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Power Technology

Chicken Feathers May Hold Key To Hydrogen Storage 318

Posted by timothy
from the horsefeathers-not-yet-ruled-out dept.
pitterpatter writes "A researcher trying to find a use for them claims that after being heated enough to carbonize, chicken feathers hold as much hydrogen as carbon nanotubes do. So chicken feather charcoal might solve the storage problem for the new hydrogen economy. One problem down, half a zillion to go."
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Chicken Feathers May Hold Key To Hydrogen Storage

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  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:56PM (#28507755) Homepage Journal

    Hmmm...Carbonized chickens and hydrogen. There has to be a joke in there somewhere about chickens being classified as munitions...

  • O(1) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:20PM (#28507907)

    Since the chicken feathers have only to be carbonized once, and can repeatedly act as hydrogen storage... your question is pointless.

  • Ten years away (Score:3, Insightful)

    by physburn (1095481) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:45PM (#28508071) Homepage Journal
    I don't believe the ten years away figure. Fuel Cell cars and hydrogen running Internal Combustion engines are available now. We could start building such cars now, for example, this Honda Demo Vehicle [scientificamerican.com] the main infrastructure problem, is having hydrogen gas stations.

    -

    The idea those sound funny, and i've been laughing at a lot of the comments here, but chicken feathers are just waste and nearly free, so what could be cheaper to use for a hydrogen tank?

    -

    Fuel Cell [feeddistiller.com] Feed | Electric Vehicle [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • Re:First Post? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by morghanphoenix (1070832) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:49PM (#28508091)
    People need to read the moderation guidelines before clicking, the parent may be off-topic, but it isn't a troll.
  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:12PM (#28508215)

    Or, you can live with an underpowered vehicle.

    And I assure you sir, I cannot. Or, to put it another way, I will probably opt to spend additional funds to ensure that my vehicle is fun to drive.

    On a broader note, I fear that the modern environmentalism is pushing in the wrong direction by becoming ascetic -- by telling us that our wants and desires are bad because they are bad for the environment instead of focusing on way to satisfy those wants in an environmentally friendly way. That philosophy has some appeal to a particular group of people but the majority of Americans (AFAICT) are not particularly receptive to the notion of self-deprivation for the greater good.

    Moreover, it's does less practical good to convince people that drives a small car that get ~35MPG to switch to a car that gets 100MPG (a pie-in-the-sky number) than to get someone that drives a 15MPG truck to switch to a more efficient one that gets 25MPG. The former change reduces gas usage over a year (15k mi) by 270 gal, the latter by 400 (the real fault here is that we use the inverse scale, instead of reporting GPM). Doing so, however, requires a change in mindset -- it's not about how we can make an environmentally friendly vehicles, it's about how we can make this vehicle more environmentally friendly without compromising the characteristics that caused people to buy it in the first place.

    Focusing on the efficiency of those larger cars & trucks (and sports cars), however, requires ditching the philosophy of asceticism and accepting that many people do not want to drive tiny underpowered cars (and they don't want to stop eating red meat or running the AC either, damnit) and working with them to minimize the impact of the cars they do drive, the meat they do eat and the AC they do run. If we can't get to there from here, then environmentalism will always be something that a few people care very strongly about and the rest of the population cares not at all.

  • by s4ltyd0g (452701) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:27PM (#28508323)

    commenting to undo an erroneous moderation

  • Re:One Last Time: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by muridae (966931) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:59PM (#28508557)

    That's your argument against hydrogen fuel cells as an energy source? That, since the hydrogen fuel cell was discovered in 1839 it is obviously past any chance of improvement? In that case, we should have given up on fuel oils a long time ago. I mean, oil wells were dug in about 347 by the Chinese and it took till 1847 before someone successfully distilled crude into lantern oil. And EROEI? Complete bullshit metric for the situation. Yes, it is a great guide to the feasibility of a system. But we know that the EROEI for oil is going to go up, and possibly soon.

    The point of portable hydrogen fuel cells is not to convert every home in the world into it's own hydrogen production station. At the moment, that would have a really horrid energy return because of the current inefficiencies in solar panels. One of the goals is to replace the internal combustion engine because we know that, at some arguable point in the future, we will not be able to get oil cheaply any more. If we move the oil demand from the end users, where the engine is not all that damn efficient any ways, to the large power plants where the scale of the operations allows it to be used more efficiently than we have just bought time to continue finding a replacement source for oil

    Since you didn't feel like bringing facts to the party, allow me to do that for you. The average car requires around 20 to 200 kW to operate according to this physics book. [hypertextbook.com] Let's start at the low end, since the same site also says that a typical automobile only requires about 15kW to maintain a speed of 50 miles per hour. So, a 20kW engine would get a car slowly up to speed. How much would that engine cost at the absurdly high price of 73$ per kilowatt? 1460 bucks. And, a quick google search puts the price of a rebuilt combustion engine right in the same price range. Now, it would result in a slower accelerating vehicle, but that is tolerable for a technology that is still in it's relative infancy. After all, the model T's engine only produced around 15 kW. And that was, what, 86 years after the first internal combustion engine was made in 1823. How dare we push technology forwards, using concepts that were discovered decades ago. How could we ever think those technologies would mature.

    Now, before you think me all snark and no thought, I offer you this. I'll retract all of my statements if you can respond with facts, and without trite statements like "The so-called hydrogen economy is a lie." Of course the "so-called hydrogen economy" is a lie, that's why it's the "so-called" one. No more priming statements like "true believers", and then we'll talk.

  • Re:Good news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by snl2587 (1177409) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:01PM (#28508575)

    KFC food has chicken in it?

  • Re:First Post? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Exception Duck (1524809) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:16PM (#28508667) Homepage Journal

    How about if they ban First Posts from AC users...
    Until someone logged in has posted something - no AC's

    And if logged in users post "First post" nonsense - ban them.

  • hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Exception Duck (1524809) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:17PM (#28508677) Homepage Journal

    Would probably only create a competition for "Second post".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:28PM (#28508729)

    Thank you Captain Obvious.

  • Re:O(1) (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:42PM (#28508801)

    Um, the only reason we have enough chickens to even consider using their feathers for this is because we are in an oil-powered society. No oil, no more mass-farming. End of story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:43PM (#28508817)

    Uh, correct me if I'm mistaken, but if reality (i.e. the laws of physics vs. our current tech) says those people can't have what they want then they can't. They don't get to pitch a bitch like a petulant, spoiled child.

    The same attitude of "I can have what I want, when I want" as a society caused our current economic crisis. It's not a case of asceticism vs. wanting it all... the laws of nature make it clear that there have to be trade offs and sacrifices. If not immediately, then somewhere down the road.

    I'm not saying we all have to join the Amish tomorrow. It's just that a LOT of people in this country need to get their heads on straight before reality deals them a nasty bitchslap.

  • by jd2112 (1535857) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @10:36PM (#28509121)
    PETA has only ever said one thing that I agree with: When they wanted Ben & Jerry's to switch to human breast milk they said 'The breast is the best'. However, unlike PETA, I prefer the packaging to the contents...

    This is the same PETA that complained about President Obama killing a fly! What kind of message would it send to Kim Il Jong and Osama Bin Laden and the rest of the worlds baddies if the President had to get his fly trap to humanely catch and release the fly instead of swatting the little bugger...
  • by copponex (13876) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:46PM (#28509521) Homepage

    Focusing on the efficiency of those larger cars & trucks (and sports cars), however, requires ditching the philosophy of asceticism and accepting that many people do not want to drive tiny underpowered cars (and they don't want to stop eating red meat or running the AC either, damnit) and working with them to minimize the impact of the cars they do drive, the meat they do eat and the AC they do run. If we can't get to there from here, then environmentalism will always be something that a few people care very strongly about and the rest of the population cares not at all.

    No, the important thing is to make sure that people pay the real cost of what they consume. Their behavior would change automatically, and I'm sure it'd be amazing to watch attitudes change after years of selfish subsidization and environmental destruction.

    For instance, if you passed a law to stop the agribusinesses from polluting the Mississippi so much that a dead zone the size of New Jersey forms in the Gulf, meat prices would probably triple. If people paid as much at the tank as it costs to maintain our armies in the middle east, gas prices would at least double. Vehicles should be taxed for their wear and tear on our road system. If you want to drive an F350, fine, but since it weighs three times what my car does, you should pay three times as much into the federal tax system to pay for the infrastructure.

    I don't care if you have a 20 ounce steak every night and park a fleet of hummers in your front yard. But I do want you to pay their full cost.

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Monday June 29, 2009 @01:33AM (#28510233) Journal
    That's covered under "right to privacy".
  • by rdnetto (955205) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:06AM (#28510431)
    Who the hell modded this as Insightful?
  • by MJMullinII (1232636) on Monday June 29, 2009 @02:10AM (#28510461)

    Something's just occurred to me. Given a fixed amount of petroleum reserves on the planet, the net effect on the climate resulting from using it all for fuel could very well be the same whether it gets used sooner or later. In that case, the question of what action should be taken could best be answered only after the costs for releasing specific quantities of carbon into the atmosphere are known. I realize that the climate is a complex system and that it may not be possible to make these kind of predictions with reasonable certainty. But consider:

    either 1) There is a certain maximum level of carbon release that we would be wise to never reach, because the negative effects of global warming (or whatever) would simply be too great. Fossil fuels will have to be abandoned completely at some point.

    or 2) Burning all the cheaply available fossil fuels would have a certain environmental effect X, but steps could be taken to mitigate this effect. And, the benefit of exploiting the available fossil fuels exceeds the cost of "cleaning up the mess" (for instance, relocating people from flooded areas if sea levels rise.) In this case, worrying about carbon footprints will have been for naught, because once the oil is used all the carbon will have been emitted anyway.

    Except we have no idea if we'd even be able to "clean up the mess", much less how much it might cost.

    If the American bread basket, for example, we to be made unsuitable for farming after a period of warming, hundreds of millions (if not billions) of people would die from starvation. If would make the current rate of hunger look like a picnic.

    All the money in the world couldn't fix that, I'm afraid.

  • by Ramze (640788) on Monday June 29, 2009 @06:17AM (#28511845)

    Normally I don't reply to trolls, but I found your post spectacularly wrong in so many ways, yet peppered with enough economic and statistical jargon that you might actually convince some people of your false logic should they read it.

    First, you fail at economics. Clearly you've taken an undergrad course and heard a few terms. I encourage you to go back and take a few masters level courses so that you understand them a bit better. You also fail at psychology if you truly believe there will be rioting and assassination attempts over the tripling of the price of anything which has substitutes in the marketplace. Just as an example, gasoline has extremely inelastic demand and has quadrupled in price over a few years without any rioting in the streets. Sure, there have been congressional hearings about gas prices because speculators have manipulated the pricing more than OPEC ever has of late, but there are no riots over congresses inaction in passing legislation to encourage the price of gasoline to go down (lower fed. tax rate, drill for more oil, give tax breaks to build a new gasoline refinery, make it illegal to hold futures contracts without a location to store the oil, etc. etc.).

    "Meat" includes many products which will be affected differently by any price increase because they will have different elasticities of demand... however, since you've mentioned steak, I thought I'd point out that most economics professors would indeed classify a "standard steak" as a luxury good. It's not as much of a luxury good as say... lobster, but it's up there. Bologna would not be considered a luxury good, but it is a meat product. If a pack of bologna were to triple in cost from $1 to $3, demand would likely drop somewhat and shift to other cheaper sources of protein like soy products. If steak were to also triple from $12 per serving to $36 per serving, demand would likely fall more drastically and shift to other cheaper sources of protein... perhaps even bologna, hot dogs, and hamburgers instead of steak.

    You make a LOT of assumptions. I have no idea what sort of tax would have to be imposed on meat products to include the full cost to society and environmental damage, but you assume it would triple the cost of meat in general (wild assumption... could be only a 10% increase which would have little economic impact.) You also assume surpluses and shortages and prices rising or falling, but don't state time frames. In economics, short term, long term, and extreme long term results for shifts can be very different, so your post is vague and sounds a bit like gibberish when you discuss these things. You assume that meat substitute prices will skyrocket without any facts to back up that hypothesis, then go on to say that they may become scarce with a shortage so some people will be forced to buy meat at high prices (another assumption). Do you realize that soy products are cheap and could easily provide a meat substitute even if demand for soy skyrocketed at a very reasonable price? even in the short-term? Have you even heard of price elasticity of demand? Did they not teach you that term in undergrad econ?

    On a personal note, I am definitely a fan of meat... but I'm also a fan of taxing the hell out of things that have hidden environmental costs. You'd be surprised at how quickly businesses change their processes to produce less waste when they actually have to pay to clean up that waste. There are economical ways for all businesses to clean up their environmental waste and have a reduced impact on the environment (Note that 100% cleanup would likely cost an infinite amount of money because it is difficult to have exactly zero waste, but perhaps an 85 to 95% reduction might be feasible for some businesses). Yes, prices might rise on goods as companies pass along environmental cleanup costs, but I have no idea how much -- and nor do you unless you've done an environmental impact study on the matter.

    Frankly, when you remove the gibberish and wild speculation from your post, it simply reads as "Waaahhhh... I love my meat and I don't want to have to pay more for it!" As you've posted as an anonymous coward, perhaps you already know this is the case.

  • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:10AM (#28512523)

    I thought I'd point out that most economics professors would indeed classify a "standard steak" as a luxury good. It's not as much of a luxury good as say... lobster, but it's up there.

    You must be from the midwest. I grew up in Maine, where an average steak is a luxury good and lobster is something you can buy for $3 off the back of a truck.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:26AM (#28512635) Journal

    If this is what they teach you in physics then I'm amazed your country has any engineers. It's not just a question of kinetic energy, it's a question of impulse and of elasticity. A frozen chicken is an (almost) inelastic object. A defrosted chicken is not. When a defrosted chicken hits an object, the chicken deforms on impact. The impulse is transferred over the time it takes for the chicken to deform. A frozen chicken will also deform very slightly, but it's almost instantaneous and so the energy will be transferred in a much shorter time. If the frozen chicken deforms for one millisecond and the non-frozen one deforms for two milliseconds then the amount of energy that the windscreen needs to be able to dissipate per unit time is half as much.

    There's a simple way you can demonstrate this. First, punch a foam bag as hard as you can. Then punch a concrete wall equally hard. The foam bag deforms as you hit it, while the concrete wall does not. In both cases, you are transferring the same amount of kinetic energy, dissipating it as heat and sound through your arm and the surface, but one of these will hurt a lot more than the other.

    Oh, and when you are so obviously wrong that a trivial experiment can demonstrate it, I suggest you be a little less patronising.

  • by copponex (13876) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:58AM (#28513471) Homepage

    Much of your post is nonsense, but let me reply to your sentiment.

    And honestly, your entire post screams: "since these taxes won't affect me, I am in favour of them, as that will force other people to subsidise my own, different life style choices". You don't want *people* to pay the "full cost" of anything. You want *other people* to pay more for purchases which *you* aren't going to make, under the twisted and erroneous logic that your costs will go down. A very selfish view, given that your main implication is that other people are being too selfish with their consumption.

    I hope that clarifies things for you.

    No, I don't want any special treatment for anyone. I rarely eat cattle meat because of the environmental impact. When I do, I try to eat cattle meat from a farm where they are grass fed, humanely treated, and not from a cow factory stuffing them with corn and antibiotics. And I drive a small car, but not tiny, since I'm 6'7. Trust me, I understand the want to drive a yacht with a dvd player in the dash. I actually don't fit well in American made SUVs since they are engineered for soccer moms, but I digress.

    Regardless, I expect to pay a price that reflects the real costs of what I consume. The real benefit of market economics comes when the market provides transparency through accurate pricing all the way through the production of everything. This means, in my opinion, that a business has to have a manufacturing cycle that does no damage to the sustainability of life on the planet. If it cannot operate sustainably, its costs should be enormous, or we'll kill the planet, since killing the planet is the best option for the economy, but not for anything else. I don't think this is a controversial statement - you may argue with me on how damaging a certain process is to the environment, but it logically follows that making environmental destruction the most economical option has dire consequences. For reference, look at the environment in China.

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