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Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:57 pm
by AskGerbil
Fuel cells are likely to be the dominant energy technology of this century.

Wind power producing electricity at night can be used to regenerate fuel for fuel cells to use in peak demand periods.

Solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal energy can be used to regenerate fuel for use by fuel cells at any time of the day or night. (They will do the same job as a battery.)

Bio-char and other bio-fuels can be used more efficiently by fuel cells than internal combustion engines. (Algae can capture solar energy more cheaply than solar PV panels. The algae can then be used to produce fuel for fuel cells.)

And when severe storms knock down power-lines fuel cells will provide power continuously throughout the emergency.

For a good explanation about why some (but not all) types of fuel cells have such a promising future, see a new Australian booklet "Cyclic Heat to Work Conversion Systems" that summarizes the key principles and some simple options that show we haven't even scratched the surface when it comes to highly efficient energy transformation processes. An overview and preview is available at Google Books http://books.google.com.au/books?id=fwlclMMfol4C&dq=cyclic+heat+to+work+conversion&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=lDQDwvxzo6&sig=5x7UllfsHqMbodXDQWIq3iL98Xc&hl=en&ei=GcoES8zqCNCPkQWyzqXPCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCEQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=&f=false.

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Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:57 pm
by Tracker
AskGerbil wrote:Fuel cells are likely to be the dominant energy technology of this century.


I for one will believe it when I see it..
I feel that Fuel-Cells are not all they are cracked up to be, because so much energy is needed to produce the Hydrogen.. They are a battery of another kind.

Surely, the only thing they have going for them, is the issue of materials being renewable, provided that there is electricity.. ie. Electricity+water to fuel to Electricity+water.. Fine if you are in outer-space and you have no capacity for storage batteries, and plenty of PV to replenish the cycle.

Solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal energy can be used to regenerate fuel for use by fuel cells at any time of the day or night.

How does SOLAR anything, work at night? If you are going to charge batteries , then why waste that energy "Charging" a fuel cell??

Beam-me-up Scottie !

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:49 pm
by AskGerbil
Tracker wrote:
I feel that Fuel-Cells are not all they are cracked up to be because so much energy is needed to produce the Hydrogen..


Feelings can lead you up the wrong path, and to the wrong conclusions.

The principles that underpin the operation of energy conversion cycles that use fuel cells mean they can convert solar energy into electricity more economically than solar photovoltaic systems.

provided that there is electricity.. ie. Electricity+water to fuel to Electricity+water..

You do not need to use electricity to create the fuel for a fuel cell. Solar thermal energy and biofuel (chemical) energy can also be used. (And zinc-air fuel cells don't need any hydrogen.) Read the book..."Cyclic Heat to Work Conversion Systems"

How does SOLAR anything, work at night?


??? Well, SOLAR recharged batteries and fuel cells work at night.

If you are going to charge batteries , then why waste that energy "Charging" a fuel cell??


Why waste energy charging a battery when a fuel cell is more versatile and can also do the job of a battery?

AND - a fuel cell can also be used in systems for direct conversion of solar energy and other sources of chemical energy into electricity. Why waste money on batteries?

Cheers.

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:24 am
by franks
On the sky news channel this week some Aussie Mob has a Ceramic fuel Cell runs on Natural Gas, the price is $30k and said for generating all power for a home you will need 3 times the typical natual gas usage for HWS and Heating.
If the price is say $2-4k I would think about using one for cogeneration heating in winter times and generate some power.

http://www.cfcl.com.au/BlueGen/

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:38 am
by vajras
No price has been set for the CFC BlueGen units yet but they did announce this week that Neco in Blackburn, VIC will be distributing them.

Ceramic Fuel Cells Appoints Neco to Sell BlueGen Gas-to-Electricity Units

And as Victoria has the world’s highest CO2 emissions per capita if these CFCL units replaced just 7% of Victoria's electricity from brown coal, the State would achieve the Federal Government's target of a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions, well before 2020.

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:04 pm
by franks
What about distrubited mini gas turbine generators (fueled with Natural Gas) around the Suburbs, 10Mw gas turbine generator the size of a 40' shipping container, simple cycle units have a efficency of 40%, the simple cycle units can be started in 5mins from cold.
Install then all around in factory arears ect, with the generators being close to the comsumers there is less transmission losses, its calculated the energy value of brown coal from Latrobe Valley, converted to electric power transmitted (transmission losses) to comsumer, the total effecency is about 18%, i have read somewhere.
Saying that, if the fuel cells get cheaper and have a high efficency say 50%+, there is no reason to have them embedded in all homes, with Renewable power systems installed and scrap the whole Latrobe Valley.

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:21 pm
by Bthree
franks wrote:What about distrubited mini gas turbine generators (fueled with Natural Gas) around the Suburbs, 10Mw gas turbine generator the size of a 40' shipping container, simple cycle units have a efficency of 40%, the simple cycle units can be started in 5mins from cold.


Sounds good but the gas supply pipe and infastructure would be a large challange, possibly huge !

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:33 pm
by franks
Brickworks and large Bakerys, they use a lot of Gas, In Melbourne theres already 3 50-100Mw Gas Turbines in operation.
Smaller units will be even easy to place, Im suggesting smaller Gas Turbines distrubited aroung is better than dirty Brown Coal Generators in the Latrobe Valley.
Natural Gas fired Generator produces 60% of CO2, and less NOx for the same size Coal fired Generator.
But by all means take up more Renew power and micro home generators and use new and emerging technologys.
I like to see all the Generators in Latrove Valley Bulldozed.

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:17 am
by CnCandy
The Blue Gen unit will probably Gobble Natural Gas like nobody's seen but gas is cheaper the more you use!

No one has any idea of it's cost as yet some say $6k, I suspect it will be higher. The maintenance plan of a service every year and a quarterly replacement of the cell modules means your in for a long term service contract. It won't get any REC's ( roughly 350 if it did ) since its not renewable. Feed in Tariff's are usually for Solar PV systems at least it is in SA so you won't get to take advantage of FIT's you'd probably just have a meter constantly spinning backwards really fast!

It's all a mute point since its just moving the point of generation from the Coal plant to a gas plant in your house. Does say you get some water out of it in the conversion process and about 200L of free hot water which isn't so bad.

Re: Fuel Cells - A Big Future and Better than a Battery

PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:46 pm
by AskGerbil
CnCandy wrote:The Blue Gen unit will probably Gobble Natural Gas like nobody's seen but gas is cheaper the more you use!

No one has any idea of it's cost as yet some say $6k, I suspect it will be higher. The maintenance plan of a service every year and a quarterly replacement of the cell modules means your in for a long term service contract. It won't get any REC's ( roughly 350 if it did ) since its not renewable. Feed in Tariff's are usually for Solar PV systems at least it is in SA so you won't get to take advantage of FIT's you'd probably just have a meter constantly spinning backwards really fast!

It's all a mute point since its just moving the point of generation from the Coal plant to a gas plant in your house. Does say you get some water out of it in the conversion process and about 200L of free hot water which isn't so bad.


The new Genifuel/PNNL system turns solar energy into natural gas - using algae and a gasifier. If Australian farmers can run this technology and make a profit, we may have a whole new way to deliver solar energy to homes and industry. http://www.pnl.gov/news/release.aspx?id=368