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Electrolysis of water to make transporting easier

  1. Aug 12, 2013 #1
    Hello All,

    Let us say I want to set up a nice new town in middle of Australia (it is all desert), 500km from the coast, and 1000km from the closest fresh water.
    1, I need to desalinate the sea water.
    2, I need to transport that water to the site.
    3, I need to run power to the site.

    Is there a better way such as the below?
    1, Convert sea water to Hydrogen and Oxygen gas via electrolysis. (And lots of power)
    2, Pump the gases over the long distance.
    3, Use a fuel cell to convert gases back to drinkable water. Possibly storing the gases for later use, much like a battery
    4, Harness electricity from the fuel cell.

    So my questions are:
    1, Would this EVER be the best way?
    2, What factors would need to be met for it to be a real option?
    3, Is pumping a gas in this case better than pumping as a liquid?

    Hope you can help me think this through.

    Regards, Andrew
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Water is way easier to transport than hydrogen(+oxygen). You could just transport hydrogen, of course, but water is really easier to do - it has a high density, so the pipes can be smaller. In addition, water cannot xplode and diffusion through the pipes is negligible.
    This assumes that you want to build a really large city. For a small city, you don't need such a long pipeline, trucks plus a good water management are probably cheaper.

    I guess electricity lines have a better efficiency than electrolysis.
  4. Aug 12, 2013 #3


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    Now all you have to do is convince people to move to the middle of nowhere.
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