This concept addresses growing interest and demand for hydrogen for mobile applications and as a competitive source of energy for the combustion engine 1. While hydrogen may make an ideal fuel, it is rare in natural occurrence. Future production must come from other energy sources and face market efficiency.
The envisioned system is a process for high volume production of hydrogen using a primary energy source such as coal or nuclear energy for heat (~850o C). Coal and nuclear energy have high abundance and, up until now, have had no practical extension to automobiles except for secondary electrical distribution for battery and hybrid vehicles.
The system uses a primary energy source to do most of the work to weaken the bonds of a continuous and mass quantity of H2O material, while using static HVDC potential to perform final separation and storage of each element maintaining liquification pressure.
Other methods, e.g. steam electrolysis, may report efficiencies as high as 70%; however, this figure does not account for the primary and secondary losses in generating (32-38%)3,4 and distributing (10%)2 electrical power used in those methods. These hidden losses provide significant opportunity for a more efficient bulk method of hydrogen production.
The proposed system is scaleable to significantly augment a power plant. The design utilizes two vessels. The first vessel accepts and superheats a H2O charge under pressure. The material is critically heated to near 850oC degrees, where the bonds are significantly weakened to a quasi plasma of elements and gated to the second vessel using a high-temp injector controlled by a computer system. At this point, most of the work is done to weaken the bonds. The second vessel has two insulated high voltage probes (~15 kV DC source), which physically double as release injectors. This novel design allows the high potential EMF at the probes to attract H- precisely to the positive probe/injector port and O to the negative injector in the high temperature environment. The probes are designed to pre-accumulate the separated masses in a hollow tube, which is also part of HV probe and injector. Accumulation takes place prior to the discharge injector releasing the high energy material to a storage system. The vessel and the injectors are made of high temp materials possibly tungsten or an appropriate alloy enabling integrity near 850oC.
The novel aspect is that the “heavy lifting” is done by the primary power source (heat) and a set of unique “dry” electrodes simultaneously performing three things: (1) bond separation, (2) localized matter collection, and (3) Output material gating. No liquification pumps are required, as pressure from separation process may be used. A computer controls and monitors the material charge and injector gating cycles. Losses in this design are radiated heat, minimized when augmented with an existing power plant.
Beneficiaries include power plants, systems manufacturers and consumers using millions of vehicles burning H2 and enriched fuels.
1. Hydrogen FCEA www.fchea.org
2. Physics Forums www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=233803
3. Energy Justice www.energyjustice.net/files/coal/igcc/factsheet.pdf
4. SOEC Electrolysis www.inl.gov/technicalpublications/Documents/4010756.pdf