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March 22, 2007


david foster

If the hydrogen is used to run IC engines, then is there really an advantage over just using the natural gas to run the engines directly?

Being an APD shareholder, I hope the answer is "yes".

Kit P.

No, the most efficient and practical way to go would be CH4 to synthetic diesel burned in a PHEV.

It might be ok for industrial applications.


The process is dependent upon natural gas (rapidly depleting in N. America now and worldwide very soon) or biogas (of very limited availability, since it is constrained by biological productivity).

It looks to have value as a small-scale source of hydrogen for chemical or other purposes, but as an answer to the looming energy problem — not a chance.

Jim from The Energy Blog

The process is designed to run on gas from anerobic digestors or landfills, but there is no reason it could not run on syngas from biomass gasification. The 250kw fuel cell is the smallest that Fuel Cell Energy makes, they also currently make 1, 2 & 3 MW fuel cells that could be used in larger installations or could run several in parallel for greater capacity, enough for a public fueling station or to provide H2 and electricity for a fleet of fuel cell PHEVs. That is if we could ever develop fuel storage and fuel cells for a car. By that time we certainly should have advanced batteries.


Whether or not the fuel cell could run on biogas or syngas is not the question.  What matters if if those sources can supply enough energy to make the electricity and hydrogen the naïve public expects to be the fuels of the future, or if limited supply will keep this in niche applications and the bulk of our supply will have to come from elsewhere.

My first take on this is "niche".

barry hanson

Just out of curiosity, according to your calculations, how much end use energy do you feel that we need to run the US economy...kWh of elect at the meter, quads of heat and quads of transportation fuel?


Barry, I don't have a full answer for that question.  You can see my take on the electric and ground-transport sectors in my "Sustainability" essay.  The last time I looked at biogas in particular, it was a rather small fraction of total MSW energy which in turn was much smaller than energy in ag and forestry waste; thus my pessimism.

barry hanson

I couldn't get your essay by clicking on it in your post above, where can it be found?


Sorry, I forgot to put on the http prefix and Typepad decided it was a reference inside this blog. Try Sustainability, energy independence and agricultural policy.


Re: EngineerPoet
--or to provide H2 and electricity for a fleet of fuel cell PHEVs. That is if we could ever develop fuel storage and fuel cells for a car. By that time we certainly should have advanced batteries.--

And if electric cars are 3x more energy efficient than hydrogen cars.

Why not just stick with the electric car, and forget the mythical hydrogen infrastructure?


Still rather interesting for fixed locations though.

Since Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells beat the pants off of natural gas or coal power plants in terms of energy efficiency.


GreyFlcn, I am way ahead of you.

Oil Drilling Chemicals

That's great that you think in this way there's many times that people get boring reading a book.

Fashion Magazines

Neat concept!

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