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Chicken Feathers May Hold Key To Hydrogen Storage

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the horsefeathers-not-yet-ruled-out dept.

Power 318

pitterpatter writes "A researcher trying to find a use for them claims that after being heated enough to carbonize, chicken feathers hold as much hydrogen as carbon nanotubes do. So chicken feather charcoal might solve the storage problem for the new hydrogen economy. One problem down, half a zillion to go."

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318 comments

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First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507727)

First Post?

Re:First Post? (1, Insightful)

morghanphoenix (1070832) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508091)

People need to read the moderation guidelines before clicking, the parent may be off-topic, but it isn't a troll.

Re:First Post? (3, Informative)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508129)

+----------+
|  PLEASE  |
|  DO NOT  |
| FEED THE |
|  TROLLS  |
+----------+
    |  |
    |  |
  .\|.||/..
Is that a Troll, Offtopic, Informative, or Funny?

if 30% of the people who read it think the FP is a troll, then its a troll
so don't feed it plz.

Re:First Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508263)

And you should be modded troll for that trollish sig.

Re:First Post? (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508295)

its not a troll, its just the truth.
can you not handle the truth

Re:First Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508459)

I dont play world of warcraft and I get laid reguarly. That post is also a troll.

Re:First Post? (2, Insightful)

Exception Duck (1524809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508667)

How about if they ban First Posts from AC users...
Until someone logged in has posted something - no AC's

And if logged in users post "First post" nonsense - ban them.

hmm... (2, Insightful)

Exception Duck (1524809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508677)

Would probably only create a competition for "Second post".

Re:First Post? (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508709)

you know what? i think people who post about eating obamas fecal mater as a first post need to die.
saying "First Post" isn't bad.
and as someone else said, it would only make people compete for second post or maybe third post.

Carbonized chickens also explain (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507735)

Chicken McNuggets.

Crazier than Bat Shit (1)

DudeFromMars (1097893) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507749)

Oh! Wait, I wonder if bat droppings would work?

Re:Crazier than Bat Shit (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507765)

Bats eating burnt chicken feathers

Re:Crazier than Bat Shit (2, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508461)

already a thriving industry mining bat shit (guano) for fertilizer and explosives

Re:Crazier than Bat Shit (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508855)

Burnt feathers vs bat poo? Either way, this is going to stink like hell.

Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507755)

Hmmm...Carbonized chickens and hydrogen. There has to be a joke in there somewhere about chickens being classified as munitions...

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (3, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507845)

Carbonized chickens are perfectly safe.

Weaponized chickens, on the other hand, cause mass destclucktion (especially when filled with H).

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (2, Insightful)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508323)

commenting to undo an erroneous moderation

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (2, Interesting)

tautog (46259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508907)

Ah, yes. ./ moderation system finds a boo-boo post and it hits +4 Insightful.

And I thought you *could* train monkeys.

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507851)

There has to be a joke in there somewhere about chickens being classified as munitions..

Or at least a story...

I remember hearing about an aircraft canopy design being tested against bird strike by having dead chickens fired at it via an air cannon. It was the best emulation they could come up with.

However, somewhere between plan and execution a detail was missed, and the test was performed with frozen chickens. Results were indeterminate.

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507903)

It was on Mythbusters where they did that

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (3, Funny)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507983)

I remember hearing about an aircraft canopy design being tested against bird strike by having dead chickens fired at it via an air cannon. It was the best emulation they could come up with.

They couldn't find any volunteers. They were all chicken.

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (3, Informative)

Nobody Real (266597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507987)

The version of the story that I heard was that some British company was building a high speed train and wanted to test it against bird strikes. They borrowed a chicken cannon from an American aerospace company (the cannon being a standard item for testing aircraft canopies) and were horrified to see how much damage the train was taking. The Brits sent the footage to the Americans for review and the Americans simply responded: "Gentlemen, thaw your chickens."

They tested this pretty thoroughly on Mythbusters. The final result being that frozen chickens get much better penetration then thawed ones.

Urban legend != actual facts!!!! (1, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508261)

Adam and Jamie tackled this one on Mythbusters.

Using the same protocols as the 'official' testing, they found that thawed chickens busted windscreens as effectively as thawed chickens.(episode 9, IIRC...it's on youtube.com)

The same principles apply when using a steel cutting tool that cuts the steel with a stream of water. Yes, they use water, not ice to cut the steel.

Physics: learn it, use it, benefit from it. (hint: application of kinetic energy would be a starting point to understanding this)

[citation needed]
Water Jet Cutter [wikipedia.org] :

A water jet cutter is a tool capable of slicing into metal or other materials using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure,[...]Water jet cuts are not typically limited by the thickness of the material, and are capable of cutting materials over eighteen inches (45 cm) thick.

NASA Chicken Gun [wikipedia.org] :

There is a longstanding urban legend about the gun being loaned to some other agency, who fired frozen chickens instead of thawed chickens.[1]

Urban Legend [snopes.com] :

In an issue of Meat & Poultry magazine, editors quoted from "Feathers," the publication of the California Poultry Industry Federation, telling the following story:

The US Federal Aviation Administration has a unique device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes. The device is a gun that launches a dead chicken at a plane's windshield at approximately the speed the plane flies.

The theory is that if the windshield doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it'll survive a real collision with a bird during flight.

It seems the British were very interested in this and wanted to test a windshield on a brand new, speedy locomotive they're developing.

They borrowed FAA's chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired.

The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, broke the engineer's chair and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine's cab. The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the test to see if everything was done correctly.

The FAA reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation:

"Use a thawed chicken."

Note:(from the NASA Chicken Gun wiki link above)

The 1970s test of the British High Speed Train windscreens used the Farnborough chicken gun and expertise, not NASA based expertise, busting the Mythbusters myth relating to NASA telling the British "defrost the chickens first".

Re:Urban legend != actual facts!!!! (1)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508457)

...they found that thawed chickens busted windscreens as effectively as thawed chickens.

Clarification please. Unless of course you meant to say that a=a.

Re:Urban legend != actual facts!!!! (2, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508505)

He didn't mean to say thawed chickens twice. I think he meant to say that thawed chickens busted windscreens as well as thawed roosters.

Re:Urban legend != actual facts!!!! (4, Informative)

hazem (472289) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508611)

Physics: learn it, use it, benefit from it. (hint: application of kinetic energy would be a starting point to understanding this)

I don't think it's as simple as that.

I'm no physicist but I would suspect that there is a great deal of difference between firing a frozen chicken and a thawed chicken at something. With enough velocity, of course, the differences in outcome will not be very much. But if you give the chickens progressively less velocity at impact, I think you'd find the frozen chickens still penetrate the glass at some levels of kinetic energy where the thawed chickens would not.

My reasoning for this has to do with differences in how the kinetic energy of the chicken is imparted to the windscreen, both through time as well as the area of impact.

The body of frozen chicken will "give" much less than the body of a thawed chicken, so the windscreen has a much shorter period of time to absorb kinetic energy of the chicken. Also, due to that lack of give, the kinetic energy of the chicken's body will be spread over a larger area of the windscreen.

If I drop a 5 kg bag of laundry on my car's windshield from my roof, it will bounce off the windshield and leave it intact. If I drop a 5 kg pipe wrench from the same height, it will most likely shatter the windshield. It's the same idea. With the bag of laundry, the windshield gets more time and more area to absorb the kinetic energy, with the wrench, not as much. Though maybe if I dropped both from a 10 story building, the windshield might not survive it either way.

This isn't simply a matter of an application of equal amounts of kinetic energy. There are a lot of things going on at the point and time of impact that can alter the outcomes... within a certain range of energies.

Re:Urban legend != actual facts!!!! (4, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508683)

Adam and Jamie tackled this one on Mythbusters.

Using the same protocols as the 'official' testing, they found that thawed chickens busted windscreens as effectively as thawed chickens.

Wrong [youtube.com] .

They revisited the myth and proved, beyond a doubt, that frozen chickens cause more damage.

To be fair, though, they went over that myth like three times before they finally came up with a test that proved it once and for all.

Re:Urban legend != actual facts!!!! (4, Funny)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508687)

Adam and Jamie revisited that one after they found that the windshield they used wasn't rated for bird strikes. After the revisit, they did prove that thawed chickens did not penetrate as far as frozen ones. See episode 14 from the 2004 season.

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (4, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508689)

Don't you dare interfere with my 2nd Amendment right to bear poultry!

Re:Carbonized chickens and hydrogen (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508757)

bear poultry

I feel sorry for the bear.

We've done it!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507759)

We can finally power our homes with chicken.

Re:We've done it!!! (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508199)

We can finally power our homes with chicken.

Are you kidding me? We can finally power our homes with voodoo.

New metric for H powered cars??? (4, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507785)

*pulls up to full service Hydrogen fueling station*
"Just put three Leghorns in the tank."

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507865)

I just don't think Chickenpower has the same ring to it as Horsepower.

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508017)

OMG Yes! The "Leghorn" needs to be the next big unit of measurement.

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (4, Funny)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508363)

Haw! I say haw, son. Now that's funny! Humor, y'see?

I'm afraid that most won't have the Foggiest idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508429)

of what you're talking about. ;-)

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508641)

What's that in hogsheads?

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508763)

Trick question. The volume of what was termed a hogshead [wikipedia.org] appears to be dependent on the contents. Please specify if you are looking for a hogshead of ale, wine, or tobacco.

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508827)

Please specify if you are looking for a hogshead of ale, wine, or tobacco.

None of the above. It is a hogshead of Leghorn chickens.

Re:New metric for H powered cars??? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508863)

Well then, I'd expect that your capacity would be about .4% of a Library of Congress.

How much more energy (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507787)

How much more energy does it take to turn a chicken feather into a "hydrogen storage unit" than can be stored in the feather anyway?

O(1) (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507907)

Since the chicken feathers have only to be carbonized once, and can repeatedly act as hydrogen storage... your question is pointless.

Re:O(1) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508085)

Since the chicken feathers have only to be carbonized once, and can repeatedly act as hydrogen storage... your question is pointless.

Not really.

Where is all this hypothetical hydrogen going to come from? How much energy will that consume?

Re:O(1) (1)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508189)

Water, using solar- or wind-powered electrolysis.

Gimme an H! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508267)

Where is all this hypothetical hydrogen going to come from?

Thirsty?

Re:O(1) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508801)

Um, the only reason we have enough chickens to even consider using their feathers for this is because we are in an oil-powered society. No oil, no more mass-farming. End of story.

Re:How much more energy (5, Informative)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508471)

Carbonization is often exothermic, which means that it could in principle be made self-sustaining... http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Carbonization [absoluteastronomy.com]

Feathers are carbohydrates, meaning they are carbon structures with hydrogen and a small portion of oxygen. The Carbonization process cooks off the hydrogen and oxygen, leaving the carbon structure. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form H20, which is certainly exothermic. My guess is that it produces more heat energy that was consumed to bring it up to carbonization temperature in the first place.

So little or no energy is wasted -- unlike as with solar cells that take 5-10 years to generate as much energy as was used to make them.

Full Circle again! (1)

GabriellaKat (748072) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507795)

If you believe birds evolved "downward" from dinos, and as they used to say oil came from dinos, then we have come full circle.

Re:Full Circle again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507863)

Except oil came from algae, not dinosaurs. We had far more algae on this planet than we ever had dinosaurs and it'd been here longer. yes, I realize you were attempting to make a funny except it wasn't that funny..

Re:Full Circle again! (1)

GabriellaKat (748072) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508037)

If you knew I was trying to make a funny, and yes I was, then you need to have a feather taken to you to stimulate your sense of humor. See, feathers are the solution to lifes problems!

Fool!!! (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507803)

That's nothing. You want power? You want REAL power?

Harness the awesome power of chicken bone. Ask any programmer.

From the Dept. of Hee-Haw Technology (3, Funny)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507811)

Jenny-mae, I tole you not to let Billy-Bob alone with the chickens and the lighter fluid!

But Mary-Sue, Billy-Bob's up and solved the Hydrogen Nanostorage Problem! He saved the world! Solved global warming! Ther gonna give him a NOBEL!

So? I'm still makin myself scarce when Pa starts askin what happened to those Chickens!

Good news (2, Funny)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507873)

This is clucking good news!

Re:Good news (1)

risk one (1013529) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508149)

+4 funny for a poultry little pun like that...

Re:Good news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508475)

What will KFC use for its secret ingredient now?

Re:Good news (3, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508575)

KFC food has chicken in it?

Re:Good news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508663)

KFC is food?

A theoretically practical solar-powered car (5, Interesting)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507877)

Hydrogen will burn just fine in a conventional internal combustion engine. The modifications to a modern gasoline-powered engine to make it run on hydrogen are essentially the same as those to make it run off compressed natural gas. I’m sure many of you have noticed fleet vehicles with a CNG sticker on them; though not widespread, the conversion isn’t exactly uncommon, either.

There are three main problems with converting to hydrogen. First, though hydrogen has much more energy density per unit of mass than gasoline, it has much less energy density per unit of volume in any of the ways it’s currently practically available. Second, for similar reasons, getting a sufficient density of fuel / air mixture to the pistons is a bit of a challenge and generally requires turbocharging, pressurized fuel lines, etc. (Or, you can live with an underpowered vehicle.) The last problem, of course, is producing hydrogen.

If the claims of TFA are accurate, then we may actually be on the verge of solving all three problems.

If we’ll soon see affordable high-capacity tanks, that solves the first problem. The second can be dealt with by making use of many of the high-performance tricks we’re already familiar with.

The last...well, hydrogen can trivially be made by running a current through water. If you’ve got a photovoltaic array on your roof, you can analyze water and get essentially free hydrogen. While we’ll never see cars powered in “real time” by the sun, it’s quite easy make in a couple days as much hydrogen as you’ll need to power your car for a week of normal driving.

Put all these pieces together, and in a few years or so real solar-powered cars may be as common as home-converted home-brewed biodiesel cars are today.

Cheers,

b&

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (0, Redundant)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508007)

we'll never see cars powered in "real time" by the sun

Of course not - that would require some sort of imaginary magical "photo-voltaic" device to turn sunlight into electricity, and the priest and the village alchemist both tell me that's blasphemous foolishness.

... So what was it you meant to say?

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508419)

I'd imagine he meant we'd never see *practical* self-encapsulated solar cars.

Obviously, solar cars exist and work, look at the university solar car races that have been going on for years. However, look at those cars and you'll see why unless you develop 80%-efficient PV cells you're not going to be able to make a car you can drive your family around in, handle emergencies, and generally do things a modern gas-powered midsize sedan can do.

The best ones max out at 80 mph, can fit one person, look like lumpy pancakes, are incredibly uncomfortable and generally have the smallest member of the team as the driver. Further, they drive only during the day and do their best to charge the batteries at dusk and dawn when they're not driving. And thats all highway driving too, so regenerative braking and other advances that come with hybrid vehicles don't give you much help.

Energy storage, whether by solar/wind/nuclear stored in batteries/chicken-hydrogen-tanks or solar->agriculture->biodeisel are the only ways to make a fully capable "green" car... neglecting any Mr. Fusion type advances.

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508063)

How big of a solar array are you figuring there?

300 watts per square meter is probably a reasonably fair estimate of solar power, let's say for 8 hours a day. So that's 2.4 kilowatt hours per square meter per day. A gallon of gasoline is equivalent to roughly 33 kilowatt hours, so assuming 2 days of generation, you need almost 7 square meters for each gallon of gasoline that you would have consumed.

That's ignoring efficiency completely, but I doubt hydrogen powered ICEs are so much more efficient than gas that the gain overwhelms the losses from hydrolysis.

So someone who drives a reasonably fuel efficient vehicle 200 miles a week needs somewhere between 35 and 60 square meters of solar panels to get enough hydrogen in 2 days. Devote the panels to full time hydrolysis and you are still talking about 15-20 square meters (which is more reasonable).

If you decide that my 2.4 kilowatt hours per square meter per day is generous, the required surface area goes back up pretty quickly...

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (4, Informative)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508223)

Indeed. The most efficient way to get hydrogen isn't available to home owners.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_production#High-temperature_electrolysis [wikipedia.org]

Storing in a battery is probably more environmentally friendly and is definitely more efficient - but if you want to be truly environmentally friendly, you could just go with an air powered car.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_powered_car [wikipedia.org]

Air powered cars have a few big benefits.
1) They can be made 100% recyclable.
2) Air can be compressed anywhere.

You can use the grid, at home, at work. You can run a compressor off solar or wind power. You can put a big compressor at gas stations without any huge retrofitting costs.

Air powered would be the easiest way to go, except that like all vehicles running on alternative energy, you can't get them anywhere.

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (4, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508215)

Or, you can live with an underpowered vehicle.

And I assure you sir, I cannot. Or, to put it another way, I will probably opt to spend additional funds to ensure that my vehicle is fun to drive.

On a broader note, I fear that the modern environmentalism is pushing in the wrong direction by becoming ascetic -- by telling us that our wants and desires are bad because they are bad for the environment instead of focusing on way to satisfy those wants in an environmentally friendly way. That philosophy has some appeal to a particular group of people but the majority of Americans (AFAICT) are not particularly receptive to the notion of self-deprivation for the greater good.

Moreover, it's does less practical good to convince people that drives a small car that get ~35MPG to switch to a car that gets 100MPG (a pie-in-the-sky number) than to get someone that drives a 15MPG truck to switch to a more efficient one that gets 25MPG. The former change reduces gas usage over a year (15k mi) by 270 gal, the latter by 400 (the real fault here is that we use the inverse scale, instead of reporting GPM). Doing so, however, requires a change in mindset -- it's not about how we can make an environmentally friendly vehicles, it's about how we can make this vehicle more environmentally friendly without compromising the characteristics that caused people to buy it in the first place.

Focusing on the efficiency of those larger cars & trucks (and sports cars), however, requires ditching the philosophy of asceticism and accepting that many people do not want to drive tiny underpowered cars (and they don't want to stop eating red meat or running the AC either, damnit) and working with them to minimize the impact of the cars they do drive, the meat they do eat and the AC they do run. If we can't get to there from here, then environmentalism will always be something that a few people care very strongly about and the rest of the population cares not at all.

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508815)

Fortunately, in the auto business, environmentalism and cheap are very closely correlated. Well, that's cheap in the long term which is closely correlated, and our economy clearly shows that we're very good at long term thinking.

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508817)

Uh, correct me if I'm mistaken, but if reality (i.e. the laws of physics vs. our current tech) says those people can't have what they want then they can't. They don't get to pitch a bitch like a petulant, spoiled child.

The same attitude of "I can have what I want, when I want" as a society caused our current economic crisis. It's not a case of asceticism vs. wanting it all... the laws of nature make it clear that there have to be trade offs and sacrifices. If not immediately, then somewhere down the road.

I'm not saying we all have to join the Amish tomorrow. It's just that a LOT of people in this country need to get their heads on straight before reality deals them a nasty bitchslap.

A couple of things... (2, Informative)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508521)

The last...well, hydrogen can trivially be made by running a current through water.

Basic electrolysis is pretty lossy up-front. It makes batteries look *good*. (41% efficient for systems running at 100 celsius. 64% for 850 celsuis. Not sure that's suitable for consumer equipment!)

If you've got a photovoltaic array on your roof, you can analyze water and get essentially free hydrogen.

It's electrolyze, not analyze. Also, widely manufactured photovoltaics are still expensive.

While we'll never see cars powered in "real time" by the sun, it's quite easy make in a couple days as much hydrogen as you'll need to power your car for a week of normal driving.

I think the photovoltaics you'd need to recharge a car in a couple of days are going to be expensive. Let's say your family drives one half hour a day. This is pretty reasonable. A 15 minute commute during the weekdays and some chores on the weekend. To get yourself a reasonable stack of Thundersky Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries, you'd need to buy something like 30 of them, which is the size of the stack for Kearon's electric Ford Capri. This gets the stack up to 96 volts and can supposedly push the Capri 90 km or about 55 miles. It's also 8640 watt-hours. But remember, your elecrolysis is only 41% efficient, which means you have to produce 21073 watt-hours. There's going to be about 5 hours of peak sunlight per day, so let's just say the two days recharging is equivalent to 15 peak hours. This works out to about 1400 watts of solar panels. That's about $10,000 of new solar panels for one 55 mile charge completed in two days. We need about 210 miles range for the 30 minutes of driving a day. For that, you'd need something like $35,000 of solar panels.

So our back of the envelope calcs, with an optimistically small car and very modest driving distances with an unreasonable assumption of EV like efficiency, still gives us a pretty hurtful dollar figure. And this is just the solar panels. The electrolyzer is going to cost money as well. However, if you take the solar cells out of the equation, this starts to look good for us. Why? Because much of the cost of an electric vehicle is in the batteries. If we can electrolyze and burn our own hydrogen from a tank that actually fits in a car, we can still come out ahead, assuming the storage systems don't wear out.

http://www.evcapri.com/ [evcapri.com]

Re:A theoretically practical solar-powered car (3, Informative)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508703)

You need to check out these guys...

The chief scientist has been at it for over 30 years - so yes it is difficult. I remember his expo at teh U. of Tenn Worlds Fair in 1982

http://www.hypowerfuel.com/home.html [hypowerfuel.com]

anyhow - major breakthroughs are abound, and Canada's Alberta Province has initiatives for the use of HyPower's hydrogen and bio fuel production processes.

FUCK LINUX!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507879)

you fucking queers all deserve aids. linux is for bottomfeeders and dick smokers. cunt whore bitch fag.

i shit on linux!!!!!

NPR Interview (4, Informative)

cybereal (621599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507899)

According to an interview with a researcher or the lead researcher or something like that, it's not as much as carbon nanotubes or other existing solutions, but it's "enough" and it's vastly cheaper. All existing solutions are impossibly expensive, that's the big deal here. Something like 6 billion pounds of chicken feathers are produced as by products of the chicken industry every year with zero practical reuses.

The same interviewee goes on to explain that there are a number of other possible uses of chicken feathers as a high grade material component, in everything from car body pieces to wind mill blades for wind power. I think it's an excellent effort and I hope it bears fruit.

zero uses? insulation, fiberglass substitute... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508329)

paper, fodder .... the list doesn't end

Re:NPR Interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508639)

As I understand it, they use chicken feathers to cook down into a special kind of feed for cattle. I also heard this on NPR (national petroleum radio).

PETA won't hear of it (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507905)

Plain and simple. Find a solution that utilizes veggies instead.

Re:PETA won't hear of it (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507963)

Well, they started out using horse feathers, once they figured out how to get down off of one.

Re:PETA won't hear of it (1)

d4nowar (941785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508055)

Won't anyone stop and think of the poor vegetables?!

Re:PETA won't hear of it (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508825)

Dammit, you beat me to it.

Damn the pigs (1)

R0UTE (807673) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507925)

If only swine flu hadn't taken over from bird flu we'd have an abundant supply of the feathers as well.

Read TFA ... (1)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507931)

Because I maintain good intentions, and I assume most people do likewise, I'll also assume that the reporter made an error, and that Oregon researchers aren't actually trying to convert sunlight into hydrogen. Energy into matter? I seem to remember something about this ...
Nope, it's gone. Now, where did I put my glasses?

Re:Read TFA ... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508701)

Energy into matter? I seem to remember something about this ...

Yes, if you ever watched Star Trek, you would have 'seen this in action' as the transporters, and replicators.

In reality, not so much.

Somebody paid a researcher to do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28507975)

Theres obvious savings in the program to start with - how much hydrogen can a carbonised researcher hold?

H2 Guano (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28507979)

A chicken for every potentiometer

Ten years away (2, Insightful)

physburn (1095481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508071)

I don't believe the ten years away figure. Fuel Cell cars and hydrogen running Internal Combustion engines are available now. We could start building such cars now, for example, this Honda Demo Vehicle [scientificamerican.com] the main infrastructure problem, is having hydrogen gas stations.

-

The idea those sound funny, and i've been laughing at a lot of the comments here, but chicken feathers are just waste and nearly free, so what could be cheaper to use for a hydrogen tank?

-

Fuel Cell [feeddistiller.com] Feed | Electric Vehicle [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

why? (1)

dayton967 (647640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508083)

Why do I have a feeling there is now going to be some "Why did the chicken cross the road" jokes to start because of this?

Re:why? (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508309)

Q: Why did the pervert cross the road?

A: Cause his dick was stuck in the chicken.

SNAFU (1)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508097)

Situation Normal; All Fowled Up.

One big problem, not a zillion. (4, Interesting)

lgbr (700550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508113)

I wouldn't say 'about a zillion to go.' I would say one big problem to go. That problem is platinum. We simply have not been able to eliminate the need for platinum in fuel cells to extract the electricity from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Platinum is a huge factor in the cost of the fuel cell and the larger problem is that we simply don't have the amount of it necessary to convert all of the vehicles of the world. I spent a few weeks at Los Alamos with a research group that had been given a hefty grant for finding a solution and all they were doing was shrugging their shoulders at it. It seems nearly hopeless.

The day we find a solution to this problem is, I believe, the day that fuel cells become viable for everyday transportation. I'll be the first in line to swap my motorcycle for a fuel cell powered version because the only problem with fuel cells is their cost per kilowatt. Currently it costs roughly $73 per kilowatt for a fuel cell (source) [wikipedia.org] . This is down from $1,000 in 2002. This means that we've come incredibly far, and we only have one problem to overcome.

Chicken feathers - What can't they do? (1)

bobdevine (825603) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508133)

Chicken feathers! They keep the bird comfy, hold hydrogen, and may replace silicon in microchips [sfgate.com] !

One Last Time: (1, Flamebait)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508191)

THERE WILL BE NO HYDROGEN ECONOMY!

Like anyone, I want to see society continue as long as possible, but I have no illusions: the Hydrogen Economy is bullshit. [74.125.47.132]

Why? An abbreviation: EROEI [wikipedia.org] .

The sooner we forget about hydrogen and get down to actual solutions, the better.

As I said - I'm good with industrialism, but I am NOT down with stupidity. The so-called hydrogen economy is a lie. It is not a solution except to the true believers. We need to make other arrangements, and money spent on hydrogen is money down a rat hole.

RS

Re:One Last Time: (2, Insightful)

muridae (966931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508557)

That's your argument against hydrogen fuel cells as an energy source? That, since the hydrogen fuel cell was discovered in 1839 it is obviously past any chance of improvement? In that case, we should have given up on fuel oils a long time ago. I mean, oil wells were dug in about 347 by the Chinese and it took till 1847 before someone successfully distilled crude into lantern oil. And EROEI? Complete bullshit metric for the situation. Yes, it is a great guide to the feasibility of a system. But we know that the EROEI for oil is going to go up, and possibly soon.

The point of portable hydrogen fuel cells is not to convert every home in the world into it's own hydrogen production station. At the moment, that would have a really horrid energy return because of the current inefficiencies in solar panels. One of the goals is to replace the internal combustion engine because we know that, at some arguable point in the future, we will not be able to get oil cheaply any more. If we move the oil demand from the end users, where the engine is not all that damn efficient any ways, to the large power plants where the scale of the operations allows it to be used more efficiently than we have just bought time to continue finding a replacement source for oil

Since you didn't feel like bringing facts to the party, allow me to do that for you. The average car requires around 20 to 200 kW to operate according to this physics book. [hypertextbook.com] Let's start at the low end, since the same site also says that a typical automobile only requires about 15kW to maintain a speed of 50 miles per hour. So, a 20kW engine would get a car slowly up to speed. How much would that engine cost at the absurdly high price of 73$ per kilowatt? 1460 bucks. And, a quick google search puts the price of a rebuilt combustion engine right in the same price range. Now, it would result in a slower accelerating vehicle, but that is tolerable for a technology that is still in it's relative infancy. After all, the model T's engine only produced around 15 kW. And that was, what, 86 years after the first internal combustion engine was made in 1823. How dare we push technology forwards, using concepts that were discovered decades ago. How could we ever think those technologies would mature.

Now, before you think me all snark and no thought, I offer you this. I'll retract all of my statements if you can respond with facts, and without trite statements like "The so-called hydrogen economy is a lie." Of course the "so-called hydrogen economy" is a lie, that's why it's the "so-called" one. No more priming statements like "true believers", and then we'll talk.

More info (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508391)

There's an informative lecture on this technology here [youtube.com] .

Billy Mays here... (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508401)

Billy Mays here for hydrogen chicken feathers! Nanotubes are for rubes, we have the awesome power of dinosaur evolution built in!

Re:Billy Mays here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508803)

Too soon.

I think it has been demonstrated that... (4, Informative)

MJMullinII (1232636) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508411)

the best Hydrogen storage is the Hydrocarbon.

What most people don't seem to understand is that the environmental problem with burning hydrocarbons (gasoline, diesel, etc.) *is not* with the act itself. My point being that the principle of the Internal Combustion Engine isn't the problem.

The problem is where the hydrocarbons come from. Right now, the feedstock for hydrocarbon based fuel production is petroleum. That petroleum is happy underground and would stay that way virtually indefinitely *if* we didn't pump it to the surface.

That brings us to the problem: When we burn hydrocarbon fuels based on petroleum, we are adding carbon to the atmosphere that was locked underground. However, *if* we burn hydrocarbon based fuels that are synthetically created using (among other things) recaptured Carbon from the air, then we are *not* adding to the CO2 load of the planet and therefore can focus on more immediate environmental problems.

It's going to happen sooner or later. However much petroleum there is in the ground (20 years or 200), it is for sure and certain that *one* day it will run out. We're eventually going to have no choice but to switch to a hydrogen economy and I've seen *nothing* on the drawing board (even far flung into the future) that matches the energy potential of hydrocarbons.

Re:I think it has been demonstrated that... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508729)

Thank you Captain Obvious.

Chickenshit explains the decline of Slashdot ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508503)

The new format(s) combined with the increasing inanity of comments by idiots who have no fucking idea what they are
pretending to know about, makes it obvious that Taco et al have their best days behind them.

not so promising (1)

cpotoso (606303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508699)

Their surface areas per unit mass ( 3,000 m^2/g) and are also quite cheap. See, for example from my home state: http://www.physorg.com/news162195986.html [physorg.com]

not so promising (again...) (2, Informative)

cpotoso (606303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28508715)

Their surface areas per unit mass (smaller than 1,000 m^2/g) are not too impressive (since storage is done by physisorption on the surface). This will not produce sufficient adsorption. Activated carbon from corn-cobs appear to offer more promise (migger than 3,000 m^2/g) and are also quite cheap. See, for example from my home state: http://www.physorg.com/news162195986.html [physorg.com]

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28508791)

Must be something in the world that smells worse that burnt chicken feathers

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