RE: Biomass Hydrogen Paper in 29 August Nature

From: Rich Blinne (richblinne@hotmail.com)
Date: Wed Sep 04 2002 - 18:56:27 EDT

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    ----Original Message Follows----
    From: "Glenn Morton" <glenn.morton@btinternet.com>
    To: "Rich Blinne" <richblinne@hotmail.com>
    CC: <asa@calvin.edu>
    Subject: RE: Biomass Hydrogen Paper in 29 August Nature
    Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 20:01:20 -0700

    >I would bet, that by the time you add that little item called
    >TRANSPORTATION you would turn this into a negative. One must spend energy
    >to distribute this fuel so that I can put it in my tank where I life.

    Here we need to separate two different questions. The first is the energy
    sustainable. Or put another way, do you need to consume non-sustainable
    fuels to produce your so-called sustainable fuel. The paper suggests that
    we are at least tantalizingly close to this goal.

    Now you are right that I have to get the hydrogen to your fuel cell.
    However, this cost should be used to address the other important question,
    economic viability. The transportation costs decrease that viability. You
    can use a portion of the hydrogen to transport the rest of the hydrogen.
    Because hydrogen is strongly exothermic you won't consume all of it to
    achieve this goal. If this wasn't the case, hydrogen fuel cell cars
    wouldn't work because there wouldn't have enough energy to move the fuel!
    So, you might end up with a sustainable but too expensive alternative.

    The transportation cost, in essence, decreases the production efficiency as
    if your original reaction produced less hydrogen. What this could mean is
    that you may need to change your economic strategy to deal with this
    limitatation. For example, it may be more economically viable to have more
    but smaller production facilities near your markets. Instead of your
    gas/petrol stations being purely distribution centers, they might end up
    becoming production/distribution centers. The traditional centralized
    refinery/pipeline model might have to go by the wayside to make this work.

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