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Thread: Alternative energy source

  1. #1 Alternative energy source 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    My school is discussing about the energy problem. The world is running out of fossil fuel. I know there is solar energy and hydro energy etc. But i want to know more about things that can be used as fuel for vehicles like the bio diesel. Some say that we can use hydrogen as fuel, however, wouldn't hydrogen explode when it came to comtact with oxygen?
    Solar panels has too much limitaions

    can any one help me think of some kind of altanative fuel :wink:

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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore
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    Mar 2008
    Port Saint Lucie, Florida
    Hydrogen becomes reactive in the presence of oxygen, so it has the potential to explode in the presence of an ignition source. There are a few reasons for the allure of hydrogen and a few that make it a bad choice. On the plus side, when drawing energy from hydrogen via electrochemical conversion in a fuel cell, the biproduct is water and oxygen. You'll see alot of alternative energy buffs talking about self-powering homes running on hydrogen and creating its own water and heat.

    To create the hydrogen, most propose electrolysis of water (you can do this with a 9v battery, a couple paper clips, and a couple graphite bars. Connect the paperclips to the terminals on the battery and wind them around the graphite bars, one positive and one negative. Stick them in the water and they'll start bubbling. One terminal is creating hydrogen, the other is creating oxygen. ) The caveat to this is that more energy is required to make the hydrogen than the hydrogen will create in a fuel cell. The buffs overcome this by suggesting using local wind or solar power to fuel the electrolysis, which creates hydrogen, which can then be used in fuel cells to create energy, oxygen, and water. The other caveat is current fuel cell technology is very inefficient: with all factors considered, most put the efficiency at around 25-35%, which is about as efficient as a gasoline motor (Depending on the fuel cell technology).

    There are other ways to create hydrogen (biological, thermochemical, etc), but the issue at the moment is the lack of infrastructure to create, transport, and distribute hydrogen and the ironic lack of ready amounts of usable hydrogen in earths environment despite the overwhelming amount of it floating around the universe.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree bit4bit's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    I heard of a method of using algae to create hydrogen. I don't know much about it, apart from that it is an alternative to electrolysing, and that they require sunlight. I saw it on a documentary, how they proposed to have large tanks of algae outside in sunlight, that decomposes water to get hydrogen.

    Woshi: fusion power is another active area of research for future power production, that also takes hydrogen isotopes as its main fuel. Solar panels aren't the most efficient thing, but the computer industry is still booming, and solar cells are themselves solid state devices (just like transistors), so advances in the computer industry will probably reflect some improvements in solar cells too, in the future.
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