Hydrogen Power Plants

This is great news. We have a lot of natural gas power plants because they are as clean and as efficient as a hydrocarbon based system might be. This advance may not improve actual efficiency but it can eliminate most of the carbon dioxide if we so choose.

The bulk of the energy comes from the hydrogen and burning the hydrogen and not burning the carbon will have only a minor effect on total output.

The residual carbon coke can either be sold for industrial use or as is developing, be used as a fertilized enhancement to place it into the soil. Burning coke merely releases the CO2 for a modicum of energy.

Since it is desirable that the last fossil plants standing will be natural gas burners it behooves us to make them hydrogen burners rather than methane burners. This really eases the transition away from fossil fuels.

The key to doing it was to find an effective catalyst as ordinary methods are not overly efficient and effective. It appears these guys have got it. This obviously makes it also possible to have a reliable source of hydrogen for those folks who want to have a hydrogen economy somewhere. That may never be used on the freeway but certainly can be used in industrial applications close to the natural gas power plant.

Double-Action Power Stations: Energy And Hydrogen

Gas power plants could be cheaply retrofitted to generate hydrogen as well as power, chemists say in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

A catalyst would convert methane into hydrogen and combustible coke, allowing the power station to produce hydrogen alongside electricity.

Gadi Rothenberg and colleagues at the University of Amsterdam and at IRCE Lyon report in Green Chemistry that the catalyst could be cheaply installed into existing plants.

This kind of technology could ease a transition to a hydrogen economy, reducing the need for heavy investment in large hydrogen-focused plants.

Generating hydrogen and power together "is a conceptual change," says Rothenberg.

"When you're going to produce hydrogen, you needn't build a huge new power plant to do that. Diverting some of your existing methane feed to produce hydrogen just makes sense."

The group tested many new catalysts based on ceria doped with other metals. One nickel-based form shows excellent catalytic activity and would cost only $10 per kilogram.

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