Sunday, October 26, 2008

Batteries, vs. Gas, vs. Hydrogen

Here's an interesting quote which puts some perspective onto three different energy technologies:
"Although they're improving, batteries still store far less energy than fuels such as gasoline and hydrogen store in the form of chemical bonds. The best batteries store about 300 watt-hours of energy per kilogram, Lewis says, while gasoline stores 13,000 watt-hours per kilogram. "The numbers make it obvious that chemical fuels are the only energy-dense way to obtain massive energy storage," Lewis says. Of those fuels, not only is hydrogen potentially cleaner than gasoline, but by weight it stores much more energy--about three times as much, though it takes up more space because it's a gas."[1]
Granted the economy is bad right now, mostly due to heinous mismanagment of risk by banks and mortgage lenders, and to lax oversight by government; but, I'm optimistic that the next economic expansion will come from some breakthrough in cheap energy technology -- and sooner rather than later. There are so many things going on in that field right now, that something's certain to come thru in the end. I suspect it will be some combination of solar technology which is used to produced hydrogen gas, which can then be stored for later use. Photo-voltaic technology would only have to be efficient enough to make it worth while to scale up in order to apply it to the hydrogen splitting problem.


[1] Kevin Bullis "Sun + Water = Fuel" Technology Review Nov./Dec. 2008 (Accessed October 25, 2008)


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