Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Electrical Storage in Hydrogen

Windmills and other alternative sources of electricity, produce a surplus of electricity when there is low demand. When we think of storing electricity, batteries come to mind; the problem with batteries is that they are expensive, slowly lose charge, and have a gradual decline of efficiency. Our alternative is hydrogen storage.

When water (with an electrolyte like baking soda) is electrolyzed, hydrogen and oxygen are produced. Hydrogen can be burned; through burning, it turns back into pure H2O. Hydrogen is clean energy.

Hydrogen can be stored in three ways:
  1. Liquid-Hydrogen can be cooled down to -423 °F, where it reached it's liquid state. It takes a significant amount of energy to achieve this, thus is inefficient to store energy. 
  2. Gas-Hydrogen can be pressurized to a couple thousand PSI. Though it takes energy to pressurize H2, large amounts can be stored without further inputs. High pressure storage is ideal for stationary situations.
  3. Solid-Hydrogen can be absorbed into solid materials called hydrides. Some of these hydrides can be warmed a small amount to release hydrogen. Hydrides are ideal for mobile storage, as in H2 powered vehicles. Unfortunately, a hydride that has a high rate of release at low temperatures (80-150 °F) has not yet been made, though there are hydrides that have a low rate of release at low temperatures.
Efficient storage of energy is important to Thrivalism. 
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