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Boeing’s hydrogen-powered Drone

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Once operational, the Phantom Eye, boasting a wingspan of 150 feet (46 m), will reach altitudes of up to 65,000 feet and carry payloads weighing up to 450 pounds (204 kg). Its liquid-hydrogen propulsion system, whose only byproduct is water, is designed to allow the aircraft to stay aloft for up to four days.

 

 

Another interesting fact  is shown by the graph below, it again shows the great potential of hydrogen!

Energy_density

Source: http://www.gizmag.com/boeing-phantom-eye-taxi-testing/26157/

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The zero energy solution

I found this article about a solution when excess solar energy is used to create hydrogen gas.
A schedule to show the working principle:

A SOLAR-HYDROGEN SYSTEM.
A barn-size array of solar panels collects energy from the sun and converts it to electricity. An electrolyzer runs any excess electricity through water to produce hydrogen gas, which can then be stored for later use. The gas can fuel an experimental hydrogen car. Or it can be converted back to electricity whenever extra power is needed to light or heat the family home.

I believe there are possibilities with techologies like this one. Do you guys agree?

You can read the entire article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/magazine/20solar-t.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&

 

Biological Hydrogen Production

New technology from researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University greatly improves the efficiency with which hydrogen can be produced in one type of microbe — potentially bringing biological production of this clean fuel source one step closer to economic feasibility. Their discovery, the findings for which appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, resulted in a 500-fold increase in the amount of hydrogen produced in the bacterium used in this research.

For more than a decade, hydrogen has been touted as a clean alternative to fossil fuels because it releases a significant amount of energy relative to its weight and also produces nothing but water when it burns. It can also be produced cleanly, using biological methods, such as photosynthesis. However, the high costs incurred in production have proved too big an obstacle to allow for its wide-spread use.

BioHydGen

In this cross-section illustration of a cyanobacteria, incoming sunlight is captured and used to generate a cellular electron pool that researchers were able to tap to produce hydrogen.

Silver’s team, which included Wyss Institute postdoctoral fellow, Daniel Ducat, and Gairik Sachdeva of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has made headway toward one such gain. They focused their attention on one possible — yet problematic — biological production method involving an enzyme known as hydrogenase.

Certain types of hydrogenase can produce a constant flow of hydrogen using only sunlight and water, but most cannot. The difference lies in the particular enzyme’s ability to tolerate oxygen. Most variations are so intolerant of oxygen that its presence will shut down hydrogen production process within a matter of minutes. Yet, creating a way to keep oxygen from entering the production environment would be both costly and impractical — issues that have effectively kept this method off the table.

The researchers developed a technology that could serve as a platform from which to engineer oxygen-tolerant enzymes. Their approach could help lead the way to a cost-effective process for producing significant amounts of hydrogen.

I think that it is great technology, although I am not sure if this technology can provide us with a high and steady flow of hydrogen. What do you think?

Source: http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpage/238/

Liquid Hydrogen: the Fuel of Choice for Space Exploration

Despite criticism and early technical failures, the taming of liquid hydrogen proved to be one of NASA’s most significant technical accomplishments. Hydrogen is a light and extremely powerful rocket propellant, has the lowest molecular weight of any known substance and burns with extreme intensity (5,500°F). In combination with an oxidizer such as liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen yields the highest specific impulse, or efficiency in relation to the amount of propellant consumed, of any known rocket propellant. 

 

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Dispite the fact that it is a very good rocket propellant, it is known that the storage of liquid hydrogen is very dangerous. 

Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/hydrogen/hydrogen_fuel_of_choice.html

Safe storage of hydrogen gas

We have been discussing the dangers of hydrogen gas and everyone realizes that a safe storage is necessary.
The safe storage of the hydrogen gas is indeed a bottleneck in the evolution of the hydrogen powered car.
Therefore a lot of research is done to create a solution.
There has been a multi-year project done by Batelle. (Battelle has for decades served as an integral resource for developing safety test methods for new vehicle technology.)

In their report, they make the following statements

In the tests that we’ve performed—and this is crash tests of some mockup hydrogen vehicles as well as crash tests of actual hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—in all cases the container, the tank and the fuel system remained leak tight. This was despite impacts to the tank itself, in crashes rear and side up to 40 mph. So this was impacts to the fuel tank region. The tanks were well protected—the vehicle provides substantial protection. Then, the tanks, being high pressure tanks, are extremely robust in a crash scenario. In addition, there is plumbing and the fittings that convey the gas. Those were deformed substantially. They are very ductile and can accommodate the deformation that occurs in a crash without leakage.

—Dr. Denny Stephens

Battelle test results suggest that, with appropriate safety testing, hydrogen vehicles can be as safe as conventional vehicles on the road today.
Would you consider buying a hydrogen car when it is as safe as a conventional vehicle?
I would.

Hydrogen used in fuel cells for submarines

As some of you probably now, we have been on a study trip to Copenhagen.
During one of our company visits we were introduced in the world of submarines.
During this company visit they told us they used fuel cells working on hydrogen gas in order to double their range.

Since these fuel  cells came very close to our thesis subject it was very interesting to see.
I wanted to share this with you because it is yet another use of the hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen Bomb

H-Bomb

A hydrogen bomb is, by far, the most destructive weapon that mankind has ever invented. It is the most powerful type of nuclear bomb, in some cases reaching more than 2,000 times the yield of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Unlike the first “atom bombs” — also known as A-bombs — which release energy by fission, or breaking apart, of heavy atomic nuclei like uranium and plutonium, a hydrogen bomb releases energy by fusing together light nuclei like tritium or deuterium, converting even more matter into energy.

 

 

Working principle:

Nuclear fusion involves creating heavier elements out of lighter ones by joining atomic nuclei together. In the Sun, this mostly takes the form of fusing hydrogen nuclei to form helium. A fusion reaction is very difficult to start because nuclei are positively charged, and therefore strongly repel one another through the powerful electromagnetic force.

The nuclei of elements heavier than hydrogen are held together by the strong nuclear force, which, at this scale, is much stronger than the electromagnetic. The strong force, however, is only significant over extremely short distances, of around the size of an atomic nucleus.

 

What are your visions on nuclear warfare?

 

Read more: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-hydrogen-bomb.htm