New hydrogen storage material could be added directly to fuel tanks

Jan 31, 2011 by Lisa Zyga weblog
(Left) Cella Energy CEO Stephen Voller and (right) micro-beads that make up the new hydrogen storage material. Image credit: Cella Energy.

(PhysOrg.com) -- If hydrogen is to ever play a role in powering vehicles on a large-scale, researchers must not only find a way to produce hydrogen, but also a safe method to store it. Currently, storing hydrogen requires either very low temperatures or very high pressures, both of which are expensive, require large amounts of energy, and involve safety risks. Now a new spin-out company from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK called Cella Energy Ltd. is developing an inexpensive, practical method to store hydrogen that could be added directly to conventional automobile engines. The method could lead to clean hydrogen fuels for vehicles that can be pumped like gasoline, fuel additives to lower emissions in vehicles with minimal modifications, and even batteries that allow laptops to last a week between charges, among other uses.

The new storage technique stems from research performed by Professor Stephen Bennington, Dr. Arthur Lovell, and others at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the University College London and the University of Oxford. The researchers developed a way to make tiny microfibers that are just 2-50 nm in diameter using low-cost automated processes called electrospinning and electrospraying. The microfibers can then be woven together to create a micro-porous polymer that resembles tissue paper, or a similar technique can be used to make micro-beads. The tiny pores in the polymer can encapsulate a variety of hydrides, which are that include hydrogen and other elements. When the hydrides are trapped inside the polymers, the hydrogen can be rapidly desorbed (released) at low pressures and ambient temperatures. According to Cella Energy, the micro-porous polymers can store as much hydrogen for a given weight as high-pressure tanks.

The micro-beads, which also encapsulate hydrides, are especially interesting for vehicular applications. The micro-beads resemble a fine powder and could potentially be poured and pumped like a fluid into vehicles’ fuel tanks. The company explains that the encapsulated hydrogen could be safely used in either an internal combustion engine or fuel cell. Once the hydrogen is desorbed from a bead, the empty bead is stored in a separate lightweight plastic tank in the vehicle. When the vehicle needs to be refueled, the waste beads are removed from the vehicle and taken elsewhere to be rehydrided and recycled. Unlike hydrogen stored in high-pressure cylinders, new micro-beads could be refueled into vehicles just like vehicles today are refueled with gasoline. The company adds that the hydrogen storage materials are actually safer to handle than .

According to the CEO of Cella Energy, Stephen Voller, the technology has the potential to provide a driving range of 300-400 miles between fueling. As for pricing, an article on Gizmag says that the storage materials could lead to synthetic fuel that costs just $1.50 per gallon, although it’s not clear where that price comes from.

During the past year, the researchers at Cella Energy have been experimenting with ammonia borane as the hydride. When encapsulated, the accessible hydrogen content is 6% by weight. Although this percentage exceeds the DOE target of 4.5wt%, it is less than that of ammonia borane in its normal state. However, one of the advantages is that the hydrogen in the new polymer is desorbed an order of magnitude faster and at more convenient temperatures than ammonia borane in its normal state. The researchers noted that, while this will work for proof-of-concept work, it is too expensive to make for a commercial product and cannot be easily recycled. The company is currently looking into different hydrides that have slightly lower contents, but that could be recycled many hundreds of times.

At this point, Cella Energy has at least one investor, the chemical company Thomas Swan and Co. Cella Energy hopes to perform the first road tests next year, and, if they go well, could commercialize the product within the next five years.

Explore further: Material generates steam under solar illumination

More information: www.cellaenergy.com
via: Gizmag

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User comments : 66

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dirk_bruere
3 / 5 (10) Jan 31, 2011
Dead end
Nik_2213
3 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2011
Ingenious !!

Uh, its niche application may be for stationary fuel cells, as having massive cylinders of hydrogen gas about is scary.

Consider the way acetylene is stored (from wiki):
"... dissolved in acetone or dimethylformamide (DMF), contained in a metal cylinder with a porous filling (Agamassan), which renders it safe to transport and use, given proper handling."
StillWind
2.2 / 5 (6) Jan 31, 2011
Yeah. How long will the hydrogen "fuel" lie continue?
nypinstripes
3 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2011
solid state hydrogen was created in 2002 by stanford oshinsky, it was ina NOVA documentary on PBS called future car. Do a search for "Ovonics tank". It stores 3x the amount of hydrogen per cubic inch and is totally non-combustable
nypinstripes
1 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2011
solid-state hydrogen was created in 2002 by stanford ovshinsky at Ovonics, it was in a NOVA documentary on PBS called future car. Do a search for "Ovonics tank". It stores 3x the amount of hydrogen per cubic inch and is totally non-combustable unfortunately the company closed its solid state hydrogen division due to lack of funding.

chevron-texaco owns a 20% share of the company
Sanescience
2.7 / 5 (6) Feb 01, 2011
Ug, it is so sad to read about all the research money poured into hydrogen as an energy carrier.

Bio-fuels have better energy density and transportation characteristics. They are environmentally friendly, unlike Hydrogen. And they give people the freedom of being able to work on and repair their own transportation.

Hydrogen will make us all beholden to the patent holders and the dealers who are exclusively "qualified" to maintain the vehicles.

Do the math.
taka
2.8 / 5 (8) Feb 01, 2011
There exist easy way to make safe fluid from hydrogen. Just bond it with carbon. The result is called hydrocarbons or gas. Available on all gas stations. Can be used in fuel cells for electric cars and contain more energy per weight then pure hydrogen. Can be produced from sun (or nuclear) energy, water and CO2 but it is environmentally healthier to produce it from oil until that lasts. Can also be produced as so called biofuel using plants, water, CO2 and sun, but that is the worst environmental disaster imaginable, wast amounts of land are going to be destroyed and waters poisoned by this inefficient and wasteful industry.
Ricochet
3 / 5 (3) Feb 01, 2011
Hydrogen isn't environmentally friendly? Really? That's odd, considering it's the most abundant element in the universe... It's only when you concentrate it a bit and light it on fire that it becomes a hassle...
Moebius
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 01, 2011
I don't understand these remarks. When hydrogen burns you get water. Normal energy sources are used to create it so it isn't any less environmentally unfriendly than any other energy storage medium that requires power from the electrical grid and better than some. It takes power to get oil and gas and it definitely ISN'T environmentally friendly when it's burned.

If hydrogen is produced from clean electricity it is almost totally clean. Where's the myth? You luddites don't understand that science will probably solve the problems as it usually does? If the energy cost to make hydrogen is high now, science can solve that too. Who cares if it doesn't contain the energy of gasoline? Does anyone really need a range of over 100 miles if you can refuel quickly and easily? It may turn out that it isn't the way to go but there's no way to tell yet.
Ricochet
5 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2011
Not to mention that you can seperate hydrogen and oxygen from WATER with a small amount of electricity. You isolate the hydrogen and release the oxygen to the atmosphere. Both are easy processes that can be done with solar power. Problem solved. The only real problem is how to store the hydrogen in a state that is safe for transportation, especially in the event of a collision in an automobile. This article is showing one way in which they propose to accomplish that.
Ricochet
2.4 / 5 (5) Feb 01, 2011
Have I mentioned that pure oxygen is also highly flammable? Maybe we should outlaw both elements. Oh, and those oxygen taps that are in most hospitals? You can say goodbye to those, too.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2011
Wow, the science hack knee jerk reactions are strong with this topic.

Basically: atomic hydrogen is a horrible energy carrier, it is by some definitions pure acid. Cryogenics is radically energy inefficient. At room temperature, hydrogen escapes, you can't stop it. Leaked hydrogen into the atmosphere is bad, poor understanding of reactions in the atmosphere including ozone depletion. Hydrogen embrittlement can cause serious damage to an industrialized infrastructure. There is no source of hydrogen that wouldn't better utilize the energy involved directly on grid, anything that uses hydrogen right now results in more release of CO2 than any fossil fuel.

Nature already figured out how to use hydrogen, stick it onto a chain of carbons to alter it's mechanical properties so it is a liquid at room temperature and cant escape. Stop trying to re-invent the wheel!!!
Sanescience
2.5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
"Hydrogen isn't environmentally friendly? Really? That's odd, considering it's the most abundant element in the universe... "

Your correlation of abundance with environmental issues is unfounded and unsupported. Just because most of the universe is flooded with hard and soft radiation doesn't mean it is good for our environment.

You are also failing to distinguish between the element hydrogen as it exists in chemical compounds, and atomic (well, molecular I suppose) hydrogen being proposed as an energy carrier.
Sanescience
3 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2011
Not to mention that you can seperate hydrogen and oxygen from WATER with a small amount of electricity. You isolate the hydrogen and release the oxygen to the atmosphere. Both are easy processes that can be done with solar power. Problem solved. The only real problem is how to store the hydrogen in a state that is safe for transportation, especially in the event of a collision in an automobile. This article is showing one way in which they propose to accomplish that.


That conversion into hydrogen, then back into energy again, depending on specific applications, probably looses at least 50% of the energy you started with. Not counting transportation costs to take the hydrogen someplace. Put that energy into the power grid and turn off a coal burning power plant instead.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
Have I mentioned that pure oxygen is also highly flammable? Maybe we should outlaw both elements. Oh, and those oxygen taps that are in most hospitals? You can say goodbye to those, too.


Wow, there are so many logic errors in that tiny bit of text I don't think I should even try. How about instead starting with an easy question: Who is proposing using oxygen as a carrier of energy?
Sanescience
1 / 5 (5) Feb 01, 2011
I don't understand these remarks. When hydrogen burns you get water. Normal energy sources are used to create it so it isn't any less environmentally unfriendly than any other energy storage medium that requires power from the electrical grid and better than some. It takes power to get oil and gas and it definitely ISN'T environmentally friendly when it's burned.


Ouch, I think that actually hurt to read. I am reminded of the saying by Pauli, "Not only is it not right, it's not even wrong!"

I understand that a lot of special interest marketing has gone into convincing people that squeezing money out of the government to fund their experimental development ventures sounds like a good idea... but resist the Kool-aid people!

holoman
3 / 5 (6) Feb 01, 2011
I have never read so many erroneous statements
about hydrogen. It's no wonder why we still rely on oil and probably will keep using because the oil lobbyist on this blog are insuring its demise.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 01, 2011
H2 use will be an important space technology, yes? We can mine it from gas giants and make it from H2O found on the moon, mars, and comets. Developing the production, storage, and application tech here on earth through large-scale consumer use will benefit us in the future.
Sanescience
3.8 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2011
I have never read so many erroneous statements
about hydrogen. It's no wonder why we still rely on oil and probably will keep using because the oil lobbyist on this blog are insuring its demise.


Please specify errors!

Just because Hydrogen doesn't measure up doesn't mean fossil fuels are the answer. Bio diesel fuels are the best fit that I see for the next hand full of decades.

A great deal of bio diesel could be manufactured from agricultural and sewer waste. Bio reactors with various feed stocks, including solar reactors using selectively bred algae, could provide all the transportation fuel we need.

The resulting fuels will be clean burning (H2O and CO2) carbon-neutral. Safe and bio degradable in the environment. Easy and relatively efficient to transport and store for future use. Safe to handle and lets us reuse our current infrastructure for its deployment. A lot of car mechanics get to keep their jobs to.

Where does this not make sense?
Sanescience
2.5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
H2 use will be an important space technology, yes? We can mine it from gas giants and make it from H2O found on the moon, mars, and comets. Developing the production, storage, and application tech here on earth through large-scale consumer use will benefit us in the future.


I don't know what the future of space holds for hydrogen. The space shuttle went that route, but despite it's attractive energy to weight ratio as a cryogenic fuel, just working with the material was a big chunk of the cost overruns, and the foam insulation involved in using hydrogen is what doomed Columbia.

The best candidates for next generation of capable lifting rockets are RP-1 and LOX. Hydrogen isn't being considered much anymore.

If your talking in a more advanced inter-solar system society, hydrogen will not be the propellant of choice. That will be forms of fission/fusion energy and heavy nuclei ion reaction mass (ion propulsion.)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Feb 01, 2011
As H2 will be a byproduct of O2 production in extraterrestrial colonies it will be abundant and available for many uses. It may prove easier and cheaper to use as fuel for moving around the surface of a planet. It will have many industrial uses.

Large-scale storage and transport still offer many technical challenges that may best be addressed via consumer product use and development.
Moebius
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2011
I don't understand these remarks. When hydrogen burns you get water. Normal energy sources are used to create it so it isn't any less environmentally unfriendly than any other energy storage medium that requires power from the electrical grid and better than some. It takes power to get oil and gas and it definitely ISN'T environmentally friendly when it's burned.


Sanescience: Ouch, I think that actually hurt to read. I am reminded of the saying by Pauli, "Not only is it not right, it's not even wrong!"


I can only assume you think all the statements are wrong. You don't even know that when hydrogen burns it turns into water? Do you think hydrogen is gathered from the atmosphere by perpetual motion free energy machines? Do you think burning hydrogen with a water byproduct is worse for the environment than burning gasoline? Did you think that we just scoop up gasoline from pools of it? Luckily you didn't actually refute any statements or you would look REALLY dumb.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
I don't understand these remarks. When hydrogen burns you get water. Normal energy sources are used to create it so it isn't any less environmentally unfriendly than any other energy storage medium that requires power from the electrical grid and better than some. It takes power to get oil and gas and it definitely ISN'T environmentally friendly when it's burned.


Sanescience: Ouch, I think that actually hurt to read. I am reminded of the saying by Pauli, "Not only is it not right, it's not even wrong!"


I can only assume you think all the statements are wrong.. You don't even know that when hydrogen burns it turns into water?" ... "Ding, you get the daily reward for most ignorant post."


Try to avoid the indignant outrage tone, it isn't helping your case.

Now, let me explain a little in the following post as this one is already out of space.
Sanescience
3 / 5 (2) Feb 02, 2011
I don't understand these remarks. When hydrogen burns you get water.


That is true, but irrelevant (contributing to the "not wrong"). *LOTS* of things burn and give of water. Bio diesel burns and gives off lots of water and some CO2 via carbon neutral sources. Both of which are completely safe and natural for the environment.

What needs to be understood is the merits of hydrogen as a *carrier* of energy, not what the resulting products of it's reaction are, because there are plenty fuels that burn "clean".

I will even delve a little deeper for people who care to know why hydrogen has problems...

In a combustion engine, the gas pressure drives the pistons which is the first stage of moving. When two hydrogen and one oxygen react to form H2O, the gas pressure component represented by the molecule count *DROPS* by 2/3rds (1 where there was 3). In essence, burning hydrogen consumes a great deal of the mechanical energy needed to move the vehicle.

Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
Normal energy sources are used to create it so it isn't any less environmentally unfriendly than any other energy storage medium that requires power from the electrical grid and better than some.


What is a "normal" energy source? Coal, oil, nuclear-fission, nuclear-decay, solar-thermal, solar-voltaic, wind, natural gas, geothermal, tidal, biomass-waste, biomass-crop? They are NOT ALL THE SAME! IT MATTERS!

Currently the bulk of all hydrogen comes from reformation of fossil fuel hydrocarbons. While currently it is the most economical method, it is terrible for the environment. Which is kind of perverse if then used in a vehicle for purposes of being environmentally friendly, as consumed resources and pollution released far, *far*, exceed that if you just put the oil directly in the car.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
It takes power to get oil and gas and...


no, No, NO! Just the opposite *in the extreme*. Getting fossil fuels out of the ground is HYPER energy "positive"! Which is why it is so hard to kick our addiction to it, and to not tolerate the negative environmental impacts for using it.

Our society would not exist if we didn't get HUGE amounts of energy "out" of the fossil fuel industry.

However, atomic Hydrogen is a purely artificial manufactured product and it "takes power to get", which is why it is not an energy source, but a low efficiency energy carrier.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
Normal energy sources are used to create it so it isn't any less environmentally unfriendly than any other energy storage medium that requires power from the electrical grid and better than some.


Other than the nutty notion of "normal" energy. What is a "storage medium" requiring electricity from the power grid?

The power grid is essentially the last leg of getting electricity to a consumer. If there is no consumer for the electricity, it's production is curtailed, as in they turn off a natural gas fueled power plant after peak load times of the day, or sometimes a coal plant if base load power needs are seen to be down for an extended period of time.

There is no industrial level consumption of electricity from the grid to "store" it. That would be crazy inefficient and makes no economic sense!
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2011
Do you think hydrogen is gathered from the atmosphere by perpetual motion free energy machines? Do you think burning hydrogen with a water byproduct is worse for the environment than burning gasoline? Did you think that we just scoop up gasoline from pools of it? Luckily you didn't actually refute any statements or you would look REALLY dumb.


Um, wow. I think you got your feelings hurt and don't actually believe any of that. Well, maybe you believe the last part about my looking "REALLY" dumb now that I posted some "refute".

Neat trick changing your post after it was posted, sometimes I wish I could do that.

Edit: Interesting, I can edit after posted if it is still the last entry... ok, I feel a little dumb for not noticing that before!
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2011
I take it from the silence that rational discussion doesn't dispel the "hydrogen, it has be good!" meme, or people are too lazy to actually think about some of the most important issues that face our nation, let alone the world. With "greenies" like these, we're doomed.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
I take it from the silence that rational discussion doesn't dispel the "hydrogen, it has be good!" meme, or people are too lazy to actually think about some of the most important issues that face our nation, let alone the world. With "greenies" like these, we're doomed.


Well, your pressure drop explaination is thermodynamically wrong, but I won't go into further detail because physorg is dropping my posts for some reason.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
Ah, so now I can write again.

Anyways. Conservation of momentum and energy means that the pressure in a cylinder stays the same regardless, if we forget the heat added by the combustion. What confuses people is the fact that water tends to condense later on, which draws a very strong vacuum, which it won't in an engine because it's too hot.

And the actual drop in the number of molecules is 1/3 not 2/3. 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
2H2 + O2 -> 2H2O + heat, is technically correct. I shouldn't post at 1am!

I think in actuality the hydrogen is burned against atmosphere gasses, so it is much more complicated with all the same NOx pollution issues competing for the oxygen.

As for "Conservation of momentum and energy meaning the pressure in a cylinder stays the same, if we forget the heat added by the combustion"... I don't think that is how it works, even though they are not "ideal" the gas laws mostly apply. Which means "density" (number of particles) and energy (momentum, heat) determine pressure. See Avogadro's Law.

Certainly
plasticpower
not rated yet Feb 05, 2011
@Sanescience, most of what you say is true, except I don't think I agree with what you said about how H2 would work in an ICE. Once the engine is hot enough, any resultant water is turned to steam, and the steam behaves like any other gas which follows Avogadro's law. Therefore, 2 volumes of water for every 2 volumes of H2 and 1 volume of O2. Since H2 and O2 are combined at high temperatures, they form steam directly, bypassing the liquid water form and therefore eliminating the cooling effects of evaporation. It's not going to be a terribly efficient ICE engine, but it's been proven that there is only a negligible power decrease when compared to a hydrocarbon fueled engine. It most likely would burn in a fuel cell anyway.

plasticpower
not rated yet Feb 05, 2011
But either way, I agree that for the foreseeable future biofuels are the way to go. In the future we have to wait for an efficient medium to store electricity (NOT hydrogen, which has to be extracted every time) and make a switch to electric cars, as we are starting to do now. Eventually electric cars will be the way to go. Unless someone figures out a way to produce extremely cheap hydrogen it'll never make economic sense.
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2011
To be anal about it, ignition occurs a few degrees before TDC and combustion tends to be completed by the time you get to the same angle after TDC, thus the volume at ignition and the volume when combustion is complete are very close to equal. Consequently, very little net work is applied to the piston during actual combustion. In addition, due to the speed of the process, very little heat is transferred between the reactants and the walls of the combustion chamber. Consequently, it is very accurately modeled as a constant volume adiabatic combustion process and the exothermic energy goes mostly into increasing the temperature of the reaction products. The work on the piston occurs, for the most part, after combustion has completed and the resultant high temperature/high pressure gases act against it.
yoatmon
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
Well, as the saying goes, "there's more than one way to skin a hare".
Ionic compression is an excellent method for hydrogen storage. A good example of how that can be accomplished, has just recently been proven. Ref. to:
greencarcongress.com/2011/02/hyet-20110202.html#more
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Obviously ICE using hydrogen works, they have been built. The high energies released exceed the effect of molecular count being reduced by 1/3.

On the other hand, bio-diesel not only releases energy when burned, releases more of it (by volume), and "decays" from large liquid molecules into lots of small, hot, gas molecules.

Example: Ethyl Stearate in *ideal* burning:

(C20H40O2) + 29(O2) -> 20(CO2) + 20(H20) + energy

Gas pressure providing molecules increases by about 33%!
yoatmon
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
Here's an excellent method for efficient photo-synthetic production of hydrogen.
"The catalyst operates at 100 mA/cm2 at 76% efficiency."
web.mit.edu/chemistry/dgn/www/research/solar.shtml
antialias
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
A point that is conveniently overlooked: any type of combustion using hydrocarbons creates other substances besides CO2 and H2O (CO, Some NOx compounds via reaction with the nitrogen in the air, ... ) which are a health hazard and are not 'neutral' (as they don't get recycled like the hydrocarbons do)

Hydrogen as fuel can be used in fuel cells which don't use combustion. Creating hydrogen is currently 50% (up to 80%) efficient and the conversion in the fuel cell 50-90% efficient (total 25-72% energy efficiency)

Gasoline combustion is about 25% efficient. If you create the biodiesel via plants/algae (which have a photosynthetic efficiency of around 3-6%) you get an abjectly low efficiency of 0,75-1.5% total.

You do the math.
WhiteJim
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
... unfortunately the company closed its solid state hydrogen division due to lack of funding.
chevron-texaco owns a 20% share of the company

...what did anyone expect?
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Obviously ICE using hydrogen works, they have been built. The high energies released exceed the effect of molecular count being reduced by 1/3.


No, you're still confusing things.

Temperature is the average kinetic energy of the molecules.

Therefore if we have a constant volume V with N number of molecules, and we double the mass of the molecules but halve their number and change nothing else. Half as many molecules hit the walls, but with twice the energy. Pressure stays the same because the temperature increases.

Avogadro's law doesn't apply because temperature isn't constant.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
You can think of the molecules like sticky billiards balls. Since energy doesn't just dissapear, getting them stuck together means that the new heavier molecule carries the energy of its components.

So, combining three molecules into two doesn't yield 1/3 less pressure, but 1/3 higher temperature, which will of course leak out eventually, but not in the time it takes to push a piston in a combustion engine.

In fact, hydrogen producing water could be used to draw a strong vacuum on the exhaust side of an engine and greatly improve the efficiency because the engine has to work less to flush out the exhaust gasses. It might even -pull- the piston on the exhaust stroke.
yoatmon
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
You can think of the molecules like sticky billiards balls. Since energy doesn't just dissapear, getting them stuck together means that the new heavier molecule carries the energy of its components.
Sorry to dissapoint you but BMW carried out exhaustive experiments for several years with hydrogen fueled ICEs. One of the main reasons why they finally gave up was, that the efficiency of hydrogen combustion was even lower that that of gas fueled ICEs. It is far more efficient to use that hydrogen in a FC.
So, combining three molecules into two doesn't yield 1/3 less pressure, but 1/3 higher temperature, which will of course leak out eventually, but not in the time it takes to push a piston in a combustion engine.

In fact, hydrogen producing water could be used to draw a strong vacuum on the exhaust side of an engine and greatly improve the efficiency because the engine has to work less to flush out the exhaust gasses. It might even -pull- the piston on the exhaust stroke.

yoatmon
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
In fact, hydrogen producing water could be used to draw a strong vacuum on the exhaust side of an engine and greatly improve the efficiency because the engine has to work less to flush out the exhaust gasses. It might even -pull- the piston on the exhaust stroke.

Sorry to dissapoint you but after several years of exhaustive experiments on hydrogen fuled ICEs, BMW finally gave up. The main reason was that efficiency of hydrogen combustion was even lower than that of gas. Hydrogen fueled FCs are far more efficient.
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Post 1 of 2
In fact, hydrogen producing water could be used to draw a strong vacuum on the exhaust side of an engine and greatly improve the efficiency because the engine has to work less to flush out the exhaust gasses.

Exhaust strokes create pressure pulses that travel down the exhaust system as a wave. Reflections occur at points in the exhaust system where the volume abruptly changes. In high performance engines, exhaust header lengths are tuned to match the RPM band over which the engine is intended to make its maximum power. The tuning is intended to make sure that low pressure halves of the reflected waves arrive at the exhaust ports during the time of the exhaust stroke in order to improve exhaust scavenging.

More >
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Post 2 of 2
Cam timing and Intake manifold runner lengths and volumes are also tuned to provide maximum performance over the desired rpm band. It would be interesting to see if forced condensation of H2O vapor via the use of an air cooled expanded volume placed into the exhaust system would result in a performance benefit.
Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
Sorry to dissapoint you but after several years of exhaustive experiments on hydrogen fuled ICEs, BMW finally gave up. The main reason was that efficiency of hydrogen combustion was even lower than that of gas. Hydrogen fueled FCs are far more efficient.

Perhaps, but both require a hydrogen delivery infrastructure that does not exist at this time. You don't want to have great fuel cells with no fuel delivery infrastructure. ICEs that can burn both hydrogen and gasoline could be used to allow for the development of a hydrogen delivery infrastructure without the fear of finding the next fuel station.

Who knows, if the recent cold fusion news isn't just another load of BS, we may have cold fusion powered electric vehicles!
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011

Sorry to dissapoint you but after several years of exhaustive experiments on hydrogen fuled ICEs, BMW finally gave up. The main reason was that efficiency of hydrogen combustion was even lower than that of gas. Hydrogen fueled FCs are far more efficient.


The main reason why they gave up was because they realized that they would have to devote the whole back end of the vehicle for the cryogenic hydrogen tank in order to have enough fuel onboard.

The density of even liquid hydrogen is so low that a BMW would get about 6 miles to the gallon on it.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 06, 2011
The tuning is intended to make sure that low pressure halves of the reflected waves arrive at the exhaust ports during the time of the exhaust stroke in order to improve exhaust scavenging.


Yeah, in a sports car that is designed to be run flat out all the time. On a street car, such tuning can be counterproductive.

Ideally, the engine would exhaust into zero pressure where it encounters no resistance. Ideally it wouldn't have a tailpipe at all - just a hole through the cylinder head.
Smoulder
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
man has been dealing with energy storage and extraction technologies since Prometheus gave fire. in all that time, the only thing that is certain is that trying to replace localized decision-making and ingenuity with centralized planning and oversight will always result in costly unintended consequences and inhibit the natural "evolution" of technology. hydrogen may find useful applications on the broader market, but i agree with those who protest against squeezing the taxpayer for venture capital for speculative technologies.

i have to say, i'm surprised to see so many still supporting biofuels. seldom have the unintended consequences of tampering with the energy market surfaced so quickly as with biofuels, but maybe the decimation of global food surplus isn't compelling enough and people just won't grasp the impact until they see it on their own dinner table.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
i have to say, i'm surprised to see so many still supporting biofuels. seldom have the unintended consequences of tampering with the energy market surfaced so quickly as with biofuels, but maybe the decimation of global food surplus isn't compelling enough and people just won't grasp the impact until they see it on their own dinner table.


That is a tad ignorant. Just because something is biologically produced doesn't mean there is a loss of food crop associated with it.

For example, bio-diesel can be made from all kinds of waste materials, post-agricultural tailing, sewage, or manufactured in a hydroponic solar algae reactor that only needs some water, CO2, and trace minerals. Soon cellulose processing will add a whole new feedstock of massive quantities for bio-diesel production.

Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
Obviously ICE using hydrogen works, they have been built. The high energies released exceed the effect of molecular count being reduced by 1/3.


No, you're still confusing things.

Temperature is the average kinetic energy of the molecules.

Therefore if we have a constant volume V with N number of molecules, and we double the mass of the molecules but halve their number and change nothing else. Half as many molecules hit the walls, but with twice the energy. Pressure stays the same because the temperature increases.

Avogadro's law doesn't apply because temperature isn't constant.


I'm not sure, but I think you are arguing a helium filled balloon with it's lower mass molecules of gas will be compressed by the larger molecules of atmospheric gas at equal temperatures such that it's density will equalize with the atmosphere, and it won't rise.

If so, this is demonstratively false.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011

I'm not sure, but I think you are arguing a helium filled balloon with it's lower mass molecules of gas will be compressed by the larger molecules of atmospheric gas at equal temperatures such that it's density will equalize with the atmosphere, and it won't rise.


I think that you are instead describing the reason for lift. The atmosphere does indeed compress the helium gas, but because there's always a pressure gradient upwards, it compresses the gas upwards.

Consider that lift only happens if the athospheric gasses have a tendency to "push under" the lighter gas. If there were no nitrogen and oxygen, helium would stay happily close to the surface because there's nothing pushing it upwards and gravity is pulling it down.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
As for ideal gasses, they're thought not to interfere with one another, which is an assumption in calculating the partial pressure of gasses in a mixture.
yoatmon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
That is a tad ignorant. Just because something is biologically produced doesn't mean there is a loss of food crop associated with it.

Maybe you're familar with the jatropha nut in India that has been cultivated under the supervision of a German professor to produce bio-diesel. It grows and thrives in draught areas but even more so on fertile land. Presently, more crops are grown on fertile land, undermining the initial intention, because harvests and profits are higher on fertile land. Now, just tell me again that biofuels have no effect on "food crop".
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
That is a tad ignorant. Just because something is biologically produced doesn't mean there is a loss of food crop associated with it.

Maybe you're familar with the jatropha nut in India...


I'm not saying economics goes away, which is much the reason fossil fuels being so *economically* efficient are hard to stop.

Things that are cash crops have competed with food crops for a very long time. Think cotton, or opium, etc. Maybe even housing tracks build on top of farm land?

The best outcome will be both food and energy production from the same crop enabling the price of both to be reduced. Like corn and wheat stocks (lignocellulose) being feedstock for modified yeast reactor tanks to produce fuels.

Will these issues always be handled in an "ideal" way? No. But current use of fossil fuels is far, far, worse.
J-n
not rated yet Feb 07, 2011
I had thought that most of the plans for hydrogen in vehicles was surrounded by the Fuel Cell concept and not burning hydrogen in an internal combustion piston driven engine. I am hopeful that you were not aware of this, and were not arguing from a disingenuous point of view.

If we take the fuel cell concept into play, how does hydrogen stack up in comparison?

Hydrogen can EASILY be produced in a variety of ways, which are environmentally friendly. I can't think of a single environmentally friendly way to get crude outta the ground.

Bio-desiel while attractive now, will serve to increase food costs across the board. When XXX becomes a grow-able energy source how long will it take for all of our soy/rice/wheat land to be converted over to growing XXX?

just a few thoughts.

Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
I'm not sure, but I think you are arguing a helium filled balloon with it's lower mass molecules ... won't rise.


I think that you are instead describing the reason for lift. The atmosphere does indeed compress the helium gas, but because there's always a pressure gradient upwards, it compresses the gas upwards.

Consider that lift only happens if the athospheric gasses have a tendency to "push under" the lighter gas. If there were no nitrogen and oxygen, helium would stay happily close to the surface because there's nothing pushing it upwards and gravity is pulling it down.


Come back from the weeds, I think the concept you are looking for is "buoyancy", but it has only the tiniest relevance to the ability of combustion products to do "work" in a piston chamber.

Here is another way to think about it, why are the most powerful accelerates and explosives solids? (well, one liquid does come to mind used in dynamite). Same issues.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
I had thought that most of the plans for hydrogen in vehicles was surrounded by the Fuel Cell concept and not burning hydrogen in an internal combustion piston driven engine. I am hopeful that you were not aware of this, and were not arguing from a disingenuous point of view.


Hydrogen used as a pure fuel or an additive to ICE is constantly being presented in research literature. *THIS* article suggests it. Hello? McFly?
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
If we take the fuel cell concept into play, how does hydrogen stack up in comparison?


Comparison to... what? I'm just going to say Bio-diesel in an ICE because I like the efficiency, mechanical characteristics, and environmental friendliness of bio-diesel.

Currently they really, really suck. But with a lot of research dollars and several decades they can probably get to the just regular suck level, and will be too late to make an impact on the worst of earth's environmental degradation from fossil fuel usage.

I quote from The Los Angeles Times, February 2009, "Hydrogen fuel-cell technology won't work in cars.... Any way you look at it, hydrogen is a lousy way to move cars."

Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
Hydrogen can EASILY be produced in a variety of ways, which are environmentally friendly.


Not currently, probably not for quite a while yet.

Let me add the concept of opportunity cost to the mix (again). Any source of hydrogen that uses electricity (say solar or wind to name just two) would be better spent putting it directly into the energy grid.

Why? Because there is a coal burning power plant that has to stay on so that the energy from these sources can be diverted to producing hydrogen.

And, of course, the loss of efficiency by the time it gets transported to the consumer is such that more pollution was released into the environment than if that car had just used fossil fuel to begin with.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2011
Bio-desiel[sic] while attractive now, will serve to increase food costs across the board. When XXX becomes a grow-able energy source how long will it take for all of our soy/rice/wheat land to be converted over to growing XXX?


*Sigh*, again, bio-diesel can be made from all kinds of organic sources that do not compete with land for food.

In fact, food prices can be reduced if the non-food portion of a crop (say corn stalks, leaves, and cobs) can be made into high value fuel and sold to suplement the income of the grower.

This is within grasp via developments in modified yeast capable of converting the xylose contained in the lignocellulose waste of agriculture.
yoatmon
not rated yet Feb 08, 2011
It's been a long time since I had my first contact with the 1st law of thermodynamics. Nevertheless it's still valid. The only difference is that modern physics no longer differentiates between energy and matter; everything is energy, matter is only another form of energy (E= mc²).
Fertile land cannot just be depleted and bereaved of it's nutritious contents. That's been accomplished often enough in the past. It took generations for the soil to be replenisched.
Obviously, the best way to produce the energy we so direly need is to use solar power, wind power, ocean power and hydro wherever possible. Most important of all is to just stop wasting energy.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
It's been a long time since I had my first contact with the 1st law of thermodynamics. Nevertheless it's still valid. The only difference is that modern physics no longer differentiates between energy and matter; everything is energy, matter is only another form of energy (E= mc²).


Fail. Mass is not "only another form of energy".

E = mc2 is only for isolated center of momentum frames, yet has become popularly misunderstood to mean that mass may be converted (and disappears ) into energy. That is not the case.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
It's been a long time since I had my first contact with the 1st law of thermodynamics. Nevertheless it's still valid. The only difference is that modern physics no longer differentiates between energy and matter; everything is energy, matter is only another form of energy (E= mc²).


Fail. Matter is not "only another form of energy."

E = mc2 is for isolated systems in center of momentum frames. It is popularly misunderstood to mean that mass may be converted (and disappears) into energy.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
Fertile land cannot just be depleted and bereaved of it's nutritious contents. That's been accomplished often enough in the past. It took generations for the soil to be replenisched.


Converting the sugars of crop tailings into fuel does not remove any "nutrients" from the soil.