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Alernative fuels

"[http://www.youtube.c...|Saltwater engine]"

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I like. it's not electric and has the potential to make noise.

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This has been around for years.

Completely impractical to run any form of automobile engine.

Move along, nothing to see here...

Hmmm...I wonder how the Majikk Enjin is coming along ? Seems like they've taken a break from calculating launch trajectories and performing frontal lobe surgery to develop their Engine That Runs on Puppy Dog Tears.

The silence is deafening.

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Hydrogen seems to be the best idea it's the most abundant element in the world and it's gaining it's energy from oxygen atoms forging to the oxygen so the only pollution is water. And it won't hurt the economy to much since it takes just as much effort to get pure hydrogen as it does oil. But is a lil more explosive so they recon the price to run your car will be similar to fuel at the present or even cheaper like the old days. But it will hurt mechanics seeing as there is only one moving part in the engine so not to many problems will arise due to wear and tear. Just maybe glitches in the software meaning it will produce a bigger expansion into computer tech and data entry techs.

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It has it's pluses and minuses, as do all technologies.

The salient point with using hydrogen as fuel for internal combustion engines (which our resident nutjobs completely misunderstand) is that hydrogen doesn't occur naturally on earth, unlike oil and petrochemicals and it's an energy carrier, not a source.

Here's how it works.

The sun shines of a heap of plants millions of years ago.
The plants use the light energy from the sun falling on their leaves to photosynthesise basic sugars (hydrocarbons).
For this they need water, and carbon dioxide, some trace elements like Nitrogen as well as the sunlight to provide the energy to drive the whole process.
Then as the plants die their "bodies" collapse and are slowly subsumed into the ground, assuming conditions are favourable.
Over millions of years the plant biomass is slowly 'cooked' and the hydrocarbons contained within them turn into oil, whole giant underground lakes of the stuff.
We then come along, pump the oil up to the surface, process it in refineries and then use it to power things like electric generators and cars etc.

So, we burn the oil...it combines with oxygen and creates a heap more hydrocarbon by-products PLUS energy..al la heat...fire...*bang* Oil is like a charged up battery, full of chemical energy just waiting to be liberated or used.

Now, here is the kicker...this is a chemical reaction..thus mass is preserved. If I completely burn a kilo of oil and a kilo of oxygen (the ratios differ in real life, but lets just pretend) and then collect ALL the resulting gases and soot and smoke and stuff and weigh it I'll find it equals EXACTLY two kilos of "stuff". I end up with EXACTLY the same mass as what I started with. So, what about the energy you say....where does that come from..well, it's locked up as chemical energy in the chemical bonds within atoms in the oil in the first place. All I'm doing is turning the oil from something that contains lots of energy (petrol) into something that contains less energy (soot, ash etc) by burning it with oxygen...an "exothermic" reaction.

Ok, so where did the energy in the oil come from then ?..easy...from the original sunlight. The plants "trapped" it and used it to create the hydrocarbons in the first place. So, the energy that is used to move your car down the road now is the exact same energy that fell on a leaf a few hundred million years ago, just in a different form. I seem to remember the amount of energy striking a square metre of ground at noon on a sunny day in an hour is about the same as a cigarette paper dropped on it...ie: not much....but multiply that by billions of square meters over millions of years....it adds up. Oil is also very "energy dense" which means you get a lot of energy out per unit of oil you burn (depending on grade of course). So after I burn the oil I end up with essentially "oil-chemically-combined-with-oxygen"...which is waste..byproduct....hardly any energy left..it's all been "used"....this is why charcoal or ash doesn't burn...it can't..it's ALREADY had it's chemical energy liberated.

Now, contrast this with hydrogen.

Hydrogen does not occur naturally on the Earth...there are no lakes of Hydrogen just waiting to be pumped. All the earths hydrogen is chemically bound with something else, like oxygen say (called water). So it's already burnt...it's already at a low energy state, you can't 'burn" it any further to try and get energy out. So, to get hydrogen we have to chemically split it from whatever it's reacted with already and this takes energy.

So, we have to put energy in first, to get the hydrogen in the first place, and we need a LOT of energy to do that.

So, we get some water (easily obtained, lots of it around) and we slam some electricity through it and split the water molecules and draw off the hydrogen gas (and the oxygen too if we want). We then put the gases in another container, say an engine cylinder and fire it off... *bang*..the hydrogen and oxygen recombine..releasing energy and I get my original water back !

Now..the kicker here is the good ol' Principle of Conservation of Energy. The amount of energy we get back out is ALWAYS equal too, or less than (due to losses, no process is 100% efficient) the amount of energy we had to use to split up the water in the first place ! So we get a box...fill it with water...pump in a heap of electricity.....store the resulting gases....take them down the street, put them in a car..start it up and drive off......the hydrogen (forget the oxygen component as we can get that from the air) is merely a fancy energy STORAGE mechanism, like an UNCHARGED or flat battery. NO "new" energy is being produced as we have to generate the electricity to split the water FIRST anyway.

This differs from the oil scenario where you're effectively pumping up batteries from the ground that are ALREADY fully charged due to the sun a long, long time ago..the energy is already there, we don't have to provide it first (well, apart from pumping and refining but that's a small percentage of the overall amount).

Also, hydrogen isn't very energy dense...to get the same amount of energy as a litre of oil/petrol I'd have to burn at least twice as much hydrogen. Plus hydrogen is a gas and doesn't compress/liquefy very well.......and is very explosive in air so that creates all sorts of handling and fuelling issues but nothing that probably can't be sorted out in time.

So, you either keep on digging up "free" or "cheap" energy in the form of oil and pollute the hell out of everything.... OR, you could possibly build nuclear power stations , split a heap of water with them and use the resulting hydrogen gas to power your internal combustion engines.....I think that's an idea that needs to be explored more here seeing as we sit on huge Uranium reserves and have lots of spaces with no-one for miles to build reactors on.

OH, by the way...the above is also why the bullsh&t "HHO" majic boxes for your car are garbage and never, ever work, under any circumstances anywhere, anytime, ever. I won't go into why again as it's covered elsewhere......

I look forward to our resident nutjob(s) reporting in on their perpetual motion Hillman Hunters any day now !

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Apart from the greengrocer's apostrophe in the title this is all pretty much correct. I would change "Plus hydrogen is a gas and doesn't compress/liquefy very well" to read "Plus hydrogen AS a gas doesn't compress/liquefy very well"

As far as the nutjobs go, last I heard they were completely discredited as a pack of fools. I doubt they'll be back anytime soon.

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I get busy and the odd typo slips in.

I did pick up the error in the last sentence but I couldn't be bothered fixing it.

It comes from never using spellcheck.

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Rather than using that nuclear energy to split water and make hydrogen and create all the logistical problems of storing and delivering the hydrogen why not use that nuclear energy to create steam to drive turbines to generate electicity which could be distribuited through our existing infrastructure to charge our electric cars at times of low demand; ie: off peak while we sleep?
Electric cars getting up to 200km on a charge now, which much more than the overwhelming majority of us ever drive in a day.
David

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Old is good.

Well, there's a couple of good options.

1: Start with nuclear power stations.

2: Either electrolyse water for the hydrogen OR just use the power as you say to drive electric cars..OR use fuel cells ...OR some combination of some/all of them.

There are a lot of problems to solve....our existing infrastructure wouldn't have a prayer of fast charging a million cars every evening....hydrogen gas is pretty dicey to cart around in a tank in your car....for example...but they're engineering problems.

However, something has to be done, we can't be dependant on fossil fuels forever.

The whole thing needs some decent cash and brainpower thrown at it.

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Well written Stan. You could have just said energy can not be created or destroyed- it can only change its form.
:-)
I do like your explanation though as it explains how and why. I'm not a scientist so I only have some very basic grasps - but always interested to learn from fact.

My question is that we live on this rotating lump of rock and although in terms of scale we are small and the earth is quite big - eventually we will use it up. So we are floating around in space surrounded by energy. Like you said stored hydrocarbons we use as an energy source came via the sun which isnt part of this planet. So we need to look at getting our energy sources from places other than earth.

How much stored energy is floating about in space and how do we get it is another engineering problem - a galactic size engineering problem!

So far solar energy is the only free resource that isnt taking from our own finite resources.

Cheers streetneat-Andrew.

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Cheap, Fast, Good - pick two.
If its cheap and its fast - it wont be good.
If its good and its cheap - it wont be fast.
If its fast and its good - it wont be cheap.

StreetneatShed

Dark matter...
On the nuclear note, there is one main problem, other than no one wanting a reactor or spent fuel rods in thier back yard.
Protecting the spent fuel rods from terrorists is the primary concern.
All they would need to do is get one fuel rod, strap it to a bomb and explode it in a populous area, and we're stuffed.
I have a few DVD rips on Hydrogen that I tried uploading quite a few years ago, but they were too large.
Funny thing about a Hydrogen engine, the air coming out the exhaust, is cleaner than the air going into the intake.
It also produces pure water from the exhaust

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Cheers
John
:o)

Dislike me for who I am you may, like me for whom I'm not, you never will...
MY SHED

If you would like me to upload all the movie files I have, 17 files totalling about 2.8 gig, can you set the upload on the folder in my shed to allow this?
http://gallery.oldho...
:o)
Edit, largest file is about 450meg, and they are VERY good informative veiwing, even though they are a few years old now.

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Cheers
John
:o)

Dislike me for who I am you may, like me for whom I'm not, you never will...
MY SHED

Probably not for the reasons you're thinking and because the sheds need replacing. Please put the titles up so people can get them.

btw below. I _believe_ you can do impressive things with bits out of a rear projection tv screen and a well known hydrogen engine, you'd want to be careful welding though.
http://www.youtube.c...

o.0

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http://thepiratebay....
Just found this one done by the same people as a follow up, but have not yet downloaded it.
http://thepiratebay....

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Cheers
John
:o)

Dislike me for who I am you may, like me for whom I'm not, you never will...
MY SHED

Thats illegal.

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Good thing I'm not Dave then..
Besides, just because the owners of the site have been sent to jail doesn't make it illegal does it?
:p
:o)

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Cheers
John
:o)

Dislike me for who I am you may, like me for whom I'm not, you never will...
MY SHED

Pebble bed reactors are the way to go.

Inbuilt safety in the design and the spent fuel is a lot easier to deal with than conventional designs, PLUS it's VERY yard to reprocess the spent fuel into weapons.

Of course, a "dirty bomb" is always a possibility but even then the pebbled design makes that very impractical.

There are thousands of reactors of conventional design all around the world and so far no-one been able to get their hands on fuel rods unauthorised.

OH..wow...I found a wiki link....... enjoy!

http://en.wikipedia....

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Well, there are actually lots of energy sources available to us.......it's just that pumping up oil and gas is EASY.

Why bother going to all that trouble and expense when all you really have to do is dig a hole in the ground and up comes easily transportable energy ?

Well, apart from the pollution and that the supplies are finite.

Most people don't realise this BUT, if civilisation as we know it falls (via die-back, wars, famine etc), it's HIGHLY unlikely another technological civilisation could arise in the future....why ?

Because we've already used up the easily exploitable energy/resources.

If you're some 15th century tech level guy in the amazing year 3457AD and you start thinking about the "lost technologies of the past" then you will have major difficulties that the actual 15th century guys never faced.

Want to experiment with oil and petrol and internal combustion engines?...how?...no oil left...least nothing that you could access with a pick a shovel...

Want to try making a power grid?..how ?..no copper, aluminium, tin, zinc etc left that you could dig up with your shovel...... etc etc etc etc.....

This is our 'shot"...we mess it up and it's over.....permanently.

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Sad sad... just shows how conditioned your thoughts are!

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