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Power Hardware Science

Storing Hydrogen At Room Temperature 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-that-cool dept.
cylonlover writes "Hydrogen storage, along with hydrogen production and the lack of infrastructure, remains a major stumbling block in efforts to usher in hydrogen as a replacement for hydrocarbon-based fuels in cars, trucks and even homes. But with the multiple advantages hydrogen offers, developing hydrogen storage solutions has been the focus of a great deal of research. Now an MIT-led research team has demonstrated a method that could allow hydrogen to be stored inexpensively at room temperature."
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Storing Hydrogen At Room Temperature

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  • by hot soldering iron (800102) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @08:34PM (#37474776)

    It's actually Wichita, Kansas. Here's the link:

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/120/motorhead-messiah.html [fastcompany.com]

    That is utilizing conventional hydrocarbon liquid fuel in a much more efficient way than the traditional internal combustion engine. The energy/lb/ft^3 is magnitudes higher for gasoline/diesel than the most advanced battery system even in the R&D labs. Coupling a microturbine generator to a small battery/super-capacitor combo to drive an electric motor (high torque at low speeds) is perfect for driving. A normal gasoline engine only makes high torque at high speed - really only good for race cars.

    I'm hearing lots of news releases for hydrogen, but I'm not seeing any real leaps of engineering. Hydrogen requires either bulky, heavy, expensive, storage tanks, or it's chemically bound, requiring processing to release (slow). H2 fuel cells are barely controlled bombs, so those won't be allowed to run around loose in these terror stricken times. The only current way to generate the industrial quantities of hydrogen needed to run a fleet is to "crack" natural gas. Not too green.

    Hydrogen also tends to seep right through metal, causing embrittlement (it is the smallest molecule out there), so you can't store it long before it's gone. It has a HUGE range of combustion ratio with air, so a little leak or a huge leak will still go BOOM! A car fire is deadly hot now, but a H2 vehicle will explode and kill everyone around it. Good times.

    I used to be a real proponent of hydrogen, it really appealed with the simple "we can make it with solar hydrolysis" line. It's locked up in water, which is all around us. But I finally got hold of a book which actually pointed out the engineering difficulties, and dangers of it. These are real problems that aren't going away, and aren't being addressed. If someone comes up with a magic method of generation and safe storage, I'll be first in line. Until then, it's still the empty 50-year-old promise the marketing shills of the car and energy companies have been making. It's the old whore on the corner they trot out every couple of years in new makeup.

    If you want to look at a potential fuel that's all around us, but can be used without the billion dollar infrastructure of the energy companies, look at carbon monoxide. It's a proven technology (since WWII!) and can be created from any bio-waste feedstock: chunked wood, grass clippings, sewage, dead politicians, etc... Some of the "fringe science" enthusiasts call it Bingo fuel (rapid hydrolysis using a welding arc and carbon electrodes), but the gases are still carbon monoxide, H2, and water vapor. Thermal depolymerization is also a possible way of creating liquid hydrocarbons to replace natural oil (uses optimized pressure cooking process to simulate a million years of natures "hit-or-miss" process). Don't put too much hope in Hydrogen, but don't give up, either.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

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