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Scientists Question Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Yahoo News-AP Science ^ | September 08, 2003 | AP Science Staff

Posted on 09/08/2003 9:44:24 AM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. - Hydrogen fuel cells may not be the most environmentally friendly answer to America's dependence on foreign oil, according to a study led by a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist.

 

Los Alamos researcher Thom Rahn headed a team of scientists from California universities and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. Their study of the natural cycle of atmospheric hydrogen was published in a recent edition of the British science journal Nature.

While there are certain benefits to hydrogen power, Rahn said there may also be unforeseen consequences that need to be examined before the energy technology replaces fossil fuels.

The reason scientists were interested in hydrogen's natural cycle was "because there are possibilities of perturbations in the future," especially if humans start producing a lot of hydrogen, Rahn said.

Proponents of a hydrogen-based economy powered by fuel cells argue the technology could reduce smog by replacing traditional fossil fuels and produce more efficient engines. Fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity and heat.

Production of hydrogen near the Earth's surface could also damage the highest region of the atmosphere, or stratosphere, if escaped hydrogen accumulated, Rahn said. The hydrogen buildup could deplete the ozone layer near the earth's poles and increase global warming (news - web sites), he said.

"It is impossible to manufacture, store and transport hydrogen without at least some fractional loss (to the atmosphere)" because hydrogen molecules are so small and lightweight that they are tough to contain, he said.

Rahn and other Los Alamos researchers are studying how the atmosphere might respond to increased hydrogen and are establishing a baseline for further comparisons.

The atmospheric effects of hydrogen are similar to those produced by chloroflurocarbons, or CFCs, which have been used as refrigerants and aerosol propellants, he said.

"Everyone thought that (CFCs) were innocuous and nonreactive, and they were in the troposphere, but not in the stratosphere," he said.

In the stratosphere, CFCs contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer that protects the planet against harmful ultraviolet rays.

Rahn said more hydrogen may make it easier for some chemicals already present in the stratosphere to eat away at the ozone and contribute to global warming by increasing the amount of water vapor in the upper atmosphere.

Los Alamos atmospheric scientist Manvendra Dubey, who heads Rahn's research group at the lab, said hydrogen technology holds great potential for cleaner air and more efficient engines although more study is needed.

"With every new technology you have inadvertent consequences," Dubey said.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: doomandgloom; energy; environment; fuelcell; globalwarminghoax; hydrogen; hydrogenbadnow; ozonehoax; scaretactics
I have been waiting for the environuts to come out with this ever since the President endorsed Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology.

Ozone does indeed react with Hydrogen(and lots of other elements too), and it is the lightest of all elements, but most if not all of it would react with something else long before it reaches the Stratosphere.

Also, Ozone is a product of ultraviolet light and Oxygen. Oxygen is our protection from UV light, not Ozone.

1 posted on 09/08/2003 9:44:24 AM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; ancient_geezer; Grampa Dave; Lancey Howard; RandyRep; farmfriend
Ping.
2 posted on 09/08/2003 9:47:10 AM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
You've got it right.

Hey, I've got an idea! Why not build a model like the one they used to see if the space shuttle was damaged at lift off? We could feed that model all kinds of garbage data and then use the results to substantiate any claim we want to make. Anyone who disagrees with us will be branded as ignorant unsophisticates.

By the way, that polar ozone hole thing has always bothered me. How do we know the holes were created by our chemicals? Who has been measuring those things and for how long? Cannot have been more than a small interval of time relatively speaking.
3 posted on 09/08/2003 10:00:29 AM PDT by sleepy_hollow
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
I have been waiting for the environuts to come out with this

Yup, me too. It didn't take long to see the old fruitcake global warming crap once I started reading the article.

It amazes me that anyone even listens to these liberal crackpots.

4 posted on 09/08/2003 10:01:22 AM PDT by Marauder (If you drink, don't drive; don't even putt.)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
because hydrogen molecules are so small and lightweight that they are tough to contain, he said.

Are they smaller than, say, oxygen molecules? Don't want to crapcan the article before knowing this vital fact.

5 posted on 09/08/2003 10:06:51 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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So, what was the cells' answer?
6 posted on 09/08/2003 10:09:57 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Why not just burn hydrogen in an internal combustion engine? BMW does that.
7 posted on 09/08/2003 10:11:51 AM PDT by Britton J Wingfield (TANSTAAFL)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Those scientists might own a lot of oil stocks or are employed by oil companies. Maybe.
8 posted on 09/08/2003 10:14:52 AM PDT by Consort
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To: RightWhale
Yes, hydrogen molecules are much smaller than oxygen molecules.

Hydrogen is routinely produced in pertolem refineries and consumed in many refinery processes. It is difficult to contain, which really just means that it costs more money to contain it.

The real problem with hydrogen fuel cell technology is what happens when the hydrogen is generated. Most hydrogen generation process, like steam methane reforming, also generate a carbon rich byproduct, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc. Other process which use electric power to disassociate water to form hydrogen and oxygen require the power to be generated somewhere. That power generation generally generates carbon dioxide by burning a hydrocarbon. So the problem then becomes, what does one do with the carbon dioxide? There are thoughts about injecting it into salt caverns, or into depleted oil production zones. But there are problems and costs with the various proposals for carbon dioxide containment, which is what really limits the development of hydrogen technlogy.
9 posted on 09/08/2003 10:22:28 AM PDT by LOC1
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
These atmospheric scientists seem to be at odds with the fuel cell program at Los Alamos. The quest for funding trumps all, I guess.
10 posted on 09/08/2003 10:28:28 AM PDT by Cooter
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To: RightWhale
H2 molecules are small, volatile, and hard to contain.

Much harder than O2.

You need better seals, seals that work at much lower temps than O2, pressures are higher and you need lower temps in general.

I have always thought that H2 as such was too much of a problem to distribute cheaply.

There are alternatives to feeding fuel cells - there's the Sodium Borohydride system for instance (Millenium Cell Inc.). This avoids transporting volatile gases.

There are other options too.
11 posted on 09/08/2003 10:35:29 AM PDT by buwaya
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To: LOC1
The most environementally clean system is to set up additional nuclear power stations to do the seawater-cracking.

Power from fossil fuels does not avoid either the supply problems or the environmental problems of internal combustion engines.
12 posted on 09/08/2003 10:38:46 AM PDT by buwaya
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To: LOC1
I can't find any actual data of gas molecule sizes on this useless Internet. There are apparently several methods to store hydrogen, liquified hydrogen [cryogenic], metal hydride, glass microspheres, carbon absorption, probably more. One problem is that hydrogen is low density, which means the tank would have to be large if the hydrogen is stored as a liquid compared to gasoline to get the same energy. Hydrogen permeability is visualized mechanically as relatively small molecules even though we know the size of the hydrogen atom is one of the largest. Helium is a small molecule, really just the atom and a small atom at that, so a party balloon won't last long.
13 posted on 09/08/2003 11:03:10 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: buwaya
Right, a metal hydride tank works well. They say it takes half the energy available in the hydrogen just to liberate the hydrogen from its metal hydride.
14 posted on 09/08/2003 11:04:41 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: buwaya
Here is my idea for disposing of nuclear waste and making use of nuclear power more acceptable. Uranium makes a great projectile, right? We build a massive rail gun somewhere in the desert package the spent uranium in a case of some sort and fire it out of earth orbit into the sun. Is there any reason this will not work?
15 posted on 09/08/2003 11:11:38 AM PDT by oncebitten
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To: oncebitten
Oh, sure. Now we are going to contaminate the surface of our sun!

Yours truly,
Shiela Jackson Lee
16 posted on 09/08/2003 11:20:35 AM PDT by resistance
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To: RightWhale
Its not 1st on the PTE fer nothin'...
17 posted on 09/08/2003 11:21:56 AM PDT by Axenolith (Hey, look at that little critter...Yaaaa! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!!!!)
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To: RightWhale
With gaseous/liquid H2, you will need energy for refrigeration, costs for depreciation of the very expensive facilities and transport system, maintenance of same, etc.

This needs to come out in the cost analysis, but just because the overall energy efficiency of something like the borohydride system is lower does not mean it is uncompetitive.
18 posted on 09/08/2003 11:26:52 AM PDT by buwaya
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To: oncebitten
No need to bother.

It is fine to reprocess it in breeder reactors, and ultimately bury what is left in Nevada.
19 posted on 09/08/2003 11:28:02 AM PDT by buwaya
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Scientists Question Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Did they answer?

20 posted on 09/08/2003 11:29:01 AM PDT by RoughDobermann (Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.)
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To: RightWhale
There is a school of thought that maintains the reason no free hydrogen molecules are found in the atmosphere is that they escaped long ago; just think, somewhere out there is a squadron of hydrogen molecules bearing down on another oxygen-rich planet, bent on destruction.
21 posted on 09/08/2003 11:32:35 AM PDT by Old Professer
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To: buwaya
They are all excited over carbon nanotubes. Strange, but it looks like this could be huge and it won't be made in the USA. Our own tech and we're already SOL.
22 posted on 09/08/2003 11:34:39 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: oncebitten
Is there any reason this will not work?

Yep. to fire anything into the sun means you have to cancel the Earth orbital speed relative to the Sun of 30 km./s.
That's about twice the speed you would need to give your projectile if you wanted it to reach any star within 100 light years (other than the Sun).

23 posted on 09/08/2003 11:42:40 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy ("Pillage, THEN Burn")
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To: RightWhale
The H2 molecule is roughly 1/2 the size of the He atom, and 1/2 the weight. The pic below will help your understanding.(I think)


H2 Molecule ..... He Atom

24 posted on 09/08/2003 2:06:46 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
The H atom is one of the biggest atoms. Oddly. But how about the H2 molecule?
25 posted on 09/08/2003 2:08:48 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: RightWhale
The H atom is one of the biggest atoms.

Actually, according to The Chemistry WebElements Periodic Table, it's one of the smallest.

Check out the display about halfway down the page (select "Bar Chart", if that is not already displayed).

But how about the H2 molecule?

As far as I can see, the site has nothing to say about that. But it's a very useful site for referencing known atomic properties of the known elements.

26 posted on 09/08/2003 2:39:08 PM PDT by derlauerer (The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice-versa.)
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To: derlauerer
Good website. Check out the H-H distance. It looks large compared to the molecular weight.
27 posted on 09/08/2003 2:44:53 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: RightWhale
Check out the H-H distance. It looks large compared to the molecular weight.

Of course. There's only 1 proton and no nuetrons in the H nucleus. As you move up to He, there are 2 protons 2 neutrons in the nucleus. The larger the atom the more crowded it gets inside and less space is available between bonded atoms in a molecule.

A H2 molecule has 2x the mass of the H atom, but only half the mass and size of the He atom.

28 posted on 09/08/2003 3:11:29 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Check the link in post 26. Might be some surprises.
29 posted on 09/08/2003 3:13:07 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou; AAABEST; Ace2U; Alamo-Girl; Alas; amom; AndreaZingg; Anonymous2; ...
Thanks Tex.

Rights, farms, environment ping.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.

30 posted on 09/08/2003 5:22:45 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: farmfriend
BTTT!!!!!
31 posted on 09/09/2003 3:11:07 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Bttt:
I'll bet these guys at the lab were funded by someone in the oil business.
32 posted on 10/29/2003 9:10:24 AM PST by jonatron
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To: jonatron; Consort
I'll bet these guys at the lab were funded by someone in the oil business.

The burden of proof for that allegation is upon you and Consort. Without it, the allegation is an Ad Hominem smear not worthy of debate.

Put up or shut up.

33 posted on 10/29/2003 10:57:03 AM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: RightWhale
single bond covalent radii

H* => 0.028 nm
O* => 0.066 nm

H2 dia. = 0.58 angstroms
O2 dia. = 1.32 angstroms

34 posted on 10/29/2003 11:11:54 AM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets
There is a web site, webelements, that has a huge amount of that kind of data. It loads slow, maybe it's sunspots, or maybe it's all the html graphics.
35 posted on 10/29/2003 11:16:33 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: RightWhale
Apparently 0.028nm is good for H* in other covalent molecules. If it's H2, then 0.0375 is used.

H2 dia. = 1.5 angstroms
O2 dia. = 2.64 angstroms(last post had 2X radii, should be 4X*r)

36 posted on 10/29/2003 11:22:00 AM PST by spunkets
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To: RightWhale
Thanks.

"maybe it's sunspots"

Everything is dead slow here.

H2 requires metal seals. Even with those seals atomic hydrogen forms, because a reletively loose bond forms between it and the metal surface. Most metals suck up atomic H. The atomic hydrogen then tends to walk along and through the nanoscale gaps in the seal. The practical consequences are significant. It can never be allowed to accumulate, else pops, booms and wreckage results.

37 posted on 10/29/2003 11:44:37 AM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets
Most metals suck up atomic H

They do. Platinum and palladium are particularly good. They are used in home gas lines to clean hydrogen out of the natural gas, otherwise as you say, there would be random combustive incidents in your furnace.

38 posted on 10/29/2003 11:49:29 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
You missed my "maybe". Pay attention to what you read and don't try to tell other what they can or can not say. And no one wants to debate with you. Did I miss anything?
39 posted on 10/29/2003 1:23:18 PM PST by Consort
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To: jonatron
"I'll bet these guys at the lab were funded by someone in the oil business. "

I bet Saudi's. In fact, I think Saudi's would be stupid not to be funding every crackpot environmental group out there. And I bet if anyone ever looks they are.

40 posted on 10/29/2003 1:32:21 PM PST by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: Consort
No proof, huh?

Just inuendo, FUD, and scaretactics like all the rest of your kind.

We know you don't want to debate, that too is a given.

41 posted on 10/29/2003 1:47:27 PM PST by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: PeaceBeWithYou
Put ice on it.
42 posted on 10/29/2003 4:57:12 PM PST by Consort
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To: resistance
..... and risk hitting the flag that flies there!
43 posted on 10/29/2003 5:10:25 PM PST by Flashman_at_the_charge
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To: All

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44 posted on 10/29/2003 5:10:39 PM PST by Bob J (www.freerepublic.net www.radiofreerepublic.com...check them out!)
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