Skip to comments.Soybean catalyst for hydrogen evolution
Posted on 05/30/2013 7:07:36 PM PDT by neverdem
A catalyst made from soybeans could overcome a major barrier to cheap hydrogen fuel by replacing the platinum catalyst used in the electrocatalytic production of hydrogen, claim scientists in the US.
For hydrogen to be competitive with petroleum fuels, the US Department of Energy has estimated that its cost must be reduced from $45/kg to $23/kg. The platinum catalyst used to make hydrogen via water electrolysis is a significant part of the cost, so the search is on for cheaper catalysts that are just as efficient.
Now, James Muckerman, Wei-Fu Chen and colleagues at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, have produced a catalyst made from molybdenum an abundant transition metal, around 1500 times cheaper than platinum and ground soybeans.
The team already knew that molybdenum carbide-based catalysts could be used for hydrogen evolution, but they are unstable in strong acid, which is vital for the production process. While looking for new ways to stabilise molybdenum carbide catalysts, Wei-Fu Chen was supervising two high school students, twin sisters Shilpa and Shweta Iyer. Chen tasked the sisters to find an inexpensive source of carbon and nitrogen that could be combined with molybdenum. The students were excited about using familiar materials from their everyday lives, says Muckerman. They brought various samples of leaves, stems, flowers, seeds and legumes to the laboratory for testing. This led to the group discovering that soybeans made good catalysts when mixed with molybdenum.
Carbon and nitrogen from the soybean proteins combined with molybdenum to make molybdenum carbide and molybdenum nitride, respectively. Molybdenum carbide itself is active but not stable in acidic solution, while molybdenum nitride is corrosion resistant but not suitable for hydrogen production. Synergy between the two gave a stable composite material, explains Muckerman. The cheap and easy to prepare material has excellent long-term durability and it catalyses hydrogen production at efficiencies comparable to a platinum catalyst.
Platinum-free catalysts are powerful tools for generating molecular hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source, says Henrik Junge, an expert in electrocatalysts for hydrogen production at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, Rostock, Germany. He also wonders if other precursors could be used to generate the catalyst. This would avoid discussions about the competitive usage of biomass for food versus chemical feedstocks.
Muckerman and the team are currently investigating if they can synthesise the catalyst directly onto large-area electrodes to further reduce costs for industrial application.
W-F Chen et al, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 18181826 (DOI: 10.1039/c3ee40596f)
Thanks for the interesting article. Very nice....
So now people in poor countries will have to forego corn and soybeans as part of their diet, so that we don’t have to use fossil fuels to drive.
and this is a problem why?
It may not be a problem for us, but it could be a problem for those whose diet was primarily soybean or corn.
Not our concern. They would simply have to locate an alternate source of food.
but it is the cost of the electricity used for the electrolysis that wipes out any chance for h2 to become worth the cost of producing it
Yes. I suppose they could try to make rocks work.
It may also be that the chemical in soybeans can be produced artificially
The problems faced by the underdeveloped world are not our direct concern. The problems that directly affect this nation should be dealt with first. As most of that part of the world is controlled by one form or another of dictatorial governments, what ever aid we send would be misappropriated in any case.
I don’t bother with hand-wringing, makes my fingers sore and accomplishes nothing.
Then don’t be concerned if third world countries have to resort to eating rocks.
It’s all good.
GMO soybeans owned by Monsanto that sues farmers for trying to save seed? Michael Taylor former Monsanto guy , 2nd in charge at the FDA? Follow the money.... who in Congress/Executive branch has a vested interest in MONSANTO?
These scumbags are insidious! This is all b/s the elites are making money off of anything...but mostly from evil technology like this.
Science is as “bought” as the IRS... it’s the Chicago way!
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
They already do. But, then, so do we.
Not ALL. There is electricity generated by nuclear.
Oh, please. The amount of soybeans needed to produce the necessary catalyst wouldn't even cause a detectable blip in the multi-megatons of soybeans produced.
That might not be entirely true, there are times when the wholesale value of power goes negative in the middle of the night when usage is very low and the gigawatts of wind turbines that have been installed are working full steam ahead, wind is mostly blowing at night and during those periods wind power producers actually pay the wholesale market to take it since they cannot curtail production per contract and by the nature of the spinning mass of the turbines. At those times when the power us under 2cents or even negative hydrogen from electrolysis would make a ideal way to store and use this surplus power. Here in Texas this happens quite a bit where the wholesale power market goes negative at nights especially spring and fall when weather fronts bring high winds to west Texas at night.
So you spend millions to set up plants in the hopes you get that kind of negativity and every time it happens you get an atta boy but remember just one aw sh** wipes out one attaboy. But even if can mass produce the hydrogen cheaply, exactly what do you do with it without its complete and own storage and distribution network?
What kind of sense does it make to even try when we are sitting on all that coal?
BTW, do you see any credits on your power bill from that “free” power?
The more I think about it why not build wind farms to exclusively produce hydrogen fuel if the use and efficiency of the hydrogen is worth more than the production costs?
A catalyst made from soybeans could overcome a major barrier to cheap hydrogen fuel by replacing the platinum catalyst used in the electrocatalytic production of hydrogen, claim scientists in the US.
the aw sh** to attaboy ratio is actually 1:10.
The wind turbines will be built regardless, they are mandated bu federal and state law at this point. The total energy cost of h2O to H2 is only part of the equation, most of the cost is the catalysts and then compression of the resulting gas.
High pressure electrolysis units already out put tank ready gas pressures 200 bar or so. Off peak bulk power typically is under $25 a MWh year round at those prices @80% eff for a high pressure electrolysis unit which includes the energy loss to pump the water up to 200bar to produce one GGE << Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent in energy aka the same BTU value is $1.10 in energy costs thats taking the value of 36KWh for the HHV in once gallon of Gasoline E10 is less BTW and 2.5cents per KWh off peak power which on the Texas wholesale industrial market is about average for off peak. $25 MWh. H2 when used in a fuel cell is 50% efficient as opposed to 12.5% average efficiency for an Otto cycle Petrol motor.
I just paid %3.79 a gallon for E10-93 that leave a significant margin from 1.10 in energy costs to 3.79 retail for the same amount of stored energy. While hydrogen fuel cell cars are too expensive now most of the costs are in the platinum cat needed in the cells hydrogen cats tend to be bidirectional so if this cat works splitting water it probably will also work putting it back together.
Regardless hydrogen is used in MASSIVE amounts in industry , petrochemical , industrial chemicals , hydroxylation of foods et al. Having the ability to turn cheap off peak power that would be wasted or curtailed into a fungable valuable industrial commodity would be work the economic risks 1Kg of H2 has the the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline for reference. refineries and the oil sands industry use H2 by the millions of metric TONS per year.
The problem is the law of conservation of energy. Oxidizing hydrogen yields a great deal of energy in the form of heat as the hydrogen is combined with oxygen to form water, one of the world’s most stable compounds. Reversing that reaction inevitably requires all of that energy plus a good deal more, all of which must come from fossil fuels.
Here’s another article posted at Freerepublic
what this one shows is that if you pass sound through water it creates bubbles—the bubbles will heat to thousands of degrees. But not hot enough for fusion. The process is called sonoluminescence. its described here.
Here is the same thing in the natural world. The Pistol Shrimp uses this phenomenon to good effect
also the mantis shrimp
here is a more scientific discussion of sonoluminescence
Here is still another instance of a different phenomenon. The Kanzius effect. In this case if you pass radio waves through salt water at the nuclear magnetic resonance nmr of 13.56 MHz...—hydrogen bubbles out. (there might be other frequencies at which this occurs.) Here’s a video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9B8srudAUhE
Here’s peswiki’s description. http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:John_Kanzius_Produces_Hydrogen_from_Salt_Water_Using_Radio_Waves
There is a fairly good discussion of this process here. http://www.overunityresearch.com/index.php?topic=1477.25
Now if you could somehow combine these various processes — you might be able to get more power out than you put in.
damn smart phones hard to format a long post and keep auto text from mucking it up pardon the minor glitches.
There were a lot of posts in freerepublic on the Kanzius effect when it came out back in 2008-9
No the consumer does not get credits on any periods of negative wholesale power ha who are you kidding we have to pay full retail rates regardless of the wholesale power rates that our middle man negotiates for us, deregulation F yeah!.
there is a vast hydrogen network along the Gulf coast already in place that connects the largest industrial users of the gas namely refineries, petrochemical units. There is also a network in Canada in the Tar patch as well. Hydrogen could be mixed up to 20% by mass into the existing natural gas grid without affecting the functionality of the network. Germany is already doing just this using off peak power to create H2 gas and pump it at 500 psi into the gas grid which in Germany has a 2 TERAWATT HOUR storage capacity when Germany needs more power it pulls the combined gases out and burns them at 60% eff in combined cycle gas turbine plants, not a bad way to store power that would otherwise be lost.
Thank you for the information.
see posts 25 & 27
We used to get a credit from the local hydropower until it became Rocky Mountain Power.
In other news we did get year end credits last year on our gas bill because of the change in natural gas prices. On my December bill they said they OWED ME $5. I think my November bill was around $15.
Thanks. I’ll read that later. It is past my bedtime.
No. This is where unsubsidized renewable energy makes sense. Keep it off the grid generating hydrogen. The grid has enough to do keeping up with the vagaries of peak load. Generating hydrogen fuel is just storing excess electrical energy beyond demand.
Hmm apparently iron and spinals in saltwater will also bubble off hydrogen.
The researchers expected to find that the reduced iron in minerals like olivine had converted to the more stable oxidized state, just as occurs at higher temperatures. But when they conducted their analyses at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at Stanford University, they were surprised to find newly formed oxidized iron on “spinel” minerals found in the rocks. Spinels are minerals with a cubic structure that are highly conductive.
Finding oxidized iron on the spinels led the team to hypothesize that, at low temperatures, the conductive spinels were helping facilitate the exchange of electrons between reduced iron and water, a process that is necessary for the iron to split the water molecules and create the hydrogen gas.
“After observing the formation of oxidized iron on spinels, we realized there was a strong correlation between the amount of hydrogen produced and the volume percent of spinel phases in the reaction materials,” Mayhew said. “Generally, the more spinels, the more hydrogen.”
Not only is there a potentially large volume of rock on Earth that may undergo these low temperature reactions, but the same types of rocks also are prevalent on Mars,
This is another way of making turbines more reliable got to love MIT. turns out that having back up power online for turbines is only about 1.0-1.5 cents a KWh or $10-15 MWh added to the already busbar price of 4-5 cents / KWh of wind and you are right in gas plant territory, which is below coal now that the EPA has mandated scrubbers on all plants, and just above nukes which we all know none are going to be allowed to be built again in mass, the law now states that they have to have a final storage site before the NRC will license any new plants and since yucca is on indefinite hold fat chance of that. No new coal plants can legally be built unless they can produce power under 1,000 pounds of CO2/MWh this is equal to a new natural gas plant btw, and Coal can only hit that with CSS tech which is so expensive no one has even come close to commercially using it. So the choice is Natural Gas, Wind , Hydro , Solar or Geothermal out of those Ngas is the cheapest which enplanes why most new capacity has been gas turbines. Coal is dead over done with the EPA killed them and thats just life unless we get an executive that reverses the EPA limits which even if mittens would have won he wouldnt have Coal is dying.
Actually, the way to save coal imho for anyone interested in doing so is to find someone who will use their CO2 profitably. That would be Joule Unlimited.
Here’s how MIT describes them.
See All Companies
Why: Biofuels could be far cheaper if they weren’t made from corn, sugarcane, and other forms of biomass.
Key innovation: Designed microbes that convert carbon dioxide and water directly into fuels.
Joule has engineered microbes that harness the suns energy to convert carbon dioxide and water directly into ethanol or hydrocarbon fuels. When housed in bioreactors in sunny areas and at full-scale production, the company says, these photosynthetic organisms can produce 15,000 gallons of diesel or 25,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. The process offers an advantage over making biofuels from corn or cellulose, because growing those materials requires large amounts of arable land. Its also an improvement over using photosynthetic algae to make biofuel precursors, as some other companies do, because those chemicals must then be processed to make fuel.
The company says its process will be able to produce diesel fuel at a cost as low as $30 per barrel and ethanol at $50, which would make its fuels immediately competitive in the marketplace. Joule intends to commercially develop diesel fuel itself while partnering with other companies to commercialize ethanol and chemicals based on its technology.
Because Joule’s process requires no arable land or fresh water and uses waste carbon dioxide as its only feedstock, its diesel fuels reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 90 percent when compared with petroleum-based diesel, making it a cleaner option than most other biofuels on the market or in development. The company has completed its first pilot plant, in Leander, Texas, and testing of diesel and ethanol production processes is under way. This year, the company will begin construction of its first production facility, a 10-acre demo plant that will eventually scale up to commercial production.
Challenges and Next Steps:
Going from lab-scale to commercial-scale bioreactors poses both engineering and biology challenges that Joule will have to overcome to keep its microbes producing fuel efficiently. The company will face competition from others developing microbes that excrete biofuels, including Synthetic Genomics, which has partnered with ExxonMobil; Algenol, which is working with Dow; and LS9, whose scientists have developed bacteria that metabolize cellulose and excrete diesel.
here’s an oddball post in physorg today that I can make no sense of.
Scientists develop CO2 sequestration technique that produces ‘supergreen’ hydrogen fuel
We get depending on your contract quarterly reviews of the natural gas prices on our power if the gas price goes down so does the price per kwh. our delivery charge is fixed but the energy charge is a function of natural gas prices since 50% of our power comes from natural gas in this part of Texas the other being 16% from Commanche peak and the remainder from wind or coal in reality our power at night comes mostly from the nuke plants since they run at 100% almost all the time , then Gas and coal come online during the day with wind just mucking up the mix at night with peaks and valleys of production but since the wind produces by law have first rights to the grid and since the fuel cost to them is zero they get to sell first other have to curtail production or dump power to the grid at negative values to pay someone to come online and use it. Till the laws change wind will keep being built out in massive amounts and keep putting pressure on the grid at night. Texas is not connected to the rest of the country our ERCOT grid is on a diffrent phase angle to the western and eastern interconnects the Three Amigas HVDC project is supposed to connect Texas to those grids so we can dump power at night from our massive wind farms in the panhandle i used to live in lubbock from 2007 to 2010 thousand upon thousands of huge turbines have sprung up along the escarpment along HW84 2000MW if I remember correctly thats the size of a nuke plant. At night when the winds realy whip up in the pan handle its like having an extra nuke plant at full bore pumping 2 gigawatts into a grid that is sleeping.
Thanks for the links.
joule rocks, they have a demo plant in Leander Texas right near where i grew up. They say using salt or brakish water they can with Texas solar rates pump out like 5000 gallons an acre of synfuels...bring it every gallon that we make here is a gallon that we dont import from those who mean to kill us. at 3.50+ a gallon it is amazing what synfuels can be made. Oil will not be cheap again until we stop printing money and remonitize our debt and markets....fat chance of that. we are going in to QE infinity and beyond.
The use of hydrogen as a “stationary battery” for smoothing out supply/demand issues might be even more attractive with this.
Joule claims they can produce diesal & ethanol for “as little as $1.28 per gallon and $50 a barrel, respectively. This price structure excludes subsidies for producing alternative fuels.” “In fact, the companys new plant in New Mexico is very close to a power plant, and Joule is discussions with them about becoming partners to provide some of the carbon dioxide,”
Read more: http://www.wickedlocal.com/bedford/news/x1058224793/Bedfords-Joule-Unlimited-may-change-ethanol-market#ixzz2UqGQ2RZW
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Joule now is trying to scale up in Hobbs New Mexico with a 1000 acre plant. (they’re not up to 1000 acres yet. But that’s their plan.)
Oil will not be cheap again until we stop printing money and remonitize our debt and markets....fat chance of that. we are going in to QE infinity and beyond.
imho the fed will stop their QE sometime in the next year.
Mostly because of rising oil production. The USA has been churning out about 800,000 barrels @ day more per year for the last three years. Projections are that the same thing will happen this year through 2017 at which time the USA will be oil independent.
This will push the dollar upwards and underpin the US economy yielding steady if slow growth. (this could turn to fast/normal growth if the supreme court declares obamacare unconstitutional later this year.)
Here’s a ten year chart of the dollar. Notice how its been going mostly sideways since 2008.
My wag is that because of rising US oil production —the break out will be to the upside. (Why? even incompetently run countries like brazil have strong currencies because they are oil independent.)
I didn’t believe this would happen until I read reports of the cline shale formation in the permian basin of west texas plus just loads of other smaller plays all over the country. The magnitude of the technological breakthrough has not quite sunk in. Basically there’s now about 3-4 times more oil available in the USA (& worldwide)for markets than has been produced since the beginning of oil drilling for kerosene under Rockefeller during the 1860’s or 1870’s. Why? Well previously the only place they could get oil was under salt domes or similar formations where oil percolated upwards from deeper formations. This represented only about 10% of the oil underground. Now Current technology enables them to get at about 35-45% of the the source rock oil in the deeper formations. (10-20 years from now that percentage will rise.)
we are on the backside of the first 1973 OPEC oil embargo (& watergate hearings of the same year).
imho 2 years from now oil prices in the USA will be $70@ barrel range & ten years from now there will be a profound oil glut.
This pattern of oil supply tightness followed by oil supply glut to tightness again — takes about 20 years and has been going on since the beginning of oil.
Has anyone done this on a much larger scale yet? How could we harness the energy I wonder? Only obvious thing I could think of is using the process to boil off water for steam production?
well you might also be able to use it to dewater salt concentrates at desalination plants.
Thank you for the informative post. I’ll check this out in more detail later. Interesting...
Keeping them at subsistence level is the raison de etre for the Left.
Personally, I'm not all that comfortable with knowing that Mexicans are having food riots because the world price of corn has gone up in response to U.S. farmers and agro corporations pulling corn off the market so it can be used for a half-assed "alternative fuel" solution. I would also point out that the current drought in the U.S. is already increasing the price of most of the food that you eat, and that turning corn and soybeans into fuel will only continue to jack up those prices.
Maybe when your family is having trouble finding food, I shouldn't be concerned about you, either. After all, I've already got mine.
No, if you had read all my posts in context, you would have found it was me originally expressing concern, because corn ethanol caused the world price of corn went sky high. It’s part of the reason for riots in parts of the Middle East.
When I said they can eat rocks, it was in response to a Freeper who had said he didn’t care about what our actions have on the rest of the world.
Note to self: Read more; write less.