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What's with this hydrogen fuel craze?

  1. Jan 22, 2006 #1

    ShawnD

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    What's with this "hydrogen fuel" craze?

    I heard something on the news about Iceland wanting to become entirely hydrogen powered. The reason being about reducing dependency on foreign oil.

    Can anybody explain to me how this would reduce dependency on oil? Hydrogen gas is made from methane; the reaction is called the "water gas shift reaction" if you want to look it up. Methane, aka natural gas, is just as limited as oil. How does it benefit a country to switch over from limited resource A to limited resource B, if your country has neither A nor B, and resources A and B are both owned by the same group of people (middle east).
     
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  3. Jan 22, 2006 #2

    Pengwuino

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    Maybe they are using electrolysis.... of coures where is the energy that poewrs electrolysis coming from.

    And does it mean that everyone has to turn in their gasoline driven cars?
     
  4. Jan 22, 2006 #3
    Hydrogen can be made many different ways, and making it by electrolysis of water using electricity generated by solar and wind power could make it a very clean energy storage system, indeed.
     
  5. Jan 22, 2006 #4

    ShawnD

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    I don't know about that. You can't really have hydrogen powered cars because hydrogen just doesn't have the energy. A tank of gasoline will drive you maybe 400km; that same amount of liquid hydrogen (which is impossible to create at any natural earth temperature) would take you maybe 40km. Bigger molecules generally have more energy per unit volume, so diesel has more energy than gasoline, gasoline has more energy than propane, and propane has more energy than hydrogen. It would be wildly impractical to need to fill your car with hydrogen literally every day; including that hydrogen leaks out of the tank faster than you can imagine. If I'm not mistaken, hydrogen is the smallest nonplasma gas there is, so it's also the fastest leaking gas. If you've ever filled a balloon with helium, you would remember that the balloon just seemed to deflate itself in a short time. Hydrogen leaks out literally twice as fast as helium.
    *spelling errors*
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2006
  6. Jan 22, 2006 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Hmm... well they've had hydrogen vehicles down here for a few years....
     
  7. Jan 22, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    They have all the geo-thermal energy they need to make about twenty times more hydrogen than they need via electrolysis. They plan to eventually sell the rest.

    We have been following the Iceland story for over two years in our Hydrogen threads
    here
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=29373

    and here
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=4127
     
  8. Jan 22, 2006 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    you should do alot of reading before you say any more. :smile:
     
  9. Jan 22, 2006 #8
    How to carry the same amount of hydrogen as we now carry gas is a big part of the problem in developing hydrogen vehicles. People have been working on this for years and there's a couple alternatives to carrying it as a gas or liquid that have promise. Ivan had a huge long thread about it in engineering last year.
     
  10. Jan 22, 2006 #9

    Astronuc

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    By mass, hydrogen has a fast diffusion rate at a given temperature, but IIRC He leaks out faster the H2 through a porous balloon. H storage systems are made of metal anyway, and there some metal relatively impervious to hydrogen, e.g. Re.

    Ammonia, NH3 is also fairly good storage medium for H, and it is usually cracked before use as a fuel. Of course, NOx is still a problem.
     
  11. Jan 22, 2006 #10
    Iceland is one big geothermal hot spot. They can harness that energy to electrolysis water for the hydrogen.

    also, Nuclear power (thorium based) can be used as well to get off the dirty nasty oil.
     
  12. Jan 22, 2006 #11
    Perhaps the secret is to create synthetic hydrocarbons?
     
  13. Jan 22, 2006 #12
    Isn't there a way to crack NH3 with out creating any NOx?

    could you hit it with electrons to split it in a chamber that does not have any oxygen in it so that it can not form NOx?
     
  14. Jan 22, 2006 #13

    Astronuc

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    The cracked NH3 produces H2 and N2. The problem is to separate N from H prior to the combustion chamber, which already has N as well as O from air. However, IIRC O is reduced more easily than N, and like combustion of natural gas (primarily methane), burning of ammonia produces less NOx than heavier fossile fuels.

    NOx are handles with catalytic converters.

    Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is a way to produce alkanes from H2 and CO/CO2, and there are a variety of FTS catalysts and processes.
     
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