Think zero-emissions fuel that can be (potentially) mass produced, cheaply, could & would take away the dependency on fossil fuels. A plan to commercialize Hydrogen fuel would take about ten years, the necessary conversions of the recipient technologies, possibly would fall in line during that ten years and perhaps an additional ten. If one calculates that it would in fact be 20 years to change the world’s dependency, this path should be started now. And here’s the biggest reason!
According to calculations of current usage of “need”, the world consumes 500 quadrillion BTUs with 80% coming from fossil fuels – so figure 430 quadrillion BTUs yearly. Usage increased greatly from the 1980 number of 250 quadrillion. Based on this number (the 430 number) and not allowing for any increase in energy, which is preposterous, fossil fuels should last another 30 years. Now allowing for any increases and understanding the 20 years necessary to instigate the change, Hydrogen fuel production plants should be started now.
The simple process is the following: concentrating sunlight in a solar tower allows the necessary high temperatures to be achieved which allows chemical reactions that split water into its parts – oxygen & hydrogen molecules. This is concentrated into a single point using an array of mirrors normally allowing the temperatures reached to be about 500 degrees Celsius, however in this procedure they added additional mirrors allowing them to reach temperatures 2000 times greater. With this having been conquered, it allowed the “big” break through to come to the surface. The team discovered that certain active materials allowed certain chemical reactions to occur even when the temperatures needs for each were different. The method they utilized took the same temperature and both reduced the metal oxide and then re-oxidized it with steam. (Usually a lower temperature is needed for the re-oxidation process.) It seems that the introduction or the absence of steam made the necessary differences for the differing processes.
This is great, right? But can it be used in the needed ways? Can we switch from fossil fuels to hydrogen? Turns out we can. Not only can we use this in hydrogen cells for cars, airplanes, boats and ships, but the propulsion of spaceships as well.
It appears we have a new lease on energy thanks to the University of Colorado Boulder team. The team has calculated that huge solar plants spanning across many acres could offer more fuel per acre than previously suggested biofuels. Another difference is that other renewable technologies, such as wind & photovoltaics, first must convert the sunlight to electricity which reduces the overall efficiency.
Unfortunately, this breakthrough technology, requires the people in the know to comprehend the need to begin construction now as when the fossil fuels go, something has to be up and running and set to take its place. All the discoveries in the world, be it fusion or Hydrogen, all require the admission that oil and similar fuels are only here for a limited time. On the positive side, people won’t have to give up their extreme use of energy which will only continue increase as time passes.