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Author Topic: Renewable Hydrogen Power  (Read 79 times)

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AGelbert

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Renewable Hydrogen Power
« on: June 17, 2016, 03:08:14 pm »
Scientists using sunlight, water to produce renewable hydrogen power

June 16, 2016

Scientists using sunlight, water to produce renewable hydrogen power

UI researchers have developed a small solar-powered electrochemical device that can help make energy using sunlight and water. Credit: Syed Mubeen.

University of Iowa researchers are working with a California-based startup company to make clean energy from sunlight and any source of water.

The university recently renewed a one-year research agreement to further develop the technology with HyperSolar, a company that aims to commercialize low-cost renewable hydrogen.

Hydrogen power is arguably one of the cleanest and greenest energy sources because when it produces energy, the final byproduct is water instead of carbon emissions. Hydrogen power also can be stored in a fuel cell, making it more reliable than traditional solar cells or solar panels, which need regular sunlight to remain "on."

HyperSolar's lead scientist, Syed Mubeen, a chemical engineering professor at the UI, says although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, the amount of pure hydrogen in the Earth's atmosphere is very low (about 0.00005 percent), so it must be produced artificially.

Currently, most hydrogen power is made from fossil fuels  in a chemical process called steam reforming, which emits carbon dioxide.
Even though the end product is hydrogen, its inputs make it much less environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Hydrogen also can be made using electrolysis, which requires electricity and highly purified water to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Although this is a sustainable process (assuming the electricity is produced from a renewable energy source), the cost of materials associated with the system are expensive—a major barrier to the affordable production of renewable hydrogen.

"Developing clean energy systems is a goal worldwide," Mubeen says. "Currently, we understand how clean energy systems such as solar cells, wind turbines, et cetera, work at a high level of sophistication. The real challenge going forward is to develop inexpensive clean energy systems that can be cost competitive to fossil fuel systems and be adopted globally and not just in the developed countries."

With HyperSolar, Mubeen and his team at the UI's Optical Science and Technology Center are developing a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to manufacture hydrogen by drawing inspiration from plants. So far, the researchers have created a small solar-powered electrochemical device that can be placed in any type of water, including seawater and wastewater. When sunlight shines through the water and hits the solar device, the photon energy in sunlight takes the water (a lower energy state) and converts it to hydrogen (a higher energy state), where it can be stored like a battery. The energy is harvested when the hydrogen is converted back into its lower energy state: water. This is similar to what plants do using photosynthesis, during which plants use photons from the sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates—some of which are stored in fruits and roots for later use.

Mubeen says his team is currently working to lower costs even further and to make their process more robust so it can be produced on a mass scale. That way, it eventually could be used as renewable electricity or to power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

"Although H2 can be used in many forms, the immediate possibility of this renewable H2 would be for use in fuel cells to generate electricity or react with CO2 to form liquid fuels like methanol for the transportation sector," he says. "If one could develop these systems at costs competitive  ;) to fossil fuel systems , then it would be a home run."

Explore further: Research sets new record for generation of fuels from sunlight

Provided by: University of Iowa search and more info website

http://phys.org/news/2016-06-scientists-sunlight-renewable-hydrogen-power.html#jCp

Agelbert NOTE: Did you read that bit about how most hydrogen is made from fossil fuels with steam forming? Here is something you should know about steam forming, from an ERoEi standpoint:

Quote
Hydrogen can also be extracted from hydrocarbons by reforming. This chemical process is, in principle, an energy transfer process. The HHV energy contained in the original substance can be transferred to the HHV energy of hydrogen.

Theoretically  ;D
, no external energy is needed to convert a hydrogen-rich energy carrier like methane (CH4) or methanol (CH3OH) into hydrogen by autothermal steam reforming.

But in reality  ;D, thermal losses cannot be avoided and the HHV energy content of the original hydrocarbon fuel always exceeds the HHV energy contained in the generated hydrogen.

The efficiency of hydrogen production by reforming is about 90%. Consequently, more CO2 is released by this "detour" process than by direct use of the hydrocarbon precursors. But no obvious advantages can be derived with respect to well-to-wheel efficiency and overall CO2 emissions.
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/hyd_economy_bossel_eliasson.pdf

The only reason electrolysis, a truly clean way to generate Hydrogen, is more expensive than steam forming, is because of fossil fuel subsidies, NOT because of Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) thermodynamics.

If the fossil fuel direct and indirect subsidies were eliminated (even excluding the pollution costs), fossil fuel systems would not be cost competitive with ANY Renewable Energy system.

Hydrogen power just needs the subsidy push that the fossil fuel industry has always used to make its products be artificially cost competitive with Renewable Energy technologies and products, such as Ethanol from biomass.

In addition to Hydrogen production, the fossil fuel industry also produces about 5% of the world's ethanol. This ethanol takes far more energy to produce than biomass ethanol. But once again, the unwarranted subsidies of the fossil fuel industry enable it to produce a "cost competitive" ethanol, unjustified from a thermodynamiics standpoint.

Biomass ethanol, unlike fossil fuel industry ethanol, is justified from a thermodynamics standpoint. Producing hydrogen or ethanol using fossil fuels is totally unjustified.

Subsidies for clean hydrogen production, like the photon mediated production portrayed in the above article or electrolysis and biomass based ethanol production are justified when all the energy and pollution costs are considered.   

Quote
Between 1968 and 2000, oil companies received subsidies of $149.6 billion, compared to ethanol’s paltry $116.6 million. The subsidies alcohol did receive have worked extremely well in bringing maturity to the industry. Farmer-owned cooperatives now produce the majority of alcohol fuel in the U.S. Farmer-owners pay themselves premium prices for their corn and then pay themselves a dividend on the alcohol profit.

The increased economic activity derived from alcohol fuel production has turned out to be crucial to the survival of noncorporate farmers, and the amounts of money they spend in their communities on goods and services and taxes for schools have been much higher in areas with an ethanol plant. Plus, between $3 and $6 in tax receipts are generated for every dollar of ethanol subsidy. The rate of return can be much higher in rural communities, where re-spending within the community produces a multiplier factor of up to 22 times for each alcohol fuel subsidy dollar.

http://www.permaculture.com/node/490

We need fossil fuels like a hole in our wallet.

 

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AGelbert

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Re: Renewable Hydrogen Power
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 07:42:16 pm »
clean hydrogen and rechargable zinc batteries       
June 17, 2016
Stanford researchers find new ways to make clean hydrogen and rechargable zinc batteries
Stanford engineers created arrays of silicon nanocones to trap sunlight and improve the performance of solar cells made of bismuth vanadate (1μm=1,000 nanometers). Credit: Wei Chen and Yongcai Qiu, Stanford

A Stanford University research lab has developed new technologies to tackle two of the world's biggest energy challenges - clean fuel for transportation and grid-scale energy storage.

The researchers described their findings in two studies published this month in the journals Science Advances and Nature Communications.


Hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen fuel has long been touted as a clean alternative to gasoline. Automakers began offering hydrogen-powered cars to American consumers last year, but only a handful have sold, mainly because hydrogen refueling stations are few and far between.

"Millions of cars could be powered by clean hydrogen fuel if it were cheap and widely available," said Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford.

Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, which emit carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen cars themselves are emissions free. Making hydrogen fuel, however, is not emission free: today, making most hydrogen fuel involves natural gas in a process that releases CO2 into the atmosphere. *

To address the problem, Cui and his colleagues have focused on photovoltaic water splitting. This emerging technology consists of a solar-powered electrode immersed in water. When sunlight hits the electrode, it generates an electric current that splits the water into its constituent parts, hydrogen and oxygen.

Finding an affordable way to produce clean hydrogen from water has been a challenge. Conventional solar electrodes made of silicon quickly corrode when exposed to oxygen, a key byproduct of water splitting. Several research teams have reduced corrosion by coating the silicon with iridium and other precious metals.

Writing in the June 17 edition of Science Advances, Cui and his colleagues presented a new approach using bismuth vanadate, an inexpensive compound that absorbs sunlight and generates modest amounts of electricity.

"Bismuth vanadate has been widely regarded as a promising material for photoelectrochemical water splitting, in part because of its low cost and high stability against corrosion," said Cui, an associate professor of photon science at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. "However, the performance of this material remains well below its theoretical solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency."

 
Bismuth vanadate absorbs light but is a poor conductor of electricity. To carry a current, a solar cell made of bismuth vanadate must be sliced very thin, 200 nanometers or less, making it virtually transparent. As a result, visible light that could be used to generate electricity simply passes through the cell.

To capture sunlight before it escapes, Cui's team turned to nanotechnology. The researchers created microscopic arrays containing thousands of silicon nanocones, each about 600 nanometers tall.

Left (a): A conventional zinc (Zn) battery short circuits when dendrites growing on the zinc anode make contact with the metal cathode. Right (b): Stanford scientists redesigned the battery using plastic and carbon insulators to prevent zinc dendrites from reaching the cathode. Credit: Shougo Higashi

"Nanocone structures have shown a promising light-trapping capability over a broad range of wavelengths," Cui explained. "Each cone is optimally shaped to capture sunlight that would otherwise pass through the thin solar cell."

In the experiment, Cui and his colleagues deposited the nanocone arrays on a thin film of bismuth vanadate. Both layers were then placed on a solar cell made of perovskite, another promising photovoltaic material.

When submerged, the three-layer tandem device immediately began splitting water at a solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 6.2 percent, already matching the theoretical maximum rate for a bismuth vanadate cell.

"The tandem solar cell continued generating hydrogen for more than 10 hours, an indication of good stability," said Cui, a principal investigator at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences. "Although the efficiency we demonstrated was only 6.2 percent, our tandem device has room for significant improvement in the future."

Rechargeable zinc battery

In a second study published in the June 6 edition of Nature Communications, Cui and Shougo Higashi, a visiting scientist from Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc., proposed a new battery design that could help solve the problem of grid-scale energy storage.

"Solar and wind farms should be able to provide around-the-clock energy for the electric grid, even when there's no sunlight or wind," Cui said. "That will require inexpensive batteries and other low-cost technologies big enough to store surplus clean energy for use on demand."

In the study, Cui, Higashi and their co-workers designed a novel battery with electrodes made of zinc and nickel, inexpensive metals with the potential for grid-scale storage.

A variety of zinc-metal batteries are available commercially, but few are rechargeable, because of tiny fibers called dendrites that form on the zinc electrode during charging. Theses dendrites can grow until they finally reach the nickel electrode, causing the battery to short circuit and fail.

The research team solved the dendrite problem by simply redesigning the battery. Instead of having the zinc and nickel electrodes face one another, as in a conventional battery, the researchers separated them with a plastic insulator and wrapped a carbon insulator around the edges of the zinc electrode.

"With our design, zinc ions are reduced and deposited on the exposed back surface of the zinc electrode during charging," said Higashi, lead author of the study. "Therefore, even if zinc dendrites form, they will grow away from the nickel electrode and will not short the battery."

To demonstrate stability, the researchers successfully charged and discharged the battery more than 800 times without shorting.

"Our design is very simple and could be applied to a wide range of metal batteries," Cui said.

Explore further: Researchers create a low-cost, long-lasting water splitter made of silicon and nickel
More information: Efficient solar-driven water splitting by nanocone BiVO4-perovskite tandem cells, Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501764
Journal reference: Science Advances search and more info website Nature Communications search and more info website
Provided by: Stanford University search and more info website


http://phys.org/news/2016-06-ways-hydrogen-rechargable-zinc-batteries.html

* This is known as Steam Forming and has a NEGATIVE ERoEI. It is stupid but fossil fuel industry subsidies make it "cost effective", just like the insanely stupid negative ERoEI activity of making about 5% of the world's Ethanol using fossil fuel feed stock. 

I applaud the new technology discussed in the above article.  But expect the fossil fuel industry to make their typical claim that "it's a great idea, but not ready for prime time  " as an excuse to continue to justify the polluting gasoline powered status quo as a "necessary" evil (when they aren't touting it as the savior of humanity, that is). 

The fact is that Hydrogen fuel for vehicles has been ready for prime time for over 50 YEARS.    Mormon farmers have been running their tractors on it for at least that long.

While it is true that storing hydrogen, AS A GAS, is tough and energy intensive, "storing" it as WATER, to be used when you need it for a few hours from a solar powered electrolyzer, is old hat, as long as the sun comes out that day. ;D

It's BULLSHIT to claim well insulated low temperature hydrogen fuel tanks could not have been mass produced and economically iincorporated into our vehicles by a country that pioneered the technology for ICBMS, hydrogen bombs and the space shuttle. 

And furthermore, if the nukers had allowed a certain isotope of hydrogen to be used to produce a hydride that could economically store hydrogen gas (at room temperature with zero leakage) in SCUBA tank like bottles in a vehicle, we could all be running hydrogen collected from a home solar powered electrolyzer in our cars. A catalytic agent releases the gas from the hydride gradually as needed to run your engine. And, by the way, your risk of explosion and fire with this system is far lower than with a gasoline tank.

It didn't happen because all those terrorists among us would run out and make hydrogen bombs from heavy water...  Fossil fuel industry fuel product profits from 42% PLUS of their refinery CRAP had, and has, nothing whatsoever to do with it.  LOL!
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AGelbert

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Re: Renewable Hydrogen Power
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2017, 01:22:34 pm »
 

Largest ‘artificial sun’ switched on in Germany to research hydrogen production

Tibi Puiu March 23, 2017

Synlight-German-Aerospace-Center-Institute-For-Solar-Research
Credit: DLR

This week, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute for Solar Research turned on the Synlight project, an array of 149 huge spotlights. Together, these spotlights converge on a single 20-by-20 centimeter (8×8 inch) spot onto which it projects 10,000 times the amount of solar radiation that would have normally shined on the surface. The researchers call it the largest ‘artificial sun’, though we shouldn’t confuse it with fusion energy projects which would be more deserving of the title.

A huge lightbulb   

The setup is comprised of xenon short-arc lamps, which you’d typically find in a modern cinema, arranged in a honeycomb structure in Juelich, just 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of Cologne. When the lights are turned on, an immense amount of power is concentrated on a small surface, just enough to heat it in excess of 3,000 degrees Celsius.

Unlike the sun, however, this project doesn’t create it energy. Rather, it eats it with a voracious appetite. Turning on the lights for four hours consumers as much electricity as a four-person household does in a whole year. It might help generate energy, though.

The goal of the project is to better understand solar radiation dynamics to find out how to maximally exploit solar energy. For instance, a setup similar to Synlight only comprised of mirrors could be used to generate renewable liquid hydrogen, a fuel which emits zero emissions when combusted. Right now, 99% of all man-made hydrogen is derived from fossil fuels through an energy and carbon intensive process called methane reforming.

Of course, hydrogen by itself is not without problems. Storing it can be a hassle because it’s the lightest and smallest molecule and just escapes most containers. It’s density is very small which can also be problematic. However, combining it with carbon monoxide results in eco-friendly kerosene for the aviation industry.


ALSO READ:  Record-breaking silicon solar cell efficiency of 26.6% demonstrated by Japanese researchers, very close to the theoretical limit  :o

Once scientists master hydrogen production with Synlight, they can scale the system tenfold — all powered by the sun, not electricity, this time.

The DLR labs are busy with other interesting projects. One of them involves creating artificial comets made of water, rock dust, and soot, all locked in a vacuum chamber that, of course, contains an artificial sun.

http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/artificial-sun-germany-0423423/
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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