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Old 03-29-2011, 07:21 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
But how much extra energy did you use to make the gas ?

The key is here.
It's a fair point!
The issue with energy is not that we don't per sa have enough of it (commentators talk of the 'energy crisis', etc) - the issue is that the energy is not in the forms we find most useful - ie. 'high-value' forms of energy.

As such - electricity is a high-value energy source, as is liquid fuels like petrol & Diesel. But of course the value is ultimately defined by the application.

The idea behind asking about syn-gas is that it can be made from two low-value energy sources - waste heat & amorphous carbon (from coal or even better charcoal).

I'm not saying this can easily be utilised in a moving vehicle, as just like any other heat recovery device - it adds complexity & weight. But carbon (think of charcoal) is a pretty dense fuel source, but one that could not normally be easily and efficiently used to power an ICE.
But by some simple chemistry, the combination of waste heat (to superheat water) can be combined with carbon to produce syn-gas. Also, if the primary fuel is, for instance Natural Gas, then plenty of H2O can be recovered (condensed out) from the exhaust - reducing the need for carry a large water tank.

And, as 'CFG83' points out - hydrogen rich gases have the potential to improve both the octane rating of a fuel mix and the mean flame speed of the burn - both of which are advantageous for efficiency.
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