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Thread: How I think we could start the hydrogen economy. Cheapish.

  1. #1 How I think we could start the hydrogen economy. Cheapish. 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    In my beautiful little scheme of a plan, I propose that to make more energy out of these hydroelect dams, we find a way of increasing the amount of water thats flowing through them in a constant manner.

    And it doesn't involve melting snowcaps/making it rain more/everyone peeing in the res twice a day.

    Basically, we need to build some solar panels and wind turbines. How hot/windy it is, depends on which we use. Then we take these panels/turbines, and using the latest in water electrolysis(*) we create hydrogen and oxygen. Oh, we do this at the bottom of the dam. Maybe have the panels higher up, the turbines on the edge of the top of the dam to get good airflow. Who cares, I digress.

    So we have some oxygen and hydrogen. Big deal. Now my idea is to bottle the oxygen and sell it to people. Forget about the oxygen. But, because hydrogen is light enough to escape gravity, it floats upwards. We let it float up some nice tight pipe so it doesn't leak, and back at the top we put it into a gas burning powerstation(**). The result, is water. We let this water flow back into the res, and eventually one day it will come back down the turbine, give us some electricity, and maybe even get split into oxygen and hydrogen again. Howzat?

    * I read somewhere you can get about 85% efficiency from electrolysis of water using rubium(sp) as a catalyst, high pressure reactions and heat reactions. I haven't supplied a link because frankly its nearly 4 in the morning and I need to go to sleep. But if anyone is interested, I will find it sometime this week.

    **Burning natural gas you get an about 70% efficient chem-electric process thingy-ma-jig. Hydrogen powerstations haven't been made in this manner, but ive been quoted about 80-85%. Again, links during the week.

    People say you can get about 98% out of a fuel cell, but it start to loose efficency when your pumping large amounts of hydrogen through it, so im going to stick with the 85%.

    you need to be getting around 30% of the energy for all this for the water electrolysis from the wind turbines/solar panels. But remember your getting extra water now in your dam, so at some point a clever mathematican will be able to work out the break-even point where your putting enough water in the dam to overcome the energy loss due to inefficency. Then you would start making electricity, basically, out of the weight of oxygen. Which is pretty different, I think.

    You might think "well just build some solar panels and wind turbines and forget all this nonsense" but the problem with solar/wind power is thats it can just stop occasionally. With this method, you might have a really windy day/sunny day, but no one needs the power, so you can just put more water in the top of the dam using this method, for less energy loss than using a conventional pump.

    Also, if you manage to make some part of the system more efficient, you could start harvesting some of the hydrogen away from the system and using it for other sources. The hydrogen energy economy is born.


    Now please take apart my theory and call it complete guff, because its been in my mind for over a year now and as yet no one can bloody refute it properly. And I refuse to believe it could work.

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  3. #2  
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    Dec 2007
    how about instead of solar panels or wind turbines you use water turbines in the dam so they will always be making power regardless of the weather, and they wont have to be near the surface.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    You think it's feasible?

    Doesn't it take 44 k-watt-hours of electricity to make the equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline? at 10 cents a KWH, that's $4.40 per unit. That's at 100% efficiency, no maintenance or labor costs, profit, etc.

    How much more is it for operating costs and profits?
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