Skip to comments.Hydrogen Injection Could Boost Bioful Production
Posted on 03/12/2007 5:43:17 PM PDT by blam
Hydrogen injection could boost biofuel production
22:00 12 March 2007
NewScientist.com news service
A proposed new process for creating fuel from biomass could eliminate two major obstacles to producing sustainable biofuels the low efficiency of conversion and the need for vast areas of land to grow biomass on.
However, the new method hinges on having a cheap source of hydrogen something which is not yet readily available. But the researchers behind the new biofuel concept, Rakesh Agrawal and colleagues at Purdue University, US, believe they may be about to make a breakthrough on that front, with cheaper solar cells.
The new method requires two-thirds less biomass to produce one litre of fuel than conventional methods. It is a variant on traditional gasification, which is the partial combustion process that converts biomass into biofuel, plus carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. In current systems, only a third of the carbon ends up as biofuel, while the rest is lost as CO2 and CO.
Agrawal's team propose adding more hydrogen to the gasification process. The additional hydrogen will react with carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, which in turn reacts with more hydrogen to make extra biofuel and water.
"Adding hydrogen to the gasifier essentially suppresses the CO2, so that all the carbon that came with biomass ends up in liquid fuel," says Agrawal. If the process can eliminate this "waste" of carbon, the same amount of biofuel fuel will require one-third of the biomass required by traditional methods and so also one-third of the land.
In the US today, the transport sector consumes 13.8 million barrels of oil daily. The researchers estimate that meeting this demand would require 1.4 million square kilometres using their method. Conventional methods, in contrast, would require between
(Excerpt) Read more at environment.newscientist.com ...
This would be a way to turn nuclear power into liquid fuel.
It would also be a reasonable way to use unpredictable energy sources such as wind power into usable products.
Currently producers of electric power have to schedule their sales of power. They take a major hit if they have to sell their power at an unscheduled time or even worse, miss a scheduled delivery. If a wind farm were producing liquid fuels rather delivering electricity, Their average power production would me much more important than what they could produce at any given moment. And they would still be available to add to the grid during emergencies.
I've read that the new generation windmills are cost competitive with coal plant when situated in the proper areas. Unfortunately most of these places are too far from the grid. This would allow installation where the winds are good and it just so happens most of these places are agricultural areas which could provide the needed biomass.
BTW, the idea is not new and the chemistry used is standard petrochemical practice. It has not been feasible because petroleum was so cheap that hydrogen was made with fossil fuels.
There are electrolysis units that can make hydrogen at 85 percent efficiency now. Connecting that hydrogen to carbon is a great way to store and transfer the energy in that hydrogen, much better than trying to store and ship the gas.
"This would be a way to turn nuclear power into liquid fuel."
Yes, especially if pebble bed modular reactors, or other advanced high temperature reactors are used.
Packing the hydrogen into liquid fuels would require far less new infrastructure than using pure hydrogen for transportation.
Please, someone, THINK OF THE ENGINES!
Cheap oil is probably only a memory.
Alot of reasons other than supply.
I'll talk more later.
Thank you for your excellent contribution to this technical discussion. Intelligent, educated, and insightful Freepers like you keep me reading this forum daily.
Then it almost makes sense.
Gorebearpig is not going to be happy about this!
This sprayon technology is most likely just a cheaper way to create amorphous silicon, so it will be as inefficient (if not moreso) than current technology.
Since semiconductor manufacture has become so cheap, it may be best to continue down the route of ever more complex and efficient solar collecting devices which can be packed every more tightly rather than just making the amorphous silicon technology a bit more cheaper to produce.
I don't understand your comment. Are you being critical of the post that I applauded or are you just injecting a bit of humor? Or both?
I've read about spray on quantum dot solar cells. Much cheaper than silicon but efficiency is currently dismal. More power to them, it they can make it about one order more efficient, it would have a big impact.
There are dreams of solar cells on every roof.
Looks like a haiku to me.
Even if we could get amorphous silicon technology to be real cheap there is still all the cost of the supporting equipment, e.g. the water tanks or batteries to store the power, etc.
If the cells are not efficient then they won't collect enough energy to make the other equipment worth buying.
I'm and engineer, therefore, I lack the lobe in the brain that groks poetry.
The spray on type solar technology is different than current solar cells. I understand the standard technology better than the newer quantum stuff.
Battery technology is changing and the potential of reasonably priced roomy storage is on the horizon. There are at least 6 different companies with varying levels of credibility that claim they will be delivering superior battery technology in the next 5 years. If claims are to be believed, it should be posible to store enough power to actually make a viable whole house UPS.
I think that cheap oil has actually suppressed some areas of technology for the last 50 years.
The priority of the transfer switch could be programmed by the homeowner. Choice would depend on cheapness and availability of source at the time. Could even sell back excess power to the grid.