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UrbanSoutherner

The Hydrogen/Next Energy Economy and SC

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Here is an article from The State about SC's efforts to get in on the future hydrogen or next energy economy. Basically, the article says that the state's impressive research university efforts (top ten states nationally in hydrogen research perhaps) is not matched by an actual hydrogen business community to back up the research with economic development yet. It is an intereting article that points out the challenges in translating university research into economic development. As with biotech, lots of states want in on the action too, including a number of larger states. The other interesting point is how important the Savannah River Site may be to all of these plans. The article is here:

http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/12328540.htm

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Interesting artical.South Carolina has a real chance at being part of a unbelievable opertunity to prospur as a State. We have every basic laid out to bring "BILLIONS" of dollars to the state .Not to mention The thousands and thousands of high paying jobs that could be related to this field.I encourage everyone to write and call the state politicians to

begin recruiting buisnesses that can assit these research facilites .For once South Carolina is on the cuting edge of research and development lets make sure no one drops the ball on this.Hydrogen may not be the "end all" awnser to our energy problems but it can definitly help the nation as a whole to begin to dis associate our selves with fossil fuels,Think of how much better it would be if even 1/3 of the fuel consumption was cut.Think about it people Money+cleaner enviroment= win win for everone.

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I agree that it represents a great chance for us. I'm glad that those assesments were done; it allows us to focus in on the areas in which we are lacking, and take action NOW while we are still in the initial stages. I'm excited about it.

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What is missed by all of the this is that the only way to produce Hydorgen today in mass quantities is to burn oil. Now you know why our president is pushing it.

The state instead should be focused on E85 and Biodiesel. Brazil announced just this year they no longer needed to import oil because of their efforts at making ethanol fuel mainstream. This is using technology that was presented by Jimmy Carter initiatives when he put in a program to limit oil imports to that of 1977 levels.

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My parents had cars that ran on ethanol when I was little living in Brazil. That was over 20 years ago. Until hydrogen fuel is perfected, the answer is ethanol and hybrids. The technology is there (has been for years), if only the US had utilized it from the beginning, how different would things be.

Hopefully, Columbia and USC will be the leaders in hydrogen technology

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The focus at this point isn't necessarily on mass production, but on fuel cells which can be used in a much broader context, from everything to batteries to cars. Read more about what's going on as it regards hydrogen as a fuel source as well as ethanol and biodiesel here.

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The focus at this point isn't necessarily on mass production, but on fuel cells which can be used in a much broader context, from everything to batteries to cars. Read more about what's going on as it regards hydrogen as a fuel source as well as ethanol and biodiesel here.

Yeah, I notice there is a big photo that says hydrogen is a clean alternaive to oil. The photo is of a big smoking oil refinery. Obviously they have not done their homework.

The other stuff on E85 and biodiesel is pretty good though.

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I am not convinced that sacrificing our food production for fuel production is the best way to go. I have heard that studies also show corn based enthanol requires more enegry to produce than it gives back. You still have to harvest it, ferment it, etc. and all of that requires oil to do. Hydrogen may be more expensive, but I have heard that it actually puts out enough energy to sustain itself. Eitherway, I think that we should not invest out long term efforts into ethanol. I simply don't see how that is sustainable.

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The studies you cite include the energy cost of trucking ethanol across the country because ethanol can't be put into gasoline pipelines at this point. In any case, sugar cane returns 6X the energy than corn. At one time, sugar cane was grown all over South Carolina.

Hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy carrier. In other words you have to expend more energy to get hydrogen than you can get back from it. For example if you use electrolysis to break apart water into hydrogen and oxygen, the amount of electricity required is more than you would get back by buring the hydrogen that is produced. This method is not used for large quantities of hydrogen today.

The other method for producing hydrogen is to refine it from the hydrocarbons found in oil. This method does not reduce the amount of greenhouse emmisions that end up in the atmosphere, its doesn't do anything to reduce oil dependence, and it is a more complicated technology over just using gasoline as we do today. It's being put forth by politicians who have a vested interest in the oil companies.

Ethanol and BioDiesel on the other hand are energy sources because the energy is solar based and renewed every day. Plants store the solar energy and various processes are used to extract it for practical use. Keep in mind this is the same source where the energy came from in oil in the first place.

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Here is why I am not a fan of Ethanol/biodiesel:

Ethanol production is up 34%. Corn prices are also up.

"Corn demand from ethanol plants as well as from foreign countries improved the price forecast to $2.25 to $2.65 a bushel, compared with last year's $1.95 to $2.05.

Demand has risen so sharply, the amount of corn in storage is expected to drop to half of last year's levels"

... thus resulting in increasing corn prices. Its fine for now. Its not appreciably different. But one day it will be. Our demand for fuel is ever increasing. What other crops will have to be sacraficed to make way for corn and grass production for fuel? Sugar may indeed be a viable option, but I don't think that solution is much better. Eventually the USA could become a net food importer. I do not want to see that. If SC really wants to get on the bandwagon with that, we should not grow it. We should make the technology that utilizes it. That is the future. Let the Midwest grow that stuff. You cite all of these reasons why hydrgen will not work, but I can't help but wonder why the government and the state are investing so much money in it? Surely there must be some potential worth exploring, otherwise it woudln't be such a serious commitment.

Article

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Actually one of the highest energy content plants for making ethanol is prairie grass, and there is an abundant supply of that.

BTW, one of the biggest uses for corn in this country is to produce corn syrup which is over used as a sweetener in almost everything which is making people fat. It wouldn't hurt to cut that back a bit.

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BTW, one of the biggest uses for corn in this country is to produce corn syrup which is over used as a sweetener in almost everything which is making people fat. It wouldn't hurt to cut that back a bit.

Good point. :thumbsup:

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I'm still not convinced that ethanol is the way of the future. Current data on it shows that it takes more energy to produce (distill) it than it outputs.

Hydrogen still looks good, however, I still have concerns about it's combustability (it's more combustable than gasoline).

I think the best bet for future cars are just plain old battery powered cars. There have been a lot of recent development in lithium based batteries which have improved charge time and battery size. With more and more improvements, I think this will be the safest and most cost-effective alternative to gasoline based cars.

That said, I find it discouraging the amount that South Carolina's government and industries are putting into ethanol and hydrogen based energy technologies.

Just my humble opinion. Comments? Opinions?

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Just my humble opinion. Comments? Opinions?

Well given that we have already discussed the energy output ethanol above, and the fact that Brazil is running a good bit of its transportation economy on it, I don't know if there is anything else to comment on as the facts would indicate that ethanol is a good way to move forward with getting off of oil. Biodiesel is another. Neighter require investments in exotic technology, and can work in today's automobiles without much to any modification.

Batteries don't have the energy density to be a replacement for automobiles. They work for short hauls, but people spend so much money on a vehicle, they can't affort to invest in something that is good for at best, a relatively few miles of travel and moderate speeds, then they require a lengthy charge. There are answers for that, but the solutions are expensive and difficult to impliment. Lithium is a very dangerous element. Putting it in 100s of millions of cars on the road is going to be bad for the environment.

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I think Hydrogen is getting a bad rep here.Sure alot of work needs to be completed before it is a alturnative fuel,but we shouldn't give up on it.Metro .M you stated that more energy is used to produce hydrogen than what you get out of it and as it is being generated now you are correct.However I believe the way the hydrogen is being produced is counter productive and that is why its getting its bad rep.For example oil is currently being used and that is what were trying to get away from,while electrolosis is not being utilized properly. In my opinion solar cells could be used as the energy catalyst to separate water and create the hydrogen needed to power vehicals.Out west we have millions of acres of desert land that can't be used and would be perfect to collect solar rays for this purpose.This could be a double purpose use additional power generated could be distributed thru our power grid system helping cut emissions from fuel burning power plants.Right now solar cells are not the most efficent source either but its a start and technically your getting two for the price of one .What I mean is the electricity generated is none polluting and could power cars and homes.The world has the basic technology to create a pollution free power system but chooses not to due to political and corporate influences.Look at what Bmw is doing with the methane gas from landfills sure it is not perfect but they are trying to utilize a waste product that other wise would be just burned off.People we need to start thinking smarter and make our politicians more accountable for the squandering of our recources and polluting our planet . Solar,wind,hydrogen,landfill gases,Nuclear plants ect... these are not the final solution to pollution,but they will defiitly help cut our dependance on other countrys and help make us more self sufficient. The above mentioned alturitives might not work individually,but combined could be what were all looking for.

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Here's a great article in today's edition of The State which highlights where we are as a state as it relates to the hydrogen industry. Some of the article is specific to USC, but it gives us an idea of how the entire state stacks up. There are also links on the webpage to other related articles, including the five things which give us an edge.

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The second article in this series discusses how SC is positioning itself to be a leader in the hydrogen economy. So far, we've got a pretty good track record of luring the right people from elsewhere to assist us in this endeavor.

The state's advantages thus far:

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The General Assembly has pledged $15 million over the next three yearts to lure in hydrogen business to the state. Specifically those that will work with Carolina, Clemson, and the Savannah River National Laboratory. The bill is known as "The Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act [and] is expected to provide the state with 40,000 jobs by 2020 and $10 billion in capital investment."

Gov. Sanford vetoed this act because he thinks that we're putting all of our eggs in the hydrogen basket, which is an unproven technology.

Here's the article from the Herald-Journal

I think that we need to show commitment to this technology if we want to get in on the ground floor. That said, we shouldn't be putting all of our eggs in this particular basket. Does anyone know of any other areas that we are investing in as a state?

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Does $15 million over the next three years really constitute "putting all of our eggs in one basket"?

We need to be investing much more in higher education as a state, that's for sure. These tuition increases are outright ridiculous.

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