Posts tagged “hydrogen”
My Energy Quest in the Desert
Some readers are aware that I am presently in Arizona working on a project. At some point I will write an in-depth article about the things I am working on, but today I want to pull the curtain back just a bit.
In a series of articles in 2010, I wrote about methanol’s potential as an alternative fuel. I dealt with the common criticisms about methanol — toxicity, corrosion, energy density — and I argued that methanol was a more economical and better technical solution to diversifying our energy options away from oil than is corn ethanol. (In fact, it doesn’t have to be either/or, but methanol has never stood a chance against corn ethanol politics).
In response to my methanol articles, BiofuelsDigest wrote Methanol: Biofuel to love or hate?, which suggested that I might have a conflict of interest with my defense of methanol. My response to that was that I had zero financial interests in methanol, and my company had zero financial interests in methanol. We had never produced methanol, and we had no plans to produce methanol. So there was no conflict of interest except as someone who was interested in the technical and economic merits of methanol from an energy policy standpoint. CONTINUE»
Alas, today I had intended to put up my book review of Amanda Little’s book Power Trip, but I left the book on my desk in the office and I need to review some notes first. So that should be posted for my Thursday column. If you haven’t noticed, I have fallen into a pattern of putting up a new column each Monday and Thursday. Because there is always a lot going on in energy, I generally have three or four decent choices for these new columns. This week, I was sent a guest column on nuclear power called Fukushima a stake through nuclear industry’s heart. I had initially decided to run it, but had a change of heart. The… Continue»
This is the final installment of a three-part series that examines some of the renewable energy options that are presenting themselves as possible contenders to step up as petroleum steps down the depletion curve. The previous installments were: Biofuel Pretenders Biofuel Contenders Today I want to talk about Biofuel Niches. Here is how I would define a Biofuel Niche: A technology that is capable of supplying, long-term, up to 10% of our present liquid fossil fuel consumption, often by utilizing specific, localized synergies. This definition covers a great number of possibilities, and I don’t pretend that I will even cover a large fraction of them. But I want to cover some specific fuels – like cellulosic ethanol – that I… Continue»
Note This article was initially titled “Pretenders, Contenders, and Niches.” However, the section on pretenders grew to the point that I have decided to split the essay up into three parts. The first part, Biofuel Pretenders, will cover many of the current media and political darlings. The second part, Biofuel Contenders, will discuss some options that have received less attention, but in the long term are more likely to have staying power. The final part, Biofuel Niches, will discuss situations in which some of the pretenders might actually work. Reality Begins to Sink In There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this past week: U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty A few pertinent excerpts: The biofuels revolution… Continue»
Oh, it can be done. There are no scientific laws that say you can’t run a car on water. In fact, I have personally made fire from water on a number of occasions. A Japanese company is the latest to claim they are running a car on water. See the video here: Water-fuel car unveiled in Japan However, what you can’t do is run a car on water without overall energy inputs greater than you get from splitting the water. In simple terms, let’s say you split water to create 10 BTUs of hydrogen. You can then use that to burn in the car, or to operate a fuel cell. When you burn the hydrogen, it reacts with oxygen to… Continue»
I wanted to briefly comment on several issues. Some of them deserve their own essays, but I am too pressed for time. Google Solar If you are into solar, Google’s Solar Panel Project is incredibly cool. They provide real time data on their solar energy production. One thing that I have noticed is that the assumption of peak power times 5 hours to get the overall daily solar production appears to be too conservative. For instance, according to the link above, yesterday power peaked at 877 KW at 1 p.m., but total energy production yesterday was 7021 KWh. I have to multiply by 8 hours to get that. In fact, that’s been a pretty consistent theme this month. It may… Continue»