RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
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Alternative Hydrogen Energy
 
Vladimir Zyryanov

Introduction

Hydrogen energy is a modern alternative to traditional, based on fossil fuels, ie, accumulated on the ground of solar energy over millions of years. There is a steady trend of reduction in proven reserves of fossil fuels on the background of rapid growth of its consumption. It is obvious that both pessimistic and optimistic scenario sees a balance between demand and supply will be disrupted. It is not important when it happens - in twenty years, or half a century. Important thing. Hydrogen energy requires huge investments in R & D, as well as the infrastructure when it is used for vehicles. It is often forgotten is an obvious truth: no hydrogen fuel, but only energy source. In the production of hydrogen from natural gas at 3 $ / GJ value of its production without tying up carbon dioxide is 5.6 $ / GJ, taking into account the binding and burial 7 $ / GJ [1]. At one point on the specialized production with significant energy consumption of hydrogen as an energy source should be produced, purified, and then transported to stations such as modern gas stations automobile fuel, where it will be available to consumers, with produced reservoir. That is, hydrogen is an analog electric batteries that are just below the specific energy - the ratio of stored energy to the mass. The overwhelming proportion of the potential market for hydrogen is oriented towards the consumption of cars.

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere during hydrogen production plants will occur only if the waste product - carbon dioxide will be caught, transferred to the solid state and is buried, for example, in the ocean or underground storage. Assessing the costs of these operations is about $ 20 / t. It is clear that only insignificant fraction of capacity for hydrogen production can be located on the shores of the ocean, so the price dumping CO2 for remote regions will typically gives the effect of proportion. Environmental Effects of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in this way yet seriously analyzed.

With the approach of using hydrogen in road transport does not change the established way of life and business, namely, some companies will produce goods (hydrogen) and bring it to the desired degree of purification (for the low-temperature fuel cells on polymer electrolytes PEFC require high purity hydrogen), other will be engaged in its transportation to the station, others will supply goods to final consumers. In fact, the consumer may not notice the changes - he pays the money for them and gets the opportunity to drive a certain distance to the next refueling. As part of the established way of life, from the standpoint of the consumer, will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in the place where moving vehicles, which consumes hydrogen instead of conventional fossil fuels. There will be a revolution in a separate sector of the economy, for which to pay directly or indirectly, all the rest. For the vast majority of the world's population, as well as for many countries with low population densities and without the mega-cities, this issue (CO2 emissions in metropolitan areas) are not home. What is the price of the proposed hydrogen transport?

The cost of a car on hydrogen fuel will rise sharply. Simultaneously, the cost of fuel costs will fall. It is easy to estimate trends in relative costs. We assume that today the average car costs $ 30.000. The car is about 10 years, passes to the replacement or disposal of the average of 4000 days at 100 km per day, totaling 400.000 km or 10 turns on the equator. Consumption of gasoline or other fossil fuels will be (at the rate of 10 liters per 100 km) about 40.000 liters, or $ 40.000 for an average price of $ 1 per liter. If you take into account other costs of the car, then you can take a pretty good accuracy, that half of the transport cost falls on fuel. Hydrogen cars will cost, say, 2 times more, ie $ 60.000, and taking into account other costs it would cost $ 70.000 to the mining resource. The effectiveness of hydrogen as a fuel higher, so you can take the cost of travel for fuel is 4 times lower. As a result, we have a rough parity on the full cost of travel. That is, consumers expect savings in the transition to hydrogen is not warranted. Contrary. If we calculate bank interest and profits because once spent twice that amount on the car of the same class, the expensive car on hydrogen economically disadvantageous to the consumer even when mass production and a very small ~ 5% bank interest. If we calculate the real value of the car in countries such as Russia with a relatively high% of the growth of invested funds (approximately 25% per year, or between a bank% and revenue PIFah), the price of a car on hydrogen actually grow up to ~ 5 times during the operation on the conventional car. In other words, the average consumer in the Russian acquisition of such goods is extremely disadvantageous. No less important is the security problem. Accidents on the hydrogen sites (refineries, pipelines, plants, vehicles) will be much more devastating impact on than now at similar plants operating with fossil fuels. In fact, for cleaner air in places to use hydrogen vehicles will not only have to pay money, but also a high risk of major disasters. Reducing carbon dioxide in the place of its production can be achieved by greenery. However, development of parks to address the local problem for most of the year, at least in the relatively warm U.S. and other developed countries, does not enter the area of business interests, because does not involve profit. The argument in favor of hydrogen energy expertise led the successful operation vodorodoprovodov in Germany's Ruhr region for 50 years, as well as a long pipeline between Belgium and France, 400 kilometers. The same arguments in favor of cheap nuclear power was before the accident at Chernobyl. One of the accident was enough to get rid of the illusion of cheap energy and to establish a rough parity on the real cost of energy produced by different stations. When you create a massive network of fueling stations to transport large quantities of hydrogen over the existing infrastructure (in Russia the collapse of the existing infrastructure in metropolitan areas have more fact than forecast), as well as a sharp increase in the number of plants producing hydrogen, even the most modern technologies, the risk of a major man-made disasters scale increases linearly quickly.

Given the terrorist threat, not decrease because of increasing gap between rich and poor countries, the risk becomes too great. The most near-term use of hydrogen in vehicles associated with the use of polymer membranes such as the new generation Hyflon [2]. However, the low-temperature processes in organic membranes are only using noble metals as catalysts. It is easy to predict the birth of a new branch of criminal business, based on theft from vehicles, especially passenger cars, super-expensive power plants to extract from these precious metals more precious than gold. If passed on to customers all the real costs that accompany large-scale introduction of hydrogen energy in vehicles, the consumer response will be obvious. In several countries, including Japan, USA, Iceland, the State assumes the costs for the implementation of hydrogen energy in vehicles, to reduce the initial barrier and start the process. However, infrastructure costs generally remain unacceptably high even in countries with developed infrastructure, such as Japan, EU.

The only real way to mass move to hydrogen fuel is a legislative act on the complete ban of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. In connection with similar methods of solving the "environmental" issues recall a similar situation with the ban on the production, distribution and use of CFCs because of their impact on the ozone hole. The American corporation DuPont, has developed alternative Freon cooling system, supported the necessary research of some scientists on the effect of CFCs on the ozone layer depletion, provided a PR company. As a result, a group of scientists won the Nobel Prize, the UN has banned the production of CFCs, and DuPont Corporation ahead of the competition for several years and has in excess profits in the global market, far exceeding the cost of the operation. Subsequent research on this area is less well funded and not so insistently portrayed in the media. Other sources of the gases, and reduce ozone in the atmosphere and significantly more powerful still, because do not depend on the human factor. Moreover, there are new studies showing the relationship of ozone holes with geological faults, ie does not depend on human activities. Periodic fluctuations in the size of ozone holes and do not be discounted, but this requires longer periods of observation. Concern for the environment of the U.S. government and several multinational corporations, primarily of U.S. origin, is particularly impressive against the backdrop not ratified by the U.S., Japan and other countries, primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, the Kyoto Protocol. Hydrogen energy in road transport - is a classic deja vue. Key players play on the same notes and have the same interests. In fact, under the call for conservation of clean air one industry (automotive) wants to spend general funds from the state budget to create a market for a new generation of its much more expensive products. Much of the scientific community is already involved in the development of fuel cells and membrane reactors for solving problems associated with new power sources for vehicles. For example, the polymeric proton-exchange membranes based on Nafion only available to the press published more than 30.000 works! It is clear that most of the financial support of this research was obtained from non-profit foundations and government budgets.

One very important consequence of a legislative ban on vehicles, allowing the emission of greenhouse gases, and in the WTO agreements, would be a ban on the import of "obsolete" products from other countries. In fact, it would lead to the destruction of major competitors or taking them to the property under the pretext of the struggle for environmental standards.

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