrogen... Hummm is everyone employed via the new federal funds for this?
     
  21. Oct 21, 2003 #20

    chroot

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    Well, you certainly need to brush up on those reading skills, because I never said anything about gallons in this thread, ever. Futhermore, the second post in this thread was by Ivan, and had nothing to do with the rate of consumption of a person driving a car.
    Yes, we are all members of a giant international hydrogen conspiracy.

    - Warren
     
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