[extropy-chat] Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Wed Apr 11 21:15:02 UTC 2007

On 4/11/07, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> 03. Hydrogen fuel cells.

This is a *bad* idea.  It has been shown that running on hydrogen is much
less efficient than running on "electricity".  You lose too much energy in
the production, transport and/or storage of the hydrogen.  Methanol or
ethanol fuel cells would be far better so long as the methanol or ethanol
are being produced from carbon extracted from the atmosphere.  All hydrogen
now used comes from methane and the only way you can produce it relatively
cheaply is to oxidize the carbon in the methane and release the CO2 into the
atmosphere.  The only other common source of hydrogen is water and until
someone comes up with a catalyst that uses solar energy to cheaply split
water that is too expensive as well.

If you *really* want this it should be:
03. Hydrogen fuel cells + Catalyst to produce H2 from H2O+sunlight +
Lightweight H2 storage system.

If you want to store CO2 produced by power plants underground and use the
electricity to charge batteries for transport you have a much more efficient
system.  Better still if you can take the plants (or bacteria) on your roof
to convert your solar energy directly into either ethanol or electrons to
feed to your means of transport.

So alternatively you might want:
03. Lightweight nanotechnology high capacity based batteries or capacitors
that can rapidly and efficiently charged.

We are *much* closer to that than we are to having a hydrogen solution.

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