Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

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Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Postby hopelesshelot » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:08 pm

My main issue with OTG energy systems is that of energy storage. Not
only are batteries cumbersome and expensive, they are an environmental

I have read a little on Hydrogen and Zink fuel cells, and wanted to
know if anyone could give me advice on the following:

I would like to use solar and wind energy to create hydrogen and store
it an a fuel cell. Then I would like to use the hydrogen as a fuel
source for a Stirling engine for heavy electric usage times. The
Stirling would serve as a generator of consistent constant power which
was pollutant free and more quiet than traditional motors.

Does this appear to be a feasible and cost effective solution?

Is there a better system in place currently which does not rely so
heavily on hard to find and expensive mechanics?

Any guidance would be wonderful.
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"Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells"

Postby stan.hornbaker » Thu Jul 13, 2006 6:09 am

First you plan to use power generated by Solar and Wind to electrolize or dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen. [1st Law of Thermo - hydrogen can NOT be created]

A fuel cell is a source of electrical energy using hydrogen as the fuel. It is NOT a storage device for hydrogen.

A Stirling engine to drive an off grid generator is not a trivial machine. You might study the CHP (Combined Heat & Power) units being manufactured and sold/leased in GB and EU countries to get a feel for the machine itself. Cost is still high though subsidized. ROI time is extended but not excessive.

I would suggest some study of basic Thermodynamics and Stirling engines and their limitations as being helpful in you understanding of the overall considerations of energy systems.
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Response to Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Postby hopelesshelot » Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:37 am

What about this?

A revolutionary method of using concentrated solar energy for producing hydrogen in a clean, safe and inexpensive way was developed by a cooperation of scientists from Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and France. This new method, based on the production of pure zinc, may enable an easier and quicker move to a hydrogen-based economy thus reducing the need for the depleting petroleum and its polluting side effects.

or this:

Hydrogen solar greatly increases the efficiency of creating hydrogen from solar panels by using nanotechnology.

British company Hydrogen Solar has doubled the performance of its technology, which converts light and water directly into hydrogen fuel.

I am not saying I want to use the solar and wind to genereate a fuel cell, but the creation of hydrogen is possible with solar energy, and I was under the assumption that hydrogen in this way would be an energy storage system by being stored in a fuel cell.

My main concern as I stated was with batteries, not so much thermodynamics. I appreciate your response, but I don't appreciate being treated like a child when you are not even addressing the whole of the question.
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Response to Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Postby stan.hornbaker » Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:34 am

Ultra pure (or otherwise) zinc powder can produce hydrogen gas from HCl. The hype may suggest some exotic but unstated method otherwise. HCl generated H2 would require scrubbing to avoid corrosion of engine parts, etc. Of course the hype never reveals the reality of complications of use or costs.

Solar hydrogen by any technology would appear to be another process of electrolysis of some sort.

Storage of hydrogen is a major concern as to the most efficient and convenient method for safety, handling, transportation, distribution, and other considerations of use. Hydrogen has to compete on it's overall cost basis.

When these factors can be as effecient and comprehensive as cellulosic ethanol they will stand out because of their real end results not the front end hype.

Batteries, Flywheels, Compressed air, Pumped water to elevated lakes and a host of other energy storage schemes all have their drawbacks. Much depends on the application, usage of the stored energy and amounts together with the time factor(s) involved. Each has a place in the overall but no one is THE best solution to all problems.

When it comes to the solution(s) of the energy problems assume nothing other than that hype and scams abound, and be just a little skeptical till shown facts and figures as to why a particular scheme is so good.
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Response to Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Postby bptdude___2569 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:33 pm

you have the cart before the horse.

hydrogen is a great way to store energy.
to create it, you need a cheap fuel source.
a Stirling engine could use otherwise not usefull heat sources.
the hydrogen can be used in a fuel cell or conventional engine.

if you live where there is sun, you could build a solar Stirling engine to generate electricity. a major power company is doing that now. the cost of those engines is nutty too much, but that is just a matter of better design and having some factory in china do it. it is only a matter of time and who will do it first.

take the electricity and make hydrogen out of water.

just sell the hydrogen. people can burn it like gasoline.
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Response to Stirling Engines and Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Postby gems » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:38 am

Hi Devil :)
There is already plenty of research on using hydrogen as a fuel for ICE or burning it for a heat source. It is the same old story you can neither create nor destroy energy or matter, so the amount of power you need to break the water down to H2 and 2O2 is the the same amount that will be released when you burn the hydrogen. Solar powered Stirling is perfect for this. Simply compress and store the hydrogen for later use in the Stirling engine or in a conventional gas powered generator. If this line of thinking is of interest look up Roy McAllister and the American Hydrogen Association :)
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