Re: [asa] ESA: Wilkins Ice Shelf under threat

From: Lynn Walker <>
Date: Wed Dec 03 2008 - 02:03:41 EST

On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 2:27 PM, John Burgeson (ASA member) <> wrote:

> "*we still have an energy "situation" to challenge us. On that theme*,
> *is a link to a recent talk on a
> solution which makes sense to me. "* Burgy

I think this also makes sense:
Fuel-cell technology inches toward reality
*AP via *Houston Chronicle* ^ | Dec. 1, 2008, 10:18PM | DIRK LAMMERS

*Comment:* There are 5 types of fuel cells in current use. The Apollo fuel
cells are very expensive and not commercially viable. However, you will see
fuel cells become very common over the next twenty years for one very simple
reason. They extract much more energy from the fuel than IC or turbine based

The best coal plants are about 40% efficient based on an ideal carnot heat
engine. Using the temps of the combustion, that ideal heat engine rejects
about 50% of the energy as waste heat meaning the best current coal plant
rejects 80% of the heat as waste. In real terms, a coal plant is 20%

Feul cells are currently about 50% efficient but that calculation is based
on the chemical energy available meaning that only 50% of the heat is being
rejected as waste and that heat can be captured and used to spin a turbine
meaning it can be up to 60% efficient.

There is real progress in making industrial fuel cell economical and when
they do, the industry will quickly buy them for two major reasons. First is
that they can make three times as much electricity with the same amount of
fuel which means more profit. The second reason is that they can go to the
government and say they can reduce CO2 emissions by 66% if they are given
permits to build new coal fired fuel cell plants. This will allow them to
stay in business, wind and solar cannot provide the consistent power that
they need to keep the grid up.

At some point, the fuel cells will be small and stable enough to drive a
vehicle which mean that your full sized pickup truck can still run on
gasoline or diesel but get 60 mpg.

Newer fuel cells such as solid oxide can run on any fuel meaning that coal
plants can burn coal and cars can run on gas, diesel, ethanol, methanol,
pyrolysis fluid or whatever fuel is least expensive when you fill the tank.

Fuel cells are the answer to our energy independence and are literally just
around the corner.

The new gasification technology using fluidized bed
showing great promise, too.


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Received on Wed Dec 3 02:03:52 2008

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