Billy Bunkie The Science Junkie

Theoretical science, existential spirituality, sprinkled with elements of sociology, anthropology, transhumanism, and funk. [The technical explanation of funk is 'having major skill']

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are cheaper than I thought. I had previously been going on the conservative estimation of $1500/KW capacity for even old fuel cells using platinum diodes and proton exchange membranes. According to wiki, even by 2002 fuel cell KW capacity was $1000. Note of reference: nuclear power costs $3200/KW capacity! It also gets ~23% efficiency, while good fuel cells get 65% efficiency. Wow.

What's more, that $1000/KW and 65% efficiency are on the old Molten Carbonite fuel cells from like 2004 running at 1100*F. The newest fuel cells circa April 2006 require no proton exchange membrane and run at room temperature. I estimate that their efficiency will increase by at least 10% from not needing to 'warm up' and use 1100* of energy capital, and from being able to begin operation right away. I also estimate that the cost per KW capacity of fuel cells will decrease to wiki's estimation of $30/KW or less by 2007, because no platinum diodes are necessary and no proton exchange membrane is required in the new enzyme fuel cells. I'm going to tack it at 75% efficiency and $30/KW in my hypotheses.

"Fuel cells are not constrained by the maximum Carnot cycle efficiency as combustion engines are, because they do not operate with a thermal cycle. Consequently, they can have very high efficiencies in converting chemical energy to electrical energy, especially when they are operated at low power density, and using pure hydrogen and oxygen as reactants." -wiki

I presume that generating this power at 75% efficiency means that 75% of the energy from the combination of hydrogen and oxygen can be utilized via wire. And it appears that putting this through an electrical drivetrain that is >95% efficient means that about 72% of the potential energy from the reactions will be usable.

I would estimate that using enzymes means that a very large number of very small reactions are occuring, raising the system's efficiency considerably over that of forced mechanical events.

Since discovering that hydrogen burns at 325btu/cu', and that a cu1 is 2700cc, and knowing that 1 hp is 0.746w, and that 1 btu is 1054-1060 joules...

1 watt-hour is also 3600 joules. 1 joule is one watt per second. To produce 1 Hp for one second, it would require 746 joules of power to be dispensed. 746 watts/one second.

I am seeking a fuel cell device that will provide either ~100hp or ~500hp and can be mounted in a vehicle. I believe electric methods are more efficient than the chemical ones I have already examined.

a 71% efficient electrical transferrance would require an output of 373kw to produce 500hp in engine. which would become about 355 [500 x 0.71] road hp.

Hmm. Frankly, electrolyzing hydrogen would require electricity, but produce hydrogen. An inefficiency comes at the drivetrain of a chemical land rover. Most crankshafts are annoying and get about 75% efficiency. However, to electrolyze more water, that chemical energy must be cycled back into electrical through an alternator, which is inefficient. Also, the rover will use electrical devices for certain. It may be more efficient to make the system all-electric and use a fuel cell as the engine and the hydrogen-oxygen as the ringer.

I should somehow devise a device to cycle water through a ringing electrolyzer and back through a fuel cell immediately.


The Meyer Fuel Cell. I'll have it split water in one chamber as a normal ~14khz[e-] water splitter. The water and oxygen will then bubble up to to fuel cell where enzymes will select them to be joined and do so. The water will then run back down to the Meyer to be split again. This will be an enclosed box which will produce electricity at will, without byproduct. No water will ever need to be put into it, it will be entirely microbe-free forever, and the enzymes should last forever also. The water will certainly not be destroyed. And because of the excellence of the Meyer system, it will be 300% efficient by hydrogen, and cycle through the enzyme fuel cell at an estimated 75% efficiency, providing enough electricity to split the water again and siphon off the rest to the product, or when shutoff is desired, siphon it all off and split no more water. I could even add a turbine for the up and down flow like in the encapsulated steam engine.

You'd see a box with a dial off, on, and up, and two thick cable wires coming out of it. It will make you basically unlimited electrical power. The car can have this on an autosensor. I will charge up a series of supercapacitors in the car to help regulate power flow and provide a battery for starting. The switch will be connected to the electric wheels. This switch will also be disengage-locked and be a gas pedal. The brake can be a disc and power down the wheel or provide it with reverse flow current if slip works out that way. There can also be a reverse pedal #3. That would be keen. The thing will go either way full steam.

Okay this is not challenging any more. Thanks!


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