Skip to comments.The Truth About Oil
Posted on 09/27/2005 11:05:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
If consumers are getting gouged, then gas station owners are being impaled. When gasoline prices spike, as they have in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, windfall profits rarely accrue to gas station owners. Kim Do, owner of a Coast station in Pleasanton, Calif., reports that in the immediate aftermath of the storm, she lost 8 to 10 cents on every gallon of gas she sold. "Customers are very angrythey call my prices a rip-off," Do says. "I tell them, 'I'm just like you.'" In fact, because retail prices are stickier than wholesale ones, gas stations make the fattest profits when prices are fallinga point made in a recent study by Berkeley economist Severin Borenstein.
(Excerpt) Read more at fortune.com ...
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Hydrogen EconomyTo make hydrogen you need water and electricity. Iceland has plenty of water. It can also produce electricity cheaply and cleanly, hydropower from its glacial rivers and waterfalls. From its craters and crevices, huge stores of underground heat. Only 5% of geothermal power has been tapped so far. One day, Iceland thinks it could use it to provide enough green electricity to make hydrogen for itself and to export to other parts of the world... "When water is zapped with electricity and electrolysed, it splits into oxygen and hydrogen. In Iceland they'll use geothermal and hydropower to make that clean electricity. Other countries could use power from wind or the sun. The hydrogen fuel can then be used to power an electric motor via fuel cells in a vehicle acting like a generator. The only emission is pure water."
by Shirin Wheeler
Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UKHydrogen's Dirty SecretBy launching an ambitious program to develop what he calls the "Freedom Car," Bush seemed determined to realize the kind of future that hydrogen-car supporters have envisioned for years. Using existing technology, hydrogen can be easily and cleanly extracted from water. Electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines is used to split the water's hydrogen atoms from its oxygen atoms. The hydrogen is then recombined with oxygen in fuel cells, where it releases electrons that drive an electric motor in a car.
by Barry C. LynnThe WeekThe car of the future (p 9) has a picture of the fuel cell powered vehicle from GM, the Autonomy, but is far better than some articles on this technology. Apparently not written by a cheerleader, the article notes (for the first time I've noticed in years in a popular magazine) that "even in compressed form, hydrogen gas takes up so much space that a car's tank would have to be 3,000 times the size of a standard gasoline tank to store the same amount of energy." This is because liquid fuels are always more dense by definition than gaseous fuels. Toting the hydrogen around in liquid form -- at minus 422 degrees -- would require energy for refrigeration and "robots to work the pumps, so motorists' hands wouldn't be in danger of freezing and breaking off."
January 18-24 2002Researchers Succeed In Fueling UpThe principle behind fuel cells is not new-it was discovered in 1839... Basically, a fuel cell is a device-think of it as a high-tech battery-that converts the energy of a fuel (hydrogen, natural gas, etc.) and an oxidant (air or oxygen) into useable electricity... There are no moving parts and it produces little noise. Unlike traditional combustion engines that currently dominate the energy market, fuel cells do not produce any particulate matter, nitrogen or sulfur oxides; when fueled by pure hydrogen, they have only heat and water as by-products... To date, hydrogen has been the conventional fuel for a fuel cell. But practical generation and storage of hydrogen has been a problem-it's expensive and inefficient. The model developed by Gorte's team aims to get around this dilemma... Previous attempts to use hydrocarbon fuels to run a solid-oxide fuel cell failed because the electrochemical process that generates electricity caused a buildup of carbon, which ruined the cell. In a solid-oxide fuel cell, oxygen anions are transported through an oxide membrane and react with the fuel at the anode... The Penn researchers were looking for an anode material that did not result in fouling... Eventually, they settled on a composite of copper and ceria. Ceria is an important catalytic component of automotive catalysis, which is why the researchers focused on its properties... Says Gorte, "Running a car is a transient process and you've got to have a pretty big fuel cell to power it, something on the order of 50kw as opposed to a 5kw cell to power a house, for instance." ...At least one major automotive manufacturer is seriously studying this technology... Their work has generated a great deal of excitement and was touted in Nature magazine (3/16/00). Professor Gorte has been interviewed by MSNBC.
by Jane BrooksNeutralizing Diesel's Idle Threat"We've demonstrated that we can run a fuel cell directly on hydrocarbons like gasoline and diesel," researcher Ray Gorte told MSNBC. "In the past, everyone assumed you had to use hydrogen." ...The new process not only gets around the problem of delivering and storing hydrogen, Gorte says, it means a fuel cell that produces "less carbon dioxide for a given amount of energy" than other fuel cells because higher efficiency can be achieved... [I]t could provide a valuable interim technology that's easier to deploy and still provide much cleaner and higher mileage than internal combustion engines... Gorte, head of chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, sees the research as a "breakthrough," saying an earlier attempt to use gasoline essentially required putting "a refinery in your trunk" to get the hydrogen... Gorte's team used a "solid oxide fuel cell," while others have tended to focus on "proton-exchange membranes." ...One hitch is that the cell is sensitive to sulfur, so that gasoline would have to be cleaned further to make it a viable fuel... Gorte is optimistic about its potential, saying his team hopes to work with a major car company that has created a solid oxide fuel cell division. He would not identify the company, saying he wasn't sure if it was willing to go public yet... Kevin Kendall, a chemical engineer at Britain's University of Birmingham, writes in a Nature article accompanying the study that while hydrogen is "the ultimate clean power source of the future" it is still expensive to extract it, difficult to store and prone to explosion.
by John Gartner
02:00 AM Oct. 10, 2002 PT
Fuel-cell future for gasoline?
by Miguel Llanos
March 15, 2000Fuel-cell future for gasoline?"We've demonstrated that we can run a fuel cell directly on hydrocarbons like gasoline and diesel," researcher Ray Gorte told MSNBC. "In the past, everyone assumed you had to use hydrogen." ...The new process not only gets around the problem of delivering and storing hydrogen, Gorte says, it means a fuel cell that produces "less carbon dioxide for a given amount of energy" than other fuel cells because higher efficiency can be achieved... [I]t could provide a valuable interim technology that's easier to deploy and still provide much cleaner and higher mileage than internal combustion engines... Gorte, head of chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, sees the research as a "breakthrough," saying an earlier attempt to use gasoline essentially required putting "a refinery in your trunk" to get the hydrogen... Gorte's team used a "solid oxide fuel cell," while others have tended to focus on "proton-exchange membranes." ...One hitch is that the cell is sensitive to sulfur, so that gasoline would have to be cleaned further to make it a viable fuel... Gorte is optimistic about its potential, saying his team hopes to work with a major car company that has created a solid oxide fuel cell division. He would not identify the company, saying he wasn't sure if it was willing to go public yet... Kevin Kendall, a chemical engineer at Britain's University of Birmingham, writes in a Nature article accompanying the study that while hydrogen is "the ultimate clean power source of the future" it is still expensive to extract it, difficult to store and prone to explosion.
by Miguel Llanos
March 15, 2000Sugar: Future Fuel?This new procedure, which produces hydrogen from glucose and related carbohydrates, was developed by chemical engineers James Dumesic, Randy Cortright and Rupali Davda at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A platinum-based catalyst breaks down the carbohydrates into carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas. The carbon monoxide reacts with water to produce carbon dioxide and more hydrogen. Everything happens in one container, with the liquid solution under pressure at a relatively low 400?F. That, according to Cortright, makes it well-suited for onboard reforming in a fuel cell car; other reforming methods, he says, have required temperatures four times hotter. Glucose is a renewable sugar. It is already mass-produced from corn and can also be derived from many kinds of biomass waste... DaimlerChrysler... points out that "vast amounts of space" would be required to grow enough plants to fuel America's auto fleet. Still, the auto giant is interested enough in the Wisconsin project to provide some funding for further research.
by Paul BeckGoing Nuts For A Hydrogen-fuelled FutureLooking for the fuel of the future? There's one in every bite. Turkey, the world's biggest producer of hazelnuts, burns 250,000 tonnes of the shells every year as waste. If, instead, it burnt them in a controlled environment with restricted oxygen, it could extract 6000 tonnes of hydrogen - enough to allow a thousand prototype hydrogen-fuelled BMWs to travel 32,500 kilometres each.
February 2000Plankton PowerTiny marine plants and animals can provide limitless power for small electric devices. Plankton in seawater and sediment use different chemical reactions to obtain their energy. This sets up a natural potential difference between the seawater and the sediment a few centimetres beneath. A device called OSCAR (Ocean Sediment Carbon Aerobic Reactor) taps into this tiny voltage. Leonard Tender of the US Naval Research Laboratory believes his system would be ideal for powering oceanographic sensors, whose batteries currently need to be replaced constantly.
New ScientistThe Department of Energy's Biohydrogen Research ProgramA recent discovery at ORNL demonstrated that hydrogen production from a green algal Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant cannot easily be explained by the Z-scheme, the standard model of photosynthesis. Too much hydrogen was produced to be accounted for by this model. These results may have implications for designing a commercial BioHydrogen organism with improved energetic conversion efficiencies of hydrogen production, especially in the context of the light saturation problem.
by Maria L Ghirardi and Michael SeibertAbstract Number:1027The hydrogen metabolism of photosynthetic bacteria and cyanobacteria involves the coordinated action of three enzymes: nitrogenase, reversible hydrogenase, and uptake hydrogenase. Green algae, on the other hand, contain only the reversible hydrogenase, which is responsible for both hydrogen production and uptake in this organism. The quantum yield for hydrogenase-catalyzed hydrogen production is much higher than that for nitrogenase. Algal hydrogenases, however, are extremely sensitive to oxygen. For this reason, green algae cannot be utilized commercially for hydrogen production. We have investigated two types of selective pressure to isolate mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that produce hydrogen in the presence of oxygen. The first is based on competition between hydrogenase and metronidazole for electrons from light-reduced ferredoxin. Since reduction of metronidazole results in the release of toxic products that eventually kill the organism, cells with an active oxygen-tolerant hydrogenase will survive a short treatment with the drug in the light in the presence of oxygen. Using this technique, we have isolated a variant of C. reinhardtii that evolves hydrogen with an I50 for oxygen three times higher than the wild type strain. The second selective pressure depends on growth of algal cells under photoreductive conditions. Algal cells must fix carbon dioxide in the presence of oxygen with reductants derived from hydrogen uptake by the reversible hydrogenase. We will describe in detail both selective pressures, as well as the characteristics of the mutants isolated by application of these selective pressures to a population of mutagenized wild type cells. This work was supported by the U.S. DOE Hydrogen Program.
by Maria L Ghirardi and Michael SeibertPatent filed on energy discoveryA metabolic switch that triggers algae to turn sunlight into large quantities of hydrogen gas, a valuable fuel, is the subject of a new discovery reported for the first time by University of California, Berkeley, scientists and their Colorado colleagues. UC Berkeley plant and microbial biology professor Tasios Melis and postdoctoral associate Liping Zhang of UC Berkeley made the discovery -- funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program -- with Dr. Michael Seibert, Dr. Maria Ghirardi and postdoctoral associate Marc Forestier of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. Currently, hydrogen fuel is extracted from natural gas, a non-renewable energy source. The new discovery makes it possible to harness nature's own tool, photosynthesis, to produce the promising alternative fuel from sunlight and water. A joint patent on this new technique for capturing solar energy has been taken out by the two institutions. While current production rates are not high enough to make the process immediately viable commercially, the researchers believe that yields could rise by at least 10 fold with further research, someday making the technique an attractive fuel-producing option. Preliminary rough estimates, for instance, suggest it is conceivable that a single, small commercial pond could produce enough hydrogen gas to meet the weekly fuel needs of a dozen or so automobiles, Melis said.
by Kathleen Scalise
more about Chlamydomonas reinhardtii:
Pond life: the future of energy
Hydrogen-producing algae breakthrough
By Chris Williams
Published Friday 24th February 2006
The Bum Rap on Biofuels
American Thinker | 5-13-08 | Herbert Meyer
Posted on 05/14/2008 3:59:06 AM PDT by Renfield
Campaign to vilify ethanol revealed
ethanol producer Magazine | May 16, 2008 | By Kris Bevill
Posted on 05/17/2008 9:22:13 AM PDT by Kevin J waldroup
Rare Microorganism That Produces Hydrogen
May Be Key To Tomorrow’s Hydrogen Economy
Sciencedaily | 08 July 2008 | Adapted from materials provided by Virginia Tech
Posted on 07/08/2008 6:58:10 AM PDT by Red Badger
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