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High-yield hydrogen production from biomass

By EBGuy follow EBGuy   2015 Apr 13, 12:27pm 3,524 views   6 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


This one's for all you hydrogen haters out there. Ultimately, it looks like what they're hoping for is a massively distributed system with smaller facilities for producing hydrogen from biowaste feedstocks. With that type of system, they can dispense with having to building redundant hydrogen pipelines. A long shot, but it does appear more viable than the current sate of the art facilities (fossil fuel hydrogen from fracked natural gas).
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/04/01/1417719112

1   NoCoupForYou   ignore (5)   2015 Apr 13, 1:03pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Unfortunately, this is a theoretical model and not any kind of actual experiment. Even if it was, you'd have a scaling problem.

They're visualizing a purpose-engineered "ideal" bacteria to break down the sugars, and ASSUME that it will be developed, to reach their numbers.

2   EBGuy   ignore (1)   2015 Apr 13, 3:00pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

TL, must admit, they got me hook, line and sinker. I re-read some of the ancillary "press releases" and noticed this bon mot:The team already has received significant funding for the next step of the project, which is to scale up production to a demonstration size. If you're correct, the term "scale up" is being totally abused. How do you scale up from nothing (or do they have some results using test tubes in the lab)? At any rate, will be interesting to track.

3   NoCoupForYou   ignore (5)   2015 Apr 13, 3:04pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

EBGuy says

TL, must admit, they got me hook, line and sinker. I re-read some of the ancillary "press releases" and noticed this bon mot:The team already has received significant funding for the next step of the project, which is to scale up production to a demonstration size. If you're correct, the term "scale up" is being totally abused. How do you scale up from nothing (or do they have some results using test tubes in the lab)? At any rate, will be interesting to track.

Thanks for this. I'm not trying to be dick, just skeptical that hydro will ever be a feasible way out of our energy predicament. Seems to me tidal and solar steam (and 4th+ Gen Nukes) are more viable and ought to get many times the grants they currently do.

4   justme   ignore (0)   2015 Apr 13, 4:48pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Additonally, even if the missing link bacterium could be engineered, one simply cannot get from biomass sugars (meaning: carbohydrates) to H2 without disposing of the C and the O along the way, and I would be very surprised if the carbon would not have to be disposed as CO2.

Addendum: If you're going to emit CO2, just make ethanol from the biomass. Ethanol is a much better fuel (liquid) thwn H2 (gas) and the net result of CO2 will be the same.

Postulate: For any process to make (H2), there will be another way of getting more usable energy and less or equal CO2 from the same energy input.

5   EBGuy   ignore (1)   2015 Apr 13, 5:05pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Don't worry about the CO2 byproduct as: Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed an artificial photosynthetic scheme for the direct solar-powered production of value-added chemicals from CO2 and water using a two-step process involving a biocompatible light-capturing nanowire array with a direct interface with microbial systems. Either that or we'll feed the CO2 to a tub of oil producing algae.

6   justme   ignore (0)   2015 Apr 13, 11:40pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

EBGuy says

Don't worry about the CO2 byproduct as: Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed an artificial photosynthetic scheme for the direct solar-powered production of value-added chemicals from CO2 and water using a two-step process involving a biocompatible light-capturing nanowire array with a direct interface with microbial systems. Either that or we'll feed the CO2 to a tub of oil producing algae.

Sorry, but no. The conversion efficiency of the solar energy was 0.2-0.38% in the quoted study. You'd do better by planting a tree. Or Sugarcane. Sugarcane is 8%. The study is cute but nothing more than cute.


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