Hydrogen cars aren’t taking off because hydrogen is hard to make and put in cars.
But there is a lot of the gas in our waste treatment plants, and one in California will now let you fill up. Have they opened the door to a hydrogen economy?
A six-month-old project at a wastewater treatment plant, in Fountain Valley, California, shows how communities could produce both electricity and heat from sewage–human and otherwise–while also giving drivers a completely renewable source of hydrogen. For the last few weeks, about 25 car owners a day have been filling up with hydrogen produced from excess methane.
Jack Brouwer, associate director at the National Fuel Cell Research Center, at UC Irvine, claims the project is a world first, and could be just the start of many installations to be built around the world in the next few years. Eventually, communities could become hydrogen-independent, he says.
“I don’t see people in their own backyards using their own waste to produce their own fuel. But communities that are large enough, that have a large enough flow of waste, could have a chance to do this with their waste streams,” he says.
Brouwer says that, in the short term, sewage could produce 100% of the required volume of hydrogen to run fuel cell cars. In the longer term, when there is greater demand, he estimates it could meet more like 10 to 15%.
Cars with fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity to turn a motor, and potentially offer zero emissions, depending on the original fuel source. As well as sewage gas, it is also possible to produce hydrogen from wind and solar energy. But, Brouwer says sewage is preferable because it offers higher efficiency.
Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, and Daimler are all taking part in the trial, and several are planning to launch fuel-cell vehicles in 2015. However, hydrogen transportation is hardly booming. GM, Ford, and Renault-Nissan, have pulled research projects, and the Obama administration has said electric vehicles are more feasible at the moment.
via Fast Company – Ben Schiller ᔥ
Bookmark this page for “waste treatment plant gas” and check back regularly as these articles update on a very frequent basis. The view is set to “news”. Try clicking on “video” and “2” for more articles.