Not only will atomic power be released, but someday we will harness the rise and fall of the tides and imprison the rays of the sun. Thomas A. Edison

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chinese Demonstrate Methanol Reformer/Fuel Cell Integration

Green Car Congress, 19 June 2006,

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) have successfully integrated a CO-resistant proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system with a methanol reformer as the hydrogen source to produce steady power generation for 3 hours.

The fuel cell generated maximum power output of 75.5kW, with the methanol reformer providing a stable hydrogen supply of 70.5 Nm3/hr. The reformed gas contained 53 vol% hydrogen, and CO content was around 20 ppm.

This showed that the fuel cell system could adapt to hydrogen generated by methanol reformers and contained trace amount of CO, according to the researchers.

The purpose of the project was to determine the feasibility of using in-situ hydrogen generation with a PEM fuel cell; the combination of a fuel cell with an on-board reformer can be used in a vehicle.

Several automakers have experimented with on-board methanol reforming to provide hydrogen for a fuel cell.

DaimlerChrysler most recently coupled an on-board methanol reformer with a fuel cell in its NECAR 5 prototype, introduced in 2000. The entire drive system, including the methanol reformer, was compact enough to fit into the underfloor of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

In 2002, NECAR 5 clocked up a long-distance record for a fuel-cell-powered vehicle of 5,250 kilometers (3,263 miles) when it completed a transAmerican journey from San Francisco to Washington.

The NECAR 5 fuel-cell stack delivered 75 kW of power. The car had a top speed of more than 145 kmh (90 mph), and a range of more than 400 milometers (250 miles).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cars to Run on Scotch

By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Leave it to Scots to come up with a way to actually improve upon one of the best inventions in the history of mankind.

Scotland produces approximately 150 million liters (about 50 million gallons, give or take) of their wonderful whiskey every year, raking in about $6.24 billion.

According to DailyTech, “that production leads to a lot of byproducts -- which largely are discarded.” Until now, that is: “Researchers at the Edinburgh Napier University have cooked up a method to end that waste, instead turning two of the main byproducts -- ‘pot ale,’ the liquid from the copper stills, and ‘daff,’ the spent grains – into biofuels.” reports that “The team believes that their new whiskey-fuel will not only be able to power cars in the near future, but aircrafts as well, and act as the base for solvents such as acetone.”

And no, this isn’t an ethanol redux. Death to ethanol, one of the worst-conceived products of your lifetime, which continues to exist only -- only -- because corn-drenched Iowa holds the first presidential primary. Butanol is generally considered a more useful biofuel in no small part because it can be blended into gasoline “at any ratio without special engine considerations,” and “delivers 30 percent more power by volume than ethanol,” according to DailyTech.

Professor Martin Tangney, who led the project, says "What people need to do is stop thinking 'either or'; people need to stop thinking like for like substitution for oil. That's not going to happen. Different things will be needed in different countries."

Sure -- German cars will run on beer, Italian cars on grappa, French cars on wine, Greek cars on ouzo...

Researchers think they can get a liter of biofuel per liter of whisky -- “production waste far outweighs the current product,” DailyTech says -- so the industry “could eventually produce almost 1 million barrels of butanol per year,” with 158 liters in a standard barrel of oil.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wind turbines in Israel

More Wind Turbines to Hit Golan
Elul 1, 5770, 11 August 10 05:05
by Elad Benari

Israel is continuing to invest in wind energy. Green Wind Energy Ltd., which has operated wind turbines on the Golan Heights for 18 years, announced on Sunday that it has obtained a permit from the Ministry of Interior, the Public Utilities Authority, and Israel Electric Corporation for its plans to build a 14-megawatt wind farm in the Golan Heights, this according to a report in Globes.

The groundwork for the wind farm, currently being prepared, will be based on seven 80-meter turbines, each with a propeller diameter of 95 meters. Each turbine will generate two megawatts of electricity. The current turbines on the site produce 4.8 megawatts of electricity and will be replaced by the new ones.

The new wind farm is expected to take two months to build once the infrastructure is laid down. Construction is currently scheduled to take place during the second quarter of 2011.

A Reuters report in April said that after the construction of the first seven wind turbines, additional turbines are planned as well, up to a total of 160. They will be erected over a period of two years and in total will generate about 450 megawatts of electricity. The expected cost for the additional turbines is about $800 million, with the eventual expected revenue from the farm being $150 million per year.

While Israel has traditionally focused on solar power, recently it has begun to put more resources into developing its wind energy industry. The Golan Heights is a good site to invest in this field since it is a windswept plateau.

In fact, said the Reuters report, Israel plans to more than triple its use of wind energy over the next decade, while increasing solar energy production by only 40 percent.

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau explained at the time that this was a cost saving decision, since wind farms need minimal government subsidies and take up less land.

In addition to the Golan Heights, Israel is exploring options for additional wind farms across the country, including in the Negev desert and along the border in cooperation with Jordan.