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-   -   Scientists Are Now Transforming Saltwater Into Hydrogen Fuel (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=39937)

wellis March 24th, 2019 01:36 PM

Scientists Are Now Transforming Saltwater Into Hydrogen Fuel
 
https://www.popularmechanics.com/sci...hydrogen-fuel/
Quote:

Thanks to Stanford researchers, there might be a new recipe for hydrogen fuel: saltwater, electrodes and solar power. The researchers have developed a proof-of-concept for separating hydrogen and oxygen gas from seawater via electricity. It's far cheaper than the current methods, which rely on creating hydrogen fuel from purified water.

Breaking up a substance like water to create hydrogen and oxygen is called electrolysis and is a scientific technique centuries old. It was first codified by British scientific legend Michael Faraday, whose two laws of electrolysis from 1834 still guide scientists today. With a power source connecting to two water-based electrodes, scientists can get hydrogen bubbles to come out of an end called an cathode, while oxygen comes out of an end called an anode.

That works fine for fresh water, but saltwater is trickier because of its ability to corrode electrodes with chloride, which would limit a system's lifespan. The trick for Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford, and his team was a change in materials.

If the anode was coated with negative charges, the scientists realized, those layers repel chloride and temper the rate of decay in the underlying metal. They created a nickel foam core, and on top of that layered nickel-iron hydroxide and then nickel sulfide. The foam core acts a conductor, and the nickel-iron hydroxide starts the electrolysis.

Without the negative charges, a system like this would run for only 12 hours. "The whole electrode falls apart into a crumble," says Michael Kenney, a graduate student in the Dai lab and co-lead author on the paper, speaking in a press statement. "But with this layer, it is able to go more than a thousand hours."
I've only posted half of the article (no idea if you allow here to post a full article or not) but I find this really interesting.

It looks like one variant of wilderness refuelling could be around, but even if ship-based fusion reactors aren't a possibility in real-life or your particular Traveller/Cepheus Engine universe, I'm sure hydrogen still has uses for fuel cells and other such things?

McPerth March 24th, 2019 01:55 PM

Well, that's what I always understood ocean refuelling is in Traveller, but using fusion power instead of solar one (though solar powre can also be used)...

wellis March 24th, 2019 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McPerth (Post 600310)
Well, that's what I always understood ocean refuelling is in Traveller, but using fusion power instead of solar one (though solar powre can also be used)...

I imagine a fusion reactor provides a lot more power for the cracking of water.

To me, it's more the coating of the electrodes that sounds interesting.

McPerth March 24th, 2019 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wellis (Post 600311)
I imagine a fusion reactor provides a lot more power for the cracking of water.

To me, it's more the coating of the electrodes that sounds interesting.

With the new materials available in Traveller (crystalion, superdense, etc). I guess this problem is solved since the begining of the space travel.

rhialto March 25th, 2019 07:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McPerth (Post 600312)
With the new materials available in Traveller (crystalion, superdense, etc). I guess this probales is solved since the begining of the space travel.

One would think so, yes. Still an interesting read, thanks for the pointer: I particularly like the idea of using such materials on a dive suit, to enable refueling while underwater...

I'm still holding out hope that we'll see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in my lifetime...I know there are pilot programs and proof-of-concepts being done by various manufacturers, but nothing widely viable yet.

atpollard March 25th, 2019 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rhialto (Post 600322)
I'm still holding out hope that we'll see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in my lifetime...

... because everyone should have the opportunity to drive their own private Hindenburg! :eek:
;)

rhialto March 25th, 2019 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by atpollard (Post 600323)
... because everyone should have the opportunity to drive their own private Hindenburg! :eek:
;)

The fuel cells use liquid hydrogen, but yes, as with petroleum there would be some danger of human error causing flames...;)

wellis March 25th, 2019 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rhialto (Post 600322)
One would think so, yes. Still an interesting read, thanks for the pointer: I particularly like the idea of using such materials on a dive suit, to enable refueling while underwater...

I'm still holding out hope that we'll see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in my lifetime...I know there are pilot programs and proof-of-concepts being done by various manufacturers, but nothing widely viable yet.

Japan is apparently betting big on hydrogen cars: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/18/70087...-hydrogen-cars

atpollard March 25th, 2019 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wellis (Post 600332)
Japan is apparently betting big on hydrogen cars: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/18/70087...-hydrogen-cars

A dollar says they loose that bet. :)

I am not against LH2, but Physics sure is.
  1. Low density means a large fuel tank.
  2. Low energy density means a short range.
  3. Cryogenic means lots of expensive insulation.
  4. High pressure means a strong, heavy tank.
  5. small molecular size means insidious diffusion through common materials ... requiring expensive exotic materials to contain it.
  6. Handling cryogenic liquids is dangerous for fuel transfer.
  7. Inability to be shipped long distances due to boil-off, means that hydrogen is most economically generated as-needed at the local "fuel station".
  8. Low economies of scale due to dispersed small generation plants.

The AutoMakers are generally putting their money into batteries and rapid charging stations.

wellis March 28th, 2019 01:54 AM

Isn't a big issue with electric cars still how slowly they charge? Frankly filling up a gas tank is a lot faster than charging batteries.

Also they're expensive as hell still.


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