CNN says that
Scientists have developed a new hydrogen reactor. A "Reactor"
sounds like some extreme crazy nuclear device,
but basically the contraption
converts ethanol into cheap hydrogen for use in
This little reactor stands about 2 foot tall (0.6 meters) and
can output enough hydrogen to generate about 1 kilowatt, which is
about enough to power a house or a car (or a robot). Scientists
have been trying to figure out how to generate hydrogen
efficiently so that producing the hydrogen uses less energy than
using it and they may have just come up with a real breakthrough.
Hydrogen (and the hydrogen economy) is the holy grail because it
doesn't produce any
pollution and potentially could reduce our reliance on
oil. Perhaps a fuel cell or hydrogen reactor may
actually be in your robot's future?
The statement that fuel cells do not produce any pollution is not
entirely true; fuel cells output water vapor (steam). I‛TM]m sure every
one has seen at least one SI-FI movie where it rains all the time and
there‛TM]s water all over the ground all of the time. Now imagine a place
like LA where every one is driving fuel cell powered vehicles, all the
homes and business powered by fuel cells. That would produce millions
of tons of water vapor! We could end up with a year round humidity of
90% or more, and what about places like Florida where they already have
a high annual humidity. You would have to trade in your gas mask for a
Some fuel cells use interesting chemicals like sodium borohydride,
which yields "borax" soap like stuff as a solution byproduct.
Some fuel cells use alcohol or methanol to get their hydrogen gas too.
Phosphoric acid fuel cells sound pretty nasty for the environment.
The old alkaline fuel cells tend to have a toxic leftover too.
Molten carbonate fuel cells sound dangerous to me.
Solid-oxide fuel cells look to use all sorts of chemicals that could
Or what about some of the plastics used like perfluorosulfonic acid
It is not just hydrogen in use in these fuel cells, all the other
things that go into manufacturing them could be a lot more hazardous
than the fuel cells operational byproducts.
I remember when the EPA OK'd the unleaded fuel additives. How many
people think about what is happening to their liver's when they go to
fill up their gas tank and breathe in those nice gasoline fumes.