Another new liquid energy storage medium

Chemists in Oregon have come up with a new way to store hydrogen in liquid form at room temperature.  Easy to get it to absorb H2, easy to get it to let it go.  Just gotta work on the energy density (so no, you won’t be seeing this at the gas pumps anytime soon, it’s just cool, like Robbs find of the MIT Electro Goo).

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5 Responses to Another new liquid energy storage medium

  1. Lyle says:

    Back up a bit there; “…gasoline infrastructure into one based on hydrogen.”
    Hydrogen is not an energy source like oil. You get more out of oil than you spend getting it. That’s not true for hydrogen, so it’s not a source of energy any more than batteries are a source of energy. You build the hydrogen storage system, then you have to find the energy to put into it.

  2. This is where solar & wind can come in. We now have catalysts that permit the electrolysis of water at much higher efficiencies than before. If you use the electricity generated by non-fossil fuel sources to charge the goo, or split the water, instead of tying it into the grid, you can overcome the energy consistency problem of solar & wind. Similar to what they want to do with molten salts, but at room temperature. Same trick at home. A tank in my basement full of goo or hydro-liquid being charged up from my home solar or wind array is a lot easier to deal with (and potentially cheaper) than a bank of lead-acid or LiON batteries.

    There is a lot of energy in the sun and wind (& tides, & waves), more than enough to meet our needs. With solar & wind, we all know the problem isn’t so much lack of generating ability at peak sun or wind, it’s night & the cloudy or calm days that kill it. If you can produce energy more than you need today, and easily/cheaply store the excess for the off-peak producing times, you change the game.

    Short term, gas isn’t going anywhere, but there are a lot of smart people working very hard to find a way to create an alternative liquid energy medium that can exist alongside petroleum and compete with it, and if it can use the same equipment, all the better.

    Long term, petrol is likely going to go away, or at least be reduced, even if we do open up new areas for exploration. And honestly, if you believe in any kind of free market, you should be at least excited in anything that can potentially compete with an established product.

  3. Wildman7316 says:

    Mad Rocket Scientist,

    Don’t want to be the one throwing the cold water of reality on your dreams, but the ONLY way that ANY intermittent energy source (which both Solar and Wind are) is going to be usable is to be run into a storage medium that is NOT sensitive to variations in voltage and/or amperage. While there are automated hydrolysis units out there, all of them are VERY fussy about the voltage and amperage they are fed. They are also rather finicky about the water you feed them, tap water is just flat not going to cut it. Nor are any of them anything I would want to have attached to my dwelling place. (On the Nuclear Submarines which I served on they are referred to as “The Bomb” for a reason.) You’re still going to have a need for those banks of batteries.

    Once you’ve gotten your hydrogen, then what? I’ve noticed that those Department of Energy Projects don’t get a lot of support from the Military or Private Industry. How many kilograms of storage medium is it going to take to store one kilogram of hydrogen? If it’s more that three, than weight wise you are better off with gasoline and if it’s more than fifteen than you might just as well use lithium batteries.

  4. Kristopher says:

    There already is a way to deal with the energy density.

    Use the Sabatier process to convert it and CO2 into Methane. Four H atoms instead of two in the same space, as well as a free C atom to burn as well, and it’s easier to handle.

    Which begs the question … why not just compress natural gas and sell that at the gas station?

    H2 as fuel is just another feelgood boondoggle.

  5. Rivrdog says:

    When I lived/worked in Western MA over 4 decades ago, they engineered a solution to diurnal power demand peaks with the smaller hydro units on the Connecticut River – pumped storage. They put reservoirs onto/into the hilltops above the river, and pumped river water uphill when there was excess power, and drained it down the penstocks into the turbines when there was over-demand. It worked well. Spendy to install, but lasts damn near forever.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northfield_Mountain

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