Superbattery: The Next Great Triumph of Engineering

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relevance of highway mileage
Dave   1/16/2012 12:36:18 PM
  I had to chuckle once again at the comparison of the Volt's highway mileage during a cross-country trek to that of an old Honda. Really, who cares about highway mileage these days? Population density is highest at each end of the country and that's where the jobs are. For the average working stiff who lives on either coast, citymileage is of utmost importance and that's where hybrids and electric vehicles embarass cars of old. Let's see an old Honda Civic get 50 MPG in high-traffic conditions!

 The other thing that bothers me is any comparison of diesel vehicles to hybrids without mention of the large fuel cost differences between diesel and regular gas. It can be as high as $.50/gallon here in CA.



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Re: Redistribution of Energy Production
RadioGuy   1/16/2012 12:45:34 PM
WW says:

  "Uranium: 20,000,000 MJ/kg
   Hydrogen: 142 MJ/kg
   Methane: 56 MJ/kg
   Propane: 50 MJ/kg
   Butane: 49 MJ/kg
   Gasoline: 46 MJ/kg

   From an Energy Storage argument, it appears we should be shoveling funds
   into a "hydrogen economy", if we wish to maximize energy storage efficiency."

The problem with that hydrogen tank is that hydrogen is so light weight that the tank needs to be either very large or kept at enormous pressure (700 atmospheres is a figure that comes to mind). In either case, that tank ends up being a pretty large and heavy metal structure. Once you adjust the numbers to include the weight of the tank along with the wieight of the fuel, the numbers look quite different.


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Superbattery Development & Manufacture
ecolamp   1/16/2012 12:56:24 PM
It's clear to me that we need to apply the engineering and scientific talent we already have to come up with a "SuperBattery" regardless of the preceived current efficiency of the total system.

After we solve the basic problem of a light weight energy storage device then we can address the primary source of power........maybe it has to be Nuclear ! maybe solar...We can figure that out later...

The main impediment to getting rid of the internal combustion engine and the importation of oil ......is the lack of an Energy Storage Device

We must have a "SuperBattery"

and we must work on it's development and manufacture Now !!!

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No news here
pkoning   1/16/2012 12:59:35 PM
I don't get it.  I could have done this 11 years ago with my Honda Insight.  Anyone who owns a Prius can do this.

Remember, in spite of the blindness of the press and the successful marketing snowjob from GM, a Volt is just a hybrid.  It has the same limitations as a hybrid (uses gasoline, has a complex power train) and the same benefits (doesn't depend on finding places to plug in).

If someone did a cross-country drive in a Leaf or a Tesla, THAT would be news.  Doing it in a Volt doesn't prove anything other than that GM has better marketing people than DN has journalists.

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Re: Redistribution of Energy Production
Technophile   1/16/2012 1:14:11 PM
Let's keep in mind the other big issue with hydrogen that seems often forgotten in the media hype:  it's not an energy source, it's an energy storage material.  There aren't any hydrogen mines.  Hydrogen is not a primary source of energy.  We still need to mine uranium, coal, etc. or build solar collectors or hydroelectric dams to come up with the energy needed to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which is later burned in the car engine (or used in the fuel cell) to release that stored energy, at less than 100% efficiency.  Then we must use more energy to compress the hydrogen into tanks, much of which is lost as waste heat.   Look at an air compressor in the hardware store; there's a reason they have fans blowing air over cooling fins!  Hopefully some of that loss will be recoverable.


Staber Dearth
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Re: Redistribution of Energy Production
Staber Dearth   1/16/2012 1:39:03 PM
Also, metal hydride storage has not advanced appreciably to extract the tied up hydrogen quickly enough for it to be viable for most applications.

Also, hydrogen is typically gotten by steam methane reformation (SMR) which use hydrocarbon as the feedstock (lot's of CO2).  Unless we are diasociating water via electrolysis to get H2 and using renewable energy inputs to do it, we are merely squeezing the closed system part of the balloon on our planet.

We've got far too many technically challenged but heavy on the tree hugging ignorance amongst us, a lot of them gullible and shallow politicians.

I once told a disagreeing poster to do the material and energy balance to prove a point about an energy process and he accused me of muddying up the discussion.   Absolutely amazing...

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Re: Triumphs of engineering
BRDD-Man   1/16/2012 1:45:23 PM
Excellently written!  Thanks

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Re: Redistribution of Energy Production
przemek   1/16/2012 1:48:15 PM
Hydrogen storage has some interesting possibilities: some metal/ceramic compounds can be saturated with hydrogen at densities larger than liquid hydrogen--very counterintuitive, but true. They are inherently safe, too---the extraction rate is slow enough so that there is no 'gigantic fireball' if the tank is compromised.

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Re: relevance of highway mileage
przemek   1/16/2012 1:51:42 PM
Diesel fuel has larger energy content, and is slightly more expensive---the $/J is approximately the same. In Europe, diesel is subsidized (or, rather, the regular gas is taxed even more per Joule) so the prices are similar, I think.

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Re: Triumphs of engineering
przemek   1/16/2012 2:00:36 PM
D, Sherman wrote "The history of engineering shows that the longer people have been trying unsuccessfully to solve a given problem, the less likely it is that a solution exists." I don't think this is a reasonable conclusion. For instance, steam power machines date back to Heron of Alexandria, but the precision machining required for a working steam engine wasn't available until 1750's. James Burke's Connections shows very well how most of engineering is interdependent and requires specific accomplishments in seemingly unrelated areas. Specifically, fusion power is an area where progress has been disappointingly slow, but I think they are getting there: c.f. recent news about new method to stabilize plasma on a large scale. Continuous research funding is crucial to progress---in fact I challenge you to name a non-trivial number of technological advances that can NOT be traced to society's rational choice to fund scientific research.

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