Re: fleet week: just-in-time nuclear electricity?

Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 14:42:47 PST

Bill Stoddard wrote:
> Never considered the idea of generating hydrogen (rather than electricity)
> with nuclear power and transporting it via pipeline.

It depends on how far you have to transport it, it is difficult to beat
the rather horrible inefficiency of water electrolysis, though people are
working on it. Water electrolysis should be considered more suitable for
energy storage than transport. Assuming you can't absorb spikes during
max insolation (not a problem in Cali since corellating with air conditioning
max demand), electrolysis still makes sense though.

The really clean solution would be to create an artifical photosynthetic
center simulacrum which would split and separate water in hydrogen and
oxygen. Judging from most recent progress, we're not very far away from

> Think the transport can really be made lossless (economically that is)? H2 is
> much smaller than any hydrocarbon and would be more prone to diffuse through
> the pipe and compound that held the pipe segments together. No idea if

Hydrogen is comparable to helium in its diffusivity iirc. A pipe just fit
for methane might leak too much if operated with hydrogen. I don't think
this has an impact in real life, though.

> diffusion would be a significant source of loss though. Also wouldn't the pipe
> have to be significantly larger (or under much higher pressure) since the
> energy per unit volume of hydrogen (at some pressure) significantly less that
> natural gas?

I think this is more than compensated by higher efficiencies of electrochemical
energy sources, and due to higher diffusivity you might get lesser resistance.
Also, you can engineer pipelines for higher pressure, and wider aperture.

Interestingly, hydrogen doesn't create clathrates (gas hydrates), which might
make sense for polar pipelines (wads of clathrate can obstruct flow in pipelines
pumping badly dried methane at deep subzero temps).

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:19:03 PDT