Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fuel Cell-abration


Pictured above is a laptop powered by hydrogen; one of many applications being designed to fit into the new 'hydrogen economy'. That is at least the hope of many who are looking for the next big sustainable energy market. Many countries and cities are claiming to be leading the pack with investment into the ideas and products needed to make the hydrgen economy a reality. The London Hydrogen Partnership is just one such organisation; http://www.lhp.org.uk/ .

More information on fuel cells at; http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/FuelCellToday/EducationCentre/EducationCentreExternal/EduCentreDisplay/0,1741,PressKitHome,00.html .

Dr Francis “Tom” Bacon developed the first practical working fuel cell that was used in the Apollo space programme. He was concerned about the impact of fossil fuels on the environment and wanted to modify this technology for use as a clean, efficient source of electricity and heat.

Many companies are looking to make the hydrogen economy at reality. One such company is http://www.hydrogenics.com/ . This is the future of energy.

4 Comments:

At 9:14 pm, Blogger Pete Smith said...

One thing that doesn't really come across in your post is that hydrogen is not an energy source as such, but a way of storing energy. You don't come across vast reservoirs of free-floating hydrogen ready to be mined and stored. The "hydrogen economy" will certainly be pollution free at the point of use, unless you're allergic to water, but it will require enormous inputs of energy to create the hydrogen that goes into your fuel cell. I have seen no convincing evidence that any sums have been done to prove that hydrogen will achieve a net reduction in greenhouse emissions. But it will make the air in your average streetscape smell fresher, if a little damper.

 
At 7:17 am, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Yes, this is the first step (the fuel cells), with the techno-heads and scientists needing to work backwards to resolve the fuel and energy problem (to make the hydrogen).

With all the problems there are with freshwater shortages one wonders if diverting it for hydrogen use will be wise. Maybe we should start mining icebergs before they melt!

 
At 5:51 pm, Blogger Stephan Smith said...

I recall that fuel cells are very efficient at converting the ‘fuel’ into electricity. Do you know how the total energy cycle of a methane fuel cell stacks up against using electricity (that may have been generated using methane as part of the energy mix) to make hydrogen for a hydrogen fuel cell? There are [currently] many more paths to methane than there are to hydrogen and ones that don’t require GMOs or nuclear.

 
At 10:31 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Interesting thought, pumping the methane from landfill to a network of fuel cells! (for example). It's for the scientists to work out the most energy efficient route with hydrogen fuel cells and for the entrepreneur to make it a 'market' reality. The environmentalist needs to make sure that the wool isn't simply been pulled over our eyes again, as happened with nuclear in the 50s.

 

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