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(Phys Org2)   Apple to build largest private fuel cell energy project, a nonpolluting, silent power plant that will generate electricity from hydrogen. The hydrogen, of course, will magically appear out of nowhere   (phys.org) divider line 96
    More: Obvious, fuel cells, electricity, hydrogen, Google, Apple Inc., Duke Energy, North Carolina, fuel cell energy  
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2761 clicks; posted to Geek » on 08 Apr 2012 at 11:48 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-08 07:46:18 PM
did subby even read the article? It states where the hydrogen is coming from.
 
2012-04-08 07:56:40 PM
Google? Did you even read the article?
 
2012-04-08 08:29:06 PM
i616.photobucket.com
 
2012-04-08 10:08:58 PM
This is farking cool. Hydrogen fuel cells could very well be the future of motoring
 
2012-04-08 10:32:28 PM
I love fail sites that don't resize for mobile.
 
2012-04-08 11:10:27 PM
I see that the subby can't read, probably uses a Zune.
 
2012-04-08 11:15:52 PM
Jesus subby, do you think it's taken until the 21st Century to figure out how to generate hydrogen?
 
2012-04-08 11:16:29 PM
It's too bad hydrogen is so scarce, too
 
2012-04-08 11:18:44 PM
You'd be better off just burning the natural gas in a turbine as is commonly done in peaking units today. It would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than fuel cells. Cracking natural gas into hydrogen is incredibly inefficient.

This is like shining lights on solar panels and claiming you're helping the environment with solar power. The only reason anyone is doing this is because the government is shoveling cash and mandates into dead end technologies.

Even in cars, hydrogen is a dead end because LNG is far easier, cheaper, and safer to store in a car. I've been waiting for LNG/gasoline cars to take off like they have in places in South America. Run on the cheap LNG and if you run out just flip the switch to go over to gasoline until you get to a service station.
 
2012-04-08 11:31:52 PM

xlbrooklyn: did subby even read the article? It states where the hydrogen is coming from.


It's a typical argument from "conservatives" who eschew any energy source that is not petroleum.
 
2012-04-08 11:53:19 PM
OK, i get carbon offsets and carbon neutral ... but fiddling the carbon books does not mean you're using "renewable energy"!
 
2012-04-08 11:54:43 PM
....fogot to post quote from tfa ...

"To qualify as a renewable facility, Apple or Bloom will arrange to produce landfill methane gas or some other biogas to offset its natural gas use"

/facepalm
 
2012-04-08 11:56:39 PM

Somacandra: FTFA: They are exorbitantly expensive and in the past have been used only in experimental realms, such as NASA moon launches.....The fuel cell modules, called Bloom Boxes, are used also by Walmart, Google, Staples, eBay, Cox Enterprises, FedEx, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Adobe, according to Bloom's website.

[i.imgur.com image 300x300]

So they are incredibly expensive and limited to experimental projects, but all the large corporations and banks are using them? Got it.


They offer a lot of advantages, including less reliance on grid power, almost no transmission line losses, leasing or purchasing options, eventual significant ROI, and above all good press for being a "green" company.

Still not worth it imo but they have reasons other than just "it's cheap".
 
2012-04-08 11:59:30 PM

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: [i616.photobucket.com image 640x512]


There is a water "surge protector" on the line coming into my house.
 
2012-04-09 12:00:16 AM
I like the part about how this ridiculously convoluted and expensive project qualifies Apple for tax breaks.
 
2012-04-09 12:09:46 AM

Crosshair: Cracking natural gas into hydrogen is incredibly inefficient


Well there are other ways to get hydrogen. Also there's some work being done on catalysts that'll crack natural gas without any more energy than what's required to blow the natural gas over the catalyst substrate.
 
2012-04-09 12:10:58 AM

Mentat: Jesus subby, do you think it's taken until the 21st Century to figure out how to generate hydrogen?


Then why didn't people use it before? Oh, it's not an energy source, that might be it.

puppetmaster745: ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha: [i616.photobucket.com image 640x512]

There is a water "surge protector" on the line coming into my house.


Seriously, that's a vague question. Usually those water thingies are called anti water-hammer thingies.

ModernLuddite: I like the part about how this ridiculously convoluted and expensive project qualifies Apple for tax breaks.


Ta dah! Just like Marriott makes "alternative fuels".

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,493241,00.html

But hey, let's all ignore basic physics and gush about this great Hydrogen economy, toss in some space-based solar too while you're at it.

I wonder how far along the Solaren project is ??? About as far along as the 1997 Japanese space hotel, ie nowhere.
 
2012-04-09 12:12:47 AM

Because People in power are Stupid: xlbrooklyn: did subby even read the article? It states where the hydrogen is coming from.

It's a typical argument from "conservatives" who eschew any energy source that is not petroleum.


Hydrogen is not an energy "source." It takes more energy to produce the hydrogen than you get from burning the hydrogen. Oil, wind, coal, hydo, nuclear, gas, solar, etc. are energy sources because you end up with more usable energy than you started with. Hydrogen is an energy storage/transport medium.
 
2012-04-09 12:14:49 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Then why didn't people use it before? Oh, it's not an energy source, that might be it.


You realize you can get tons, literally, of hydrogen very easily and cheaply right?
 
2012-04-09 12:15:56 AM

WhyteRaven74: Crosshair: Cracking natural gas into hydrogen is incredibly inefficient

Well there are other ways to get hydrogen. Also there's some work being done on catalysts that'll crack natural gas without any more energy than what's required to blow the natural gas over the catalyst substrate.


Honest injun, no-trolling question here: what's the point? You're still releasing the carbon from the natural gas, so it's not like you're cutting down on emissions.
 
2012-04-09 12:17:56 AM

Fish in a Barrel: It takes more energy to produce the hydrogen than you get from burning the hydrogen.


Unless the energy you're using to produce the hydrogen is something you can get without doing anything more than setting up an apparatus to capture the energy. You know, like solar panels.
 
2012-04-09 12:18:22 AM

WhyteRaven74: Quantum Apostrophe: Then why didn't people use it before? Oh, it's not an energy source, that might be it.

You realize you can get tons, literally, of hydrogen very easily and cheaply right?


im curious?
 
2012-04-09 12:19:27 AM

Fish in a Barrel: You're still releasing the carbon from the natural gas,


You can capture the carbon and use it for other stuff. Fund graphene research and in a few years you'll be providing cheap carbon for a graphene plant. And lord only knows there's plenty of uses for carbon beyond that.
 
2012-04-09 12:20:31 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Then why didn't people use it before? Oh, it's not an energy source, that might be it.


freedomthistime.files.wordpress.com

Nope, no energy at all, nuh uh.
 
2012-04-09 12:20:32 AM
It will extract hydrogen from natural gas supplied by Piedmont Natural Gas. But it's not clear how much gas will be required. FTFA

hehe, since I work for an environmental company, in hydrogeology. I fully support the inefficient use of natural gas, which is quite often obtained after fracking.

You need me for the source water (assuming surface water isn't desirable for fracking, the development and operation of a groundwater monitoring system. And god forbid in helping ti mitigate any groundwater issues related to spills during drilling and fracking, or the construction and operation of this utility that Apple is developing.

/evil laugh.
 
2012-04-09 12:20:59 AM

American Decency Association: im curious?


A few solar panels, water tank, anode, cathode, water. Set it up somewhere where you have easy access to water and lots of sun and you can have ti all running like crazy for cheap.
 
2012-04-09 12:23:02 AM

WhyteRaven74: Crosshair: Cracking natural gas into hydrogen is incredibly inefficient

Well there are other ways to get hydrogen. Also there's some work being done on catalysts that'll crack natural gas without any more energy than what's required to blow the natural gas over the catalyst substrate.


well, when my old company was sniffing out into diversifying, Home fuel cell instillation was one of the big things on the table.. and well.. they ran off of LP gas, not hydrogen.
there was nothing fancy about the fuel cells, they could use most any kind of hydrocarbon gas... be it NG, LP, H? what have you. didn't really care what the catalyst gas was, just that it worked.

I imagine that H is the most efficient and gives you the best energy density returns... But I cant imagine any fuel cell operating any differently quite honestly.

I believe the units were being sold by GE, they were about the size of a AC unit, you pumped NG into the fuel side, electricity came out the ass end, and only "consumed" the gas as needed. and it exhausted water vapor and CO2

the company imploded for other reasons however
 
2012-04-09 12:23:37 AM
There's precedent for hydrogen appearing out of nowhere. Hard to repeat though.
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-04-09 12:25:34 AM

WhyteRaven74: Fish in a Barrel: It takes more energy to produce the hydrogen than you get from burning the hydrogen.

Unless the energy you're using to produce the hydrogen is something you can get without doing anything more than setting up an apparatus to capture the energy. You know, like solar panels.


I think we may be straying a bit from the subject of the article (which cool, and probably my fault; I just want to make sure we're not talking past each other). This is a fixed installation. It would be more efficient to just use the power from the solar panels or the natural gas feed stock. What Apple is doing here is wasting energy for a tax credit and a PR stunt. They're trying to claim green credentials while wasting copious amounts of energy, which irks me.

And it's past my bed-time, so I'm out. :-)
 
2012-04-09 12:28:44 AM

WhyteRaven74: American Decency Association: im curious?

A few solar panels, water tank, anode, cathode, water. Set it up somewhere where you have easy access to water and lots of sun and you can have ti all running like crazy for cheap.


But that means the hydrogen isn't an energy source, the sun is. They hydrogen is just acting as energy storage.
 
2012-04-09 12:30:49 AM

WhyteRaven74: American Decency Association: im curious?

A few solar panels, water tank, anode, cathode, water. Set it up somewhere where you have easy access to water and lots of sun and you can have ti all running like crazy for cheap.


as it stands, these Bloom Boxes seem like a great way to convert hydrogen to energy and will be a very important stage in our green future.

the acquisition of the hydrogen should be the part that gets the kudos and the tax rewards though.

as a business, does simply going carbon neutral get you the same tax benefits Apple is receiving here?
 
2012-04-09 12:32:23 AM

ModernLuddite: I like the part about how this ridiculously convoluted and expensive project qualifies Apple for tax breaks.


Check out how much the wind farm operators get in tax credits from the federal government. They're not doing it just because it's good for the environment.
 
2012-04-09 12:32:53 AM
oh, they're just getting cash for feeding the grid.. ok
 
2012-04-09 12:36:07 AM

Because People in power are Stupid: xlbrooklyn: did subby even read the article? It states where the hydrogen is coming from.

It's a typical argument from "conservatives" who eschew any energy source that is not petroleum.


Orly?

It will extract hydrogen from natural gas supplied by Piedmont Natural Gas.


Yup, the Republicans are known for their opposition to drilling for natural gas.
 
2012-04-09 12:41:35 AM

Farnn: But that means the hydrogen isn't an energy source, the sun is.


in the process of electrolysis yes, however then you have lots of hydrogen that you can use to produce energy. If you want to produce methane, you can use bacteria eating organic material, the bacteria are just facilitating the chemical work to produce the fuel you desire. The energy being used to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen isn't energy you're sacrificing for something else. When you liquify natural gas you're using energy that you could use for something else. You're taking power off the grid to run the compressors. Unless of course you put up a bunch of solar panels to power the compressors. Though if you have a need for a lot of hydrogen, using water as the source is easier than natural gas. In part because you can skip the whole issue of liquifying the natural gas and the issues involved in storing it.
 
2012-04-09 12:50:28 AM

WhyteRaven74: Fish in a Barrel: You're still releasing the carbon from the natural gas,

You can capture the carbon and use it for other stuff. Fund graphene research and in a few years you'll be providing cheap carbon for a graphene plant. And lord only knows there's plenty of uses for carbon beyond that.


You mean like having a carbon collector on your car instead of an exhaust pipe?
 
2012-04-09 12:53:25 AM

Bennie Crabtree: WhyteRaven74: Fish in a Barrel: You're still releasing the carbon from the natural gas,

You can capture the carbon and use it for other stuff. Fund graphene research and in a few years you'll be providing cheap carbon for a graphene plant. And lord only knows there's plenty of uses for carbon beyond that.

You mean like having a carbon collector on your car instead of an exhaust pipe?


there's no such thing. if you can conceive a way to produce raw carbon from an exhaust pipe, you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams

clue - it's impossible
 
2012-04-09 01:06:09 AM

Crosshair: You'd be better off just burning the natural gas in a turbine as is commonly done in peaking units today. It would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than fuel cells. Cracking natural gas into hydrogen is incredibly inefficient.

This is like shining lights on solar panels and claiming you're helping the environment with solar power. The only reason anyone is doing this is because the government is shoveling cash and mandates into dead end technologies.

Even in cars, hydrogen is a dead end because LNG is far easier, cheaper, and safer to store in a car. I've been waiting for LNG/gasoline cars to take off like they have in places in South America. Run on the cheap LNG and if you run out just flip the switch to go over to gasoline until you get to a service station.


I'm pretty sure that cracking natural gas to make the hydrogen for a fuel cell works out as more energy efficient than just burning it in a turbine or ICE. I don't know if LNG cracking in a vehicle would be practical below the freight train level.

Remember, once you get the hydrogen a fuel cell is about 90% efficient.

As far as solar and wind goes, we need cheap infrastructure level batteries. Check this TEDTalk (new window) on megawatt scale batteries. Specifically designed with a focus on plentiful elements rather than rare earths or lithium.
 
2012-04-09 01:19:57 AM

themeaningoflifeisnot: ModernLuddite: I like the part about how this ridiculously convoluted and expensive project qualifies Apple for tax breaks.

Check out how much the wind farm operators get in tax credits from the federal government. They're not doing it just because it's good for the environment.


I just have this problem subsidizing private companies that outsource their labour to third world country factories that qualify as "shiatty" even by third world standards because they "care about the environment".

//Wait......I don't live in or pay taxes in the United States. So I guess that's okay then.
 
2012-04-09 01:54:24 AM
I'm always curious when this kind of debate comes up, especially the energy used to create hydrogen to use in fuel cells versus the net gain in energy by using said hydrogen. Does anyone have any actual reliable numbers for this? It seems like a lot of back-and-forth without any data.
 
2012-04-09 02:01:42 AM
If you used "cheap" off peak times grid power to produce your hydrogen for heavy daytime use, that would actually be a win.
 
2012-04-09 02:13:34 AM

American Decency Association:
clue - it's impossible


Improbable. Impossible means it can not ever happen. Improbable means it is is exceptionally unlikely to ever happen.

Most things are, in fact, possible they are just exceptionally improbable.
 
2012-04-09 02:23:27 AM
If it wasn't Apple, but say, Toyota, Subby's headline would read:


Toyota to build largest private fuel cell energy project, a nonpolluting, silent power plant that will generate electricity from hydrogen. This, of course, will be the greatest thing in human history.
 
2012-04-09 02:32:42 AM

Because People in power are Stupid: xlbrooklyn: did subby even read the article? It states where the hydrogen is coming from.

It's a typical argument from "conservatives" who eschew any energy source that is not petroleum.


I think my typical conservative argument here would be that a tidy percentage of the heat energy in the natural gas is likely going to be in the carbon they're throwing away, and some more in the extraction process. What's the efficiency difference between cracking the methane and discarding the carbon vs just burning it in a turbine?
 
2012-04-09 02:33:09 AM
"Eyes in the dark... one moon circles..."
 
2012-04-09 02:33:59 AM

WhyteRaven74: Quantum Apostrophe: Then why didn't people use it before? Oh, it's not an energy source, that might be it.

You realize you can get tons, literally, of hydrogen very easily and cheaply right?


And you know who else used tons, literally, of hydrogen because it was cheap?

failuremag.com
 
2012-04-09 02:43:04 AM

TV's Vinnie: And you know who else used tons, literally, of hydrogen because it was cheap?

[failuremag.com image 383x322]


You know who else had designed that for helium, but we had all the supply?
 
2012-04-09 02:44:09 AM

Vaneshi: American Decency Association:
clue - it's impossible

Improbable. Impossible means it can not ever happen. Improbable means it is is exceptionally unlikely to ever happen.

Most things are, in fact, possible they are just exceptionally improbable.


i agree with your positive attitude, but i chose my words carefully

Bennie Crabtree suggests using a carbon collector to collect some "useful carbon"

as inefficient as an internal combustion engine is, they do burn all (for all intents and purposes) of the fuel presented to them. any "carbon" you collect isn't carbon at all, it is CO2 which is completely useless. those oxygen molecules make all the difference
 
2012-04-09 03:16:47 AM

erewhon: Because People in power are Stupid: xlbrooklyn: did subby even read the article? It states where the hydrogen is coming from.

It's a typical argument from "conservatives" who eschew any energy source that is not petroleum.

I think my typical conservative argument here would be that a tidy percentage of the heat energy in the natural gas is likely going to be in the carbon they're throwing away, and some more in the extraction process. What's the efficiency difference between cracking the methane and discarding the carbon vs just burning it in a turbine?


OK, two points:

1: There's not a "percentage of the energy in the carbon" the released energy is inter-atomic bond energy, none of it is extracted from the atoms themselves in anything but a nuclear plant.

2: The advantage of syngas in general and fuel cell use of syngas in particular is that natural gas (or just coal, which is a more frequent component of gasification) is that the temperature at which natural gas combusts is fairly set for practical purposes and is thus subject to heat exchange concerns and, eventually, the carnot efficiency limit. A fuel cell, as an electrochemical process, lets you shuffle bond energy much more efficiently and achieve better overall energy extraction per pound of the component elements.

Now, that's not why they're using fuel cells, though. Fuel cells are used for server farms for two reasons, the fake reason used in PR and the real reason the companies find them useful:

Fake reason: Fuel cell waste is contained and largely more easily controlled than combustion generator waste, and thus better for the environment (typically, solid > liquid > vapor > gas where waste disposal is concerned). We're just such nice people that care so much about the environment, you know? That's why you should ignore our data handling policies, no one who loves the trees and whales this much could possibly be into anything bad. (Note, not "fake" in that it's untrue, the emissions issue actually is a significant gain, the companies just don't actually care.)

Real reason: Fuel cells produce a DC current at selectable voltage/amperage, essentially do not break down unexpectedly ever, and don't produce the kind of carbonaceous vapor that can fark delicate electronics in a hot minute if someone fails to vent them properly. You don't want to rely on the grid if you're running servers and using AC power at 120 V is a huge waste of energy when you need a ton of DC current at 5v instead.


American Decency Association: there's no such thing. if you can conceive a way to produce raw carbon from an exhaust pipe, you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams

clue - it's impossible


It's entirely possible. Feed it to a plant, then burn that plant in low-O2 conditions. Resulting brick of black shiat is essentially just carbon and some Hydrogen (charcoal). Or just invent your own solar-catalyzed chemistry to reduce CO2 more directly (generally to CO, which is far enough to be useful).

Though if you mean it's impossible without putting in more energy than was extracted from the combustion in the first place, yes, that's correct. I'm just saying it's not irreversible.
 
2012-04-09 04:00:07 AM
Jim_Callahan:Though if you mean it's impossible without putting in more energy than was extracted from the combustion in the first place, yes, that's correct. I'm just saying it's not irreversible.

oh yes, as fuel is what i meant. just how hard is it to create/capture CO2 for industrial purposes? my completely amateur guess is, not very
 
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