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zero carbon emissions...

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by philba, May 1, 2007.

  1. philba

    philba New Member

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  2. Leftyretro

    Leftyretro New Member

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    Storage and transportation of are certainly large infrastructure challenges, but nothing compared to where the source energy will come from to manufacture H2. Replacing the gasoline used (131 Billion gallons per year just in the US) with another source of energy is not something that will easily be solved or implemented. PV and wind power, while popular, will never scale up to that kind of demand IMHO. Large scale Nuclear power expansion is probably the most realistic source, but carries lots of political baggage and needs tremendous capital investment by someone..

    Remember H2 is not a primary source of power but rather an energy storage/delivery medium.
     
  3. philba

    philba New Member

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    I'm not sure I agree with your assessment that PV and wind won't scale up. Wind is, already, nearly cost competitive with coal fired electricity. PV costs are still high but should decline over time. CSP pencils out as cost competitive with coal but is at an early stage. All it will take is a new round of pollution controls/carbon taxes to tilt the equation the other way. Already a number of US states are requiring an increasing percentage of consumed electricity to be from green sources though I disagree with the mandate approach and favor tax based incentives to allow economic laws to work.

    Vast stretches of the American west are prime real estate for both wind and solar. I could see them becoming very significant net exporters. There are many parts of the world that are suitable.

    Yes, H2 is a storage medium but has the advantage of being an internal combustion fuel so it can be used for aviation as well as other sources.

    Nukes? Maybe when there is a true energy crises will they start building them but the design/build cycle is incredibly long. PV and wind will be on much faster cycles and can meet the needs much more nimbly.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. Leftyretro

    Leftyretro New Member

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    "Yes, H2 is a storage medium but has the advantage of being an internal combustion fuel so it can be used for aviation as well as other sources."

    Are you sure about that? Every H2 application I've seen uses the H2 in fuel cells to generate electricity to then power electric motors. Direct burning of H2 in IC engines or turbines is not something I've heard about. Not sure that H2would ever have the energy density needed for any kind of commercial power flight.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_power

    Lefty
     
  6. CheapSlider

    CheapSlider Member

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    Hydrogen fuel is something being pushed / promoted by oil companies. Hydrogen vehickes are exempt from CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations and hydrogen is made from natural gas (methane).

    Some day it may be possible that fuel cell / electric motor could replace IC engine. There are fuel cells that use alcohol although not much has been heard about these since their announcement 2 or 3 years ago
     
  7. Oznog

    Oznog Active Member

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    Saying "the only problem is transport and storage" trivializes the problem. There just isn't any indication that a simple effective system that stores many lbs of hydrogen with a large number of cycles and a fast recharge time is going to suddenly pop up.
    I mean I feel ok saying "all we need is cold fusion" because there's a clear promise of cheap, clean power and a breakthrough could happen at any time especially with more resources devoted to research.

    Hydrogen storage isn't all that practical and I haven't seen any credible proposals of ideas that would make it super-effective.
     
  8. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    What's with zero carbon emissions? Nothing wrong with carbon, basis of all life on earth after all, we breath it out naturally it's what we do to exist as biological organism. It's what to do with it if there's too much of it. How about just coming up with some method of chemically converting that carbon into a 'stored' physical state instead of having it run around free in the environment. Something like the functions plants play in the environment...

    How about large Algae farms which convert carbon into simple sugars? All they need is a little light and air.

    How much scientific effort is used to study and understand new methods of producing energy and how much scientific effort is used to study and understand new methods for storing it? Could learn a lot from nature.

    We as a species have spent virtually our entire history using and coming up with new ways of 'spending' energy. Using energy is NEVER a problem. Global climate change is a key sign of that. One way or another either from our alteration of nature (deforestation), or our direct carbon output we're disturbing the carbon cycle on earth, in the midst of a time when it appears earths carbon cycle is already on the change.

    I like the idea of using simple organisms such as algae to store energy. The only problem that remains is creating dense controlled environments for them to exist in. Even the most polluting modern companies nowadays are using biological assists in their waste treatment. Entire genomes have been patented, they're on the verge of creating outright entirely new organisms, with a microscope and a needle to push things in the right place.

    Anyone that thinks there is a plain and simple fix or one 'right' answer to this 'problem' is trying to push snake oil.
    We're DAMN good at using hydrocarbons. Extracting them from the environment we've sent them too... Perhaps that's the next step.
     
  9. bryan1

    bryan1 Well-Known Member

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    Why is it poeple think going nuclear will solve the world's problem :confused: . Now here's a concept worth thinking about, if every permament dwelling thats connected to the grid put 1Kw of PV coupled to a grid tie inverter with 2 led's. A green led saying YES you are using the sun for your power and a red led to say NO you are drawing power from the grid. Throw in some batteries and the world could become RE and feed the grid for business thru the day while their at work. You would be surprised how many people would try and keep the green led lit and not have to pay a power bill.

    But with big business in power supply I can never see this happening as everything has gone and the shareholders demand a bigger dividend.

    Just my 2.2 cents (gotta pay gst on everything including comments)

    Cheers Bryan:D
     
  10. Oznog

    Oznog Active Member

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    Also worth noting that the H2 fuel cell's primary problem is not just cost, more specifically, it's the cost of platinum. A fuel cell big enough for a car takes quite a lot of it.

    Unfortunately here's the thing. Even if you were willing to pay what platinum costs, it would require so much that the cost would skyrocket to even get 10% of the USA's fleet on H2. Supplies are limited and we cannot get a lot more platinum even if the price doubled. So far that what started out as too pricey already gets to 3x or 10x the price. There's not
    even enough platinum in the world to do this.

    The solution of course is a hope to get away with a thin plating, that may be possible, but that's proving to be a difficult problem.
     
  11. Tim_B

    Tim_B New Member

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    I have taken a different concept on reducing my carbon emissions, in relation to that generated for my transport and that is to reduce the amount I use.

    I'm just in the process of changing my car from a 50mpg model to a 75mpg model.

    Another great solution is to also think twice, do I really need to make the journey?

    Its impossible to provide the replace the fuel required to push those 15mpg tanks around but reduce the demand and while you will still have a need for fuel you can drop the amount needed to a more sensible amount
     
  12. Leftyretro

    Leftyretro New Member

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    That would be a very effective method if consumers exercised it in enough numbers. Raising demand will always attract raising prices and demand keeps raising each year in spite price increases.

    I work in the oil refinery industry and believe me if demand would slacken prices would fall, we don't have the ability to store much gasoline production and would have to decrease prices to meet decreased demand. Even a 10% yearly decrease in consumer demand would have a hugh effect in the industry. I'm sure most of us could cut 10%+ without all that much effort.

    Many love to blame the oil companies because that is easy and it seems to be an inherited bias, but continuous raising demand on a diminishing resource is more to the heart of the matter. We need to look at our individual behaviours and practices before we place all the blame elsewhere.

    Lefty
     
  13. philba

    philba New Member

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    yeah, but I was listening to an NPR story on refineries and they said that the amount of down time due to maintenance this year was significantly above the average of previous years. hmmm... makes you wonder.

    I don't disagree we should be conservative with our resources. Yeah, I know building new refineries is politically untenable but if I were in charge and could manipulate the price by increasing down time a little bit, it would be tempting. especially if I and my buddies running the other refineries were just "shootin the breeze" about all our maintenance "problems". Nothing like making better margins...
     
  14. Leftyretro

    Leftyretro New Member

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    Well we hear these stories all the time and people love conspiracy theories. Our plants run 24/7/365 for years on end. We have to shut them down to do turnaround maintenance on a 3-4 year cycle for a month or two at a time. We never shut the whole refinery down but rather sections depending on their interdependency of other sections.

    Right now refining is profitable because we can sell all we can make and we can run the plants at 100% capacity, the demand is that good. Running plants at reduced rates is very costly due to efficiency, 30% of the cost of making gasoline is the energy consumed in making it, and efficency does not scale down well.

    We can't store much production so demand drives our production rates, plain and simple. Again if demand would soften so would the prices. As far as talking to our 'buddies' running other refineries it just doesn't happen, it's against the law plus we consider them competitors not buddies. Does Microchip tell AVR what they should both design into their next releases ;)

    Lefty
     
  15. philba

    philba New Member

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    yeah, you are right, collusion never happens...
     
  16. Leftyretro

    Leftyretro New Member

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    Yes I know, and Oswald didn't act alone.......
     
  17. Souper man

    Souper man Guest

    Well in chemistry, Florine is a very reactive element, and commonly bonds with other totally unrelated elements. Perhaps we could find a way to have the carbon dioxide to react with the florine. Then it would be a simple process of turning it into toothpaste!
     
  18. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild New Member

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    yea as it happens i have one, a 100 litre tank in my yard that is full of algae infact you can see the oxygen bubbling up from the surface, this is also a good mosquito catcher as they lay the eggs in the water and then one of two things happen. either before the eggs hatch they are inglobated by the algae and trapped and so the things die or the one fish in there eats them it's quite interesting and costs nothing
     

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