Wednesday, February 7, 2007

"Today I am pleased to announce that the United States will sponsor a $1 billion, 10-year demonstration project to create the world's first coal-based, zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen power plant..." President George W. Bush
February 27, 2003

The FutureGen initiative is to build hydrogen production using coal as the hydrogen production energy source. The process being considered in FutureGen includes carbon sequestering using various geological storage sites. Still this process does not free us from fossil fuels. Is this process needed?

The honest answer is yes. Building a hydrogen economy will take time and there is a logical progression required. Building infrastructure is a major consideration. The first true production hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV) will be hitting the market in the next few years. Fueling stations for hydrogen are extremely limited. More sources of inexpensive hydrogen are required to build the hydrogen infrastructure.

Coal and other fossil fuels including natural gas are abundant and easily converted to hydrogen using existing technology. Cleaner, less fossil fuel dependent methods like electrolysis and waste heat driven thermolysis are advancing. Still, the efficiencies of these cleaner hydrogen production technologies require inexpensive energy for cost effective production.

The inexpensive energies for hydrogen production in the high quantities needed are on the way, but not quickly enough. Interim steps like coal source hydrogen and liquid natural gas fuel cells will help to build the hydrogen infrastructure. The key to converting to a hydrogen-based economy is economics. We can’t break the bank. Gasoline prices will still set the standard for growth in alternate fuels. So the transition has to be fiscally responsible.

Coal power plants like FutureGen serve to demonstrate and refine technologies that will be used building and supplying our hydrogen energy future. While you may not agree with FutureGen, it is a valuable step on the road to our energy future.


Hydrogen TRUTH said...

Hydrogen production in the clean alternatives means that the Hydrogen itself comes from clean energy and the energy required to make the parts for the clean energy also come from clean energy.

Any time somebody gets off the track talking about biomass or coal, of natural gas, or oil reforming, gently but firmly put them back on track by telling them that every fuel with carbon in it is excluded from the discussion. The carbon solutions go into The Dirty Temporary Measures or The Dirty Temporary Measures With Carbon Sequestration, which also includes "carbon-neutral" suggestions such as ethanol or biodiesel.

Nuclear power is also off the table until confirmed dependable waste neutralizations measures exist which completely and effectively eliminate the biohazard properties in the wastes.


That leaves for consideration:

* Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Power
* Solar Thermal Energy
* Wind Electric Generation
* Hydroelectric Generation

* Geothermal Electric
* Direct Solar Catalysis
* Biological Catalysis>
* Tidal Power

Since H2-PV will be universal within 41 years (2048) providing 100% of the world's energy needs, if not as soon as 10 years (2017), it deserves and receives the most explanation. The others are backups, of which H2-WIND could also provide 100% of global requirements, although H2-PV-WIND is the fastest route.

Dallas said...

I agree completely. However, some interim steps using local fossil fuels will be required for the transistion.

While FutureGen is not the final answer, cleaning exsisting coal plants and making better use of their waste heat is a positive step.

Wind, tidal and solar are the main objectives. Geothermal where practical and biological are attractive.

I disagree about nuclear. Waste storage is problimatic, but not necessarily insurmountable.

Dirty temporary measures are not ideal but better than none at all. Biological sequestering holds great potential in a more permanate form of sequestering.

Thanks for your comment.