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Old 11-19-2014, 01:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
The other thing that's always puzzled me: Sure, fuel cells are a good idea, but why hydrogen fuel cells? There are fuel cells that run off alcohol, sugar, and many other things, most of which don't involve fossil fuel extraction. But instead, the powers that be try to sell us on something that's extremely difficult to produce, store, and transport.
The drive for fuel cell research was focused on those that ingested pure H2. There are many technologies that do not have this limitation. I made reference to a link from the University of Utah that outlined the use of an enzymatic fuel cell that could utilize hydrocarbons such as JP-8. It was also tolerant of sulfur. This is just one example of a fuel cell that can use fossil fuels now and can transition to bio-fuels later.

Solid oxide fuel cells are already in use in fixed power generation applications such as the natural gas fueled system that powers the Google facilities in California. Continued research into catalyst improvements show a path to lower temperature operation.

The use of fuels cells versus batteries is not an either-or situation. It is more of a balance of both as well as the continued application of internal combustion. Advancing battery technology will make cars such as the Leaf ubiquitous for use in the majority of households and businesses. This will spill over to low temperature fuel cells that leverage the wide distribution of hydrocarbons to fuel long haul trucks, planes and trains. And in the future, when thorium nuclear power plants become common, the electricity and synthetic hydrocarbons will be available to provide the foundation for our growing modern societies without the pollution burden of the last industrial revolution.

The next step is fusion power and the stars.
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