Hydrogen

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Scotty T
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Hydrogen

Post by Scotty T » Wed, 03 May 2017, 17:32

Hydrogen will no doubt be a part of the future of energy and electric vehicles, especially with renewable energy powering production. This research is interesting:

CSIRO research

I'm not however a fan of fuel cells in cars, it makes as little sense to me as a hybrid. I think the application in industrial scale energy storage to power EV charging stations is a better overall solution.

Thoughts?
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Post by coulomb » Wed, 03 May 2017, 19:44

Scotty T wrote: Thoughts?

I predict that natural gas exports will go the way of coal exports and the dinosaur. So I wonder if we can repurpose those giant, super expensive compressor facilities and the giant gas tankers to carry hydrogen, and thus export some of our excess renewable energy (solar and wind) overseas. We'd use renewable power to split hydrogen from water (via electrolysis).

I suppose it depends on whether large industry overseas can use hydrogen, and whether the tiny H₂ molecule will seep out of the gas tankers too fast.

[ Edit: I don't see how a membrane can break the N-H bonds in ammonia (NH₃). The article makes it sound like a membrane can "separate" hydrogen gas from ammonia, as if ammonia was a mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen gas. ]

[ Edit 2: It seems that catalytic decomposition is possible. ]
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Post by Rusdy » Wed, 03 May 2017, 19:44

It would be ground breaking if there is a portable (or not so portable for industrial scale) device to convert Ammonia to H2 (and vice versa) safely.

Unless, someone managed to find a material that enable batteries with energy density that is cost effective to transport (complete with LCOE to boot).

Too bad we (humanity) use the most excellent form of hydrocarbon by simply burning them...

The most sensible book about renewable future, opened my eyes a bit how wonderful hydrocarbons are: http://ourrenewablefuture.org/

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Post by Richo » Wed, 03 May 2017, 20:54

Rusdy wrote: It would be ground breaking if there is a portable (or not so portable for industrial scale) device to convert Ammonia to H2 (and vice versa) safely.


Well I think that IS the point.
The way I see it CSIRO are just copying others.
The article below makes more sense than that CSIRO write-up.
https://phys.org/news/2014-06-hydrogen- ... e-car.html

Fuel cells have been around for a while.
Last I remember you could buy a unit for your house suck in natural gas and produce electricity for your house and heat your water.
The costs and maintenance weren't exciting.

Regardless of how they get the H2 unless they can get the initial cost of the fuel cell down and the life span up it won't compete with battery systems.
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Post by Scotty T » Thu, 11 May 2017, 16:12

Rusdy wrote:
The most sensible book about renewable future, opened my eyes a bit how wonderful hydrocarbons are: http://ourrenewablefuture.org/


Thanks for the link, I have started reading it and will share with some friends who are interested in renewable energy.

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 12 May 2017, 14:51

coulomb wrote: I suppose it depends on whether large industry overseas can use hydrogen, and whether the tiny H₂ molecule will seep out of the gas tankers too fast.

It seems I missed the point completely. The point is that ammonia can be used to transport the hydrogen, using existing facilities such as those already established in the Pilbara region (Western Australia), which exports natural gas, as well as oil and iron ore.

[ Edit: and the CSIRO membrane can be used to split off the hydrogen gas at the point of use, overcoming the horrible problems of transporting highly compressed H₂ gas. Presumably, the hydrogen gas could be burned as a clean fuel in IC engines, or used to produce electricity directly, e.g. recharging a battery EV on the run. ]

Here is a more readable ABC article on the process.

[ Edit 2: Another small article, also by the ABC. Beware of units errors (e.g. "10 megawatt-hours" should presumably be "10 megawatts"; the figure near the end of the article seems to have left off "per year"). ]
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Post by nuggetgalore » Fri, 12 May 2017, 15:46

Edit 2: Another small article, also by the ABC. Beware of units errors (e.g. "10 megawatt-hours" should presumably be "10 megawatts"; the figure near the end of the article seems to have left off "per year"). ]

It is sad that reporting of technical things is often very sloppy.
I have pointed out to reporters of quality newspapers in the past that they used incorrect terms.They thanked me for pointing this out and made the same mistake in their next article! It was not concerning the ever present confusion between W with Wh (or KW/MW/GW etc).
The main reason that itirks me is that on a topic where I have no knowledge of the facts,how can I trust the reporting?
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Post by weber » Fri, 12 May 2017, 16:18

These guys are so desperately flogging a dead horse that it's almost funny. So first they want to use renewable electricity to generate hydrogen, then fuel cells to convert the hydrogen back to electricity, losing half the energy in the process. Now they find hydrogen storage isn't convenient so they want to use the hydrogen to generate ammonia and then crack the ammonia back to hydrogen. I wonder how much of the energy will be left after that?

The Lithium battery horse has bolted and there's no catching it.
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Post by woody » Fri, 12 May 2017, 16:35

It would make sense when we have too much energy to use - e.g. off-peak when we have enough solar for 100% of peak load.

There are long journeys where this could make sense (shipping, interstate rail).

On a smaller scale - when you are off-grid with too much solar to use, it would be nice to turn it into something saleable.

Ammonia is US$300/tonne = 30c/kg, 22c/L.
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Post by jonescg » Fri, 12 May 2017, 16:54

woody wrote: It would make sense when we have too much energy to use - e.g. off-peak when we have enough solar for 100% of peak load.


And at that point you might as well pump water uphill for hydro later on, or desalinate seawater if you're in WA.
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Post by Scotty T » Fri, 12 May 2017, 18:11

jonescg wrote:
woody wrote: It would make sense when we have too much energy to use - e.g. off-peak when we have enough solar for 100% of peak load.


And at that point you might as well pump water uphill for hydro later on


Yeah less trouble and more efficiency. All this talk of exporting our renewable energy while we still burn coal is a bit of a joke too.

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Post by Richo » Fri, 12 May 2017, 20:43

jonescg wrote:you might as well pump water uphill for hydro later on,


Except we can't export our precious water that is up a hill.
The whole point is to remove the export of coal and O/S counties using coal.
Presumably to make less of an impact to climate change.
I guess some scientists do have a conscious.

If we provided/sell them with a fuel cell that converts ammonia to Electricity we can then just ship them Ammonia.
The ammonia trade already exists.
Think of it as a transition off coal to Ammonia.
weber wrote:The Lithium battery horse has bolted and there's no catching it.


True I completely agree but again we can't export tech we don't have.
And the issue is other countries don't have nice sunny days like we do.
So having a lithium battery for them is a waste of space if they can't get the solar power to charge them.

Sure it's a complex and probably not very efficient process of turning free Australian sunlight into electricity via ammonia for another country.
But it seems plausible and profitable.
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Post by Scotty T » Fri, 12 May 2017, 20:50

Is there enough ammonia to make a dent?

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Post by Richo » Fri, 12 May 2017, 21:00

Scotty T wrote:All this talk of exporting our renewable energy while we still burn coal is a bit of a joke too.


We will either run out of coal or political changes will mean we can sell it.
So better start talking about alternatives now.
Probably 10-15 years before they get Ammonia fuel cells usable anyway.
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Post by jonescg » Fri, 12 May 2017, 22:22

Yes I think an ammonia can be used in a fuel cell directly, and it may well have more potential (pardon the pun).

Another export industry would be HVDC electricity into our neighbouring countries. I can see a global electricity grid in the next 100 years, allowing renewable energy to supply the dark side of the planet when we're in full sun. We have the technology to do it now, it's just a matter of funding it's construction.
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Post by nuggetgalore » Fri, 12 May 2017, 23:18

https://nh3fuelassociation.org/introduction/

many uses for ammonia apart as a cleaner etc and fertiliser (88%of world production).

[ Edited Coulomb: clickable link ]
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Post by coulomb » Sat, 13 May 2017, 05:47

Scotty T wrote: Is there enough ammonia to make a dent?

We can make ammonia (NH₃) from sea water (H₂) and air (N₂) with just energy and some equipment that isn't terribly complex. Sea water and air are obviously extremely abundant in supply. So ammonia production is limited only by available energy.

Australia has more clean energy potential than any other country. So yes, I think it could make a dent, but it takes some will-power, or at least some opposition to the entrenched "don't-power". Without the entrenched industry holding it back, the economics seem likely to be such that it will happen.
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Post by weber » Sat, 13 May 2017, 15:08

To clarify: The original post was not merely about using otherwise-unusable renewable energy to produce ammonia (I have no problem with that). It also proposed that the ammonia should then be used to power electric vehicles by being cracked onboard to produce hydrogen which is then used in a fuel cell.

It is the fuel-cell vehicle that is the dead horse. And giving it a whiff of ammonia is not going to revive it.

P.S. If this thread was merely about producing ammonia from renewable energy, it would be off topic.
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Post by Richo » Mon, 15 May 2017, 20:30

True on all points.

Well ammonia fuel cell could be useful
It's just CSIRO's narrow mindedness to think that it's main purpose would be for ev's.
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Post by weber » Mon, 15 May 2017, 21:27

Thanks Richo.

As Chris Jones mentioned, ammonia was already usable in fuel cells directly. However not in the kind of fuel cell used in EVs (Proton Exchange Membrane). Only in the Solid Oxide kind, because they already operate at the high temperatures required to crack the ammonia into hydrogen and nitrogen.
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