09 Sep Making hydrogen gas with 130-year-old technology today
Elon Musk thinks it’s inefficient to use electric power to make hydrogen for transportation and instead supports storing the energy in batteries. Did you know you can do both?
Most people forgot about the technology that powered more cars in 1910, the nickel-iron battery.
These batteries powered automobiles for decades until lead fuel could provide smooth, powerful combustion and longer ranges. Nickle-iron batteries also had one other major flaw. It produces excess hydrogen gas, especially in overcharge.
A large nickel-iron battery can cycle every day for decades, much longer than today’s lithium technology. And in overcharge, a nickel-ion battery could utilize electricity from wind turbines and PV panels can use the electricity to charge and make hydrogen for use in vehicles, gas turbines, or a myriad of industrial uses while supplying a source of oxygen for industrial and medical use.
Most commercial hydrogen gas today is produced by the complex and energy-dense process of steam-methane reforming. The steam-methane reforming process uses, high-temperature steam (over 1,300°F) at a pressure of 45 to 350 psi to react with methane(CH4) in the presence of a catalyst to produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Utilizing wind and solar electricity at low rates with electrolysis from NiFe or similar technology can be commercially equal to $ 4-gallon gasoline today and with refinements, equal in energy cost to $2-3 per gallon of gasoline in less than five years.
The Promise of Hydrogen, the Hydrogen Future, and Making Hydrogen Power a Reality are titles from experts from MIT to Stanford and the Department of Energy (DOE), so why are we not pursuing the low-hanging fruit which is nickel-ion battery electrolysis?
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