MIT Solar/Hydrogen Breakthrough?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by pettyfog, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Cut to chase, the MIT premise is, using their technology for a new electrolysis catalyst {an element added to a solution that aids chemical reactions without being used up}, you can refuel your hydrogen powered car at home using your solar panels.

    Not so fast says Popular Mechanics engineer

    The FIRST thing I thought of when I read about the lab results and supposition that it would be easy was 'where do I get the water to make the Hydrogen and Oxygen?'

    If you think 'out of the tap', think again. If you start with H2O and end with pure hydrogen and oxygen then SOMETHING is left behind. Yep, all those mineral impurities which gives water it's flavor and some health benefits. So FIRST you have to distill the water, OR figure a way to remove the plates and clean them off, as well as the container for the water.

    Once we solve that, then we can go onto how much more efficient it really might be to make Hydrogen at home, rather than just 'storing that excess solar electricity' on the grid. Not much, I'm thinking.
    So, the OBVIOUS answer would be to do it at the nearest power station. Let THEM use economy of scale to produce the hydrogen. Oooops but then we still have to distribute the hydrogen, right? Better to ALSO build the fuel cells at the power station to even out power demand peaks.

    Which leaves us -again- without Hydrogen for our cars. Hmmm... guess I'd bet on that Nanotech Li-Ion battery breakthrough that promises 10X more power charge in the same space and weight.

    That's just common sense to an old self-taught engineer, though. I didnt even TAKE a formal college engineering course... so what do I know.. right?
  2. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Do you mean the EEStor ultracapacitor? They promise it will out perform Li Ion batteries by 10x and transform all of our energy use.

    Also, what do you mean by storing solar electricity on the grid? If we could do that on any significant scale, we would be. We would also store wind energy, wave energy, etc.
  3. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Nope.. two different things> The ultracap provides much more instantaneous power for getting off the light quickly, thus possibly allowing the battery size to be reduced.

    I'm speaking of nano-tech batteries. While the function is similar, the applications, thus methods of construction, are different.

    Right now most larger solar users do store their excess power on the grid... if your panels produce more power than your house takes, the meter runs backwards. So you may be helping to power someone else's house.

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