Fwd: More problems with hydrogen

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Dec 1 07:11:06 PST 2003

On Mon, Dec 01, 2003 at 03:52:44PM +0100, Sandor Spruit wrote:

> >To be clear, I think burning fuel to generate power
> >is an anachronism.
> What about power generation by burning hydrogen obtained through 
> "splitting" water by electrolyse - think solar/wind energy?

Hydrogen is not an energy source, it's a means of transport
and storage. An energy carrier. You can't store photons, so you use them
to photolyse (or photosynthesize), and store/process the
canned solar light that way.

> Exactly why is that an anachronism? Hydrogen as a means to "store"
> power seems like a great idea!

Electrochemical power sources do not use the Carnot process,
nor do they produce a visible flame. Most direct methanol cells
currently operate at 60 deg C (using the process output water
to dilute the methanol entering the cell), people operate at 
37 deg C, plants at above freezing point. Solid-state photovoltaics
has a far wider operational temperature range.

A gas turbine driving a generator is a Carnot-cycle limitedi 
power source. It is *burning* fuel.

Lithium-ion power source in your mobile or notebook isn't "burning" anything,
not more than a programmer is burning joules of her non-diet Coke.

A better, but more awkward word would be "metabolizing".

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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