Micro-electrolysis for hydrogen fuel production

I read an exciting report today that Japan is moving to a Hydrogen economy, just like South Australia and potentially Australia and the greater region. It got me thinking about engines and I came up with a few learning issues which may be of interest to some people...



LI: Could you use graphene-based solar PV cells (integrated with the outside of a vehicle and powered from sunlight and moonlight) to produce Hydrogen via micro-electrolysis, first stored in a fuel tank then injected into Hydrogen fuel cells on demand (modifying existing fuel injection tech, using sensors and AI) to run an electric motor for unlimited range?

NOTE1: if this were possible, it would solve the problem of centralised 'Green Hydrogen' production and distribution of Hydrogen to fuel bowsers. For eg, in Australia we have the 'Tyranny of distance' to deal with. This design could be considered as a decentralised 'appropriate technology' for solar-rich countries

NOTE2: This could also avoid repeating the mistakes of the 'oil economy' but for the 'Hydrogen economy' instead. Timely given the volatility of oil prices and 'Peak oil', which many experts, such as Richard Heinberg, agree we have already passed. Arguably we've also hit 'Peak Civilisation' too with the 'coronavirus'/COVID-19.  'The race for what's left:The global scramble for the world's last resources' by Michael T. Klare is a great read!. Another good read is 'Soil not Oil' by Dr Vandana Shiva.

NOTE3: Why start a war for Hydrogen if it has been democratised, just like the 'Kon-Tiki' biochar kilns and 'TLUD' stoves (and others) democratised biochar?!

LI: What about submersibles?

In theory, if they were running on diesel engines, you could add Hydrogen to diesel with direct fuel injection of Hydrogen into the cylinders of diesel engines and have Hydrogen fuel cells (with biochar electrodes) as standalone power (less noisy) with different ratios of Hydrogen and Helium calculated for a given depth and temperature. Hydrogen could be produced elsewhere with solar-powered (heterojunction printed Buckminsterfullerene based ('buckyballs') PV cells) micro-electrolysis with Helium reserves on board


Here's a better idea...a hybrid electric/Hydrogen vehicle with electric engine:

-onboard STABLE micro-electrolysis

-vehicle covered with flexible Carbon-based PV cells

-when it's sunny or partly sunny or moonlit Hydrogen is made (+power for the battery if the tanks are full)

-when it's overcast/raining, power is drawn from a solid electrolyte battery (ceramic coated with graphene electrolyte, Cu/Carbon anode/cathode)

So, basically the solar micro-electrolysis would produce Hydrogen which would be stored in Hydrogen tanks. The tanks would supply the Hydrogen fuel cell on demand which would charge the battery that would provide power to the electric engine.

Backup battery charging and/or Hydrogen filling could be done if access points are available.

NOTE: This would probably be only worth building while the energy density of Hydrogen is higher than the battery. If batteries in the future have equal or higher energy density than Hydrogen then it makes sense to go with just battery storage

UPDATE - looks like people at H2x are working on something similar already:





LI: Could you produce Hydrogen used for micro-grids running off a solar PV farm on the community scale?

LI: Could you produce virtual power plants of Hydrogen fuel cells running from buildings into a grid or micro-grid (like some companies are already doing with battery storage)?

eg. https://www.enapter.com/



LI: Could you use a biochar-producing combined heat and power (CHAP)  machine (using micro-gasification in one turbine and a Stirling engine eg.ML1000 to capture heat and also produce power) to power electrolysis of water for small-scale production of Hydrogen that can be used in vehicle and building Hydrogen fuel cells?

LI: How would the cost-benefit of the above system compare to good quality solar PV panels (that don't produce biochar)?

NOTE: assuming an average price of biochar as a commodity which is a fast moving playing field

LI: Using seawater/brackish water could you use solar powered desalination (with (1) reverse osmosis with biochar electrodes and graphene membrane or (2) capacitive deionis(z)ation (CDI) with biochar electrodes) to produce low TDS water (<12.8 ppm) to supply water to the Enapter 'EL21' (modular and scaleable, also powered by solar) for Oxygen and Hydrogen production for air (O2) and Hydrogen (H2) fuel cells?

NOTE: most households won't need to worry about salty/brackish water

LI: Could you use a biochar cathode and anode inside a Hydrogen fuel cell?

NOTE: Biochar electrodes have been successfully used in Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). You can find research on this on the 'Resources' page on this website



LI: Could u produce water from ice (near the surface) then convert to O2 and H2 using solar power electrolysis?
LI: O2 for the suits and bases THEN use air batteries in the Oxygen rich environment to produce backup power for the bases and possibly fill space suits (along with air batteries inside the space suits that could power sensors and AR) and grow food, medicine and biomass?
LI: Hydrogen fuel cells to power the bases (along with air batteries) and Hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles (that could also be powered by the transport design mentioned above if anyone can get it to work safely)?
LI: Biomass to produce Biochar in the Kon-Tiki 'Rolls' (in an Oxygenated environment) eg. in a separate structure to a base in case the structure catches fire), used to grow more plants for more biochar (and more food and medicines)?


What about the bigger picture in Australia once the initial prototypes of 'Green Hydrogen' farms/plants are perfected?


How to find  future decentralised energy hubs for 'Green Hydrogen' production farms/plants in Australia and get off fossil fuels permanently...maybe a billion bucks for starters. 'Technology neutrality' in the space of global climate change/disruption/chaos? It's like decelerating decarbonisation and accelerating decarbonisation simultaneously!! Evidence-based policy would be more appropriate...Let the data be your friend!


I would suggest using a GIS with data found at solargis.com or elsewhere...if the Gov has the data

Site search criteria could include:

-high solar photovoltaic/solar insolation potential areas

-close to ports

-close to rail eg. North-South, East-West rail links

-close to the National Highway

-close to population centres for consumers and farm workers

-cheap land/available land for lease from TOs

-close to farmland that can benefit from 'Green Ammonia'

-access to seawater if the solar electrolysis is using seawater or if the solar electrolysis needs low TDS water, this could be obtained from solar desalination of seawater or in the case of brackish water from bore water and aquifers, Calcium removal as well (and whatever else needs to be removed)


I imagine that these questions will lead to many more research questions but could develop many green collar jobs in cottage or larger industries in Australia or even overseas...


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