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Old 03-17-2015, 01:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Taking leaves and several million years out of hydrogen fuel production

Caltech scientists and engineers inspired by the leaf, have developed an electrically conductive film and the chemical process that would convert solar energy to split water into hydrogen fuel. It enables fuel production that is inherently safe and does not produce explosive mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen. The artificial leaf consists of three components: two electrodes, a photocathode & photoanode - and a membrane. The photoanode oxidizes water molecules to generate oxygen gas, splits protons & electrons while the photocathode recombines the protons and electrons to make hydrogen gas. The importance of the membrane is that it separates the two gases to eliminate any dangerous conditions and allows easier gas collection. Still way off but the further development of artificial photosynthetic systems could ALSO replicate the natural process to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugars!

Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis


Solar-Powered Membrane Separates Water Into Hydrogen and Oxygen Without Exploding | Popular Science

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Old 03-17-2015, 07:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Even if this works well, I still believe H2 is a red herring as a fuel. Storage and low power density are both significant issues to deal with that other manufactured fuels (like alchohols) don't have any problems with.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hydrogen GAS is a huge storage and transport problem:

EXTREMELY HIGH PRESSURE & EXTREMELY LOW TEMPERATURE.

Hydrogen LIQUID is easier to store (short term), but STILL a transport problem.

Why? Lookup "hydrogen embrittlement"
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This same kind of process has already been done to create methanol from solar panels, take co2 from the air and combine it with hydrogen and oxygen from electricity and create methanol fuel. All in a lab, so means little for 'energy policy',

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Even if this works well, I still believe H2 is a red herring as a fuel. Storage and low power density are both significant issues to deal with that other manufactured fuels (like alchohols) don't have any problems with.

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