Recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen?

In summary, the energy density of hydrogen at 142 MJ/kg does not take into account the additional energy required for compression, and there are ongoing efforts to utilize this energy through regenerative fuel cell technology. However, there are still challenges and considerations to be addressed in order to fully maximize the energy efficiency of hydrogen fuel.
  • #1
RGClark
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The energy density usually given for hydrogen is 142 MJ/kg, by which comparison is made to how much hydrogen would have to be carried for it to be competitive with gasoline-fueled vehicles:

Bottling the hydrogen genie.
"One kilogram of hydrogen provides about the same chemical energy (142 MJ) as 1 gal of gasoline (131 MJ). Factoring in the greater efficiency of PEMs [fuel cells], we need to store about 1 kg of hydrogen for every 2 gal of gasoline on a similar internal-combustion-engine vehicle."
http://www.tipmagazine.com/tip/INPHFA/vol-10/iss-1/p20.html

But one of the storage methods is by high pressurization. Quantum Technologies has a hydrogen tank that can store hydrogen at 10,000psi.
But the energy density quoted of 142 MJ/kg does not take into account how much extra energy is added by the high pressure. It seems to me you should get more energy out by using this high pressure.
Let's say you have 8 kg of hydrogen stored at 10,000 psi = 6.8*10^7 Pa and 300K temperature. There is deviation from the ideal gas law at this pressure and the density is only about 32kg/m^3. See the hydrogen properties here:

Hydrogen Properties Package.
http://inspi.ufl.edu/data/h_prop_package.html

Then the volume of this is 8/32 = .25 m^3. Let's say this was compressed using a constant pressure of 10,000 psi from the volume that obtains at 300K and standard pressure of 1 bar. Then the density then was .09 kg/m^3. So the volume at this T and P was 8/.09 = 88.9 kg/m^3. So the change in the (pressure*volume) energy is 6.8*10^7*(88.9 - .25) = 6.03*10^9 J.

But the energy contained in 8 kg of hydrogen at 142 MJ/kg energy density is 8*142*10^6 = 1.13*10^9.
So the energy added to the hydrogen just by compressing it to 10,000 psi is close to 6 times that already contained in it as chemical energy.
Is there anyway of recovering this energy back?
If so then hydrogen at least at 10,000 psi would not have just 3 times the enrgy content of gasoline by mass but 3*7 = 21 times as much.



Bob Clark
 
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  • #2
, thank you for bringing up this important point. As you correctly pointed out, the energy density of hydrogen at 142 MJ/kg does not take into account the additional energy that is required to compress the hydrogen to high pressures. In fact, the energy required for compression is often referred to as the "compression penalty" and can significantly decrease the overall energy efficiency of hydrogen fuel.

To address your question about recovering this energy, there are currently methods being developed to utilize the compression energy in a process called "regenerative fuel cell". This involves using the excess energy from compression to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, which can then be used in a fuel cell to generate electricity. This process can potentially increase the overall energy efficiency of hydrogen fuel systems.

However, it is important to note that this technology is still in the early stages of development and there are many challenges that need to be overcome before it can be implemented on a large scale. In addition, the energy required for compression is not the only factor that affects the overall energy efficiency of hydrogen fuel. Other factors such as production, storage, and transportation also play a significant role.

In conclusion, while high-pressure hydrogen storage may increase the energy density of hydrogen, it is important to consider the additional energy required for compression and the challenges of recovering this energy. As scientists and engineers continue to develop and improve hydrogen fuel technology, it is important to consider all aspects of energy efficiency in order to make informed decisions about its use as a transportation fuel.
 
  • #3
, thank you for bringing up this interesting point about the potential energy recovery from compressed hydrogen. As you mentioned, the energy density of hydrogen is usually given as 142 MJ/kg, but this does not take into account the additional energy that can be obtained from compressing the hydrogen to high pressures.

In fact, your calculations show that the energy added to hydrogen just by compressing it to 10,000 psi is close to 6 times that already contained in it as chemical energy. This is a significant increase in energy potential and could make hydrogen even more competitive as a fuel source compared to gasoline.

There are several ways to potentially recover this energy from compressed hydrogen. One method could be to use a regenerative fuel cell, which can both generate electricity and store excess energy. This could be used to capture the energy from the compressed hydrogen and store it for later use.

Another possibility could be to use a heat exchanger to capture the heat generated during compression and use it to power other processes or systems. This would not directly recover the energy from the compressed hydrogen, but it could still be a useful way to maximize the energy potential of compressed hydrogen.

Overall, it is clear that there is potential for recovering additional energy from compressed hydrogen, and further research and development in this area could lead to even more efficient and competitive hydrogen fuel systems. Thank you for bringing attention to this important aspect of hydrogen energy.
 

Related to Recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen?

1. What is the process of recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen?

The process of recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen involves using a hydrogen fuel cell to convert the chemical energy of the compressed hydrogen gas into electrical energy. This process is known as electrochemical conversion and it involves the use of an anode, cathode, and electrolyte to produce electricity.

2. How efficient is the process of recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen?

The efficiency of this process varies depending on the type of fuel cell used and the conditions in which it operates. On average, hydrogen fuel cells have a conversion efficiency of 40-60%, making them one of the most efficient methods for converting chemical energy into electricity.

3. Can the recovered pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen be stored for later use?

Yes, the electrical energy produced from the pressure-volume energy of compressed hydrogen can be stored in batteries or capacitors for later use. This allows for the energy to be used when needed, rather than immediately.

4. What are the benefits of recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen?

There are several benefits to recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen, including its high efficiency, low emissions, and potential for renewable energy sources. Hydrogen fuel cells also have a longer lifespan compared to traditional batteries, making them a more sustainable energy option.

5. What are the limitations of recovering pressure-volume energy from compressed hydrogen?

One of the main limitations of this process is the current high cost of producing and storing compressed hydrogen. Additionally, the infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cells is still limited, making it difficult to implement on a large scale. However, with advancements in technology and infrastructure, these limitations are expected to decrease in the future.

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