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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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:51PM (#28507735)

    Chicken McNuggets.

  • 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...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by game kid (805301)

      Carbonized chickens are perfectly safe.

      Weaponized chickens, on the other hand, cause mass destclucktion (especially when filled with H).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by s4ltyd0g (452701)

        commenting to undo an erroneous moderation

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tautog (46259)

          Ah, yes. ./ moderation system finds a boo-boo post and it hits +4 Insightful.

          And I thought you *could* train monkeys.

    • There has to be a joke in there somewhere about chickens being classified as munitions..

      Or at least a story...

      I remember hearing about an aircraft canopy design being tested against bird strike by having dead chickens fired at it via an air cannon. It was the best emulation they could come up with.

      However, somewhere between plan and execution a detail was missed, and the test was performed with frozen chickens. Results were indeterminate.

      • by SkyDude (919251) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:30PM (#28507983)

        I remember hearing about an aircraft canopy design being tested against bird strike by having dead chickens fired at it via an air cannon. It was the best emulation they could come up with.

        They couldn't find any volunteers. They were all chicken.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nobody Real (266597)

        The version of the story that I heard was that some British company was building a high speed train and wanted to test it against bird strikes. They borrowed a chicken cannon from an American aerospace company (the cannon being a standard item for testing aircraft canopies) and were horrified to see how much damage the train was taking. The Brits sent the footage to the Americans for review and the Americans simply responded: "Gentlemen, thaw your chickens."

        They tested this pretty thoroughly on Mythbuster

      • Adam and Jamie tackled this one on Mythbusters.

        Using the same protocols as the 'official' testing, they found that thawed chickens busted windscreens as effectively as thawed chickens.(episode 9, IIRC...it's on youtube.com)

        The same principles apply when using a steel cutting tool that cuts the steel with a stream of water. Yes, they use water, not ice to cut the steel.

        Physics: learn it, use it, benefit from it. (hint: application of kinetic energy would be a starting point to understanding this)

        [citation ne

        • by madsenj37 (612413)
          ...they found that thawed chickens busted windscreens as effectively as thawed chickens.

          Clarification please. Unless of course you meant to say that a=a.
        • by hazem (472289) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:06PM (#28508611) Journal

          Physics: learn it, use it, benefit from it. (hint: application of kinetic energy would be a starting point to understanding this)

          I don't think it's as simple as that.

          I'm no physicist but I would suspect that there is a great deal of difference between firing a frozen chicken and a thawed chicken at something. With enough velocity, of course, the differences in outcome will not be very much. But if you give the chickens progressively less velocity at impact, I think you'd find the frozen chickens still penetrate the glass at some levels of kinetic energy where the thawed chickens would not.

          My reasoning for this has to do with differences in how the kinetic energy of the chicken is imparted to the windscreen, both through time as well as the area of impact.

          The body of frozen chicken will "give" much less than the body of a thawed chicken, so the windscreen has a much shorter period of time to absorb kinetic energy of the chicken. Also, due to that lack of give, the kinetic energy of the chicken's body will be spread over a larger area of the windscreen.

          If I drop a 5 kg bag of laundry on my car's windshield from my roof, it will bounce off the windshield and leave it intact. If I drop a 5 kg pipe wrench from the same height, it will most likely shatter the windshield. It's the same idea. With the bag of laundry, the windshield gets more time and more area to absorb the kinetic energy, with the wrench, not as much. Though maybe if I dropped both from a 10 story building, the windshield might not survive it either way.

          This isn't simply a matter of an application of equal amounts of kinetic energy. There are a lot of things going on at the point and time of impact that can alter the outcomes... within a certain range of energies.

          • by Nikker (749551)
            Also since a frozen (anything) will be able to maintain a higher velocity due to the additional weight of the water as well as aerodynamics and reduced friction of the ice over the air. Keeping the center of mass stationary goes along way of increasing momentum which a frozen object is much more efficient at maintaining.
          • It's called "impulse". Impulse is how quickly the force is transferred between the objects, which is faster with a solid (ice) chicken than with a thawed one. And then you have the force per area, which is larger with a thawed chicken because it deforms on contact whereas a frozen chicken concentrates almost all the force on a small area.
        • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:19PM (#28508683)

          Adam and Jamie tackled this one on Mythbusters.

          Using the same protocols as the 'official' testing, they found that thawed chickens busted windscreens as effectively as thawed chickens.

          Wrong [youtube.com].

          They revisited the myth and proved, beyond a doubt, that frozen chickens cause more damage.

          To be fair, though, they went over that myth like three times before they finally came up with a test that proved it once and for all.

        • by danbert8 (1024253) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:19PM (#28508687)

          Adam and Jamie revisited that one after they found that the windshield they used wasn't rated for bird strikes. After the revisit, they did prove that thawed chickens did not penetrate as far as frozen ones. See episode 14 from the 2004 season.

        • Physics: learn it, use it, benefit from it. (hint: application of kinetic energy would be a starting point to understanding this)

          Ok, professor. We'll run an experiment to test this. Assistants will drop water balloons onto each of our heads from a height of 8 meters. I'll test the room temperature balloons, and you can test the frozen ones.

    • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Sunday June 28, 2009 @09:19PM (#28508689) Journal
      Don't you dare interfere with my 2nd Amendment right to bear poultry!
    • by fractoid (1076465)
      That, or about hydrogen tasting like chicken.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:56PM (#28507759)

    We can finally power our homes with chicken.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      We can finally power our homes with chicken.

      Are you kidding me? We can finally power our homes with voodoo.

  • by rts008 (812749) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:00PM (#28507785) Journal

    *pulls up to full service Hydrogen fueling station*
    "Just put three Leghorns in the tank."

    • by JerkBoB (7130) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:33PM (#28508363)

      Haw! I say haw, son. Now that's funny! Humor, y'see?

      • by BluBrick (1924)
        Fortu- ah say - fortunately, ah keep ma feathers numbered fo' jus' such an occasion!
    • by sokoban (142301)

      What's that in hogsheads?

      • Trick question. The volume of what was termed a hogshead [wikipedia.org] appears to be dependent on the contents. Please specify if you are looking for a hogshead of ale, wine, or tobacco.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by rts008 (812749)

          Please specify if you are looking for a hogshead of ale, wine, or tobacco.

          None of the above. It is a hogshead of Leghorn chickens.

          • Well then, I'd expect that your capacity would be about .4% of a Library of Congress.
          • by GaryOlson (737642)
            Complete chickens or properly butchered chickens?
            Are these chickens freeform stacked or optimally stacked to minimize wasted space?
            Does someone have an optimal chicken stacking algorithm?
      • by rts008 (812749)

        0.068 hogshead, assuming one 4 lb. leghorn=2.25 cups by volume(diced), 16 cups to the gallon...we get 7 leghorns per gallon, and 63 gallons/hogshead*, or 442 leghorns/hogshead...thus 3 leghorns would be 0.068 % of a hogshead

        I don't know how many hectares you could get out of 0.068 of a hogshead of Leghorns, though. YMMV.
        That advanced physics is a little outside of my field...I used to raise Easter Egger [wikipedia.org] chickens instead of Leghorns.

        *It can get confusing though...at least to me. USA's current definition of a

  • How much more energy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:01PM (#28507787)

    How much more energy does it take to turn a chicken feather into a "hydrogen storage unit" than can be stored in the feather anyway?

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 electrostatic (1185487) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:47PM (#28508471)

      Carbonization is often exothermic, which means that it could in principle be made self-sustaining... http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Carbonization [absoluteastronomy.com]

      Feathers are carbohydrates, meaning they are carbon structures with hydrogen and a small portion of oxygen. The Carbonization process cooks off the hydrogen and oxygen, leaving the carbon structure. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form H20, which is certainly exothermic. My guess is that it produces more heat energy that was consumed to bring it up to carbonization temperature in the first place.

      So little or no energy is wasted -- unlike as with solar cells that take 5-10 years to generate as much energy as was used to make them.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Charred Chickens are Carbon neutral as long as you don't Feed them Fossil Fuels.

  • That's nothing. You want power? You want REAL power?

    Harness the awesome power of chicken bone. Ask any programmer.

  • by StCredZero (169093) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:04PM (#28507811)

    Jenny-mae, I tole you not to let Billy-Bob alone with the chickens and the lighter fluid!

    But Mary-Sue, Billy-Bob's up and solved the Hydrogen Nanostorage Problem! He saved the world! Solved global warming! Ther gonna give him a NOBEL!

    So? I'm still makin myself scarce when Pa starts askin what happened to those Chickens!

  • Good news (Score:3, Funny)

    by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:13PM (#28507873)
    This is clucking good news!
  • Hydrogen will burn just fine in a conventional internal combustion engine. The modifications to a modern gasoline-powered engine to make it run on hydrogen are essentially the same as those to make it run off compressed natural gas. I’m sure many of you have noticed fleet vehicles with a CNG sticker on them; though not widespread, the conversion isn’t exactly uncommon, either.

    There are three main problems with converting to hydrogen. First, though hydrogen has much more energy density per unit of mass than gasoline, it has much less energy density per unit of volume in any of the ways it’s currently practically available. Second, for similar reasons, getting a sufficient density of fuel / air mixture to the pistons is a bit of a challenge and generally requires turbocharging, pressurized fuel lines, etc. (Or, you can live with an underpowered vehicle.) The last problem, of course, is producing hydrogen.

    If the claims of TFA are accurate, then we may actually be on the verge of solving all three problems.

    If we’ll soon see affordable high-capacity tanks, that solves the first problem. The second can be dealt with by making use of many of the high-performance tricks we’re already familiar with.

    The last...well, hydrogen can trivially be made by running a current through water. If you’ve got a photovoltaic array on your roof, you can analyze water and get essentially free hydrogen. While we’ll never see cars powered in “real time” by the sun, it’s quite easy make in a couple days as much hydrogen as you’ll need to power your car for a week of normal driving.

    Put all these pieces together, and in a few years or so real solar-powered cars may be as common as home-converted home-brewed biodiesel cars are today.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • 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 selven (1556643)
        Fortunately, in the auto business, environmentalism and cheap are very closely correlated. Well, that's cheap in the long term which is closely correlated, and our economy clearly shows that we're very good at long term thinking.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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'

        • The problem with this approach is that it conceives our current technology as static -- it's not. The entire point of my post is that we should be focusing our research on new technologies that are not niche-oriented towards environmentalists but tailored to provide what the mass market wants in an environmentally friendly way.

          For instance, look at the difference between the (original) Insight and the Prius. The former is, environmentally speaking, a much better car -- it can get 70-80 MPG if you drive it r

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by RealGrouchy (943109)

            But you're still looking only at the relationship between the car and the driver. Your model of sustainability does not take into account the vast infrastructure required to support it. Whether it runs on gasoline or pixie dust, a car is still a car. It still occupies the same amount of space on the roads, in driveways, and in parking lots. It still weighs as much, and therefore requires as much energy (wherever it may come from) to propel.

            When you upgrade to a new, more fuel-efficient car, what happens to

            • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:30AM (#28509821) Homepage

              A model of environmentalism that accepts the idea of more cars is simply NOT sustainable

              You had better damn well get used to it! If you think America is an acceptable whipping-boy, just you *wait* till China and India's middle class soars through the stratosphere. To make matters worse, they don't give a damn about environmentalism to the degree it has been accepted in the west.

              No. Wrath0fb0b is correct. You're going to have to dance with the Elephant (gracefully I might add) on this issue or else risk being in the path of an impending stampede.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Joe Snipe (224958)

                No. Wrath0fb0b is correct.

                You know, the internet has obliterated the idea of normalcy for me.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Sorny (521429)
        Not all sports cars get shitty mileage. My 2002 Corvette Z06 gets a combined 24MPG, and routinely hits 28-30MPG on long freeway trips. My previous Vette, a 2000 Z19 hardtop, averaged 25MPG, and got 33MPG on a trip from Phoenix to Minneapolis. Both of the cars have 5.7L V8 motors and 6-speed manual transmissions. The Z gets worse mileage not because of the extra 50HP/TQ, but because it is geared shorter (roughly 250-350RPM higher at any speed in any gear). I'm not claiming either car is excellent for fuel
      • 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 Eclipse-now (987359) on Monday June 29, 2009 @12:49AM (#28509941) Homepage
        In Australia the debate in some quarters is moving beyond energy efficient cars to energy efficient cities. Some proponents do not even mention peak oil or global warming in their talk, and are NOT proposing "ecocities" even though cars are banned within some of these village-town developments. They are selling it as MORE, not less, because there is MORE community, more local services and shops within walking distance, MORE connection with a MORE secure local economy that is MORE reliable, intimate and connected to servicing other local economy relationships of interdependence. Each dollar coming into a Village-Town circulates through the economy numerous times, and the economy of such simple mechanisms of GOOD TOWN PLANNING also generates 80% of its own economy, creating a more durable local economy during tough times. Existing suburbs can be slowly retrofitted to be car free, as is already happening in Germany. We CAN reclaim the streets, see what is happening in New York. We don't have to be stuck with the current town plan outside your door forever, there are ways to slowly retrofit the world to a post-car model. I'm not saying we totally ELIMINATE the car from all of life, but we can and must massively "discipline" the use of the car. Write to town planners, buy a bike, and... check out what your town's local plans are for peak oil when it hits in a few years.

        Presented to the University of New South Wales by Claude Lewenz, I highly recommend the Village Towns movie (15 minutes) where the concept is explained further.

        http://villageforum.com/ [villageforum.com]

        Sometimes less is more.

        I don't want to have to spend $20 grand every 5 years or so to stay with a current vehicle if my town can be designed to provide most of my needs and I can just walk everywhere, and go HIRE a car on those rare occasions I do need a vehicle. What kind of moronic society continues to build an oil dependent mode of city plan when we are this close to peak oil anyway? The goal should be MORE European than Europe (with Europeans using half the oil of the average American) and further... 20 villages of 500 people each, walled villages with no cars allowed inside, and a local town centre that has the movies, town hall, other facilities. Beautiful, intimate, economically secure, cheaper, safer, cleaner, more fun, less boring, less predictable and more arty: and now GOING MAINSTREAM: not just for eco-village types! (blarrrgh, no thanks!) Yes, this solves global warming and peak oil but you won't hear that from the developer! This is just a better way to live that is MORE fulfilling. Have fun in your SUV as peak oil hits, or worse, the "uber-expensive" hydrogen economy. I hope it's real fun for you sitting in your high performance vehicle as you speed up to the next traffic jams. Just think: that 10 hours you wasted commuting could have been spent reading a good book, talking to friends as you walk to the local tram stop, or better: arguing with me! ;-)
    • by StCredZero (169093)

      The last...well, hydrogen can trivially be made by running a current through water.

      Basic electrolysis is pretty lossy up-front. It makes batteries look *good*. (41% efficient for systems running at 100 celsius. 64% for 850 celsuis. Not sure that's suitable for consumer equipment!)

      If you've got a photovoltaic array on your roof, you can analyze water and get essentially free hydrogen.

      It's electrolyze, not analyze. Also, widely manufactured photovoltaics are still expensive.

      While we'll never see cars powered in "real time" by the sun, it's quite easy make in a couple days as much hydrogen as you'll need to power your car for a week of normal driving.

      I think the photovoltaics you'd need to recharge a car in a couple of days are going to be expensive. Let's say your family drives one half hour a day. This is pretty reasonable. A 15 minute commute during the weekd

      • by Nikker (749551)

        41% efficient for systems running at 100 celsius. 64% for 850 celsuis . Not sure that's suitable for consumer equipment!

        The combustion chamber in your engine is around 1000 - 1800 Celsius [answers.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lawnboy5-O (772026)
      You need to check out these guys...

      The chief scientist has been at it for over 30 years - so yes it is difficult. I remember his expo at teh U. of Tenn Worlds Fair in 1982

      http://www.hypowerfuel.com/home.html [hypowerfuel.com]

      anyhow - major breakthroughs are abound, and Canada's Alberta Province has initiatives for the use of HyPower's hydrogen and bio fuel production processes.
  • NPR Interview (Score:5, Informative)

    by cybereal (621599) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:19PM (#28507899) Homepage

    According to an interview with a researcher or the lead researcher or something like that, it's not as much as carbon nanotubes or other existing solutions, but it's "enough" and it's vastly cheaper. All existing solutions are impossibly expensive, that's the big deal here. Something like 6 billion pounds of chicken feathers are produced as by products of the chicken industry every year with zero practical reuses.

    The same interviewee goes on to explain that there are a number of other possible uses of chicken feathers as a high grade material component, in everything from car body pieces to wind mill blades for wind power. I think it's an excellent effort and I hope it bears fruit.

  • When we've got Atomic Rooster!!!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrVmBRqEp3s [youtube.com]

  • 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]

  • Situation Normal; All Fowled Up.

  • by lgbr (700550) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:53PM (#28508113)

    I wouldn't say 'about a zillion to go.' I would say one big problem to go. That problem is platinum. We simply have not been able to eliminate the need for platinum in fuel cells to extract the electricity from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Platinum is a huge factor in the cost of the fuel cell and the larger problem is that we simply don't have the amount of it necessary to convert all of the vehicles of the world. I spent a few weeks at Los Alamos with a research group that had been given a hefty grant for finding a solution and all they were doing was shrugging their shoulders at it. It seems nearly hopeless.

    The day we find a solution to this problem is, I believe, the day that fuel cells become viable for everyday transportation. I'll be the first in line to swap my motorcycle for a fuel cell powered version because the only problem with fuel cells is their cost per kilowatt. Currently it costs roughly $73 per kilowatt for a fuel cell (source) [wikipedia.org]. This is down from $1,000 in 2002. This means that we've come incredibly far, and we only have one problem to overcome.

    • I wouldn't say 'about a zillion to go.' I would say one big problem to go. That problem is platinum. We simply have not been able to eliminate the need for platinum in fuel cells to extract the electricity from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Platinum is a huge factor in the cost of the fuel cell and the larger problem is that we simply don't have the amount of it necessary to convert all of the vehicles of the world. I spent a few weeks at Los Alamos with a research group that had been given a hefty grant for finding a solution and all they were doing was shrugging their shoulders at it. It seems nearly hopeless.

      I thought Argonne (sister DoE lab) came up with a breakthrough for reducing the amount of platinum needed [physorg.com] (over 2 years ago)? I haven't heard much about that since, though.

      I swear, if I had nickel for every alternative energy breakthrough that was announced with great fanfare but went nowhere, I could fund the infrastructure change myself. Do these things just end up fizzling? Are they hoaxes? Is some evil petroleum magnate in a bunker inside a volcano buying them all up and tossing the secrets into the mag

  • THERE WILL BE NO HYDROGEN ECONOMY!

    Like anyone, I want to see society continue as long as possible, but I have no illusions: the Hydrogen Economy is bullshit. [74.125.47.132]

    Why? An abbreviation: EROEI [wikipedia.org].

    The sooner we forget about hydrogen and get down to actual solutions, the better.

    As I said - I'm good with industrialism, but I am NOT down with stupidity. The so-called hydrogen economy is a lie. It is not a solution except to the true believers. We need to make other arrangements, and money spent on hydrogen is mone

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by muridae (966931)

      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

  • There's an informative lecture on this technology here [youtube.com].

  • by MJMullinII (1232636) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:39PM (#28508411)

    the best Hydrogen storage is the Hydrocarbon.

    What most people don't seem to understand is that the environmental problem with burning hydrocarbons (gasoline, diesel, etc.) *is not* with the act itself. My point being that the principle of the Internal Combustion Engine isn't the problem.

    The problem is where the hydrocarbons come from. Right now, the feedstock for hydrocarbon based fuel production is petroleum. That petroleum is happy underground and would stay that way virtually indefinitely *if* we didn't pump it to the surface.

    That brings us to the problem: When we burn hydrocarbon fuels based on petroleum, we are adding carbon to the atmosphere that was locked underground. However, *if* we burn hydrocarbon based fuels that are synthetically created using (among other things) recaptured Carbon from the air, then we are *not* adding to the CO2 load of the planet and therefore can focus on more immediate environmental problems.

    It's going to happen sooner or later. However much petroleum there is in the ground (20 years or 200), it is for sure and certain that *one* day it will run out. We're eventually going to have no choice but to switch to a hydrogen economy and I've seen *nothing* on the drawing board (even far flung into the future) that matches the energy potential of hydrocarbons.

  • Their surface areas per unit mass (smaller than 1,000 m^2/g) are not too impressive (since storage is done by physisorption on the surface). This will not produce sufficient adsorption. Activated carbon from corn-cobs appear to offer more promise (migger than 3,000 m^2/g) and are also quite cheap. See, for example from my home state: http://www.physorg.com/news162195986.html [physorg.com]
  • "He experimented for years with various ways to use feathers and eventually wondered if they might store hydrogen."

    Now did the professor just wake one one day and say "Aha! I know how to solve the energy crisis! Chicken feathers!"? It seems to be very original thinking.

  • haha now if only chickens could fly ... we'd finally have our flying cars!
    .
    .
    cus.gus@hotmail.com

  • One good reason to have cars powered by chicken feathers is that chicken feathers are one of only two substances that may lawfully be littered upon the public streets and highways. Cal. Vehicle Code 23114(a). So once their fuel value is depleted, just dump 'em on the road.

  • by Greg_D (138979) on Monday June 29, 2009 @01:10AM (#28510081)

    We get to piss off the vegans, environmentalists, and anti-environmentalists, all at the same time!

    This is fucking BRILLIANT!

All life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities. -- Dawkins

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