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Here is an interesting quote that bears on the subject:
"The energy to run a machine is always less than the output. In other words the efficiency is always less than 100%. The efficiency of small scale electrolyzers is about 50%. Therefore, the energy output is half the energy input. It also includes $0.67 for mortgage, maintenance and insurance on the photovoltaic cells that provide electricity from sunlight.136 The energy of gasoline is 33.652 kWh per gallon. The cost of hydrogen with the same energy as a gallon of gasoline is:



Cost of hydrogen = (33.652 kWh / kg X 0.10) + 0.67 = 7.40
(divided by) 0.50

Where:

33.652 kWh = energy in gallon of gasoline in kWh

0.50 = efficiency of electrolyzer

0.10 = cost of utility electricity per kWh

In other words the price of hydrogen for the equivalent energy of gasoline is

$7.40 for electricity at $0.10 per kWh.

$4.03 for electricity at $0.05 per kWh.

$1.34 for electricity at $0.01 per kWh.133

Cheap electricity is critical to the future of hydrogen. Solar and wind power should be used wherever practical but no source of power yet devised can produce, on a large scale, the $0.01 per kWh electricity needed for a hydrogen economy."
This is the website I pulled this from,
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/rr00883.htm
I looked at about a dozen others and the discussion about the future use of hydrogen fuel seems to come down to the same point: Cost of the electricity (energy) used to generate an equivalent amount of hydrogen is the sticking point. Currently, unless you have a solar or windpowered electric source, or can get electricity for 2 cents/kwH, it is a losing proposition.
It's too bad that someone is not focused on utilizing the waste heat in internal combustion engines to power a hydrogen production unit, using catalysts, thermoelectric conversion or some other approach. If such a means could be found, it would be free fuel, in the since that you are generating fuel with energy that is now a waste product. But it's a long way away at the present.
tcwagner1
 

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Separating hydrogen (and oxygen) from water and then recombining it to make water again is a circular process, each step of which is less than 100% efficient, and even if it was 100% efficient in both directions, there would still be absolutely zero net gain in energy. You will never EVER be able to achieve a net gain in energy with such a process. Period, full stop, the end.
Thank-you!
There may be the perception that this was "beaten to death" elsewhere in this post, but that doesn't change reality. This fact is true today, as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.
 

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I looked at about a dozen others and the discussion about the future use of hydrogen fuel seems to come down to the same point: Cost of the electricity (energy) used to generate an equivalent amount of hydrogen is the sticking point.
Build a hydrogen generating facility next to a nuclear power plant. Except for the waste fuel, problem solved.
 

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Yes, nuclear is one thing they are looking into, but I believe the same site above or another I went to, showed that enough H could be generated from the solar or wind power in the state of Kansas to replace the amount of BTU's represented by our current fossil fuel usage. As funny as it seems, one of the more efficient H producers now involves turning Natural Gas into H, seems like going around your elbow to get to your mouth. Gas used in combustion engines burns super clean and you don't have the problem of gas condensing on the cylinder walls during cold operation, eliminating most of the top cylinder wear. One mechanic said that breaking one of those engines apart, it looked like brand new inside. And gas is abundant here and now.
tcwagner1
 

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Yes, nuclear is one thing they are looking into, but I believe the same site above or another I went to, showed that enough H could be generated from the solar or wind power in the state of Kansas to replace the amount of BTU's represented by our current fossil fuel usage.
While I admire your optimism, I would focus on the key word "could" in that paragraph! If solar or wind are going to replace fossil fuel, it'll be a long time in coming.
 

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Yes, nuclear is one thing they are looking into, but I believe the same site above or another I went to, showed that enough H could be generated from the solar or wind power in the state of Kansas to replace the amount of BTU's represented by our current fossil fuel usage. As funny as it seems, one of the more efficient H producers now involves turning Natural Gas into H, seems like going around your elbow to get to your mouth. Gas used in combustion engines burns super clean and you don't have the problem of gas condensing on the cylinder walls during cold operation, eliminating most of the top cylinder wear. One mechanic said that breaking one of those engines apart, it looked like brand new inside. And gas is abundant here and now.
tcwagner1
Anyone ever looked into the energy break-even point of wind or solar power? Nearly 20 years!
 

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Wind produced electricty

What seems to be lost in this discussion is that as of yet, wind turbines are actually one of the more expensive methodologies of producing electricity. True, the wind is "free", however, even though the costs of installation and maintenance of the turbine units are coming down, current state of the art large scale wind turbine systems are only able produce electricity at $0.05 per kWh, and that's before you add profit for the producer and the cost of the grid to deliver it to your home into the equation.

Putting a turbine in for home use will most likely cost even more per kWh.

FWIW, while I agree that continued investment into wind power is really desirable, I also think that huge investment dollars should be put toward producing fuel oils from microalgae. No matter where I look for research, I find the yield per acre far-far outstrips all other alternative energy sources for vehicles, home heating and electricity production, including using wind farms.
 

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Actually, I ran into a point on one of the sites that pointed to a genetically engineered algae that can produce Hydrogen in quantities that have them optimistic. So many times technology proves disappointing with regard to initial hopes. I remember when I was a boy going to the Texas State Fair in Dallas and there was a display there on the future of nuclear energy and how in the future, it would more expensive to meter it than produce it. Well, didn't work out that way. Out in Texas and much of the west, the old Aeromoter windmills were all the power many people had. Right now I know where there are more than a half a dozen of these old mills just sitting there with the houses gone in the rural areas of GA. They are very tempting. Just don't have the time now. But home wind generators, while currently expensive are workable. In West Virginia, several people there found it more economical to put up wind generators that pay to have power strung to their homes. With Solar, right now in FL there are credits that will rebate about 1/2 the cost back to the buyer of a 15,000 w units, I believe it is. Surplus is sold back to the grid, your meter basically turns backwards. A friend of mine installs them and has it on his house. So like computers in the 70's the price of a lot of this technology will come down. And interest in hydrogen will continue to be there if for no other reason the absence of greenhouse gases it produces. That is another discussion but that will likely be one of the biggest challenges facing future energy considerations, on par with cost.
 

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Coupla ideas:

Large scale wind stacks up even better, when accounting for construction/decommission/remediation/disposal costs, insurance (no private entity has/will shoulder the risks with a nuclear plant), CO2 effects/cost (where taxed), externalized negative health/environmental costs...

Likewise, with small scale wind. It's the fastest ROI today in the RE biz (excepting possibly micro hydro/geothermal in the best of conditions). But requires the combination of consistent wind, setback, and zoning (the three not readily accessible for most of the urban/suburban population.)

Small scale solar thermal (heat, hot water) and PV works just about anywhere in the world - thermal generally having a bigger ROI, but PV (+ Concentrating PV), gets very interesting with Feed-in Tariffs, Renewable Energy Certificate trading, decentralization, and the like... And PV delivers peak-use (summer, daytime) CO2 free power which is worth 2-4 times typical baseload power costs; easily delivered directly to grid "choke" points...

And of course... conservation, efficiency and reduced/avoided use is by far the best ROI...

Regarding H2: It doesn't necessarily have to be burned, it can produce electricity when recombined with O in a fuel cell...
Also, due to its very low density, it requires energy to compress into useful densities/liquid, and then its tiny molecular size makes it prone to leak/boil-off in tanks, pipelines,etc. It's generally a net energy loss to transport it much beyond where it's produced.

-Jim
 

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Another point to consider with Hydrogen is that the entire fuel distribution infrastructure would need to be rebuilt from the ground up. However, if we were to focus our energies on producing fuel oils from microalgae, said fuel oils are compatible/mixable with standard diesel, home heating oil and jet fuel in any combination from zero to one-hundred percent. As such, we could leverage our distribution network as-is.

Regarding hydrogen from microalgae, I too have come across a couple of sites that indicated that this is possible, however, it had nothing to do with the strain of algae (genetically engineered or not) and everything to do with the environment in which it was grown. If I recall one of the articles correctly, it was noted in a researcher's log from the WWII era that hydrogen was produced from a test batch of algae, however, said researcher had no idea what was different about that batch. The answer wasn't figured out until just recently. Once again, if I recall correctly, if you cut the supply of oxygen to the algae (and replaced it with another gas; nitrogen? I don't remember), the algae would alter its photosynthesis process and start producing hydrogen.
 

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Well, there has been a lot of great stuff gone by on this thread. Perhaps I could take it back full circle to where we started, discussing a one man, one car, internal combustion modified hydrogen supplemented engine. From everything I have read and gleaned from this thread a few "facts" (best I can determine them to be from a layman's understanding) emerge for me:
1. Alternator on the fly produced hydrogen will not produce as much energy as it takes to produce, so it is a negative.
2. Hydrogen produced off the grid (unless you are getting it for less than 2 cents/kwh) is also not economically feasible.
3. Home based solar or small, even homemade, alternator based windmotor produced hydrogen holds some promise to the guy who is determined enough and has the initial investment and is willing to look for long term payback.
4. You have to have the mechanical ability and expertise to modify a car to run in such a way.
The challenges for the average guy are daunting, and practically impossible for the most of us, but there may be those Thomas Edison types out there who are developing the light bulb in their back room, and I for one applaud you for your efforts, but I can't do it.
As to the bigger picture, which is where we ended up in the discussion, it is important to look beyond the immediate future. If solar or wind technology takes 20 or 30 years to payback its initial investment, that is way better than oil. When I was in high school gas was 25 cents a gallon and you got Green Stamps and a salad bowl at Shell in the deal. What will oil be in 20 or 30 years, what will the dollar be worth, what will world demand be? Payback could be much sooner than we can imagine if inflation and cost of crude skyrocket. Here in Tallahassee, Gas went from 1.79 to $5 in one day preceding the last hurricane on fears (spread by the media and cell phones) that there would not be gas and it knocked down the supply system for a month. The Police had to be called out to manage crowds. Not to mention the other impact of burning fossil fuel endlessly. It offers no payback ever. Fuel cell technology may take off and become less expensive, like computers when everyone began to buy them. Clearly, the system we have is cozy, gasoline and internal combustion engines are the status quo and any attempt to change that are going to be expensive and difficult, but change it will, but how and what the future of the transportation system will be is beyond me. It doesn't seem that common sense and long term benefits are at the top of anyone's agenda who is in a position to change the big picture. Maybe that will change.
I think we may see several stop gap efforts before a permanent solution is found. Electric commuter cars (how many million gallons of oil are spent idling in traffic), even hydraulic drives offer immediate improvement in the area of conserving reserves right now. Do any of you remember Smokey Yunick turning a Ford Grand Torino into a hydraulic drive? I remember reading it in Popular Science years ago. Because the big 8 cylinder only came on when the pressure in the cylinder in the trunk dropped to a certain point, it burned no gas sitting at "idle". He went from about 15 mpg to over 40 as I recall from that adaptation, and that was in the early 70's. If we could do something about burning fuel while sitting in traffic, that would be an enormous savings, that is, for commuter cars. Public transportation in this country is another obvious solution to cutting demand. Europe is so far ahead of us in this area and it puts the United States at an enormous competitive disadvantage in business. High speed trains and even the return of trolleys (they were always less expensive than buses, remember the 60 minutes report on how they were put out of business unfairly by tire and bus interests?) would be a wonderful thing and take a lot of demand for oil away. And it may be that a number of approaches will be needed. The world didn't get into the energy mess it is in overnight and it won't get out overnight either, but clearly something different with a view to the long term, greenhouse gas friendly, solution that does not deplete the food supply is going to be needed. The costs of rising sea levels will make all other costs look cheap by comparison if current trends can't be stopped or even reversed. Time will tell what that will be.
 

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i drove a car that ran on pure hydrogen... but no gimicks. it was a proto type BMW 7 series. the only real advantage is no emissions. the disadavantage is vast including cost's to produce hydrogen.

The push for alternatives to fossil fuels has way more disadvantages. The 'greenhouse' tree huggers don't realize that more CO2 is released in the making of hydrogen than the amount of normal gasoline operation.

BTW I do not believe in global warming... the current scare is no different than other government control manipulation. Red scare ofthe 50's is just such an analogy
 

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Well, the folks here in Florida are hoping you are right, and I am skeptical about what I read coming from the government, and a lot of other people, for that matter. But there is strong evidence, including huge chunks of ice the size of states breaking away in Antarctica that indicates that something is going on. I read just last week that some Pacific islands, Tuvalu, I believe is one of them, that are now endangered from salt water corrupting the arable land. From measurements of ice cores going back for thousands of years, it appears that the CO2 level today is higher than could have been imagined even a short time ago. There was life on earth when all the carbon was in the form of the plants that made the coal, etc. which we are now turning back into CO2, where it was before it became those plants. But we are talking Palm trees in Canada, where there still can be found remnants of these plants (nuts from palms) in the frozen wastelands of what was a much earlier piece of ground than most we are walking on today. Even if all the CO2 in the world was released from all the fossil fuels, there would likely be life, just not life as we know it now, for it would put underwater all the major cities of the world, which are on ports. Even right now, extraordinary efforts are being made to keep London from flooding, vast seagates being constructed. I believe I saw on the news last year that a complete northwest passage had been navigated above Canada, something I have never heard of before. The debate will rage, but it is interesting to watch Al Gore's movie on the subject,"An Inconvenient Truth" is a lot to swallow, I kept falling asleep, But there is a lot of scientific data that you can just crunch yourself, like satellite photos, gas readings from ice cores, etc. If you haven't seen it, it is worth seeing what other folks say on the matter with an open mind, even if you don't subscribe to everything, it is an education. I have to agree with 22dodge that the ways they are talking about making H gas today seem to be a problem, turning petroleum or natural gas into hydrogen doesn't seem like it is solving the problem, at least with internal combustion engines, it is just moving it elsewhere. And whatever the problem and the solution, it will take world solutions, not US or EU alone. As long as China and India and third world countries are exempted and continue business as usual just slows the inevitable.
 

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al gore is a CROOK. he invented carbon credits... what a bunch of crap... for every transfer of credits, he gets a commission. Global warming scare is nothing different than the Red Scare of the 50's. for every generation, there's always some dooms day scare. You can look historically back to the Roman empire and see this exact pattern.

A truely scientific person would see right thru al's self centered money scheme. there was a glaicier over the mid west. The ice melted before cars ever exsisted. what's to say that the melting isn't just a continuation of that natural occurance? At one time, the middle east (iraq, saudi, etc) was the most fertile ground on the planet.. and now it's a desert. I'm sure that didn't happen in the last 100 years. Topical plants were found in northern Canada, how could that be?


temperature measurement is totally irrelevant since the time from which temperture has been measured is a micro spec sample of time in the history of the planet. as for CO2 core samples... this is really not an accurate measure either \

The only real thing we need to worry about is nut jobs getting weapons that can obliterate the planet... Oh crap, we already have that... now the hard part is to keep them from using it. This is a more real threat on our planet and society over using fossil fuels.

Don't get me wrong, i'm not an anti-environmentalist. I do my share of conservation (I have Geo-thermal heating in my house and shop.. and my daily driver is a Geo metro -50mpg). But the rediculous profiteering by Al is what really irks me!!

We have the technology to have very efficient electric powered cars and that technology has been around for over 30 years... however why don't we have electric cars? a couple reasons. Mainly, the governerment won't allow it. How do we pay for roads now? gas tax.. no gas, no tax, new system to figure out how to make the masses pay their 'fair share'. There's a guy up here that was featured on TV that he runs his car on veggie oil and runs a 10k generator at his house on veggie oil.. he gets a check back from the electric company every day... well the Feds knocked on his door and gave him a bunch of citations for tax evasion for not paying road tax and not paying income tax for the electricity he was selling. So really, the government doesn't want people to actually use alternative energy until they can control the $
 

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But there is strong evidence, including huge chunks of ice the size of states breaking away in Antarctica that indicates that something is going on. .......
.......... But we are talking Palm trees in Canada, where there still can be found remnants of these plants (nuts from palms) in the frozen wastelands of what was a much earlier piece of ground than most we are walking on today. ........
......... extraordinary efforts are being made to keep London from flooding, vast seagates being constructed. ..........
........ I believe I saw on the news last year that a complete northwest passage had been navigated above Canada, something I have never heard of before.
It would be expected to have chunks of ice breaking loose from Antarctica Ice Flows. It's Summer there.

If Canada had palm trees, it means there was "global warming" before man was here. Greenland (covered with Ice) got it's name, How ?

London has Always had "TIDAL" problems and has gone to great lengths to control it for centuries. Look at Holland, almost totally below Sea Level ....

Check the history books, there have been previous occasions when sailing ships circumnavigated North of Canada.

YES, AL GORE is attempting to "Make Money" from something that happens slowly, regularly, repeatedly to the Earth, over 1000's of years.
 

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And to think Gore got a nobel prize for his hype.Some are just gullible.
If you want to talk green,you are talking minivans.Just think,a vehicle that seats 7,has loads of room,last many hundreds of thousands of miles,gets over 20 mpg,with V6 power,smooth quiet ride,and only 1 battery to recycle! Now thats green!
A Prius that seats 5,carries a lot less,costs a bundle to make,a boodle to recycle when its worn out,and had hundreds of pounds of batteries,and the maker loses money on every one sold.....no,thats NOT green.
 

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We should be hoping for global warming!! Historically, it can be seen that humanity thrived during periods of warming, and suffered greatly during periods of sustained cooling.

Unfortunately, the hoax of "global warming" is going to cause the greatest amount of suffering to the people of the world that can least withstand it. That is, the inhabitants of the world's very poorest nations who, on a regular basis, don't know where or if, they will be able to get enough food to survive.
 

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remove

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I am open to any alternative fuel for the sake of overall efficiency and alternatives from giving money to people who like to kill each other. Hydrogen has it's issues, but I like the work being done.

2009 is the coolest year in the past 7 years I have been tracking the Midwest for crop production purposes. We were 100 Growing units behind 2004, which was 200 growing unis behind normal. Global warming is a natural cycle. It has always been hot in the desert, and water has always been scarce there. Yet, we have a media that makes a big deal out of it as if it hasn't happened before.
 
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