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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-14-07, 01:34 PM   #1
donrhummy
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Researches have figured out how to store hydrogen as solid

This could be a huge benefit for storing energy in your home. Instead of hydrogen stored under pressure (which is dangerous) it'd be stored as a safe, solid. It could be transferred with little risk.

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Researchers at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton have made a breakthrough in hydrogen storage. They have successfully condensed hydrogen gas into a usable solid under mild conditions.

“The challenge is to find a safer, more efficient and economical way to store hydrogen so that it can be released on demand,” explained chemist Sean McGrady, the lead researcher on the project. “The way to do this is to turn hydrogen into a compound — a solid — so you can use it when you want, safely, in the amount you want.”

Hydrogen gas is typically stored under pressure in large metal cylinders, approximately four feet high. These cylinders are heavy and expensive to transport. Since they are under pressure, they also pose a safety hazard.

“We’ve reached a milestone with our ability to condense hydrogen into a usable solid,” said Dr. McGrady. “The next step is to produce a safe, compact storage system for the compound that is both lightweight and affordable.”
http://www.unb.ca/news/view.cgi?id=1223
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Old 03-14-07, 03:21 PM   #2
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In today's world, people barely store energy in the home. There are candles and batteries, but otherwise people don't use much energy that doesn't come on an as-needed basis through natural gas lines or electric lines.

Homes heated by oil or by wood/corn/plant stuff store energy though.
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Old 03-14-07, 04:56 PM   #3
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It has been known for some time that hydrogen can be stored as a solid-
at -457 degrees below zero, hydrogen turns to ice, solid.

Researchers in the field of hypersonic aircraft design are developing a form of hydrogen called "slush hydrogen", which is between -457 and -453 degrees Farenheit. Slush hydrogen is part solid and part liquid.

Such a fuel is a necessity if a jet aircraft is going to fly above Mach seven, or seven times the speed of sound.

A proposed spin-off of this technology is liquid hydrogen for automobiles. As the slush hydrogen warms up in it's underground storage tanks, it becomes liquid. Above -360 degrees, it is too warm for the addition of ice hydrogen to turn it back to slush, so the Air Force has given permission for the liquid hydrogen to be sold off to power automobiles.

Liquid hydrogen is much safer than hydrogen under high pressure. Presurized hydrogen can by stored at presures as high as 6000 psi. That worries some people about what a ruptured tank could do.
Liquid hydrogen is stored in a "thermos" type vacuum flask, and it vents off to keep pressure below 200 psi, a pressure not unheard of in some high-end bicycle tires.
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Old 03-14-07, 10:19 PM   #4
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ok, but -457 is hardly "mild" conditions, as they are stating in this new article. if it becomes viable, i can see solid hydrogen compounds formed into 'logs' for use in future cars, furnaces in homes, etc.

i'm ready for this stuff -- now to make it commercially marketable....
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Old 03-14-07, 10:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpedaler
ok, but -457 is hardly "mild" conditions, as they are stating in this new article. if it becomes viable, i can see solid hydrogen compounds formed into 'logs' for use in future cars, furnaces in homes, etc.

i'm ready for this stuff -- now to make it commercially marketable....
Agreed.

You'll need a massive refrigeration unit to store hydrogen at that temperature. The cost of transporting this "slush" and storing it in your home make it very expensive. Everyone will have to drive a Hummer to carry the refrigerator in your car!
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Old 03-15-07, 12:08 AM   #6
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There's another way to store energy that can be made in the home. And that is, compressed air. It's much less problematic than hydrogen.
The Air Car, http://www.theaircar.com/, is powered by compressed air. The exhaust air is at a temperature of between 0 and -15 degrees which, of course, could be used for air conditioning. The air is stored in special carbon fiber tanks at a pressure of 300 bar, about 4500 psi. These special tanks do not explode when punctured. The car can also run on fossil fuels and function as an electrical generator.
Air could be compressed with electrical energy from solar or wind and used when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. No batteries required and no manufacturing and transporting of fuel.

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Old 03-15-07, 06:34 AM   #7
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ok, but -457 is hardly "mild" conditions, as they are stating in this new article.
I think the article mentioned in post#1 was referring to a different way to store hydrogen- one that bonds hydrogen into solid molecules. In that sense, it's like bonding hydrogen and oxygen (gases) to make H2O (not a gas at normal temperatures).
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Old 03-15-07, 11:34 AM   #8
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Now the air car is cool. That is a unique idea and one to me with great merit. I just hope they can bring into mass production. I also wonder if it could be sized up to use for a larger vehicle?

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Old 03-17-07, 08:26 PM   #9
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The air car does sound pretty cool. Although, in northern climates, you'd have to find another way to heat the car.
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Old 03-17-07, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot
The air car does sound pretty cool. Although, in northern climates, you'd have to find another way to heat the car.
Air conditioning wouldn't be a problem!
You'd have to find a way to keep the engine from icing up, though. Adding surface area (like air cooled engine fins) and open airflow would turn the motor into a block of ice in 40 degree rain. Maybe sealing the engine away from the elements, and running a "radiator" (uhhh... is there an antonym for radiate?) system to pick up external heat might do the trick. Then regulate the motor operating temperature cold enough to be controllable in cold weather. You'd need to do something similar for the "fuel" lines and compressed air storage, or they'd ice up inches thick with road spray as the pressure dropped, and lose pressure as the remaining "fuel" lost volume with the pressure drop. Maybe hook them up to the same coolant (warmant?) supply as the motor; adding a little environmental heat to the entire air supply might actually provide enough energy to offset the cost of pumping that warmant around. But how to keep the "radiator" from freezing every speck of moisture that touches it?
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Old 03-18-07, 07:01 PM   #11
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Don't worry. Radiator is a word. Cars have them already.
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Old 03-18-07, 09:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot
Don't worry. Radiator is a word. Cars have them already.
I think the word pre-existed the internal combustion engine, many buildings from before the automobile, remember those big cast iron hot water and steam radiators.
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Old 03-19-07, 12:33 AM   #13
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The majority of the US population now lives in places where hot weather is the principle challenge.
Where cooling the home is more important than heating it.
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Old 03-19-07, 02:06 AM   #14
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I wonder what would happen to one of these cars and their hydrogen tanks in the event of a major crash where the tank was ruptured?
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Old 03-19-07, 03:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deputyjones
I wonder what would happen to one of these cars and their hydrogen tanks in the event of a major crash where the tank was ruptured?
DJ,
If you are talking about the same car we are...nothing...the tanks contain compressed air...non flammable And the tanks are rated pressure vessels. As far as the hydrogen powered cars, I think getting the infrastructure in place to safely handle the compressed or liquid H is going to be the major issue, not to mention the volatility of it.

The air powered car has my vote as currently the most interesting proposal for an alternative fuel to date. I have seen air powered tools in the Amish country before, biggest problem being that they can generate HP and speed but no torque. I signed up for the email list, hopefully something will come of this and it won't get quashed.

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Old 03-19-07, 10:30 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
I wonder what would happen to one of these cars and their hydrogen tanks in the event of a major crash where the tank was ruptured?
Actually, it's been tested and it's safer than a regular gas car when outside. When the tank is punctured, the hydrigen disperses so quickly that it cannot be lit - so it's much less flammable than gas tanks. (It's in an enclosed space that the danger exists as the super fast dispersal with no where to go can create the explosive pressure, but I don't know if they've yet defined how tight an enclosed space would have to be)
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Old 03-19-07, 03:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnhoJ
Air conditioning wouldn't be a problem!
and running a "radiator" (uhhh... is there an antonym for radiate?) system to pick up external heat might do the trick.....
The antonym for "radiator" is "condenser".

"Heat Exchanger" is the term I think you were looking for.

I hope I have my air conditioner terminology correct.
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Old 03-19-07, 06:52 PM   #18
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The obvious problem with any use of hydrogen as a fuel source is where do you get it? It's not like there are underground deposits of hydrogen.
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Old 03-19-07, 07:23 PM   #19
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The obvious problem with any use of hydrogen as a fuel source is where do you get it? It's not like there are underground deposits of hydrogen.
Definitely a problem. I heard, though, that areas of the USA plains can produce electricity more cheaply from wind than from fossil fuels, but the trouble is that if you transported it via wires to population centers on the east and west coasts, most of the energy would be lost. There is also the problem that a lot of electricity goes unused because most electric plants can't be shut down at night and restarted when demand goes up during daytime. If hydrogen-as-fuel becomes practical, some electric companies will probably find a way to use up any excess night-time electricity turning water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
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Old 03-19-07, 09:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donrhummy
Actually, it's been tested and it's safer than a regular gas car when outside. When the tank is punctured, the hydrigen disperses so quickly that it cannot be lit - so it's much less flammable than gas tanks. (It's in an enclosed space that the danger exists as the super fast dispersal with no where to go can create the explosive pressure, but I don't know if they've yet defined how tight an enclosed space would have to be)
Hmmm, interesting. Good to know, thanks.
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Old 03-19-07, 09:48 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by cerewa
Definitely a problem. I heard, though, that areas of the USA plains can produce electricity more cheaply from wind than from fossil fuels, but the trouble is that if you transported it via wires to population centers on the east and west coasts, most of the energy would be lost. There is also the problem that a lot of electricity goes unused because most electric plants can't be shut down at night and restarted when demand goes up during daytime. If hydrogen-as-fuel becomes practical, some electric companies will probably find a way to use up any excess night-time electricity turning water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
Load leveling can often be done cheaper and easier using a flow battery flow batteries can be built on a massive scale, Wiki flow battery for the concept behind it. When power use is relatively low, you pump power into the battery, when use is high, you pump power out. The technology has been around for a quarter century at least, realistically, you might even be able to pump the electrolyte into a truck or rail car, and ship it a long distance to another battery using the same technology, pump the electrolyte out, into the second battery, where it could be used.
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Old 03-21-07, 01:36 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca
Load leveling can often be done cheaper and easier using a flow battery flow batteries can be built on a massive scale, Wiki flow battery for the concept behind it. When power use is relatively low, you pump power into the battery, when use is high, you pump power out. The technology has been around for a quarter century at least, realistically, you might even be able to pump the electrolyte into a truck or rail car, and ship it a long distance to another battery using the same technology, pump the electrolyte out, into the second battery, where it could be used.
Not sure you'd be saving a lot of energy if you did that. Those flow batteries must be pretty heavy?
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