Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Water to Replace Gasoline in Engines?

Check out the article above.
To summarize, there is a new scientific breakthrough that may allow fuel to be created from water instead of oil. What effects would this have on fuel economies? World economies? Financial Crisis?


  1. I think it would be interesting as a different way to fuel engines but I'm assuming that creating a machine geared towards hydrogen as a fuel will take considerable time since a machine has not been created.

  2. I don't know about the impact on financial crisis because innovation usually spurs the economy. With the idea of a new car that runs on hydrogen there are many things to consider. Here are two that I see as big impacts. One is that this technology and resulting car will most likely be expensive to the consumer in the short run, meaning only a small portion of the population will be able to afford it. This was true with the case with electric cars. The second is the environmental impacts. The article seemed a little skeptical on whether or not these cars would have significant environmental impacts, unless they were developed a certain way, which might not even be possible. Interesting to see how much steam this will pick up.

  3. The automobile and other industries could be facing tough choices in the next few years: should they continue improving fuel efficiency of engines that use petroleum or invest in new technology that uses alternate sources of energy such as water, electricity, natural gas, etc.?

    It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. My prediction is the petroleum will continue to be the dominant source of fuel for engines for the next few decades. The next source of energy? Too many unknowns to predict that!

  4. I have not known that "95 percent of the hydrogen available in the U.S. is either extracted from fossil fuels or made [through electrolysis (extracting Hydrogen from water) powered by fossil fuels, thus negating any real emissions savings or reduction in fossil fuel usage."

    I am curious why they do not cite the source. Extraction of H from water uses power but this power can be garnered from Solar and Wind energy instead. This technological breakthrough in the future would potentially reduce the amount of political turmoils in countries with large oil reserves...

    Ps: Hydrogen can be extracted from both water and fossil fuels. It is hydrogen, rather than water, that could replace gasoline.

  5. I agree with Tyler, petroleum will continue to be the dominant source of fuel for engines. I think in part it is because it would be expensive to replace it with other sources (even when it is good for the environment) and because there are too many alternatives that need to be tested.

  6. I found an interesting NYT article that is related to this topic. I've pulled out some of the things that caught my eye.

    There seem to be five companies that have announced fuel cell models - Toyota, GM, Hyundai, Honda, and Mercedes.

    "A kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of hydrogen contains nearly the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline. To top up, I added about 4 to 5 kilograms of gaseous hydrogen into tanks at a pressure of 10,000 pounds per square inch. The Highlander traveled about 55 miles on a kilogram. In Emeryville, I paid $12 to $13 a kilogram."

    Page 2 of the article includes a bit more information on the costs of making the switch to hydrogen cars. It's worth taking a look at - there's too much to copy/paste here.

  7. This is the kind of game changing technology that often sweeps through the economy. We tend to think the future can be understood by trend lines built on the past. But every so often something happens that transforms the world. If this is possible, we move to a different world. Still, water is a scarce resource---and is available differentially throughout the world. Winners and losers. So energy based on water is ultimately not renewable IMO.

  8. I agree with Mark. It is very hard to produce hydrogen on a commercial scale. Production of hydrogen using water in itself requires energy. It will be a highly expensive process. It will take few more decades or may be more, to come up with a way to produce at a cheaper price. I don't think this is a game changing technology as long as they figure out ways for cheaper production.