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  #1  
Old 12-29-2014, 01:08 PM
jokersloose Male jokersloose is offline
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Default Fuel Cells?

OK has anyone tried this? I keep reading tons about them. I did read a page where a guy converted his house and the cost was to the moon.

I have seen video's where people have added this to there car/truck. If someone got a gas powered generator do y'all think it could be converted to fuel cells to reduce the cost of running?

Thanks,

James
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Old 12-29-2014, 03:45 PM
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Fuel cells, like batteries, gas powered generators and waterfalls and windmills, are a way to store energy. They typically convert the stored energy into electricity that you can use. A gasoline powered generator converts the energy stored in gasoline into electricity. A fuel cell converts the stored chemical (natural gas, hydrogen etc.) into electricity. A windmill converts stored kinetic energy (wind) into mechanical or electrical energy.

In other words, a fuel cell is just another storage medium. I still requires the energy source to be replenished. It may or may not offer cost effective benefits.

Most of us are currently spoiled with the relatively cheap method of extracting energy from hydrocarbon combustion (burning natural gas, fuel oil, gasoline etc.). Just about any other source costs more at this time but it's all subject to change. (Even wind power is not as cost effective as often claimed since it requires extensive infrastructure maintenance).
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:55 AM
jokersloose Male jokersloose is offline
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I was wondering about something like this

http://fuel-efficient-vehicles.org/e...s/?page_id=927

You add into the fuel lines and it's suppose to give better mph and such. I did read one place where someone has used it to power a truck 100%. So was thinking a gas genie with this as it's fuel source.

Any thoughts on this idea?

James
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:19 PM
jokersloose Male jokersloose is offline
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As to wind we drive over the pass to get to Cheyenne and there was a new house that went up. They had a large wind turbine up. Every time we drove by it was on the ground month after month now we drive by and they have solar panels up. Just hit me as funny that's all.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:07 PM
MichaelK Male MichaelK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randallhilton View Post

In other words, a fuel cell is just another storage medium. I still requires the energy source to be replenished. It may or may not offer cost effective benefits.
Randall has hit the nail directly on the head. With all the hype a few years ago about hydrogen fuel cells, nobody bothered to answer the first question, which is "where does the hydrogen come from?".

I asked a fuel cell engineer this question, and he stared at me like a deer in the headlights! Finally, after a long pause, he stated "Well, you can make hydrogen from petroleum!". Ummm, excuse me, but how would hydrogen address a petroleum shortage, if you have to make the hydrogen from petroleum? His second answer was "Well, you can make hydrogen by electrolysis!". So then I asked "how will we make the electricity to make the hydrogen? Will we be burning fossil fuels to make it?

JL, my advice to you is to focus your attention on biofuels that you can make yourself in the garage or backyard. Forget about fuel cells completely unless you can guaranty yourself a source of cheap hydrogen (which ain't gonna happen)!
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2014, 06:45 PM
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"Fuel cell" usually refers to H2 as the fuel. I was just talking about this to a pt of mine who's an engineer and worked at Argonne Natl Labs right near us here. He was to find a good material to build the containers out of. They gave up after a while because the H2 quickly corrodes most common metals . They found only very expensive alloys of rare stuff was adequate.

Quick refresher course in hi school chemistry: H2 + O <--> H2O. That reaction can go either way. Running left to right (burning H), it gives off energy. To get it to run right to left (producing H), you put in energy. You get less energy out of it in the L to R direction than you put into it in the R to L direction. Conclusion: H2 fuel cells are a stupid idea.

Better idea: make the H2 from waste wood as in a "wood gas burner." This would work for individuals with a good supply of wood and nowhere special to go. It's a dirty process with a lot of tar produced so it wouldn't work for large numbers of vehicles in a small space.

ps/ if NG is readily available, it's a really easy, cheap conversion from gasoline to NG.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:41 PM
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OK..... I kinda/sorta get the left to right, right to left conversion Doc explained.... Seems sensible...

I do have a couple questions.... This seems all geared to running a internal combustion engine.... It seems there is an application where this is used to convert directly to electric energy ??? I believe it was tried in a car application of some kind...

As far as the small scale/hobby experimenter goes... If.... For instance... A material like 316 stainless steel is a 80% on the corrosion rate scale of this process... Use it as it is the most available and reasonable price... Then fit it with a 60% sacrificial safety plug....

Good luck...
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Wyobuckaroo View Post

I do have a couple questions.... This seems all geared to running a internal combustion engine.... It seems there is an application where this is used to convert directly to electric energy ??? I believe it was tried in a car application of some kind...

Good luck...
That's how train locomotives do it. A Diesel engine produces juice to be used by electric motors that actually turn the drive wheels. Electric motors provide more torque at low rpm than ICEs and avoid the need for a clutch.

Can you imagine how many union engineers it would take to press in a clutch pedal heavy enough to move a freight train? It would be cost-prohibitive what with those great union benefits and all
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Old 01-02-2015, 12:03 PM
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Clutch on a train..... That's funny to think about...

I guess my understanding was the conversion of power from the fuel cell was a more directly to electricity... As in not using a combustion engine in between... But as said, problem is.. I don't know the details..
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:27 AM
jokersloose Male jokersloose is offline
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Great information thanks.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:34 PM
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The trick isn't the fuel using technology, the trick is the fuel making technology. Photovoltaic cells could split water into H2 and O2 using what would otherwise just be 'wasted' sunlight. The question becomes what would be the cost of an array that had that enough capacity capacity to keep your H2 tank filled up?

I suspect it would cost a lot, but it's a great idea.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:06 AM
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Hi Elkins. Welcome to the forum.

Your comment is exactly right. Alternative energy- wind, solar, fuel cell- are all hampered by cost restrictions compared to fossil fuel (coal, oil, NG) which are really cheap, efficient and convenient and avoid the need for batteries for storage. Alternatives are only appropriate in special situations: for energy security or in extremely remote locations.

While co2 is a GHG, it's contribution to weather and climate is so small, it's signal is lost as noise in the data. "Carbon footprint" is pure BS devised for the classic scare tactics of socialists trying to force an agenda on the ignorant masses (cf Saul Alinski & his Rules for Radicals.)
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:28 PM
wywhitewolf Male wywhitewolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
..Better idea: make the H2 from waste wood as in a "wood gas burner." This would work for individuals with a good supply of wood and nowhere special to go. It's a dirty process with a lot of tar produced so it wouldn't work for large numbers of vehicles in a small space....
Wood is carbon. Partially burn it and you get woodgas (CO). 2CO + O2 = 2CO2 when you burn that in the engine.

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Old 07-30-2015, 09:30 AM
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Burning wood under hypoxic conditions gives mostly H2 & CH4 (called "wood gas"). The amount of CO, CO2 & H2O is small compared to burning wood in the open atmosphere. Some of the C is released in a wood gas burner as "tar"-- short chain hydrocarbons partially oxidized & carmelized. That's one of the short-comings of the process. The tars can't all be filtered out and tend to foul the engines.

But then, all engineering solutions are compromises among conflicting factors.
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Old 10-23-2015, 11:33 PM
JeepHammer Male JeepHammer is offline
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I have to disagree, having worked with actual fuel cells...

A fuel cell, in the traditional sense, runs on hydrogen and oxygen.
A (usually metal) screen with VERY small holes allows the fuel to reach the oxygen,
But the fuel has to shed an electron to get through the screen.

When the hydrogen and oxygen combine, they shed that extra electron, which is picked up by the conductive screen, and transmitted as electrical current.

Hydrogen & Oxygen have a STRONG chemical attraction, but there has to be an oxygenation process happen,
That's Oxygenation as in fire/heat, an exothermic reaction.

H2O should look familiar, it's water.
When the two combine, they produce water as a waste product...

This particular fuel cell was perfect for space,
Heat, Water & Electricity from compressed gasses that were along for the ride anyway...

There isn't any 'Storage' done, it's a converter, not storage.
Like a 'Transformer' doesn't store electricity, although common myth says an ignition coil 'Stores' electricity...

The ONLY pure electrical (electron) storage is a Capacitor.

A battery will convert electrical energy to chemical energy, where the chemical energy can wait, and convert back to electrical energy.
Not 'Pure' electrical storage, since it's actually chemical storage, but it's close enough to call it an electrical storage device.

You CAN use fossil fuels, renewable fuels in a fuel cell (like alcohol)
But not on a small scale. These are very complex oxidation/exothermic reactions happening that produce electrons,
And since the fuel is VERY dangerous, it has to be carefully controlled.
Most of these use VERY expensive precious metals in high volumes, making them cost prohibitive, even on a large scale.

Hydrogen & Oxygen are the only commonly available fuel cells that are efficient enough, and safe enough for small scale use currently,
Although technology is progressing... So who knows for the future!

-----------------

Hydrogen is usually produced by using an electrical process to split water back into hydrogen and oxygen.
This is usually done with fossil fuels, making the hydrogen less than 'Clean' or 'Renewable' energy source.
That's the sticking point right now on large scale hydrogen fuel cells...

You have to add that electron to the hydrogen to get it to split from the oxygen, hence the electrical current.
Then you have to pump that hydrogen and oxygen into tanks under enough pressure to liquefy it, that takes a lot of energy, usually produced with fossil fuels...

Hydrogen & Oxygen fuel cells would be PERFECT if pure hydrogen & oxygen were easily produced...
And you would get pure water from the process in the fuel cell to boot!
Few things on planet earth are 'Easy'...
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:48 AM
JeepHammer Male JeepHammer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jokersloose View Post
OK has anyone tried this? I keep reading tons about them. I did read a page where a guy converted his house and the cost was to the moon.

I have seen video's where people have added this to there car/truck. If someone got a gas powered generator do y'all think it could be converted to fuel cells to reduce the cost of running?

Thanks,

James
No, not at all.
The little hydrogen generator/jar that is most commonly advertised will not produce enough hydrogen to make any difference what so ever.
Also, there is no provision for separating the hydrogen from the oxygen produced.

Both are in such small quantities that they will do you no good what so ever.
In fact, the electrical current required to separate water into hydrogen/oxygen will exceed the output of the jar.

*IF* you were lucky enough to have a hydrogen generator in your chemistry class, then you would know it takes about half an hour to make enough hydrogen to make a small 'Poof' when it's lit.

------

These things have been around since the '73 gas crunch,
Everything from toilet tank valves sold to go inline to the carb, so you can 'Cut Back' on the fuel to the carb, supposedly to save fuel,
And they also weren't fuel rated, so they started fires everywhere...

To stuffing aluminum foil under your hubcaps to 'Capture' ambient energy in the atmosphere...

The so called 'Tesla' generators are all useless, the 'Aeither' generators are all useless, a novelty that might eventually make something with no weight on it move a little,
Like those dunking birds,
But for doing ANY work, they are useless. Just science toys... And a way to suck money out of unsuspecting people's pockets that are weak on science.

Like the lottery, a tax on people that are VERY bad at math...
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