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Fast Times at Russ College of Engineering and Technology [Aug. 7th, 2007|08:16 am]
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cheap abundant hydrogen is about to become a reality
ARSC
Frank Neukomm is a smart man. ok he's not Dean Kamen, but man o man would i love to be involved in the games this guy -CEO of American Security Resources Corporation-is playing. He seems like some Gordon Geko but for good worldchanging! Just a month ago he bought MagWind, one of the coolest VAWT companies there is (i guess Mr. Perot Jr. makes better deals than his dad :p ..but what he did this week blew me away! Blew-me-away.

Not content to wait for companies to develop the technologies we need, he went to the core, and just struck a deal with Ohio University to bring chemical and biomolecular engineering associate professor Gerardine Botte's brand new technology to market. And what does it do? It efficiently turns amonia into hydrogen! And he's a nice guy, OU also gets equity in the company --brand new ASRC subsidiary American Hydrogen Corp. See, ASRC was looking at hydrogen feeds to satisfy the hunger of (yet) another subsidiary; HydraFuel Cell Corp, they read Dr. Botte's research and pounced! Well it took a year to do the deal, but now they are ready to go! And why not? Ammonia is made everywhere... you can make it from fermenting waste, and when you look at the molecular structure, it's as easy to split as water. Maybe easier.
yeahbutwhatbaoutthenitrogen.
I still like making H out of methane myself, as we end up dealing with mitigating a greenhouse gas as well... but heck, cheap hydrogen would be a way to get us using the stuff regularly, and building up the demand for the slightly more expensive approaches. Just one more small step for Frank Neukomm, one giant step for humankind!!

[important note: i have to put a caveat vaporptor on this story. I'd like to believe it's true, but MagWins while a cool idea, may not really be all that hot, and hasn't really produced anything. And that last pitch they has in TH a month ago with a GIANT sized magwind was so pie in the sky... so that, plus a Fuel Cell company, and we have to make sure that this guy isn't just doing one more vaporware stock push... you know like Zapworld does, or Hybrid Technologies, no real product just lots of green hype. we have to at least keep one eye open, ok cowboys?]
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[User Picture]From: a_steep_hill
2007-08-07 05:34 pm (UTC)

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You do know that industrial scale ammonia production is produced from natural gas, right?

H2 is an energy carrier, nothing more. And it's a damned inconvenient one to work with for most purposes.
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2007-08-07 08:52 pm (UTC)

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yeah i know, right now it's mostly made from that gas liquer and really, when you think of it, it would be backassward to even try to get hydrogen from that ammonia-- since the natural gas has to be hydrogenated...

but i was thinking more about it in a disaggregated transportation-market kind of way ((But what is so much more inconvenient to work with for say, a car on H2 than a car with CNG?)) ..and also thinking like, ammonia like the mountainous industrial animal waste's ammonia, and even cities could use it for their ammonia from our poo. a city could do it with our waste instead of having to do crazy stuff like this:
poo
[User Picture]From: a_steep_hill
2007-08-07 09:19 pm (UTC)

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Oh, yeah, H2 is a HUGE pain in the ass compared to CNG. Density is much lower, and liquification requires much lower temperatures (around 6K, IIRC).

When I was a rocket engineer, we intended to use kerosene as a fuel rather than hydrogen because a tank large enough to hold sufficient (liquid) hydrogen would have been bigger than the vehicle.

Sewage is certainly a resource worth tapping, but I'd suggest a simpler, low-tech approach: an anaerobic digester to make methane.
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2007-08-07 11:33 pm (UTC)

Phew! I'm sure glad i didn't say "it's not rocket science"

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it's not it making it, or storing it right? just once it would be in the vehicle that the temperature's a problem, right? cause we make around 50 billion tons of it now for potato chip oil, metals processing & refining, chemical production, like the amonia and electronics processing. thats enough to fuel 250 million fuel cell cars right now.

as far as not losing the H when you're driving, you know me i'm a hopeful puppy, i believe that the good folks at BMW have been on it all along, and never given up with IC Hydrogen. and have solutions to keeping that liquid hydrogen squishee nice and cold (and no rubber tubes i'm sure). i believe in their sexy bi-fuel BMW 745h. but now am worried both about the size of the tank your projecting, and that someone who was building a space-helicopter is reading this LJ [uh-oh]
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2007-08-07 11:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Phew! I'm sure glad i didn't say "it's not rocket science"

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..and FORD was just up here in canada using a bunch of Quantum-ified hydrogen shuttle buses to shuttle around all of these Parliamentarians ...and they just finished doing a month of sightseeing tours in florida
[User Picture]From: a_steep_hill
2007-08-08 12:16 am (UTC)

Re: Phew! I'm sure glad i didn't say "it's not rocket science"

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Making H2 is no problem, although doing it in an energy efficient fashion (necessary for a good energy carrier) is not so simple. Storing it in stationary applications is non-trivial, but a solved problem. Storing it (in a practical way) for mobile applications is very hard (bulky insulation, and you have to deal with vented hydrogen). Storing it safely (i.e. American-consumer-proof, which is much more stringent than merely fool-proof) for mobile applications is very hard.

Note also that shipping it by pipeline is basically impossible with current tech, which makes distribution infrastructure a real problem.

And when it's all said and done, liquid H2 really isn't very dense, so you either need a big tank or to accept a short range. There is work being done on storing it in a solid matrix (a hydride), which actually gives you better density than a liquid, but I don't think anyone has a product based on that yet.

I'm not saying that hydrogen is without useful application. I can see, for example, using it for large stationary applications like shifting a few MWh of energy production from night time to peak time.

I'm not even saying that it would be impossible to develop a workable mobile storage system and associated distribution infrastructure. It's just that it would be alot of tech development for very little clear benefit. There are better options: Li-ion batteries look like the current leader of the pack, and that tech will continue to improve regardless of politics or government subsidies because the electronics industry is driving it. But synthetic hydrocarbons (from pyrolysis) are an option. Even ethanol is probably a better bet than hydrogen, even though it would also require a major infrastructure rebuild.

Hydrogen's advantages are dubious, and the fact that PEM fuel cells (the type that are small, lightweight, and run relatively cool: i.e. potentially good for mobile applications) haven't developed as fast as expected really puts the nail in the H2 coffin for me. Read the opinion of the European Fuel Cell Forum on the subject. They're dropping PEM work from the forum, because it's not going to pay off any time soon (and there is lots of very real potential with other kinds of fuel cells, for stationary applications).

Bottom line: I think companies like BMW and Ford are pushing hydrogen precisely because it's sexy, not because it's practical, efficient, environmentally sound, or will ever result in a workable product. It's a PR maneuver. There's a reason I call it hy(pe)drogen.
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2007-08-08 02:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Phew! I'm sure glad i didn't say "it's not rocket science"

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sure, i hear ya. And lots of people still call 'em fool cells, but i think theres vast difference between those PME DCs and internal H2 combustion. Even with the density issues (which ford and bmw claim to have worked out-- and what about that Intergalactic Hydrogen guy? Has he worked that out?) so its not impossible, density and temperature aside, it's doable. Right? And certainly the pipelines, just like with ethanol, are useless for H2,

as far as efficiency. i think that its important. for stuff like solar electrolizers, i think the payoff and efficiency is complicates, and then if you are going to turn the methane into H2 and carbon black with pyrolysis, then its not that its more efficient than just burning gas in a turbine, but it is much cleaner and emits no CO2, so thats got to be worth something in the actual value of the energy, no?
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2007-08-09 03:55 pm (UTC)

hey! did you hear the one about room temperature hydrogen storage?

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A University of Windsor chemistry professor may be holding the keys to hydrogen-powered vehicles of the future. David Antonelli's breakthrough in hydrogen storage research is attracting worldwide attention -- and investment from Chrysler. Antonelli recently signed a deal with the automaker that will give him $100,000 over two years to "optimize" a cheap way of storing hydrogen in fuel tanks at room temperature.

[from Driving.Ca's Driving Green site]
[User Picture]From: birdbard
2007-08-08 01:03 pm (UTC)

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Hmm, if Frank Neukomm is on board, there must be something good that will come of this? It sounded so promising when I read it on first post, but your back and forth with a_steep_hill makes it sound less so. Your tech talk is over my head! LOL. In simple terms, what's the bottom line?
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2007-08-09 03:56 pm (UTC)

the bottom line?

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who knows? Sorry Bird, i wish i had a better answer for you... i think it may be a cool tech --this hyrogen from amonia if used from poo and other waste streams (not from natural gas)
[User Picture]From: birdbard
2007-08-09 04:44 pm (UTC)

no problem

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I asked because I read so many things that sound like "Wow, great, this will save the world from peak oil!!" And then someone in the know says "No, that won't work because of x-y-z..." It's hard to know the bottom line!
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-20 10:55 am (UTC)

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Hi I really enjoyed reading your article please feel free to visit my site http://run-your-car-on-water.blogspot.com/
From: mike1960
2008-09-12 02:58 pm (UTC)

That beats me

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That beats me. I am only making water turn into hydrogen. Are we having fun yet. You bet!

http://water-for-gas-reviews.com/
[User Picture]From: scalarparty
2008-09-12 03:54 pm (UTC)

Re: That beats me

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...so you are running a car on HHO ??
From: mike1960
2008-09-12 08:05 pm (UTC)

Re: That beats me

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yes, but i had to make 02 enhancers. The HHO makes the gas more efficient.

more on my site http://water-for-gas-reviews.com/
From: (Anonymous)
2008-10-07 11:31 am (UTC)

Hello.. Let's get acquainted...

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Hi!
My name is Jessika!
From: (Anonymous)
2008-10-07 01:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Hello.. Let's get acquainted...

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hi Jessika thanks for reading my journal!