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Alain
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These will be needed to upscale 3rd generation biofuels and chemicals production and future food production. Immagine when all animal feed en fish feed could be produced locally by bacteria fed with H2 and CO2: the only input is water, air, electricity, and a very small amount of minerals (extracted from seawater).
That's great. But they can start with "mining" the megatons of existing coal ash first. When that is done within a few decades, we can have a next look
Very nice. But it would even be better if Mg was still produced from seawater (MgCO3) as used to be the case untill a few decaded ago...
I doubt that it would be very expensive. Since mass-produced standardized H2-containers are used, it could be quite cheap, and it permits to produce the H2 locally when electricity is cheap and abundant and sell the H2 when the cardrivers want to. It even permits producing electricity and selling back to the grid at peak-hours (if the electrolyser also operates as fuelcell). Any H2 filling station of the future will have to have a buffer in order to be able to quickly fill the cars, but make H2 continuously (or even preferably at cheap electricity hours). With electric cars, there is hardly any possibility to buffer, except by stockpiling huge battery packs. H2 certainly has this "volumetric" disadvantage compared to liquid fuel, but if the containers can be made cheap enough, the convenience of local H2 production may be greater than this disadvantage. The filling stations will have to do the math, but at least now there is an option. The only alternative is huge electrolysers, which will most probably be much more expensive. Because these are fibre-reinforced polyamides, it should in principle permit very economical mass production.
@E-P, this is for storage, not particularly for transport. An advantage of H2 is that it can be cheaply produced locally using electricity and water. But production is relatively slow and continuous, or during off-peak periods, while H2 filling of vehicles or H2 consumption is at other moments. You should compare it with battery packs: they are made for storing electricity, not for transporting electricity. This is a great solution: mass production of standardizef H2-containers will make them very cheap. Assembling a bunch of these in a large (also standardized) assemblage is a very economical solution for buffering H2-production in H2-stations.
Nitric acid an sulfuric acid is bad for health. When it reacts with ammonia, it forms ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate, which is also bad for health (although already less) But ammonia is not at all toxic at low concentration. Our body makes ammonia and we exhale some. Healthy peaple exhale about 700 ppbv ! As such, NH3 is of no concern. CO2, acids and sooth are what should be focussed on
Correct, but electric cars are mostly charged at home. Many ecar users almost never use public charging points.
Impressive results. I suppose wood chips or any other organic waste can be mixed in the sludge for conversion. And phosphorus comes out as a solid !!! Phosphorus mines are running empty worldwide. If seewheet is beïng converted, phosphorus out of seawater can be converted to solid: renewable phosphorus. (Together with renewable crude) I hope they upscale realy fast
The most difficult part was converting cellulosic biomass to sugar monomers. The subsequent conversion to ethanol is old stuff. Once the biomass is converted to sugar, many other green products can be made: it can be "fed" to micro-organisms to produce other stuff (like renewable styrene, butene, butanol, proteins) or directly fed to cows, pigs,... turning cellulosic (waste) biomass into proteins vastly increases the food production of agriculatural land also. So, even if liquid fuels become obsolete, this is important progress.
H2 tanks and fuelcells can do it. The Mirai fuelcell already delivers 114 kW (2kW/litre), which is very feasible for planes. H2 is the ideal range extender for planes. Volume is hardly an issue, only weight is. You can take large wings and fill them with H2.
As distributed renewable H2 production will become convenient and cheap owing to H2 fuel cell cars, biological means to combine H2 and CO2 to biomass opens fantastic possibilities. Proteins, complex chemicals, polymers, ... can be made out of water and air. All the materials and food we want to consume only comprise a fraction of the energy we currently need for fuel, heating and electricity. Once our "conventional" energy can be produced green, we can can also produce all the chemicals, polymers, proteins, starches and lipids by virtue of this biotech. And meanwhile the H2 production stabilizes the electricity grid. Importantly, these biochemical catalists don't need rare resources, don't produce any wast, are fully recyclable, and can be upscaled very fast. Compare that with conventional catalyst! Also, because the "food" for the organisms is sterile gases, it's much easier to prevent contamination of the bioreactor. Great step forward.
Obviously, and we want them with a full-electric range of 1000 miles, and cheaper than the cars of today, and combined with solar cells with a 40%-efficiency, at 0.1 $/watt. While this will somewhere in the near future be the case, meanwhile, small advances can save us a lot of troubles already.
I doubt that a significant amount of H2 can be produced from a large amount of (toxic and expensive) radicalized chemicals. Every chemical advancement has its intrinsic value, but I am quite confident that cheap photovoltaics combined with a cheap (soon without noble metals) electrolyzer will be much more efficient and convenient. Transporting electrons from the photovoltaics to the electrolyzer will always be easier than pumping radicalized chemicals. In addition, the efficience of the electrolyzer depends largely on the needed overpotential for the redox reactions (that's why Pt is so popular). Voltage convertors can easily optimise the current/voltage for maximal efficiency. Trying something equal with radicalised chemicals will be quite a challenge. Also the flexibility of a photovoltaics/electrolyzer combination is key: use the electricity when you need electricity, or when there are batteries to charge. Use the excess electricity to produce H2 when no electricity is needed. The electrolyzer can also use excess wind or nuclear electricity.
A remark on the "compact" pilot plant : to make 1kg of gazoline, you need about 0.84 kg of carbon. This is made from CO2, thus you need 3.1 kg of CO2 (because CO2 is 27% carbon, and 73% Oxygen) Because CO2 in the air is at 400 ppm at this moment, you need about 7750 kg of air. At a density of 1.225 kg/m3, this amounts to about 6900 m3 of air. Even with a 100% extraction rate, that's a lot of air to be swept just to extract the carbon for 1kg of gazoline. It can be done, but it won't be "compact" I guess.
For now, hydro is a very efficient way to store electricity. But how long will it take before different kinds of batteries, or H2 will be very good alternatives? Certainly less than 20 years. By then, enormous largely irreversible ecologic dammage will be done to the environment. Hydro disrupts complete ecosystems and releases large amounts of methane the first years, offsetting any advantage over fossil fuels the first years. I'd prefer more investments in batteries/H2.
Once H2 and consequently synthetic aviation fuel can abondantly made from solar and wind, there is no problem with airplanes. So lets see what will happen. I surely like hyperloops but airplanes will not disappear in the next several decades. Trying to predict more than 40 years in the future is futile.
They should rather invest in negative emission tech. That's the only way forward. They have a lot of the technology almost available. Turning biomass into complex (=high value) chemicals and CO2 and sequester the CO2. Or many other carbon-negative ventures. This will probably become big business once we realise the tipping point has been crossed and the "war on climate change" becomes a global national security issue with corresponding budgets. Maybe that's the purpose they are already pursuing, but first they have to make sure we cross the tipping point in order to safeguard their new business.
Germanium in the blue layer... Will be expensive...
Even today already 1000ds of tons of H2 are used to upgrade crude to fuel, to produce NH3 for fertilizers, for production of chemicals, in the food industry,... Simply producing this H2 from excess renewables instead of fossils would be great. Simply replacing this fossil H2 could absorb a lot of excess electricity and save many megatons of CO2. Future applications are a bonus.
The wax can be pumped, but the left-over carbon is probably pure carbon powder at best. Which can not be pumped. Though, there will be a lot of "intermediate" dehydrated leftovers, which are sticky, toxic, and not easy to handle. In addition, also volatile carbohydrates are formed that may poison the FC or escape to the atmosphere. Though I love the idea of storing renewable electricity in wax, which can be stored for years, and is nontoxic, I doubt this will work for fuelcell vehicles within a reasonable time. I see a lot of applications, but for cars I bet on batteries and compressed H2.
Let's look at the forecasts of 2006 and see how accurate they were...
I wonder whether this yeast could also be used in beer production. If straw or wood can be added to the brew, beer production could also drastically lower its footprint. It may yield interesting new flavors.
If the vegetable oil is made by algae in the desert, or bij bacteria from renewable H2, it is probably systainable. If the vegetable oil is from conventional agriculture, it will be an ecological disaster.
I fear recycling of the pebbles will be very hard, and a lot of radioactive carbon and other stuff will result. while encapsulation in carbon will make the pebbles very safe compared to conventional nuclear waste, it still remains a huge pile that remains radioactive for millenia, and reusing it will be quite hard because now you don't only have the waste actinides (that could be recycled in next-gen reactors), but also the other surrounding materials made radioactive. By 2030, I think solar and wind, and from this H2 and synthetic hydrocarbons, will be so cheap that these reactors won't compete economically as bulk energy source. However, they may be useful for niche applications (large ships or colonies on antarctica for instance), so I support their further research.