2007/03/29

Hydrogen Blues

Gee, here's an article pointing out what most of us in the energy industry have known for some time. Hydrogen isn't the answer, unless the question is how to drive a car when there's no gasoline anymore. If that's not the question, there's better solutions out there already.

Hydrogen is appealing, although I can't for the life of me figure out why. Can somebody clue me in on this?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Bigfoot said...

The trouble with hydrogen is that it requires an input of energy to produce it. Either use electricity to electrolyze water into H2 and O2 (the reverse of the fuel cell reaction) or react hydrocarbons with steam to produce H2, with by-products consisting mainly of (drum roll please) CO and CO2. Because CO is poisonous, it is further reacted with water to get CO2 and more H2. That's the trouble with getting H2 from hydrocarbons. Those carbon atoms don't just disappear, but have to go somewhere.

8:54 PM  
Blogger T said...

Exactly. Hydrogen is a storage medium rather than a primary energy source. You still have to generate the energy to make the hydrogen.

I didn't think through the steam reaction from hydrocarbons. I tend to assume electrolysis, simply because there's better uses for hydrocarbons. You're right, the excess carbon has to go somewhere. It seems like the steam process takes a more efficient fuel and breaks it down into a less efficient fuel, plus greenhouse gases. I can see why there's no rush to get into that.

9:38 PM  

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