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(The Register)   Power's out. Better electrolyze my own piss   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 37
    More: Interesting, electrolysis, El Reg, drink water, hydrogen, Lagos  
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4313 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Nov 2012 at 8:44 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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NFA [TotalFark]
2012-11-11 08:54:21 PM  
Oh gosh.... not this again.


"Why not simply use solar/wind power to directly provide 240V? Well: hydrogen (if you'd solved the storage safety problem) is a handy way to store a fuel against needing power when the sun's not shining or the wind isn't blowing. Fair enough ..."

God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!
 
2012-11-11 08:58:02 PM  

NFA:
God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!


If it were that easy why are people investing so much in hydrogen power and hydrogen fuel cells?
 
2012-11-11 09:09:44 PM  

bcbwilla: NFA:
God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!

If it were that easy why are people investing so much in hydrogen power and hydrogen fuel cells?


I don't think a battery is that efficient - you'll lose some along the way, and you probably can't charge/discharge them and get enough energy in/out without causing a massive amount of heat. Fuel cells can hopefully do this a bit more efficiently and reduce the thermal issues.

/not an engineer, just play one on the Internet
 
2012-11-11 09:19:10 PM  
www.badassoftheweek.com

Electrolyze then drink!
 
2012-11-11 09:25:49 PM  
I submitted this 2 days ago with a better headline.

It's better to be pissed off than pissed on.
 
2012-11-11 09:32:01 PM  
Most bars only rent beer. Won't someone think of the bars.



i32.photobucket.com
 
2012-11-11 09:33:52 PM  

NFA: Oh gosh.... not this again.


"Why not simply use solar/wind power to directly provide 240V? Well: hydrogen (if you'd solved the storage safety problem) is a handy way to store a fuel against needing power when the sun's not shining or the wind isn't blowing. Fair enough ..."

God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!


Batteries aren't particularly environmentally-friendly either: they have low emissions, but the process making them is farking nasty. Not necessarily nasty enough to prioritize over emissions reduction (though there are those who would dispute this), but enough to be worth thinking about.
 
2012-11-11 09:34:15 PM  
enry:
I don't think a battery is that efficient - you'll lose some along the way, and you probably can't charge/discharge them and get enough energy in/out without causing a massive amount of heat. Fuel cells can hopefully do this a bit more efficiently and reduce the thermal issues.

/not an engineer, just play one on the Internet

Actually batteries tend to be overall more efficient in terms of power conversion. It's just quite difficult to get ones that are cheap and can store the energy needed for something like a car, which is where fuel cells may do a bit better.
 
2012-11-11 09:34:21 PM  
This isn't just an energy storage system (if it's real). Electrolysis of a urea solution requires a lower voltage than electrolysis of plain water, so you get more hydrogen out per unit of electrical energy that you put in.
 
2012-11-11 09:44:14 PM  
Made some pho with leftover sausages tonight. Stick a windmill up my ass and I think I can power a laptop running Linux. Oops, maybe two.
 
2012-11-11 09:50:08 PM  
That looks totally legit.

Imma use the money that me and my Nigerian Prince are getting out of hock to fund this clever girls.

Haters!
 
2012-11-11 09:53:54 PM  

bcbwilla: NFA:
God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!

If it were that easy why are people investing so much in hydrogen power and hydrogen fuel cells?


Because batteries take a long time to charge.
 
2012-11-11 10:08:30 PM  
www.blogcdn.com
Will have about twice the range of a $100,000 Tesla Model S, for about half the price.

Fuel cells are much more energy dense than a battery. Batteries are very big and heavy, so if you're trying to store lots of energy and keep it portable, a fuel cell is the way to go.
 
2012-11-11 10:34:12 PM  

enry: bcbwilla: NFA:
God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!

If it were that easy why are people investing so much in hydrogen power and hydrogen fuel cells?

I don't think a battery is that efficient - you'll lose some along the way, and you probably can't charge/discharge them and get enough energy in/out without causing a massive amount of heat. Fuel cells can hopefully do this a bit more efficiently and reduce the thermal issues.

/not an engineer, just play one on the Internet


You have it backwards. Fuel cells are not as efficient as most batteries; they really are not a lot more efficient than internal combustion engines, in fact. Also they have a particularly poor power density.
 
2012-11-11 10:41:34 PM  
Why not simply use solar/wind power to directly provide 240V? Well: hydrogen (if you'd solved the storage safety problem) is a handy way to store a fuel against needing power when the sun's not shining or the wind isn't blowing. Fair enough ...

And if you do that youll get a nobel prize in physics.
 
2012-11-11 10:48:11 PM  

Hollie Maea: enry: bcbwilla: NFA:
God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!

If it were that easy why are people investing so much in hydrogen power and hydrogen fuel cells?

I don't think a battery is that efficient - you'll lose some along the way, and you probably can't charge/discharge them and get enough energy in/out without causing a massive amount of heat. Fuel cells can hopefully do this a bit more efficiently and reduce the thermal issues.

/not an engineer, just play one on the Internet

You have it backwards. Fuel cells are not as efficient as most batteries; they really are not a lot more efficient than internal combustion engines, in fact. Also they have a particularly poor power density.


www.h2carblog.com

About 2-3x as efficient as a current ICE. The Toyota FCHV-adv gets around 68 miles per gallon (gasoline equivalent) for a total range of over 400 miles in an SUV. And that's the last-gen prototypes, not even reflecting the advances that are being put into the next-gen which will be available in the next few years from Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, BMW, GM, et al.

Power density isn't really important, overall energy density is. A small li-ion battery can handle the peak power needed for bursts of acceleration, as well as capture energy during regenerative braking. But in terms of total energy stored in a given volume (which is what gives a vehicle a long range and/or other power sapping features like heat and AC), the fuel cell using hydrogen storage is much better than a more voluminous and massive battery.
 
2012-11-11 11:04:10 PM  

Hollie Maea: enry: bcbwilla: NFA:
God forbid you store the energy collected from the sun in a battery. That would be witchcraft!!!

If it were that easy why are people investing so much in hydrogen power and hydrogen fuel cells?

I don't think a battery is that efficient - you'll lose some along the way, and you probably can't charge/discharge them and get enough energy in/out without causing a massive amount of heat. Fuel cells can hopefully do this a bit more efficiently and reduce the thermal issues.

/not an engineer, just play one on the Internet

You have it backwards. Fuel cells are not as efficient as most batteries; they really are not a lot more efficient than internal combustion engines, in fact. Also they have a particularly poor power density.


Fuel cells generate electricity, batteries store them. Put another way, which is more efficient: converting the urine into electricity directly and on demand, or converting it into electricity and then storing it in a battery, then using the battery to run something else? (Given the only means of making electricity is the electrolyzed wee)
 
2012-11-11 11:17:55 PM  
In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!
 
2012-11-12 12:23:49 AM  
So you have hydrogen, oxygen and a stinking bottle of piss, now what?
 
2012-11-12 12:33:51 AM  
Well it is sterile, and I do like the taste.
 
NFA [TotalFark]
2012-11-12 12:36:27 AM  

curtis_e_bare: In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!


This
 
2012-11-12 12:47:30 AM  
Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No! But I do it anyway, cause it's sterile and I like the taste.

Wait, where did I go off course?
 
2012-11-12 02:20:57 AM  
Urine credible!
 
2012-11-12 03:31:56 AM  
It involves Africans? This is probably the next jenkum story then.
 
2012-11-12 03:35:41 AM  

smeag0l: So you have hydrogen, oxygen and a stinking bottle of piss, now what?


It's party time!!!!!
 
2012-11-12 04:18:57 AM  
Les Stroud is back on TV (either doing specials or a new series), anyways, in both of the 2-part features he indirectly slams Bear Grylls, and it's great.

"Using scavenged items on the beach, I'll make a water still. It's not like I have to drink my own piss, I would never drink my own piss - there is no need."
 
2012-11-12 04:48:31 AM  
Hydrogen is really damn hard to store. You know how Helium is so hard to store that it eventually leaks out of its containers? Hydrogen is really tiny, just one proton and electron. It's even harder to store than helium without losing everything. Only way to store it easily is as part of another chemical compound.
 
2012-11-12 05:25:02 AM  

enry: I don't think a battery is that efficient - you'll lose some along the way, and you probably can't charge/discharge them and get enough energy in/out without causing a massive amount of heat. Fuel cells can hopefully do this a bit more efficiently and reduce the thermal issues.

/not an engineer, just play one on the Internet


Everything you said here? The reality is the exact opposite of that.

The only appeal to hydrogen is the storage density. But you only get good storage density after a very lossy compression process or an even more lossy liquefaction process. Storage density is important for mobile applications: Car and planes for example.

enry: Fuel cells generate electricity, batteries store them. Put another way, which is more efficient: converting the urine into electricity directly and on demand, or converting it into electricity and then storing it in a battery, then using the battery to run something else? (Given the only means of making electricity is the electrolyzed wee)


Batteries store electricity using chemical reactions. Since you need electricity to electrolyze, hydrogen/electrolysis also stores energy as a chemical reaction. Both release that energy by reversing the chemical reaction. The only difference is a battery does both storage and discharge in the same device, where hydrogen/electrolysis needs two devices.

As for the "run a generator for six hours" claim... that depends entirely on the "generator" used. We can actually do something called math to figure this out, though!

One liter of urine we can treat as one liter of water. Actual water content may vary but we'll be generous here since it's pretty much always going to be in the upper 90% range. There are 55.56 moles of water per liter. So if water contains 228.6 kJ/mol then one liter of water can be electrolyzed with 12701 kJ of energy.

A watt is a joule per second. There are 3600 seconds in an hour. 12,701,000 joules in 3600 seconds equals 3,528 joules per second, or 3.5kW.

We're ignoring efficiencies here, but overall we're at least in the "plausible" range. Depending on the type of generator (eg internal combustion) then you're only going to be around 15% efficient for something so small, so actual output is like 500 watts. If you use a fuel cell - very expensive BTW - then you can get quite a bit more... 60 to 90% depending on how much money you're willing to throw at it. But that picture clearly shows a regular four-stroke engine genset. I'm not even sure the engine would run under load with these numbers, so I'm pegging it at "plausible, but just barely."

Of course where they get the ~4kW of electricity to create the hydrogen in the first place is anybody's guess... but batteries are 85+% efficient overall, crazy cheap and seem like a much better deal if you don't have to move them around.

Not going to call bullsh*t just yet, but I'm ready to. In fact actual bullsh*t may be a better source of energy than this.
=Smidge=
/Actually an engineer, BTW
 
2012-11-12 05:40:18 AM  

Cyno01: Why not simply use solar/wind power to directly provide 240V? Well: hydrogen (if you'd solved the storage safety problem) is a handy way to store a fuel against needing power when the sun's not shining or the wind isn't blowing. Fair enough ...

And if you do that youll get a nobel prize in physics.


The Nobel piss prize?
 
2012-11-12 06:00:39 AM  

Dwedit: Hydrogen is really damn hard to store. You know how Helium is so hard to store that it eventually leaks out of its containers? Hydrogen is really tiny, just one proton and electron. It's even harder to store than helium without losing everything.


Hydrogen gas is made up of H2 molecules which, obviously, are roughly twice the size of a helium atom. And the energy storage problem with hydrogen is not that it's leaky it's that the energy density is low because it's a gas.
 
2012-11-12 08:51:51 AM  

rwfan: Dwedit: Hydrogen is really damn hard to store. You know how Helium is so hard to store that it eventually leaks out of its containers? Hydrogen is really tiny, just one proton and electron. It's even harder to store than helium without losing everything.

Hydrogen gas is made up of H2 molecules which, obviously, are roughly twice the size of a helium atom. And the energy storage problem with hydrogen is not that it's leaky it's that the energy density is low because it's a gas.


Not to mention hydrogen embrittles many metals and has a critical point of like 30K.
 
2012-11-12 09:03:14 AM  
Oh the humanity.
 
2012-11-12 11:58:08 AM  

rwfan: Dwedit: Hydrogen is really damn hard to store. You know how Helium is so hard to store that it eventually leaks out of its containers? Hydrogen is really tiny, just one proton and electron. It's even harder to store than helium without losing everything.

Hydrogen gas is made up of H2 molecules which, obviously, are roughly twice the size of a helium atom. And the energy storage problem with hydrogen is not that it's leaky it's that the energy density is low because it's a gas.


Yeah, but since it's a gas, you could store it in something like a baloon. BAM! Storage problem solved.

i.imgur.com
 
2012-11-12 09:47:06 PM  

Smidge204: One liter of urine we can treat as one liter of water. Actual water content may vary but we'll be generous here since it's pretty much always going to be in the upper 90% range. There are 55.56 moles of water per liter. So if water contains 228.6 kJ/mol then one liter of water can be electrolyzed with 12701 kJ of energy.


The chemical reaction occurring is not the electrolysis of water to hydrogen and oxygen.

Urea is actually a chemical reactant in this - the reaction is urea + water -> nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. That's also why the output energy from burning the hydrogen exceeds the input energy to electrolyze urine - part of the energy is coming from the chemical decomposition of urea.

The other thing this does is decompose one of the major waste products in urine, making it easier to purify into potable water.
 
2012-11-13 04:41:35 AM  

Sum Dum Gai: Urea is actually a chemical reactant in this


And you know this because? TFA certainly doesn't say anything about that.

You think they stumbled upon the use of a nickel catalyst needed to make the reaction efficient enough?
=Smidge=
 
2012-11-13 11:25:51 PM  

Smidge204: And you know this because? TFA certainly doesn't say anything about that.

You think they stumbled upon the use of a nickel catalyst needed to make the reaction efficient enough?


The use of a nickel catalyst (and the half-cell reactions) are both available in the literature.
 
2012-11-14 04:32:02 AM  

Sum Dum Gai: The use of a nickel catalyst (and the half-cell reactions) are both available in the literature.


That's great, but there is absolutely no reason to believe the group talked about in the article are aware of that research, and there is certainly no reason to believe that the setup they ultimately built operates nearly as well as the research version. You're just assuming that since both situations involve urea, then they must somehow be identical...
=Smidge=
 
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