Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Break Though in Hydrogen Storage - Ammonia Borane

Watts Up With That has a post on Hydrogen Getting the Dynamite Treatment. As with most break through reports, I take this with a grain of salt. Once cost estimate start rolling in, then I can get more serious.

The ammonia borane storage could have a fairly large safety impact as much psychological as real. Hydrogen explosions when properly contained are pretty destructive, but most motor vehicle crashes don't create great conditions for an optimum explosion. If you have ever seen the Hindenburg film, you have an idea of what happens. Under pressure a hydrogen leak will burn like a torch until the temperature of the tank rises enough for a rupture. Then you can get a pretty good bang similar to cooking off a propane tank. The biggest difference between propane and hydrogen is hydrogen has a larger range of combustion concentrations. Energy wise, hydrogen is pretty so so.

Psychologically, this may kick interest in hydrogen in the butt. Overcoming irrational fears seems to be the trick with any energy use now a days.

Since I am on the alternate energy subject, Nanosolar has an agreement with Belectric which used to be Beck Electric. Belectric is a big time installer of photovoltaic energy farms. This can be a big boost for Nanosolar and solar in general, but on a utility scale. Residential scale is my biggest interest because it is the way to go for personal energy independence. Utility scale PV is still a warm and fuzzy experiment and not a great investment without government subsidies. Cost effective PV on small scale makes much more sense economically and aesthetically.

I still haven't gotten around to building my prototype electrolyzer. I have had a few ideas on how to increase the operating pressure - safely. I don't want to build something that will blow up on me unless I want it to. It is still in the works though, stay tuned.

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