December 11 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2018 Rating: 2
- Editor's Note -
We cannot ignore, or dismiss hydrogen energy storage
Let's put Hydrogen (e.g. energy storage for electricity) into perspective. Hydrogen was all the hype in the late 90s as Techies rallied behind Ballard Fuel Cell stocks, and buying into the 'hype'. Then as hydrogen startups failed to live up to short term expectations, many of those same people started slamming hydrogen as a waste of time and resources. Too 'inefficient and wasteful - and hard to store.' Early believers had wanted startups to change the world, but really they needed to pay attention to science. Researchers were waving their hands- 'we're not ready yet!'
The hydrogen skeptics' new strategy?
Replace the hype of hydrogen, with hype of lithium ion batteries and capacitors. That's the 'new answer'. Meanwhile hydrogen researchers continue to evolve systems for low cost, high efficiency production, and solid-state storage.
My forecast? Batteries will disappoints us, hydrogen will surprise us.
Nanowerk is reporting that researchers at the University of Oxford have advanced a technique that taps the of biology. Enzymes known as hydrogenase can be used as a cheap, clean and efficient way of producing hydrogen from water using sunlight (artificial photosynthesis).
Hydrogenases are biocatalysts that produce or oxidize hydrogen using clusters of iron ([FeFe]) or nickel and iron ([NiFe]) to facilitate reactions. Enyzmes transport electrons and positively charged molecules through complex chains that are largely unknown to scientists. Now we are trying to overcome challenges of tapping the power of hydrogenase (H2 enyzmes) like keeping oxygen from stopping or slowing down reactions.
Nanowerk reports that Armstrong's group has 'demonstrated a rational photochemical hydrogen cell that produces hydrogen under visible light irradiation without resort to rigorous anaerobicity.'
Why is this important to the future of energy?
Our world is powered by the breaking of chemical bonds- mostly from hydrocarbons sources like coal, oil and natural gas. There is no better way to store energy than a chemical bond. A 'hydrogen' storage system eliminates the carbon from the mixture - leading to cleaner storage systems.
We need low cost ways of storing electricity. Batteries suffer from bad chemistry and it's unlikely that they will (in the long term) be able to compete against the cost and performance advantages of fuel cells.
Nature stores energy in the form of chemical bonds?
Why not humans?
Nature uses enyzmes to convert and storage energy?
Why not humans?
First, we need to be clear about the myths of a hydrogen future. The world is powered by electricity - hydrogen is simply a chemical storage strategy.
A 'Hydrogen Economy' is an economy driven by electricity.
A 'Hydrogen' car is an electric vehicle that uses hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity.
Looking ahead to 2018
We should watch our tendency to 'overestimate' the short term hype of technologies, and (even worse) 'underestimate' the long term potential of disruptive systems that enable new platforms for growth in performance.
Hydrogen is not a waste of time. It is just a victim of hype and short-term expectations.
Batteries will disappoint us.
Hydrogen is going to surprise us.
Keep your eye on solid state hydrogen storage. And nanoscale catalysts and materials that change the game of production!
And keep reading The Energy Roadmap.com!
via Nanowerk (awesome site!!)
Related Fuel cell and Hydrogen posts on The Energy Roadmap.com
[Video] A water powered fuel cell? For toys?
India develops cheaper fuel cell membrane (100x lower cost)
Fuel cells & The Future of Infrastructure: India partners with IdaTech and Ballard
Surface images of nanoparticles could advance energy systems
DuPont team wins US Military Wearable Power Prize
Reliable Fuel Cells Powering Remote Traffic Systems
Small, Mobile, Fuel-Cell Powered, but no cars yet!
Research breakthrough in microbial fuel cell converts waste to energy
Self-assembled metal nanostructures improve fuel cell performance
What powers the car of tomorrow? Batteries or Hydrogen fuel cells? [Hint: Both]