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View Diary: Recent DOE Break-Through with Hydrogen Fuel Cells, should make them Affordable (275 comments)

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  •  Now the ultimate would be to design a cell that (11+ / 0-)

    can renew hydrogen automatically for almost perpetual energy with limited easy to obtain fuel.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:21:00 AM PDT

    •  yeah I was wondering about that too (7+ / 0-)

      especially since one of the "waste" outputs is H2O

      (see first image)


      Seems that ultimately there are some

      "recharging while driving" possibilities, ala the Prius?


      Got Time?
      Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

      by jamess on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 06:32:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You cannot violate the First Law of Thermodynamics (12+ / 0-)

        A perpetual motion machine is not workable for that very reason.

        I do think the ultimate solution is going to be a combination of some kind of nuclear reaction and water.  As Einstein pointed out, there is almost infinite energy stored in matter. The problem is "mining" that energy.

        •  lol (11+ / 0-)

          I wasn't suggesting "perpetual motion"

          -- only suggesting "less waste".


          I thought the Prius was doing something like that,

          Recharging the Battery when the brakes are applied,
          or something like that, while it's still drawing from the battery.


          Got Time?
          Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

          by jamess on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:00:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know you knew better. (8+ / 0-)

            I was pulling your string.  Heh.

            The point I really wanted to make came from a conversation I had with a lifelong friend. We were next door neighbors when I was in high school.  He is now an internationally known physicist.  He knows more about dense matter than almost anybody.  We talked about extracting the elements  from water, which is one of the most plentiful substances on the planet.  He would not tell me what it is exactly he had been working on, but I got the idea that it may involve some sort of nuclear reaction on a very small scale.  If it is what I think it is, and he and his colleagues are successful, I foresee a Nobel prize in their future.

          •  The Prius turns waste energy into electricity. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            That is all.  Turning waste energy into hydrogen, then back into electricity, is both A) pointless, and B) laughably inefficient.  A) pointless, because H2 vehicles already have to have battery buffers, so you don't need to do that. And B) laughably inefficient because instead of going generator(motor)->battery->motor, you're doing generator(motor)->battery (for buffering, since electrolysis isn't instant)->electrolysis->H2 compression->storage->O2 compression->fuel cell->battery (for buffering; fuel cells don't work well at high power)->motor.  Sound smarter?  ;)

        •  "Violate the First Law of Thermodynamics"? (6+ / 0-)

          This is only partly tongue-in-cheek.

          But as I understand science, the "Law of thermodynamics" is a human construct based upon what we know about the universe--it is not an eternal truth handed down from "on high" or whatever.  That being so, what if we were to discover more about the nature of the universe in our research, enough to alter the Law?  Is it totally outside the realm of possibility to imagine that we could discover an as-yet unknown way of seeing that changes everything we THINK we understand about the universe?

          It's happened several times in human history, and I leave myself open to the possibility that it can happen again.

          Just sayin'.

          Incorrigible punster; please do not incorrige.

          by Ran3dy on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:41:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Outrider

            thinking outside the box, and apologies for a tired (but expedient) cliche'!

            Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

            by Gustogirl on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:00:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  its not a 'human construct' exactly (5+ / 0-)

            Its a description of a law of nature:

            Matter/Energy cannot be created or destroyed, just converted from one form to another.

            And the BIG questions in Physics were solved by Newton in the 1600s. Nothing simce has contradicted him, just dealt with anomolies at very small matter (quantum mechanics) and very high velocities (relativity).

            you can apply Einstein and Newton to "you are on a ship moving at 10 mph. you walk towards the bow at 2 mph. what is your total forward speed to someone on shore?"

            With Newton it is: 12 mph.
            with Einstein it is: 11.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999992415 mph.

            Most new items refine what we already know, they don't repeal the laws of physics.

            We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

            by ScrewySquirrel on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:31:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But who DEFINES the laws of physics? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              swaminathan

              That's my question.  Humans define the laws of physics, based upon our understanding of how the universe works.  So yes, by definition, the laws of physics ARE a human construct.

              To say that our understanding of the physical universe is essentially complete (or even that BIG questions no longer exist--think about our understanding of the beginning of the universe if you want an example of one remaining Big Question) is hugely anthropocentric.  And a huge disservice to the scientific community at large.

              The Laws of Physics remain because no human has yet to falsify them, and they enjoy a near-universal acceptance among the (human) scientific community.  But that's it.  

              There's plenty about this big ol' universe we call home that we have yet to discover and understand.  The Laws currently  held as truth are simply the best our current scientific thinking can do to explain to ourselves what this place is all about.  I refuse to close my mind to the possibility that there's more to it than we currently have the ability (and dare I say open-mindedness?) to observe and/or consider.  The simple fact of our humanity necessarily means that we see the universe from a human-centered viewpoint.  We can only see and detect things that we can see and detect, because we are only human!

              And no, I'm not speaking of religion.  Just the opposite, in fact.

              Incorrigible punster; please do not incorrige.

              by Ran3dy on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 10:28:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, but that just isn't how science works... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus

                Yes, it is a human construct of using words, numbers, and formulas to describe the world around us. That doesn't mean that certain properties of the Universe are themselves human constructs.

                The hierarchy of scientific certainty is as follows:

                Law
                Theory
                hypothesis.

                Note that Special and General Relativity, Evolution, etc remain theories even though they describe the world to a high degree of accuracy.

                Above this are the scientific Laws. Laws of the thermodynamics and motion are two examples. They are far fewer in number than Theories.  Laws essentially are reality.

                "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

                by JWK on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 05:48:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And the LAWS of science come from where? (0+ / 0-)

                  From outside the human realm, or from within it?
                  l
                  That's all I'm saying here.  These LAWS are accepted as reality because HUMANS have made observations and proposed explanations for those observations.  Not other earthly species, aliens, supernatural beings, deities, but HUMANS.  Flesh and blood, with five basic senses with which to make observations, and reason, to put it all together to describe a universe that (hopefully) makes sense.

                  To say that it's something other than human construct is folly!  We are mere observers in this universe--as opposed to, say, creators-- so what we make of it can never be more than observation.  We do not decide the properties of the universe (it existed LONG before we came into being!), rather we observe it and do our best to explain it.  So humans make hypotheses, theories, and laws to explain to ourselves what we observe.  Thus, "human construct."  

                  Maybe that's not how science works.  But if not, then it's a limitation of science, not the universe.

                  Incorrigible punster; please do not incorrige.

                  by Ran3dy on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:16:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  sorry... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Odysseus

                    if it worked differently, the description would be different.  The POINT of science is to describe the universe as it really is, not to construct internally-consistant fantasies.

                    the universe is bigger than Human constructs.

                    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

                    by ScrewySquirrel on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:57:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This will be my last reply on the matter (0+ / 0-)

                      because you are all proving me correct (if only you could see it....)

                      You say

                      The POINT of science is to describe the universe
                      emphasis mine

                      ...and that's what I'm all about.  Science, human science, is about describing the universe, in terms that humans understand.  The description (be it in the form of hypothesis, theory, or law) is thus a human construct.

                      I never said the universe was a human construct; quite the opposite, in fact.  But our science is very definitely a human construct.

                      Incorrigible punster; please do not incorrige.

                      by Ran3dy on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 06:35:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus
            That being so, what if we were to discover more about the nature of the universe in our research, enough to alter the Law?  Is it totally outside the realm of possibility to imagine that we could discover an as-yet unknown way of seeing that changes everything we THINK we understand about the universe?

            Yes, it is.

          •  You cannot change the Laws of Thermodynamics (0+ / 0-)

            That is why they are laws not theories. You are proposing that we can stop time? You can think "outside the box" all you want but you cannot change the way the Universe operates.

      •  The problem is that thermodynamically water (6+ / 0-)

        is more stable than hydrogen gas and oxygen gas.

        In other words, you have to put energy into water to split it apart.

        We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

        by Samer on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:32:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes but the waste heat can be used (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess, Samer, WisVoter

          to raise the temp of the H2O which decreases the amount of energy needed to split the water vapor into the componet gases. This increases the overall system effeceincy a bit.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 10:11:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  a liitle bit only: Carnot nt (0+ / 0-)

            Michael Weissman UID 197542

            by docmidwest on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 12:10:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've been working on a system (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              liberte, Odysseus, Outrider

              that captures the waste heat that would normal escape out the exhaust in a standard ICE to crack H2O vapor from complete combustion and other exhaust gases from incomplete combustion back through the intake after passing through a catalyst grid. This process is called pre-ignition catalytic conversion. The fuel componets are reduced to smaller more reactive gases that burn many time faster and burns far cleaner. Because these gases ignite faster and more completely the piston absorbs more energy each cycle. It's not completely green technology but it could be a bridge technology that can be adapted to existing cars and trucks to reduce green house gases and reduce dependency on foreign oil. Since the fuel is all reformed before intake less refined fuels are required. I have found that bio-fuels work better than current more refined liquid fuels because bio-fuels ussually contain more H2O which is reformed to H2 and O2 gases.

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 03:01:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, WisVoter

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:48:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just add solar (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WisVoter

      Solar panels are a dandy way to run the fuel cell backwards to electrolize water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Then you don't even need to visit a hydrogen station to refuel.

      Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
      Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

      by Caelian on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 11:29:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Recall

        There's not nearly enough surface area on the roof of a practical car, and anyways, you can make much use of our limited production of solar panels by putting them on a roof where they can always be exposed to the sun when it's out, always at an optimal angle (instead of flat),.

        The parent's post, by the way, is starting to sound like perpetual motion.  Hydrogen is way overhyped enough as it is.

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