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Author: Subject: Fuel from atmospheric CO2
Ritter
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 Quote: Originally posted by F2Chemist If that doesn't work, maybe a global war/plague, elimating two thirds of the world population will.

Not to worry. It will come in the not-so-distant future. Either we or the Israelis will start WWIII with Iran or there will be wars on the Indian subcontinent when the Himalayan glaciers finish receding & all their water goes away.

[Edited on 2-7-2008 by Ritter]

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Ritter
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 Quote: Originally posted by MagicJigPipe Unfortunately, we need an "oil baron".

Unfortunately, the oil barons currently in charge have only one policy: more profits for their oil baron buddies in Houston. This country has no other energy policy. You can't run trains, planes & trucks on wind or solar or hydrogen.

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JohnWW
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 Quote: Originally posted by F2Chemist My money for the future is on hot dry rock geothermal energy. Basically it involves drilling a REALLY deep hole, pumping water down there and using the steam generated to power turbines. Problems with it right now are keeping the hole stable (we're talking 3-5 km holes).

There is enough geothermal energy available in New Zealand, especially in the Bay of Plenty, central North Island volcanic plateau (which has the world's thinnest continental crust), and Northland, to power the whole country, if it could be so arranged. However, to develop it much beyond current and immediately planned utilization, involving mostly greater depths than hitherto tapped, a very heavy capital outlay would be required.
Polverone
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 Quote: Originally posted by Ritter Here is a somewhat dated cost analysis of building & operating a F-T plant: http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings/97/97cl/cho.... Even taking inflation into consideration, actual cost is likely closer to a billion $than to$7B.

That cost estimate is for a natural gas to liquids plant. Producing syngas is going to be a lot more complicated in a coal plant, I would think. I threw out the $7 billion number because I got that from a 2007 article about coal-based Sasol plants being constructed in China. "Typical" cost of a Sasol plant was said to be$5-\$7 billion for a plant with 80,000 barrels/day output. With the weakening dollar, more expensive labor, and stricter US environmental regulations I'd expect the price of a US-located plant to be at or above the upper number given for the Chinese plants. EDIT: I notice also that the plant in the study you linked to was for a much smaller plant, with 8,820 barrels/day of liquid production.

I just saw an EIA report that indicates oil prices are almost certainly driven by fundamentals and will remain high for at least the next 5 years. My earlier comment about speculators possibly driving up the price of oil should be taken with an even larger grain of salt than I originally intended.

I recognize that the rising price of oil has a political dimension, but I ask that discussion here be confined to economics and technical issues. We have a general moratorium on political discussion because political discussion formerly led to many heated arguments that sucked up all the moderators' time.

[Edited on 7-2-2008 by Polverone]

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MagicJigPipe
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 Quote: You can't run trains, planes & trucks on hydrogen, which is a nightmare to make, transport & handle safely at the consumer level in the kinds of quantities required. And fusion is 10+ years away...maybe.

Yes, you can. It's just not very practical. What I mean is, once you have some sort of cheap source of energy created other "forms" of energy storage is much easier. For example, one could use the hydrogen produced in other power plants... But, if we had no other option, it certainly wouldn't be impossible.

"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
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Quote:
Originally posted by MagicJigPipe
 Quote: You can't run trains, planes & trucks on hydrogen, which is a nightmare to make, transport & handle safely at the consumer level in the kinds of quantities required. And fusion is 10+ years away...maybe.

Yes, you can. It's just not very practical. What I mean is, once you have some sort of cheap source of energy created other "forms" of energy storage is much easier. For example, one could use the hydrogen produced in other power plants... But, if we had no other option, it certainly wouldn't be impossible.

Hydrogen is a hideously annoying form of energy storage, its gaseous, enjoys diffusing through metals, and is quite flammable. [Producing it via electrolysis is just *silly,* too.] The only viable form of hydrogen storage for a mass economy is hydrogen stored in a crystalline matrix, or as another solid compound. It could then be converted to a gas for transfer between such artifices.

I much prefer using nuclear and electrical power sources. A pebble-bed reactor (using U-238 encapsulated in graphite) fed into Silver-Zinc Matrix batteries will likely be the future.

Silver-Zinc Matrix batteries are not plagued by the memory effect, and pebble bed reactors are not capable of overloading, or having a criticality accident. Toshiba has even designed an in-home nuclear reactor, though I am not certain whether it uses the pebble bed technology.

Ancillary Notes:
http://gltrs.grc.nasa.gov/reports/2007/TM-2007-214806.pdf

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12AX7
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 Quote: Originally posted by ShadowWarrior4444 Silver-Zinc Matrix batteries are not plagued by the memory effect

Neither are lithium ions, lead acids, NiMH, or NiCd really. Basically any rechargable technology known to man and used under average consumer circumstances. Memory effect is the rechargable boogeyman and, I'm sorry to inform you, has spooked you like a six year old!

Memory effect per se is an artifact of NiCd chemistry and is only produced under very specific conditions, namely, clocklike cycling of charge. This is hardly a concern outside of satellites (which use lighter lithium technology these days anyway).

Tim

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Quote:
Originally posted by 12AX7
 Quote: Originally posted by ShadowWarrior4444 Silver-Zinc Matrix batteries are not plagued by the memory effect

Neither are lithium ions, lead acids, NiMH, or NiCd really. Basically any rechargable technology known to man and used under average consumer circumstances. Memory effect is the rechargable boogeyman and, I'm sorry to inform you, has spooked you like a six year old!

Memory effect per se is an artifact of NiCd chemistry and is only produced under very specific conditions, namely, clocklike cycling of charge. This is hardly a concern outside of satellites (which use lighter lithium technology these days anyway).

Tim

All rechargeable batteries are subject to the memory effect in varying degrees, repeated charging and discharging of Lead-acid batteries for example degrades the PbO2 plate, causing it slough off leading to voltage depletion. Even Ni-MH batteries are effected under the very common condition of recharging the cell before it is completely discharged (http://www.duracell.com/oem/Pdf/others/nimh_5.pdf) which would certainly be the case should one use them to store energy from a nuclear energy source.

Li-Ion would be horrible choices for such an application as the propensity for thermal runaway wouldn’t be very nice.

I noted Silver-Zinc Matrix batteries because they store 50% more energy than Li, are a wee bit lighter, and never experience voltage depression or thermal runaway under conditions.

P.S. "Spooked like a six-year-old" is not an accurate description of thoughtful long-term planning.

Ancillary: As the thread has seemed to have swerved off-topic, I'll attempt to recall it with this--

The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller-Urey_experiment is very similar to what is being discussed here. In the article it also mentions that "Wilde only used voltages up to 600 V on a binary mixture of carbon dioxide and water in a flow system. He only observed small amounts of carbon dioxide reduction to carbon monoxide and no other significant reduction products or newly formed carbon compounds."

That aside, higher voltages may be effective at reducing CO2 to a more useful compound--perhaps an atmosphere of CO2 and NH3 electrolyzed at high voltage may form complex organic molecules that at the very least could serve as the feedstock for a biologically-based energy production system.

I have also heard that electrolysis of Mars' atmosphere is being considered as a long term terraforming project.

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nodrog19
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CO2--->C+O2 via electrolysis of the liquid phase might work.
its going to be cold so Sterling Heat engines could power the electrolysis
Nicodem
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 Quote: Originally posted by nodrog19 CO2--->C+O2 via electrolysis of the liquid phase might work.

CO<sub>2</sub> does not dissociate neither is it a ionic compound, so you can not electrolyze it.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis)

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JohnWW
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I think Nodrog19 is confusing CO2 with ionic carbonates, like Na2CO3. Electrolysis of an aqueous solution of that would result in either a solution of NaOH with CO2 being given off, or of peroxycarbonate, which I have read somewhere is blue in color, depending on the conditions.
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The days of gasoline and diesel will end at some stage. The coal and oil reserves may be far from depleted but the end of the supply will eventually come. It may be that political/environmental/cost issues will accelerate this day towards us but the day is coming.
From a chemistry point of view these archaic fuels are certainly messy, consisting of a coctail of hydrocarbons, phenols and other crap around which man has adapted his machines to drink. We all know that pure fuels burn cleaner, for example compare that of methanol with diesel. The future lies in more precise fuels, whatever they may be because only with this kind of selectivity can we start optimising from an efficiency and environmental point of view.
I think it is always a good idea to have a back door, an alternative to the run of the mill source of energy, and the CO2 method presented here is just another way to convert other energy into useful energy, be it ineffiecient, it is just another option made available to us as we explore the gauntlet of organic chemistry. I believe there is big treasure hidden down there somewhere that will drive the final nail in the dirty fuels coffin.

Here is a cost comparason:
Methanol in my currency is at the moment R3.99 a liter, while 500ppm diesel is R11.80 a liter, that's a third of the price! The funny thing is that diesel is less refined than gasoline and it's more expensive here, go figure.
Methanol may not have a high BTU but it burns cleaner and the costs outweigh its disadvantages. Both methanol and diesel are toxic so that kind of cancels out. I would really like to explore converting to methanol.

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F2Chemist
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Methanol is also quite corrosive to the typical infrastructure we have in place. If you are looking for a great read on why methanol didn't take off in the 80's (and some striking similarities it has when compared to today's push for a hydrogen economy), I highly suggest you pick up "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy" by Dr. Prakash.
Ritter
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 Quote: Originally posted by ShadowWarrior4444 I much prefer using nuclear and electrical power sources. A pebble-bed reactor (using U-238 encapsulated in graphite)

And where are you going to store the spent nuclear fuel?

Ritter
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To get a little more on topic here, Something I've been doing a little research on , no make that A LOT of research on for the past 4 years is

CO2 to Formic acid !!!!!

The electrochemical manufacture is ~99% efficient. its a pretty old technology, some of the patents are pretty old. (Faradically efficient)

Formic acid can be further converted to other chemicals like methanol and others.

Formic acid can be passed over catalysts to break down into CO2 + H2 , a great way to store hydrogen!

The only bad thing about it is you have to use a expensive form of energy like electricity.

So far I've been concentrating on Co2 concentration from the atmosphere. Zeolites work pretty well, I've just have valve problems.

Anyone know any interesting Formic acid chemistry ?
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 Quote: Originally posted by F2Chemist Methanol is also quite corrosive to the typical infrastructure we have in place. If you are looking for a great read on why methanol didn't take off in the 80's (and some striking similarities it has when compared to today's push for a hydrogen economy), I highly suggest you pick up "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy" by Dr. Prakash.

This is quite true, alcohol fuels are most definitely not the future. They have one quite large disadvantage, especially methanol. They are miscible with water, and have the tendency to do so whenever possible.

It is also biologically based, which I tend to dislike given that humanity's future is most likely not going to be confined to Earth. Inorganic energy sources such as fissionable materials and fusion of light elements must inevitably be our direct power source. It is that way now, infact--it is just that plants serve as the 'middle-man' for us.

Developing fusion and fission power sources will remove our dependence on the sun. And naturally, electrical devices serve as the best modes for storage and use of such energy. The elements required to construct and power nuclear/electrical devices are found readily all over the universe.

 Quote: CO2 does not dissociate neither is it a ionic compound, so you can not electrolyze it.

Lies!

http://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/HumanExplore/Exploration/EXLibrary/...
http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/library/meetings/annual/jun00...

Ancillary: Lasing the ionosphere of Mars and other suitable planets is also being researched by the US Airforce.

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JohnWW
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ritter
 Quote: Originally posted by ShadowWarrior4444 I much prefer using nuclear and electrical power sources. A pebble-bed reactor (using U-238 encapsulated in graphite)
And where are you going to store the spent nuclear fuel?
The spent fuel rods, originally consisting of uranium enriched in U-235 at the expense of U-238, consist of a mixture of the fission products of U-235 (Ba, Cs, Sr, and I being common amongst them, and including many radioactive isotopes), Pu-239 produced from absorption of liberated neutrons by U-238, and a small amount of unutilized U-238. The Pu-239, being fissionable, can be extracted, and used in new fuel rods to generate power (or in bombs), of smaller size than the U ones because of its lesser critical mass.

[Edited on 5-7-08 by JohnWW]
not_important
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To continue on that, for standard civilian fission reactors approximately 95% of the spent fuel is fissionables, the worst of the remainder is isotopes with half lives of less than 50 years, many with much shorter than that.
not_important
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 Quote: Originally posted by h2o2guru... CO2 to Formic acid !!!!! The electrochemical manufacture is ~99% efficient. its a pretty old technology, some of the patents are pretty old. (Faradically efficient) Formic acid can be further converted to other chemicals like methanol and others. Formic acid can be passed over catalysts to break down into CO2 + H2 , a great way to store hydrogen! ...

Instead, just don't put the CO2 there in the first place.

HCO2H 46 g/mol, d 1,22 = 26,5 mol/liter = 26,5 mol H2
NH3 17 g/mol, d(l) 0,69 = 40,5 mol/l = 60,88 mol H2
Mg(NH3)6Cl2 stores NH3 at the same volumetric density as liquid ammonia with a vapour pressure of NH3 about the same as 1/2 percent aqueous ammonia. Both liquid NH3 and the amine complex store about 1,5 times as much energy per liter as liquid H2.

Haber–Bosch can use electrolytic hydrogen, or NH3 can be made by newer direct solid state electro-syntheses from waer and nitrogen.

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/Renewable/ammonia/ammonia/2007...

http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2005/rx05085.pdf

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/Renewable/ammonia/ammonia/2006...

http://www.electricauto.com/_pdfs/Portland%20Paper%20B.pdf

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/Renewable/ammonia/ammonia/2007...

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/Renewable/ammonia/ammonia/2007...

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/Renewable/ammonia/ammonia/2007...

http://www.ent.ohiou.edu/~kremer/NH3Car/VehicleOverview.pdf

http://www.sandia.gov/surface_science/pjf/On_NH3_roles_in_H2...

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/Renewable/ammonia/ammonia/2005...
12AX7
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 Quote: Originally posted by JohnWW The spent fuel rods, originally consisting of uranium enriched in U-235 at the expense of U-238, consist of a mixture of the fission products of U-235 (Ba, Cs, Sr, and I being common amongst them, and including many radioactive isotopes), Pu-239

He was talking about pebble bed reactors (snipped, but you even quoted it), but that doesn't matter. Besides that, I wanted to point out that commercial reactors are NOT very useful for nuclear proliferation, because the 239Pu formed is rather quickly bumped up to higher isotopes, up to 244Pu, which is completely unsuitable for weapons.

Some of the waste products are poisons (neutron absorbers), reducing yield and making the fuel useless. Some of the products are valuable (radioactive rhodium isotopes have a maximum half-life of only a few years, so reprocessed wastes can be released on the market after cooling off only a few decades), and all the actinides can be sent back to be burned some more (including U238, if used in a breeder reactor). But the cost of reprocessing is quite high and overall energy yields aren't very big, only a few times, so it's a lot less hassle to dump the stuff in a hole. Which is a fine environmental decision (despite what many make of it).

But you know as well as I do this has even less to do with CO2 than this thread needs.

Tim

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Polverone
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 Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7 Besides that, I wanted to point out that commercial reactors are NOT very useful for nuclear proliferation, because the 239Pu formed is rather quickly bumped up to higher isotopes, up to 244Pu, which is completely unsuitable for weapons.

That's not really true. 1, a commercial reactor can be used with low fuel burnup to produce more weapons-suitable plutonium (assuming there's no IAEA or other controls to prevent excessively frequent refueling). 2, the US already successfully tested a bomb made from reactor grade plutonium. Bombs made from plutonium recovered from higher burnup fuel will have hotter pits that emit more radiation, and will be more prone to predetonation, but the greater engineering difficulty in achieving reliable yields still seems like a tradeoff that would-be nuclear powers would accept if it made obtaining fissile material easier. I don't think there's a concern about terrorists building weapons from stolen fuel, but weapons-seeking nations might reprocess spent fuel for weapons if it isn't monitored.

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"Excessively frequent refueling" is a hassle, so presumably wouldn't be a concern for a reactor that's just making power. Of course, if nonproliferation is a concern in whatever country, it may not be making just power...

Tim

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Ritter
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Quote:
Originally posted by JohnWW
Quote:
Originally posted by Ritter
 Quote: Originally posted by ShadowWarrior4444 I much prefer using nuclear and electrical power sources. A pebble-bed reactor (using U-238 encapsulated in graphite)
And where are you going to store the spent nuclear fuel?
The spent fuel rods, originally consisting of uranium enriched in U-235 at the expense of U-238, consist of a mixture of the fission products of U-235 (Ba, Cs, Sr, and I being common amongst them, and including many radioactive isotopes), Pu-239 produced from absorption of liberated neutrons by U-238, and a small amount of unutilized U-238. The Pu-239, being fissionable, can be extracted, and used in new fuel rods to generate power (or in bombs), of smaller size than the U ons because of its lesser critical mass.

And why are they not doing that now, as they did for making Pu at Hanford? All spent fuel rods are stored on-site at nuclear power plants in water pools. Yucca Mtn involves moving it all via rail & truck through Las Vegas, which will likely never fly.

Ritter
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not_important
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The US does not recycle spent fuel based on a policy similar to those that prevent people from hand carrying expensive frequent-does prescription medicine onto airplanes - as a protection against terrorism. The US claims the no-reprocessing policy is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but this is obviously not true given the US policies towards India, Pakistan, Israel, and continuing to work to secure former Soviet nuclear materials (see V Plame).
Nicodem
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To those who are wondering where their posts disappeared:

There is a moratorium on political discussions on the ScienceMadness forum and I'm sure all except of the newcomers are aware of this. So don't start again with completely off topic discussions related to power and control, especially if based on ideological argumentation. They will be promptly removed again. If your urge gets unstoppable rather use one of the so many political forums out there.
Stick to science and thread topics!
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Organic Chemistry » Fuel from atmospheric CO2 Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues