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Science Forum

  1. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    09 Jul '08 23:52
    And what a bacteria it is! It can't even reproduce unless the temperature is about 80 degrees C! but it digests cellulose and burps pure hydrogen gas!
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707192643.htm
  2. 10 Jul '08 01:06
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    And what a bacteria it is! It can't even reproduce unless the temperature is about 80 degrees C! but it digests cellulose and burps pure hydrogen gas!
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707192643.htm
    Good article and the find could have great potential.

    It would be interesting to find out how much waste cellulose products we have from agricultural processes, then calculate how much hydrogen these little guys can make from it and how much energy it produces?
  3. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    10 Jul '08 02:15
    Originally posted by timebombted
    Good article and the find could have great potential.

    It would be interesting to find out how much waste cellulose products we have from agricultural processes, then calculate how much hydrogen these little guys can make from it and how much energy it produces?
    And how much energy it takes to create the environment where they can grow. Remember, that is close to the boiling point of water so energy has to go into the system. On the plus side, they mentioned there would be no contamination from other bacteria, since it is an extremophile and any contamination would be killed by the heat. There is also another project making green diesel from algae, literally green, but there the algae grows in vats in direct sunlight, I think this bacteria does not need sunlight so can be concentrated in a big pool. It might be like a higher temperature version of the methane from manure ventures. The green diesel makers claim 15,000 gallons per year per acre of algae vats. So 15 million gallons per 1000 acres, or 357 thousand barrels of oil per year per thousand acres, one million acres would make 357 million barrels of oil per year or about one million barrels per day, what's that, ten % of our usage of oil? If so, then ten million acres would free us from all fossil fuels. That would be an area 125 miles by 125 miles totally covered in vats. It's doable but sounds environmentally unsound in the long run. But for instance, in Arizona, there are ten times that many chunks of desert south of Phoenix. I know, I used to drive a beat fixing traffic lights in the 1980 time frame, south of Tuscon to the Mexican border every day, plenty of not much but scrub brush out there and of course plenty of sunlight!
  4. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Do ya think?
    10 Jul '08 05:57
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    And how much energy it takes to create the environment where they can grow. Remember, that is close to the boiling point of water so energy has to go into the system. On the plus side, they mentioned there would be no contamination from other bacteria, since it is an extremophile and any contamination would be killed by the heat. There is also another proje ...[text shortened]... rder every day, plenty of not much but scrub brush out there and of course plenty of sunlight!
    Wow, neeto!
  5. 10 Jul '08 06:04
    To make it in industrial scale, it have to yield a revenue. Is this really cheaper than producing hydrogene in the usual manner? I don't thin so, but I might be wrong.
  6. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Do ya think?
    10 Jul '08 07:40
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    To make it in industrial scale, it have to yield a revenue. Is this really cheaper than producing hydrogene in the usual manner? I don't thin so, but I might be wrong.
    What's "the usual manner"? Electrolysis of water?
  7. 10 Jul '08 12:00
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    To make it in industrial scale, it have to yield a revenue. Is this really cheaper than producing hydrogene in the usual manner? I don't thin so, but I might be wrong.
    All you need is a place where you already have high temperatures, and a supply of waste cellulose. I predict several whisky distilleries switching their delivery vans to hydrogen engines.

    Richard
  8. 10 Jul '08 12:44
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    What's "the usual manner"? Electrolysis of water?
    I don't know, perhaps...?
    When I buy hydrogene I never ask.

    (Did I use the wrong word here? I meant conventional methods...)
  9. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    10 Jul '08 12:50
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    And what a bacteria it is! It can't even reproduce unless the temperature is about 80 degrees C! but it digests cellulose and burps pure hydrogen gas!
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707192643.htm
    Fascinating stuff, sonhouse. Thanks.
  10. Standard member forkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    10 Jul '08 15:03
    One of my professors at University told me last year he discovered an aluminum alloy that reacted with water to produce hydrogen.

    From the date on this article, it looks like it wasn't until a few months later that he actually published his material, but I think this method is a lot more realistic in terms of commericially producing hyrdogen fuels:

    http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2007a/070515WoodallHydrogen.html
  11. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Do ya think?
    10 Jul '08 18:42
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    I don't know, perhaps...?
    When I buy hydrogene I never ask.

    (Did I use the wrong word here? I meant conventional methods...)
    Much current hydrogen is made from fossil fuels, so we need alternatives.
  12. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    10 Jul '08 21:09 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by forkedknight
    One of my professors at University told me last year he discovered an aluminum alloy that reacted with water to produce hydrogen.

    From the date on this article, it looks like it wasn't until a few months later that he actually published his material, but I think this method is a lot more realistic in terms of commericially producing hyrdogen fuels:

    http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2007a/070515WoodallHydrogen.html
    I read that article when it came out, nice idea but...
    Did you ever look into how much energy it takes to make aluminum?
    Giant electric arc furnaces consuming megawatts to make aluminum, don't know the exact figure but if you take that energy requirement into account, I will have less energy going into the car's engine than what it took to make the aluminum in the first place. The whole point of the bacterial technique is you just heat up a vat to about 80 degrees C and let nature take its course, a lot less energy intensive than the thousands of degrees required for the production of aluminum or the inefficient production techniques now based on some form of electrolysis. When I was in HS, freshman science course, we did electrolysis but showed that although we certainly got H2 and O2, the process took 100 watts of electricity to get 3 watts worth of H2, and that process I think has been improved 10 fold with recent solar interactions with the electrolysis and so forth but that still means 100 watts of electricity giving you 30 watts of H2, which can work but you have to have some external source of energy, solar, wind, nuclear, and avoiding the use of fossil fuels which is the whole point of using H2 in the first place. If you have to use a coal fired plant to generate enough energy to make H2, you haven't gained anything overall in the battle for climate control which is the whole point of using H2 in the first place.
  13. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Do ya think?
    10 Jul '08 21:26
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I read that article when it came out, nice idea but...
    Did you ever look into how much energy it takes to make aluminum?
    Giant electric arc furnaces consuming megawatts to make aluminum, don't know the exact figure but if you take that energy requirement into account, I will have less energy going into the car's engine than what it took to make the alumin ...[text shortened]... ll in the battle for climate control which is the whole point of using H2 in the first place.
    Well, you have gained in the battle to not use foreign oil.
  14. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    10 Jul '08 22:00
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Well, you have gained in the battle to not use foreign oil.
    You have a point there. The middle east should go back to the 10th century where it properly belongs
    Still, you don't get much climate wise to use coal to make aluminum to make H2. I think you could even use solar energy for the production of bacterial H2, needing only 80 degrees C, that is not a big stretch for solar energy, representing a concentration of less than ten to one, like ten square feet of solar collectors focused down to one square foot of vat, maybe even less, like 4 to 1 or 3 to 1. Any way you look at it, the energy input requirements are majorly less than making aluminum.
  15. Standard member forkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    11 Jul '08 01:33
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    You have a point there. The middle east should go back to the 10th century where it properly belongs
    Still, you don't get much climate wise to use coal to make aluminum to make H2. I think you could even use solar energy for the production of bacterial H2, needing only 80 degrees C, that is not a big stretch for solar energy, representing a concentration ...[text shortened]... 1. Any way you look at it, the energy input requirements are majorly less than making aluminum.
    The point is also not to get more energy out than you put in; that's impossible. The point is to transport and store energy in a usable manner. If you have H2 farms with bacteria:

    1) How much bacteria can you fit in an acre?
    2) How do you heat it?
    3) How do you grow/transport the cellulose?
    4) How do you transport and store the final H2 product?

    #4 is the issue solved by the Al/Ga alloy.

    The thing about fossil fuels right now is that the Billions and Billions of Megawatts of energy it took to create those fuels had already been expended millions of years ago; we're still not getting out more than we put in -- it just happens to be in a usable, transportable form.

    I think the benefit of the Al/Ga idea is that it could be mass produced easily. As stated in the article, it could be done on site at a dedicated nuclear power plant.

    The downside with a lot of those "oh look, we get hydrogen naturally and for free" concepts lies in scalability -- it'd work great for a few hundred or thousand vehicles, but to supply the entire world/continent/country is simply not feasable.