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SillyOldDuffer22/04/2018 10:42:49
3111 forum posts
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/04/2018 09:08:37:
Posted by DMB on 22/04/2018 08:47:33:

I have often thought that once the cost was paid, of setting up the sunlight/voltaic cells to produce free electricity, it should be possible to use said elec. to electrolyse water, collect and store the gasses for later use as vehicle fuel or distillation of seawater to irrigate, e.g., the Sahara desert and put that hot area to good use for crop growing. What MichaelG says above about amount of elec. required, if correct, makes me doubtful if my thoughts would be practicable.

.

This is clipped from the Bullfinch/SafeFlame brochure:

img_1939.jpg

.

QED ... I would think.

MichaelG.

Not quite perhaps. The sun delivers roughly 1kW of energy to each square metre on the ground. That's a lot, and it's free.

Thirty years ago solar panels were expensive novelties, full of exotic materials, inefficient and unreliable. No way did they compete with conventional electricity. The same technical relationship as the motor car had with a steam express locomotive in 1910. But times change!

Current solar panels are efficient and much cheaper; their development perhaps now comparable to that of the motor car of 1960, with many improvements still to come. Imperfect though they are, the stage has been reached where mass-deployment will reduce the cost dramatically.

The obvious problem with solar is that it only produces energy when the sun shines. Some method of storage is needed for dull periods, and some use for excess capacity on bright days.

I don't have any trouble seeing electricity being mass-produced in the Sahara and wired back to the UK. Challenging yes, impossible, no. Don't forget that most of our energy already comes from abroad. Not just by super-tanker from the Middle East - gas and oil pipelines run for thousands of miles across Russia, Europe, China and the Americas. The same could be done with electricity; much easier to make HVDC today than it was in the recent past.

DMB's suggestions make a lot more sense if you imagine a world full of solar panels flooding us with cheap electricity at inconvenient times. The Bullfinch is designed to meet a niche need. I don't think the numbers prove anything.

Predicting the future is always dodgy. I distinctly remember being told we would all be riding round on jet-packs by now. And no-one would have to work!

Dave

duncan webster22/04/2018 10:42:53
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1589 forum posts
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What he means is that once you've paid for the solar panels it costs nothing to run them. Well very little, they must need some maintainance even if it's only sweeping the leaves off. The downside is that you've got all this expensive kit sat there generating nothing when it's dark, which is about 2/3 of the time in the depths of winter in UK, and if you really went to town with installation they would generate more than you need on a really sunny summer day, so you'd have to switch them off. Both wind and solar will depend on energy storage, and converting electricity to gas (either hydrogen or methane) has been tried elsewhere, and Tesla has installed a humungous battery in Australia.

Hopper22/04/2018 10:55:52
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Posted by DMB on 22/04/2018 08:47:33:

I have often thought that once the cost was paid, of setting up the sunlight/voltaic cells to produce free electricity, it should be possible to use said elec. to electrolyse water, collect and store the gasses for later use as vehicle fuel ..

I think that's what the unfortunate fellow in the original story thought too...

Re the cost of solar splitting of H20 into H and O, the boffins are already working on photocatalysts that do away with expensive and clumsy solar panels and do the job more directly. Early days yet, but it does sound promising: **LINK**

Neil Wyatt22/04/2018 11:09:40
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On water and cars, in the old days it was well known that many cars ran better on damp, foggy days. You used to be able to get devices that gently introduced a small amount of water to the inlet manifold.

It isn't snake oil - read up on Focke Wolf water injection to see what it can do - 1,600hp up to 2,000hp. The normal system was methanol water (to stop freezing) but pure water could be used.

Gary Wooding22/04/2018 11:10:06
450 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 21/04/2018 12:55:47:.

dont know What goes around comes around [or some-such truism] ...

This is quite a recent development: **LINK**

http://bullfinch-gas.co.uk/blowtorches/safeflame

MichaelG.

Hardly a recent development. I've been using an Aqua-Flame unit for soldering precious metals for well over 15 years. It creates oxygen and hydrogen by the electrolysis of water. It's generic name is a Brown's gas generator. The generated gas mixture of 2 parts hydrogen, 1 part oxygen, burns at a temperature of about 2800C, which is rather too high for most precious metals, so the unit passes the mixture through a device, called the booster. The booster is filled with a liquid that, apart from acting as a flame arrestor, can, if volatile, reduce the flame temperature and increase it's calorific value. If the liquid is water, then the flame is purely oxyhydrogen, but if it's MEK the temperature is reduced to about 1800C. Other liquids, such as methylated spirit, can also be used to give different temperatures.

Michael Gilligan22/04/2018 11:10:11
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11446 forum posts
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 22/04/2018 10:42:49:

Not quite perhaps. The sun delivers roughly 1kW of energy to each square metre on the ground. That's a lot, and it's free.

[ .... ]

DMB's suggestions make a lot more sense if you imagine a world full of solar panels flooding us with cheap electricity at inconvenient times. The Bullfinch is designed to meet a niche need. I don't think the numbers prove anything.

Predicting the future is always dodgy. I distinctly remember being told we would all be riding round on jet-packs by now. And no-one would have to work!

.

Fair comments, Dave

My reason for quoting the Bullfinch figures was simply that they give a comprehensible indication of how much electrical energy is required to split deionised water into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

MichaelG.

.

P.S. ... and once-upon-a-time we were also told that 'Atomic' energy would give us "Electricity too cheap to meter".

Michael Gilligan22/04/2018 11:20:12
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Posted by Gary Wooding on 22/04/2018 11:10:06:
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 21/04/2018 12:55:47:.

dont know What goes around comes around [or some-such truism] ...

This is quite a recent development: **LINK**

http://bullfinch-gas.co.uk/blowtorches/safeflame

MichaelG.

Hardly a recent development. I've been using an Aqua-Flame unit for soldering precious metals for well over 15 years. It creates oxygen and hydrogen by the electrolysis of water. ...

.

Thanks for that, Gary ... I wasn't aware of Aqua-Flame

I don't think anyone mentioned it when I was asking about micro-burners.

http://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=129667&p=1

Perhaps there is some subtlety in Bullfinch's use of "development"

MichaelG.

 

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 22/04/2018 11:20:49

Clive Hartland22/04/2018 12:28:29
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2303 forum posts
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I remember at one time that they promised, 'No cost' phone calls ?

Clive

Vic22/04/2018 12:30:53
1666 forum posts
9 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 22/04/2018 11:09:40:

On water and cars, in the old days it was well known that many cars ran better on damp, foggy days. You used to be able to get devices that gently introduced a small amount of water to the inlet manifold.

It isn't snake oil - read up on Focke Wolf water injection to see what it can do - 1,600hp up to 2,000hp. The normal system was methanol water (to stop freezing) but pure water could be used.

The GPO as it was then called (before your time) tried this in I think the 1960’s but gave up on the idea.

Graham Titman22/04/2018 13:01:36
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50 forum posts
2 photos

Michael Gilligan said

P.S. ... and once-upon-a-time we were also told that 'Atomic' energy would give us "Electricity too cheap to meter".

And North Sea gas would be free

Michael Gilligan22/04/2018 13:44:54
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11446 forum posts
487 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/04/2018 11:20:12:
Posted by Gary Wooding on 22/04/2018 11:10:06:

Hardly a recent development. I've been using an Aqua-Flame unit for soldering precious metals for well over 15 years. It creates oxygen and hydrogen by the electrolysis of water. ...

.

Perhaps there is some subtlety in Bullfinch's use of "development"

.

Back from the grocery shopping ... This appears to be the subtlety: **LINK**

https://www.safeflame-uk.com/

MichaelG.

Michael Gilligan22/04/2018 14:54:04
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11446 forum posts
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 22/04/2018 11:20:12:
Posted by Gary Wooding on 22/04/2018 11:10:06:

Hardly a recent development. I've been using an Aqua-Flame unit ...

.

Thanks for that, Gary ... I wasn't aware of Aqua-Flame

I don't think anyone mentioned it when I was asking about micro-burners.

**LINK**

.

blushMy apologies to Tim Stevens, who did mention the Aqua-Flame style of generator [albeit not by name].

MichaelG.

Mike22/04/2018 15:28:17
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713 forum posts
6 photos

Going back to water injection in engines, I can remember in the 1950s there was one diesel tractor which had water injection. In the 1960s, Boeing 707s with Pratt & Whitney engines used water injection to boost thrust on take-off. I remember being told by one so-called "expert" that it was abandoned because it shortened engine life. I can remember having a Vauxhall which always ran better on foggy days, in just the situation when the extra performance was impossible to use..

Clive Hartland22/04/2018 15:33:28
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2303 forum posts
38 photos

I think the water injection for cars was called, 'Drox'. I also remember waxy cubes you put in the petrol tank called, 'Nol' they were supposed to lube the carburetter. I used them in my M/C after fitting a new carb.

Regarding car engines running better on muggy or foggy days, my new Passat does this and is quite noticeable in acceleration.

Gordon W22/04/2018 15:42:22
1993 forum posts

Some of you old rockers will remember-- "water was coming in under the hood, knew it was doing my motor good " Mabeline.

Samsaranda22/04/2018 15:58:48
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460 forum posts
4 photos

Re: Water Injection, the water, steam or water methanol cools the charge of fuel entering the combustion chamber which means that it becomes denser and therefore more fuel available to burn = more power or smoother running. When I was in the Air Force I spent 8 years working on Brittania aircraft, the Whispering Giant, these aircraft had a large tank of water methanol mixture which was used when extra boost from the turboprops was required ie when taking off from hot and high airfields where the air was less dense.

Dave W

Martin Dowing22/04/2018 18:03:27
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245 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by vintagengineer on 21/04/2018 13:13:36:

Propane is a welling gas so should not be stored below ground level!

Hydrogen is very easy to produce, just pass an electric current through water!

Edited By vintagengineer on 21/04/2018 13:14:48

It is even easier to produce hydrogen by dropping a piece of aluminium to caustic soda solution. This way you can produce it up to any reasonable pressure, eg 200at if done under proper enclosure, eg in empty gas cylinder. Make sure you know what you are doing while attempting that because you may end up like this unlucky chap.

Btw, neighbours of the guy who were talking about something like "nuclear explosion" obviously didn't see one.

Martin

martin perman22/04/2018 18:10:13
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1251 forum posts
57 photos

I have a 1919 Lister M stationary engine which has water injection to stop pre ignition.

Martin P

Martin Dowing22/04/2018 18:21:32
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245 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by Muzzer on 21/04/2018 23:51:37:

There's nothing magical about hydrogen. If it's not mixed with air / oxygen, it simply burns like any other fuel, albeit no carbon, so no soot. On the other hand, almost any combustible material will explode if correctly divided and mixed with oxygen eg coal dust, sawdust, flour, petrol, LPG...hydrogen etc etc.

Using hydrogen as a coolant is "2000 times better than air" presumably because it changes state from liquid to gas ("phase change", "heat of evaporation" etc) in the process. Rather like water or ammonia or any number of liquids / refrigerants.

Murray

No.

Hydrogen is better heat conductor because it has smaller molecule and much higher velocity of molecules than air components like oxygen or nitrogen do under the same p/T conditions.

For the same reason argon and even more so heavier noble gases are good heat insulators - slower mooving molecules.

Martin

Martin Dowing22/04/2018 18:34:11
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245 forum posts
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Regarding Hydrogen Economy.

From my life long experience as a research chemist and in depth understanding of the subject - it has no future and it is going to be more expensive than alternatives, including batteries.

Small amounts of hydrogen might be produced during chemical processing including waste processing and used locally small scale but using electrolysis to produce hydrogen for ICE on a large scale is just stupid.

Cheaper is to charge battery with available electricity and adequate tech is already there.

Regarding HOH "wonder gas" - just fraud to milk cash of stupid.

Hydrogen is great for manufacturing chemicals like ammonia but thats about all. It is a very good fuel but only for Apollo missions or a shuttle.

Numerous projects to develop it as a general fuel are around only because government (or taxpayer) money are freely available to waste.

Martin

Edited By Martin Dowing on 22/04/2018 18:43:02

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