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1 Political Atheist  Mon, May 2, 2011 8:21:42am

Excellent catch, and great news.

2 unwashed masses  Mon, May 2, 2011 8:46:10am

Platinum prices right now run about $1800/Oz. If they could make the fuel cell membrane out of gold, it would be cheaper than platinum.

this is the kind of break-through everyone was waiting for. If they can put an affordable fuel cell in a car, internal combustion engines would be relegated to history.

3 RanchTooth  Mon, May 2, 2011 11:00:42am

Indeed. What most people don’t realize is that the reaction to produce hydrogen gas requires more energy than it produces. However, if we can use something cheap and photoactivated (like MoSO4 as they did here), then great!

Although, you have to think about it. We’re using corn to make Ethanol. Now we’re going to use water to make Hydrogen? At some point, the world’s resources are not going to be able to sustain both and someone is going to suffer because of it.

4 Interesting Times  Mon, May 2, 2011 11:07:35am

re: #3 RanchTooth

Although, you have to think about it. We’re using corn to make Ethanol. Now we’re going to use water to make Hydrogen?

As long as it’s waste or otherwise non-potable water, there shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, isn’t this hydrogen fuel supposed to release water upon combustion? Gather it up and start the cycle over again, no harm no foul.

5 RanchTooth  Mon, May 2, 2011 10:03:56pm

re: #4 publicityStunted

This is true, once Hydrogen gas (H2) is burned (with Oxygen in the air, O2) you create water as a by-product. Let us not forget though, that the amount of water vapor is actually a green house gas (in the traditional sense of the word), but at current levels isn’t as bad as the effect CO2 has in insulating radiation in our atmosphere… but who knows what will happen if we switch to Hydrogen, eh? A massive conversion and consumption of water may leave too much vapor in the atmosphere affecting climate in drastic ways. I’m only speculating… I’m a chemist, not a climatologist.

6 RanchTooth  Mon, May 2, 2011 10:20:09pm

re: #5 RanchTooth

As long as it’s waste or otherwise non-potable water, there shouldn’t be a problem.

I was thinking about this more. This is completely wrong. The initial reaction of splitting water into Hydrogen and Oxygen gases is done by sending an electric current through water, separating the atoms into their charged species, and having a positive (anode) and negative (cathode) pole in the solution. Hydrogen ions are positively charged, oxygen negatively charged, so you can guess which ion goes to what charged pole. The point is, the water would have to be SUPER PURIFIED to not have any competition from any other positively charged species in the water. Off the top of my head, the addition of NaCl (or normal table salt) in that same solution, would compete with the formation of oxygen gas to form chlorine gas, which is NOT A GOOD THING. I could go on, but, to be brief, it is not as simple as it sounds. The treatment of the water is another added cost to reduce wear and tear of parts of the apparatus.

7 RanchTooth  Mon, May 2, 2011 10:21:09pm

re: #6 RanchTooth

That last post was a reply to #4…. not to myself. But this one is. D’Oh!


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