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Thread: Cheap Hydrogen Production

  1. #1 Cheap Hydrogen Production 
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    May 2005
    I thought of a way to produce hydrogen much cheaper using less electrical energy.
    Practical Hydrogen production:
    Use radioactivity to change water into hydrogen peroxide [H2O2], then use electrolysis to change the hydrogen peroxide into hydrogen and oxygen. It should take less electrical energy to change H2O2 into hydrogen and oxygen than it does to change H2O into hydrogen and oxygen. Nuclear waste could be used to provide the radioactive material to do this. The hydrogen and oxygen separation facility could be placed close to a nuclear power plant. The cooling water that is used to cool down the atomic pile is subjected to high levels of radiation, and some of that must be changed into hydrogen peroxide. Run the cooling water from the nuclear power plant to the hydrogen and oxygen separation facility. Separate the hydrogen peroxide from the water (if you can economically do that), and use electolysis sending electrical energy into the hydrogen peroxide and separate that into hydrogen and oxygen. If you can't sepearate the H2O2 from the H2O, then use the electrolysis on the mixture; it would still take less electricity for separtation because some of the electrical energy is going to go into H2O2 molecules.
    Without using a nuclear facility you could just put radioactive waste into a large pool of water. Allow the radioactivity to change the water into hydrogen peroxide, and then separate the water from the hydrogen peroxide, and do the electrolysis on the hydrogen peroxide, separating it into hydrogen and oxygen. This should make hydrogen a practical fuel to use in engines world wide, making both hydrogen and oxygen much cheaper to produce.
    [As far as energy is conscerned, H2O2 is like an intermediate energy stage before you get to water. It should take much less electrical energy to convert that to hydrogen and oxygen. The energy from the radioactive waste is totally free, provided by the nuclear decay of the radioactive material.]
    You can simply place the electrodes, that are used for the electrolysis, close to the radioactive material where the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide should be highest. This would eliminate the need to separate the H2O2 from the H2O.
    If OH interacts with H2O, to form an H and H2O2, then you would get 2 hydrogen atoms released every time an H2O2 molecule is produced, without using any electricity. The first when the H is knocked off the H2O, and the second when the OH and another H2O combine to produce an H and H2O2. So just by having the radioactivity acting on the water it should produce Hydrogen automatically, without needing any electrolysis.
    The energy from the radiation is free energy. It is supplied by the conversion of mass to energy as the radioactive waste decays. What you would be doing is using the energy from the radioactive decay to assist in the splitting of the hydrogen and oxygen. You might consider this a fundamentally new way of using nuclear energy. Instead of using the heat it produces, you would be using its energy to produce a hydrogen/oxygen fuel.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Mesa AZ
    I'm kind of supprised nobody responded to this.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Sophomore Pete's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Toowoomba, Australia
    It's an interesting idea.

    I'm not sure about the decomposition of H2O2, though... if I remember rightly, it prefers to decompose like this:
    2H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> => 2H<sub>2</sub>O + O<sub>2</sub>
    But I'm no chemist, so don't trust me on this.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Pete is right
    2H2O2 --> 2H2O + O2
    So this plan is gr8 but might have this drawback.
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