Air to Fuel - Science will save us all!

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  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 11:08:18 39,467 posts
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    Small British firm creates process to turn air into fuel with water

    I literally whooped when I saw this.

    Edited by mcmonkeyplc at 11:08:37 19-10-2012

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • chopsen 19 Oct 2012 11:13:53 16,126 posts
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    Realistically we're not going to give up carbon fuels in any meaningful quantity until cost (due to scarcity) makes them infeasible, forcing us to use alternatives. This just guarantees we're going to fuck the Earth up good and proper, by giving alternative sources. Good old British innovation!

    In any case, doing something in a lab at small scale is very different from making it industrially viable. Others have synthetically produced hydrocarbon based fuel before this. It's not a new concept.
  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 11:16:29 39,467 posts
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    It takes carbon from the atmosphere...I think that is new.

    As in creates a closed loop.

    Car burns Hyrdro-carbons > Emits carbons > A2F converts carbon back into fuel> Car burns Hydro-carbons.

    Industrial trials will begin in few years.

    LS9 do this through biological tinkering, this is different.

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • glaeken 19 Oct 2012 11:24:41 11,226 posts
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    It's pretty interesting stuff.

    As for this allowing us to use carbon fuels for longer and hence fuck up the Earth that seems to be ignoring the fact the process starts with removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Will we remove as much Co2 from the atmosphere as we put in to it is the question. If we are just talking about Co2 from the internal combustion engine then I would think we will be fine given the progress we have made over the last 30-40 years in cleaning up combustion engine emissions if progress continues in that area to the same degree.

    As I understand it Co2 from combustion engines is actually a pretty small factor in overall human Co2 output and adopting this technology would reduce it overall even if we factor in no further improvements in combustion engine emissions which I think personally is unlikely.

    Edited by glaeken at 11:25:41 19-10-2012
  • chopsen 19 Oct 2012 11:26:41 16,126 posts
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    The energy needed to be put in the system to convert to CO2 needs to come from somewhere, though. It's not a closed system. I know the article says they think this can be done from renewables, but in that case

    1. why not just have electric cars, the conversion of C02 to hydrocarbons is just a needless inefficiency.

    2. not going to be feasible at scales needed to supply our current hydrocarbon needs.

    3. Lol

    Edited by Chopsen at 11:29:00 19-10-2012
  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 11:31:02 39,467 posts
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    1. Most people own combustion engines. The entire world economy runs on them. It's easier to use a fuel that works with those than to create completely new infrastructure.

    2. They already say that they plan on producing 1 tonne of fuel per day in the future.

    3.ROFL

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • glaeken 19 Oct 2012 11:37:07 11,226 posts
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    Yeah give it some time. It's early days. Who knows this may end up a white elephant but I don't see any way it can be seen as not a positive development.

    Personally I think when it comes to just transport requirements fuel cells may well be the next step given the time frame of 15-20 years. There are many other uses for petro chemicals though which this may end up being useful for.
  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 11:38:59 39,467 posts
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    Yeah I agree that hydrogen fuel cells are probably the future but it's going to take a LONG time to develop the infrastructure to support that.

    This is a medium term solution, which we all need.

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • sport 19 Oct 2012 11:42:45 12,775 posts
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    Is this the same principle that would allow a spaceman to survive indefinitely if no energy entered or escaped his suit?
  • Tonka 19 Oct 2012 11:45:19 20,820 posts
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    Countdown to the "Freak accident kills scientists and destroys all their data"

    10
    9
    8

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • chopsen 19 Oct 2012 11:46:07 16,126 posts
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    1. They do now. The market will change over the lifetime to reflect viable technologies, which in turn will be driven by necessity. Cars don't really last that long. How many cars do you see on the road that have been around for >20 years? How long do you think it will take for this to be viable and economical on the large scale?

    2. They can plan what they want. Doesn't mean it's realistic.

    3. Roflcopeter.

    glaken, yeah, it's interesting. But I don't think that one single technology is going to be out saviour for energy requirements - we need diversity. For transport, yeah fuel cells look like a possibility. Don't think we should be looking at this one specific technology as being the solution to all our problems. It's just one possibility for one option among many. And it's not without it's problems.

    Edited by Chopsen at 11:46:54 19-10-2012
  • boo 19 Oct 2012 11:48:24 11,845 posts
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    /adds scientist's names to celebrity death predictions list

    Just Another Lego Blog

  • glaeken 19 Oct 2012 11:50:55 11,226 posts
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    @mcmonkeyplc We already have the infrastructure. We just need that additional piece of tech in front of the fuel cell that splits the hydrogen out from water. So you just fill up your first stage tank with water and the splitter works away filling your second stage tank with hydrogen. The splitter function of course works constantly until the hydrogen tank is full so even when parked up it will be ticking away if your hydrogen tank is not full.

    Of course there is a slight draw back in that no-one is actually quite doing this yet but I do believe I have read that someone somewhere was working on the idea of producing an efficient small mechanism that would split hydrogen out of water. It might possibly have been a dream though.

    Edited by glaeken at 11:52:05 19-10-2012
  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 11:51:04 39,467 posts
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    @chopsen Oh I agree that diversity is required but like I said this isn't a long term solution it's a medium term solution which will smooth our path to our hydrogen overlords.

    We should shut up now. Shell are probably sending over their men right now!

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • glaeken 19 Oct 2012 11:55:33 11,226 posts
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    @Chopsen Why would we only pursue one single technology? I don't see any reason that would happen. Eventually we will come up with something that's better and cheaper than the combustion engine at which point it's dead and it's in someone’s interest to do that.
  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 12:00:30 39,467 posts
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    glaeken wrote:
    @mcmonkeyplc We already have the infrastructure. We just need that additional piece of tech in front of the fuel cell that splits the hydrogen out from water. So you just fill up your first stage tank with water and the splitter works away filling your second stage tank with hydrogen. The splitter function of course works constantly until the hydrogen tank is full so even when parked up it will be ticking away if your hydrogen tank is not full.

    Of course there is a slight draw back in that no-one is actually quite doing this yet but I do believe I have read that someone somewhere was working on the idea of producing an efficient small mechanism that would split hydrogen out of water. It might possibly have been a dream though.
    This would be the ultimate dream invention water to hydrogen in a cheap and energy efficient process. When that happens we can all rejoice but that hasn't happened yet. This is the closest we've come.

    Also this actually uses water to create hydro-carbons, what to say that they can't develop this Air to Fuel process to develop just hydrogen further down the road?

    All good though. At least we know there are good men out there working away to solve our problems while we sit here and consume like pigs :)

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • chopsen 19 Oct 2012 12:05:31 16,126 posts
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    glaeken wrote:
    @Chopsen Why would we only pursue one single technology? I don't see any reason that would happen. Eventually we will come up with something that's better and cheaper than the combustion engine at which point it's dead and it's in someone’s interest to do that.
    yup, you're agreeing with me. I was just pissing on monkey's chips that this specific thing will "save us all"
  • Bremenacht 19 Oct 2012 12:06:37 18,761 posts
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    Hurrah for science!

    This is one of the unexpected consequences of high fuel prices - it makes the hunt for alternatives more worthwhile as an investment.
  • glaeken 19 Oct 2012 12:09:19 11,226 posts
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    @Chopsen Ah I see. Piss away :)
  • mcmonkeyplc 19 Oct 2012 12:09:42 39,467 posts
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    Chopsen wrote:
    glaeken wrote:
    @Chopsen Why would we only pursue one single technology? I don't see any reason that would happen. Eventually we will come up with something that's better and cheaper than the combustion engine at which point it's dead and it's in someone’s interest to do that.
    yup, you're agreeing with me. I was just pissing on monkey's chips that this specific thing will "save us all"
    Oh it will! :)

    Science that is

    Edited by mcmonkeyplc at 12:10:19 19-10-2012

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • Khanivor 19 Oct 2012 12:20:05 40,951 posts
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    First they burned the food we eat. Now they want to burn the air we breath.
  • FogHeart 19 Oct 2012 14:34:07 954 posts
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    Hang on, I saw this on a programme by James May years ago when he was looking at energy production in the future, he visited some Americans in the Mojave desert who used a focused mirror to provide the heat the process needed. It's had loads of repeats on Dave.

    Well, I'm still hoping for nuclear fusion to solve the coming energy shock. Use the energy from fusion to provide electricity to everyone, and to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, filter out the hydrogen isotopes that fusion needs, and the remainder of the hydrogen powers fuel cells for transport. Input=water, output=steam from cars and nothing else. Job done.
  • ZuluHero 19 Oct 2012 15:09:02 4,202 posts
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    Tonka wrote:
    Countdown to the "Freak accident kills scientists and destroys all their data"

    10
    9
    8
    /tin foil hat ;)
  • grey_matters 19 Oct 2012 15:31:37 3,799 posts
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    @FogHeart
    There'll be a fuck-ton of radioactive waste from the containment vessels where the fusion occurs if done on that scale. In any event, fusion (or any even more ridiculously magical clean energy source) doesn't solve the coming energy shock, it just pushes it out and, in fact, accelerates the approach of thermal waste becoming an appreciable factor in warming the globe which is the real shock.

    What will save us all is using less energy per person globally instead of the other way round (coupled with population growth this growth in total energy use is incredible). So, the technology already exists, use less.

    Edit: It's probably a good idea to not get too excited by this kind of thing (newspapers reporting science), find out their claimed efficiencies and if they have s scientific paper to read, read it. Usually this kind of thing is a press release aimed at protecting current funding or, even better, getting more. Interesting stuff, nonetheless.

    Edited by grey_matters at 15:39:39 19-10-2012
  • WrongShui 19 Oct 2012 16:03:33 6,620 posts
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    FogHeart wrote:
    Hang on, I saw this on a programme by James May years ago when he was looking at energy production in the future, he visited some Americans in the Mojave desert who used a focused mirror to provide the heat the process needed. It's had loads of repeats on Dave.
    I also saw this, it's nothing new and probably won't ever be a viable solution.
  • RunningMan 19 Oct 2012 16:03:53 2,436 posts
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    @grey_matters, the waste from a fusion reactor is pretty short lived. JET has been operating (not at break-even) for ages, don't think waste is going to be a huge issue, unlike regular fission.
  • grey_matters 19 Oct 2012 16:09:58 3,799 posts
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    @RunningMan
    Yep. Now how many reactors are required to fully replace fossil fuel plants in their entirety? Now scale it up to what FogHeart's future would require (or the typical 3% increase in global energy use per annum over x years). It becomes very real. How much up-time does JET typically have?

    Edit: much, much better than fission though obviously. Just not as clean as is sometimes thought.

    Edited by grey_matters at 16:13:59 19-10-2012
  • FogHeart 19 Oct 2012 16:50:34 954 posts
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    Look, I only intended it as a musing, pie-in-the-sky, wave a magic wand and we're done. Replacing all of the existing infrastructure, tearing down coal, gas and nuclear power stations, getting rid of every internal combustion engine and replacing them with fuel cells, and replacing petrol stations with hydrogen one - well, obviously it's dreaming.

    I've often wondered just why our energy usage per capita is rising. The stuff we use is far more efficient than it used to be. Cars have far better mpg than when I were a lad, hobs are halogen, flat panels consume less than CRT TVs...I guess we are just using so many things at the same time, all the time.
  • grey_matters 19 Oct 2012 17:01:39 3,799 posts
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    @FogHeart
    Didn't mean it to sound like an attack on you, just a clarification for people in general. Apologies.

    Awareness of energy use could be a helpful focus to help reduce it. Knowing where the main energy sinks are in your house really helps in slicing off chunks of your bill.
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