Saturday, February 12, 2011

Very interesting

But not for the reasons given on this Facebook page.

His claims may be extravagant, but the idea may have an application for hydrolyzing methanol.  It takes much less energy to do methanol as opposed to water.

The problem with using this in an internal combustion engine is that hydrogen is destructive to metal.  It makes metal brittle.  You need a special type of metal to withstand what hydrogen will do to it.  So, this contraption will ruin your engine.  Let's assume though, that it can produce significant amounts of hydrogen.  Enough say for a hydrogen fuel cell.  If you grasp this idea, then you can see what I am talking about.  Or do you?

His claim is that it improves gas mileage.  No doubt that hydrogen will burn in an internal combustion engine.  Ford and BMW have experimented with the idea.  I have my doubts that this idea from the Facebook page will work because the hydrolysis of water is very energy intensive.  If it were that easy, Ford and BMW would be selling hydrogen powered cars right now.

Methanol is different.  Not only that, direct methanol fuel cells can provide the energy to hydrolyze the methanol that is converted to carbon dioxide and hydrogen.  If hydrogen can be electrolyzed fast enough to feed the hydrogen to the fuel cell in order to produce power for the car, then you don't need to store much of it onboard.  It becomes much cheaper this way because to store hydrogen requires cryogenics or a very high pressure tank.   This is not convenient.  Thus if you can hydrolyze fast enough, you've solved that problem.

The next problem is to get the platinum group metals to use as catalysts.  Hence, the need to mine them from somewhere.  I say you can mine them in outer space.

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