Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chicken Feathers for Hydrogen Storage

Ecogeek never fails to inspire hope. Following the trend of using waste as a resource, scientists have found a way to use the protein in chicken feathers to create low cost hydrogen containers. Reducing the cost from $30,000 per 20 gallon tank to $200 !

Hydrogen can be burned in existing gasoline cars, reducing our need to create brand new vehicles for everyone. It is not too difficult to convert our gasoline engines to hydrogen and we can create the hydrogen at home through electrolysis machines which creates the hydrogen from water using electricity. The sustainable solution would require the electricity to come from renewable resources. Similar devices to create the fuel at home have been made for natural gas vehicles.

If we can convert our existing fleet of automobiles to hydrogen, then we can save massive amounts of energy. Yes, hydrogen is not as efficient at storing energy as a battery, but is it possible that saving on making new cars would make up for that difference over the long run? I'd like to see the new america repairing and retrofitting its infrastructure, this would also create many jobs all over the country through small businesses, which is the true backbone of any good nation.

full article: http://www.ecogeek.org/component/content/article/2829


Bill Real said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Real said...

... and require unfathomable amounts of coal-burning to run it. Seriously, even plug in cars make more sense, you loose so much energy just converting electricity to hydrogen:
(or just google hydrogen economy myth, top 3 results are all good.)

Fact remains we are out of gas for a lavish lifestyle.

Zachary Stowasser said...

Bill! Thank you for your comment. I have heard this argument before and here is my opinion. (when it comes down to it, we're just two internet nerds arguing, and if business can find a solution, they are going to do it!)

Yes, you are right - the fact is that we are in for an abrupt transition very soon.

I believe converting our existing fleet to hydrogen will use less energy than making a new fleet of plug-in's or whatever tech is invented (save something new and amazing).

Yes, hydrogen is not an energy source but more like a battery. Yes, it is not as efficient at storing energy as a battery but is it more sustainable?

Is there a battery technology out there yet that is sustainable?

The answer to our debate lies in someone doing research to find out what the net energy usage is compared to creating new cars combined with less energy usage over time vs converting existing cars and less energy efficiency.

My hunch is saving our existing infrastructure is the wise choice. We need to get away from the disposable mentality. Start retrofitting everything.

Your comments are appreciated!

Bill Real said...

Sorry I missed your reply. Yep, saving infrastructure seems wise but seriously, hydrogen is about the worst joke any fraudster has bamboozled the public with. Its right up there with buying leveraged real estate as 'investment'.

Oh and buy the way, people have done the research -

1. Using old cars is way more efficient than buying new ones.

2. Retrofitting old cars to run on hydrogen is no use as *there will be no hydrogen to run them on.* Seriously, read up on it. To say hydrogen is inefficient is like saying pigs are not very good at flying.

I well recommend a look at John Michael Greers books / blog- especially "The Long Descent".

Zachary Stowasser said...

I agree that a hydrogen economy will not happen but these tanks can be used for more than hydrogen.

like compressed air for air cars.

in response to where will the hydrogen come from? water. how? electrolysis? where will the energy come from? solar, wind, etc.. where will people fill up? stations where the fuel is made ON SITE, or at home where they have a personal unit.

but for the record im not betting on hydrogen solving all our problems. if it is used at all, it will be part of the overall picture. a piece of the puzzle.

it doesnt matter if the energy is lost because what are our other solutions. we do not have a good battery solution yet (I hope for eestor). So, the hydrogen is our battery. these tanks make it cost less money and become more competitive. we have a ways to go. but look that we are making PROGRESS! :) no reason to be a doomer when we are showing signs of progress, thats my motto. I'll join in with the death march once we are 5 years into the descent and the word is aflame. until then, I am going to enjoy life and do what I can by reducing my consumption.

Bill Real said...

I really don't see myself as a doomer on these issues but a realist. We don't live in Disneyland, the future may well be darker, but I prefer to face that reality directly than try to fool myself that things will get 'better'.

Things will change and we will find our own way of making sense of the meaning of our lives. The reality is that as fossil fuels get more expensive and scarce things will get a lot harder for a lot of people - especially those who live in a badly built suburban home 6 miles from the nearest store.