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Making Fire From Water 584

Posted by Zonk
from the cue-mad-scientist-laughter-now dept.
LexNaturalis writes "Gizmodo has a story out about a new product that makes fire from water. Gizmodo explains how it works: 'Ordinary tap water (preferably distilled) is supplied to the fireplace through a pipe or tank, a 220 volt electrical service then separates the hydrogen and oxygen atoms through electrolysis, the Aqueon ignites the hydrogen, and ta-dah, fire! The oxygen is then added for color and brightness, while the rest is released into the room. It doesn't require venting because it doesn't produce any harmful emittents like carbon monoxide -- just water vapor.' The manufacturer's website has more information on the science behind this new product. While splitting water to get hydrogen and oxygen is not new, this product will likely make the technology more accessible to the masses and might hopefully show that hydrogen is a more attractive fuel than petroleum-based fuels."
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Making Fire From Water

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  • by maotx (765127) <maotx AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:34PM (#13255716)
    Fire from water? Thats easy! I use to do it all the time with a block of sodium. Cats didn't like it to much though...
  • by DosBubba (766897) <dosbubba-slashdot@dosbubba.com> on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:35PM (#13255721)
    The price tag is $49,999. They only expect to sell about five this year.
  • I was under the impression that hydrogen flames were only visible in infared. Am I wrong, or are they burning something else as well here?
    • Dude, you don't even need to RTFA... just look at the summary... they add oxygen to adjust the color... different amounts causes the color to change...
      • It's been a while since I did chemistry (and I didn't RTFA), but I'd have thought that "igniting the hydrogen" would require oxygen to make it burn. There won't be any spare oxygen to release into the room, or rather, the flame would use room oxygen and that'll be replaced by the released oxygen. Adding oxygen to "adjust the color" is complete crap.
      • What? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by autopr0n (534291)
        Actually I did read the summary. When hydrogen burns it combines with oxygen. Two hydrogen atoms for each oxygen atom. There's an excess of oxygen due to the oxygen dissolved in the air, probably enough for the hydrogen to burn on its own. Adding more oxygen won't do anything at all, chemically.

        In other words, either the hydrogen will all oxidize, or some of it will, but I don't see how that would change the color, unless the heat is high enough to cause visible black body radiation.

        Either way, you
    • Hydrogen flames are very definitely visible. Depending on the ratio of fuel to oxidant (ie oxygen) the colour of the flame can range from a very faint blue to an intense orange.

      I do a chemistry demonstration where I explode a balloon with either pure hydrogen or a stoichometric ratio of hydrogen and oxygen. The first explosion is just a puff of orange flame, the second is a bright flash of light and a tremendous explosion which has been known to shatter fluoro tubes at 10 metres.

      Charles

  • ROFL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:36PM (#13255727)
    Yeah, fire from water, and ... 220V.

    That's like making wine out of water, and oh, yeah, some grapes and stuff.
    • Probably fossil fuels! Especially because of the bad rep that nuclear power, a clean and effecient power system, has..

      I agree, it's quite silly to claim this is a clean burning fire.
    • by TopSpin (753) *
      Yeah, fire from water, and ... 220V.

      If your power comes from coal (as it does for a large fraction of all power consumers) this is nothing more than a fire delivery system...

      burning coal->boiling water->generator->electrolysis of water->burning hydrogen

      A profoundly inefficient way to ship fire.
    • Re:ROFG (Score:4, Funny)

      by darkonc (47285) <[moc.neergcb] [ta] [leumas_nehpets]> on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:47PM (#13256084) Homepage Journal
      Roll On Floor Gagging at Hydro bill:

      Some old houses have 60 Amp service -- if they use gas stoves.
      Stoves and clothes dryers are commonly wired to 40 amp circuits (each), so these units are going to eat 50% more power than my stove with all burners and the oven on.

      It'd probably be cheaper to buy 20 P4s as space heaters, plus 2 more to run a really nice display.

      Thanks, but no thanks.

    • Unless its run on distilled water this will leave a thick, gunky residue of chlorine salts, calcium, limescale and anything else that's in solution in the local water supply
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:37PM (#13255734)
    Using electricity to convert water to hydrogen to create flame is a round-about way of making things more complicated than they have to be. There are better ways to make heat and light with electricity, after all. And there are better ways to make electricity with water. And if you need fire, burning a tree is simpler still. :)
    • Yes, but burning a tree is obviously environmentally unfriendly. We like trees, we grew up learning about how wonderful trees are and how they clean the air of all that nasty CO2 in grade school and high school natural science classes. So, setting fire to them makes us feel guilty. Thus, it is better if we use electricity, produced by the consumption of polluting and non-renewable sources of energy FAR FAR removed from our living rooms and so FAR FAR out of sight and mind, to create hydrogen gas which we ca
    • I know, I know, it is usually silly to try to produce a fire (I mean real flames) with electricity being the sole energy source. However, if I really want to do such a thing (possibly for decorative reasons), electrolysis seems to be a reasonably simple way to do it.
    • Exactly, even a bar 2400W radiator, which IMO are really crap heaters, will heat more efficiently than this guy. This is another example of western culture's wastefull nature. Reverse cycle air-con would beat the shit outta this product effeciency wise, but people will probably still buy it because of the ambiance. Just like SUV's designed marketed at the city, this thing makes me sick.
  • Seriously, didn't everyone see this as a demonstration in high-school chemistry? This isn't exactly that new or exciting...
    • That brings back fond memories. Once a year my chemistry teacher would fill a balloon with hydrogen, tie it with a string to a chair in the hall and touch it with a lighted match at the end of a yard stick. The resulting boom was accentuated by the high ceilings, plaster walls and terrazzo floor of my school. Awesome.

      Man, they don't make 'em like they used to - teachers or school buildings.

  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:38PM (#13255743)
    I bet that's energy efficient.
  • by baptiste (256004) * <mike&baptiste,us> on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:39PM (#13255754) Homepage Journal
    60 Amps? To run a fireplace? Yes I know it takes a lot of power to split water - but my hottub doesn't draw that much power at full blast. Much as I'd love a clean burning fire in my fireplace - drawing 8-9kW to do it is nuts
    • More like 13.2kW.

      But considering the fact that a space heater for 500ft^2 usually uses about 5kW, it really isn't too horrible- still rediculously inefficient, but if you have enough money to buy one of these, you probably don't care.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Ain't no such thing as an inefficient heater. Every last watt of power turns into heat in the end, whether it gets there by running through a resistive coil or by splitting water and putting it back together again (laws of thermodynamics).

        Less efficient than a heat pump, perhaps, but that's another story.
        • Well, not every watt is directly turned into heat. Many heaters give off light, which is not "heat" (though when it gets absorbed by, say, the air or a wall, that energy may get turned into heat). Also, not every heater is able to extract all of the energy (for instance, some fuel may go unburned, or an AC heater may radiate RF instead of more useful IR).
  • Water Heater
    Stove.

    Cant justify a space heater or house heating due to the amount of water vapor that would be released..
  • MINNEAPOLIS (April 06, 2005)Hearth & Home Technologies wants to inform consumers of possible safety risks associated with the continued use of 7,815 Heat & Glo(TM) brand GEM 36 and GEM 42 gas fireplaces sold since July 2002. The fireplaces can, under certain circumstances, accumulate gas prior to burner ignition, causing the glass window to shatter and presenting the risk of burns or cuts from broken glass.

    "The safety and welfare of our customers is of the utmost importance to us," said Brad Determa
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:43PM (#13255778) Journal
    I think the poster misunderstood the benefit of this... this is nothing more than a fancy electric room heater!

    This is NOT an alternative energy source, it's a wasteful energy consumer...
  • ...and coal, and atoms, and hydro.

    "might hopefully show that hydrogen is a more attractive fuel than petroleum-based fuels."

    With 220v input, that's a lot of electricity being generated (most of it using fossil fuels), transmitted long distances (which, of course, wastes electricity) and then being used to... split water so it can burn. Great. You'd actually be incurring a lower energy load with a natural gas fireplace.

    Hydrogen doesn't grow on trees - it takes power to make hydrogen. Hydrogen as a

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:45PM (#13255789) Homepage
    It takes MORE energy to get the hydrogen-oxygen bonds to release than you get back when you recombine them through burning.

    GEEZ. You might as well take a solar powered light and shine it on itself.
    • by gozu (541069) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:19PM (#13255954) Journal
      You might as well take a solar powered light and shine it on itself.

      Haha! It's my idea now! So long sucker!

      /rushes to patent office
    • The F'ing Article certainly doesn't say so. I don't see any comments saying it is. In fact, the only discussion I see about whether this is or isn't a fuel source is... your comment right here.
    • It takes MORE energy

      I know your post was humorous but:

      Umm the bond breaking/forming part requires/releases exactly the same amount of energy, unless there have been some major revisions to the laws of thermodynamics since I was in college.

      What takes loads of energy is trying to get those electrons to flow through water, trying to get those hydroxyl and hydrogen ions to migrate to those electrodes, getting the rest of the water to dissociate, and converting a pair
  • The oxygen is then added for color and brightness, while the rest is released into the room.

    The rest of the oxygen is released in the room? Granted, that going above 20% oxygen in a room won't harm you, but it does make combustible things more so. How much oxygen is this device creating? It might not be a good idea to smoke near this thing?
    • Duh. It's consuming basically the same amount of oxygen from air.

      However, the entire idea is remarkably inefficient. It would only make sense in some situation where you had lots of cheap electricity, lousy water, and only needed a small amount of pure water. (If you actually need lots of pure water, you set up an actual water purification plant.)

    • by Dunbal (464142)
      The rest of the oxygen is released in the room?

      Not only that - what do they do with all that hydrogen then? I know I'm from biology and not chemistry, but if I remember correctly (and I am scratching my head here) water contains twice as much hydrogen as it contains oxygen, so if you're going to have excess oxygen you will have twice as much excess hydrogen.

      Or could it be that somehow this magic fireplace miraculously manages to combine all the hydrogen with the o
  • Yeah right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nuntius (92696) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:46PM (#13255794)
    "This product ... might hopefully show that hydrogen is a more attractive fuel".

    A *fuel* eh? Just like my lead-acid car battery is a fuel.

    Wake up folks; water is the most stable chemical form of hydrogen and oxygen. Breaking water to form hydrogen is an inefficient (wasteful) process.

    The only potentially viable way to generate hydrogen is to "burn" biomass or mined gasses/oils. Biomass has to be grown, thus putting a strain on farmland and possibly promoting world hunger (we'll burn their food for energy). There are cleaner, more efficient ways of extracting energy from petroleum than converting it to hydrogen.

    Hydrogen is merely a "cool" idea for porkbelly projects. As a non-naturally ocurring fuel, it is a non-starter.
    • Right...yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ciroknight (601098) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:04PM (#13255880)
      Well well, we can tell who's a right winger.

      There are a billion and two ways to get atomic hydrogen, and this is just one of them. Sure, it's ineffecient, but so is burning carbon fuels.

      Besides, electricity can be derived from anything these days. Put a few solar panels on your roof, and you've got a self contained hydrogen producer. Step it up another notch with rain water collection and filtration and it's competely autonomous.

      But oh, I guess you'll argue that photovatalics are terrible and that silicon hurts the environment and that oil's the best fuel we got.

      Next up, Biofuel. It's cheap! It's effecient! And if you were truly worried about the world farmlands, you'd be *advocating* this. The more biofuel that goes into production, the more the need for farmlands, and farmlands will grow in size. Thus, overall food output will increase and we will be able to transport that same food further, for cheaper than oil.

      I know, I know, it's rough I don't wanna give up my old beater jeep either, but the fact is that oil is unsustainable and the sun IS sustainable. Well, unless you want to get pedantic on me and say the sun will go away in 5 billion years.

      Hydrogen's a great idea as long as it's implemented correctly, which is where the research is currently going on. Oil was a terrible idea; just look at the middle east today!
      • "right winger"? I've got an idea. How about you can the stupid political labels and putting words in peoples mouths and actually respond to what was said?

        Thinking hydrogen is a stupid idea is valid, and there are many arguments why. Why don't you go do the calculation to see how far your roof covered in solar panels will drive a car. Use best case for everything. Or maybe you could just appeal to your rightthinking ways, and that'll make it work.

      • Re:Right...yeah (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nuntius (92696)
        > Well well, we can tell who's a right winger.
        Uncalled for ad-hominem.

        > Besides, electricity can be derived from anything these days.

        I agree, but why waste electricity creating hydrogen? As the most versatile form of energy known to man, why not use it directly?

        > ... and farmlands will grow in size. ... Thus, overall food output will increase ...

        Massive corporate farms with the requisite processing equipment would grow in size. The guys in small or dry countries wouldn't have a chance. Also, org
    • Re:Yeah right (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dukerobillard (582741)
      Breaking water to form hydrogen is an inefficient (wasteful) process.

      I dunno, plants do a pretty good job of it.

      • > I dunno, plants do a pretty good job of it.

        You're right; photo-chemical production of hydrogen is an interesting topic. So would be thermo-chemical production from nuclear sources instead of our current electrical production. As of today, the only forseeable methods of mass-producing hydrogen involve electrolysis (pure waste of energy) or reprocessing other fuels; and that isn't much to get excited over.

        Unfortunately, most of the current hype is about using hydrogen to run electrical products. As yo
  • by ChiralSoftware (743411) <info@chiralsoftware.net> on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:46PM (#13255795) Homepage
    From the post: While splitting water to get hydrogen and oxygen is not new, this product will likely make the technology more accessible to the masses and might hopefully show that hydrogen is a more attractive fuel than petroleum-based fuels.

    No, what this shows is that hydrogen is simply a derivative of fossil fuels, and is in fact an extremely expensive, inefficient and almost useless way to store and transport energy.

    Let's see, we start with huge lumps of coal, convert them to steam, convert the steam to electricity, and then use the electricity to make hydrogen which (in a fuel cell) we can convert back to electricity. Energy is lost at every step along the way. In particular, compressing the hydrogen from atmospheric pressure to storage tank pressure loses about HALF the total energy, so even if the fuel cell is 100% efficient, you've still lost HALF the energy you started with.

    But commercial hydrogen is not produced by electrolysis. It's produced from natural gas and steam. So let's see, we start with natural gas, a product which has the following properties:

    • Cheap
    • Easy to store and transport with widely available equipment
    • Can run through cheap, widely available engines
    • Fairly clean burning (compared to diesel)
    • High energy density in compressed tanks
    and we convert that to hydrogen which has the following properties:
    • Very very expensive
    • Very difficult to store. The only real-world proven way to store it at a high density is to liquify it. That will never be a practical option outside of aerospace industry
    • Can be burned in regular engines, with regular engine efficiency, or can be burned in extremely expensive fuel cells. There is no realistic possibility of fuel cells becoming cost competitive in the foreseeable future.
    • Low energy-density for real-world storage (compressed tanks, etc). Fuel cell cars have a range of less than 200 miles usually.
    • Oh, and it's clean burning! Finally after all the bad things about H2 we come to one good thing!
    • It makes the whole global warming and oil dependency problems worse becomes it takes so much energy is wasted in the process of converting fossil fuels into hydrogen.
    The one thing that could help is that you can make hydrogen from clean nuclear energy and from clean solar energy, but given that hydrogen electrolysis is not cost-competitive with even cheap fossil fuel electricity, why should it be cost competitive with much more expensive solar electricity?

    I regret that our government is involved in subsidizing this whole boondoggle, but I have no worries that it will continue in the long-term. Some small improvements in lithium batteries, and some reasonable production economy in lithium batteries will make electric cars competitive with plain old ICE cars, and the hydrogen fuel research pork programs will shrivel up and die.

    ----------------
    mobile search [mwtj.com]

    • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maynard (3337)
      What does your rant against hydrogen have to do with a toy electric fireplace for rich people? The toy burns hydrogen. You have a political axe to grind against hydrogen and fuel cells. Of course it's on topic! Or maybe this is just a pre-written rant for use whenever hydrogen is mentioned. That fuel cell cars and the whole "hydrogen economy" under consideration by policymakers has nothing to do with the topic at hand is irrevant. Lame.... --M
    • I get your rant about the proposed hydrogen economy, but all this product appears to do is separate hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis and then let them recombine to produce flame. The part about adding oxygen "for color and brightness" is moronic, and the device is obviously not a demonstration of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, or anything else. It's just a cute little expensive novelty item.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday August 05, 2005 @10:53PM (#13255818) Homepage Journal
    If you burn something in air, if you get the air hot enough then you combine some of the nitrogen in the air with oxygen.

    Hydrogen burns pretty hot.

    I wonder what steps these folks have taken to prevent or minimize emission of nitrogen oxides.

    I also wonder how they're getting color in the flame, since the usual cheerful yellow comes from incandescent soot particles.

    Maybe when they designed it they were under the influence of firewater.
    • I wonder what steps these folks have taken to prevent or minimize emission of nitrogen oxides.

            Nitric oxide bad.

            Nitrous oxide GOOD.

            Mmmmmmm hahahahahahaha what what what was that hehehe what was that about miniminiminimzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....
  • might hopefully show that hydrogen is a more attractive fuel than petroleum-based fuels.

    Given how much energy electrolisis takes, I don't be thinking so, not in this case.
  • Generally, it is quite difficult to pass current through distilled (and especially deionized) water. In fact, pure water is such a good insulator that it is used in the high voltage switches (for example at electric generating plants) to suppress arcing while contacts are being opened or closed.
  • I am using as much as I damn well please, to help get us to the point where it is gone, and we can get on to the next thing. Just to stop the whining about how we are running out!
  • by Dunbal (464142)
    That sounds like an incredibly energy efficient system. Not. Let's burn fuel at the power plant to make electricity, so that we can put electrical energy into the inefficient reaction to break chemical bonds to make hydrogen and oxygen which we then combine again to make a pretty flame. Not to mention the wear and tear on electrodes.

          I'll just stick to burning the fuel directly to make my flames.

    Sheer geekiness aside, how much does this thing cost to run?
  • Uses 4,000 Watts? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jsimon12 (207119) <{tzzhc4} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:13PM (#13255928) Homepage
    Sure it makes hydrogen but it uses something on the order of 4kw. Lets all remember you don't get something for nothing people.
  • For only $50k you too can impress your friends by pretending to embrace alternative energy sources [bsalert.com] while you squader a disproportionate amount of electricity.
  • ok, so we end up with a flame and water vapor. Now does anyone think this is a good idea for a humidifier/heater in a cold country? A post above mentions Finland. In the winter, the air gets very dry there (at least it was when i was there at X-mas), and one of those guys would:
    1 heat the home (flames heat)
    2 humidify the air (produces water vapor)

    Now don't drive the thing too far or you'll think you're in a tropical jungle, but still, it could be pretty useful that way as well.
  • It's an art piece (Score:5, Interesting)

    by btempleton (149110) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:16PM (#13255942) Homepage
    With some mumbo jumbo about future fuels to sell it to people. In reality it's an electric heater. Almost all uses of electricity are electric heaters, and unless they affect things outside the room, they're mostly 100% efficient electric heaters. It's easy to be 100% efficient at turning useful energy into heat, after all. (furnaces are not 100% efficient because they must vent waste gas outside, along with some heat.)

    This just happens to turn electricity into heat in an amusing way, at a high price. There are, of course lots of other interesting ways to turn electricity into heat. My computers are doing plenty of that right now.

    If they really were pitching this as a way to heat the house, it would be as bad an idea as any other electric heater. They are way poorer in total "well to home" efficiency than gas furnaces, but often used because they are cheap to install (expensive to run), very easy to meter (for landlords), and on the positive side, can be easily individually controlled on a room by room basis, which sometimes can make them more efficient than heaters that either heat the whole building or nothing at all.

    But I doubt this is meant as such a heater. It's meant as an art piece, to wow your fellow millionaire friends.
  • by paiute (550198) on Friday August 05, 2005 @11:18PM (#13255948)
    My invention uses 220V to make hydrogen which is burned to heat water which drives a turbine that generates electricity.

    Clean energy!

  • Greenwash (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    What a load of bullshit about marketing alternative fuels. This sounds like a great geek toy, a fabulous special effect, even an interesting way to have open flames inside without toxic fumes needing exhaust. Isn't that enough?

    Because as an "alternative energy" demo, it's a travesty. Thermodynamics means that all the energy released in the fire had to be put into the O2 and H2 cracked from the water, by the high-voltage electricity. Which electricity had to be generated far away, losing at least half its po
    • by hernick (63550) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @01:18AM (#13256427)
      You, sir "Doc" Ruby, are spreading lies.

      Electrical transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 7.2% in 1995. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transm ission [wikipedia.org] for details. Electrical power generation is very efficient, and overall pollutes far less than most small-scale energy production operations.

      Secondly, "nothing is created, nothing is lost". When you're trying to heat up a room with electricity, waste heat is a good thing. This hydrogen fire device has multiple conversion stages, all of them inefficient - in that they release waste heat. In the end, all of the energy that goes into the system is converted into heat.

      In fact, most of the heat of the device probably comes from the electrolysis rather than from the burning. But in the end, it's meant to be a room heater, and is doing a fine job as that. It is as efficient a furnace as a normal heater, or as a beowulf cluster. That's right, a beowulf cluster is a very good way to heat your room, and it's just as efficient as a purpose-made heater.

      Do you know about heat pumps ? Those devices are basically air conditioners acting in reverse, taking heat from the outdoors, during the winter, and pumping it inside. At first glance, it doesn't make much sense: pumps and compressors are very inefficient devices, aren't they ? Plus, there's not much heat outside... But then you realise that the waste heat of the whole heat pump is a good thing - it's kept inside the house and used to heat it up. So all the heat pump has to do is extract a little bit of energy from the outside and spit out lots of waste heat, hence making it a tad more efficient than a device which merely spits waste heat.

      Any electrical devices that doesn't move outside air around is an efficient heater. Your toaster, your computer and your electrical chainsaw are just as efficient as your room heater, when it comes to producing heat.

      Anyway, your post is a travesty of science and logic. You were inspired by a hampster and your reasoning smells of elderberries.
      • Fucking hell, who modded this drivel up?
        About the only passably informative thing in this post is the US power transmission losses.

        Secondly, "nothing is created, nothing is lost". When you're trying to heat up a room with electricity, waste heat is a good thing. This hydrogen fire device has multiple conversion stages, all of them inefficient - in that they release waste heat. In the end, all of the energy that goes into the system is converted into heat.

        What they have is a giant, ineffecient H2O splitter.
  • Given the power requirements of such a setup, I bet burning a plain old Duraflame log is going to be better for the environment.

    Besides, if you want something even more clean burning, why not use natural gas?
  • Bad, bad example. Go sit in the corner.

    Okay, now where were we?

    Yes, hydrogen CAN be extracted from some hydrocarbon fuels, butwhile looking around for articles on it, I got the impression it's not much more cost or fuel efficient than plain old electrolysis.

    There's this article:
    http://www.batteriesdigest.com/hydrogen_extract.ht m [batteriesdigest.com]
    but I don't think I can trust an article where different sentence fragments were apparently written by people who didn't coordinate well with each other (this is an actual sentence
  • by gorehog (534288) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @12:09AM (#13256169)
    Yeah, I was wondering when people would realize that the challenge of the hydrogen infrastructure is bullshit.

    I mean...you can get hydrogen from water. I've never seen a gas station that lacks water OR electricity...so how hard is it REALLY to supply hydrogen at every gas staion in america?

  • by utexaspunk (527541) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @04:30AM (#13256950)
    ...and nifty toy for rich people...

    let's do the math-
    220V x 60amps = 13.2kW = ~45,000 btu's. According to their website, this device produces about 31,000 btus/hr, so that makes this ~69% efficient.

    BUT... that kind of heating capacity usually comes from a gas furnace or a heat pump, which usually require insulated ductwork, or a fireplace, which loses a lot of its heat out the chimney.

    This thing can (at least theoretically) go in the middle of a room, provide the ambience and heating ability of a fireplace, and doesn't lose any of its heat out a chimney. Probably a solution looking for a problem, but you gotta admit it's kinda cool...

    It would be even cooler if the water were incorporated into design- like having a sheet of water flowing over the base or something...
  • "Excess oxygen"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Caduceus1 (178942) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @08:55AM (#13257487) Homepage
    Does anyone else find this funny?

    Let's see - water splits into 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom...hydrogen in the presense of oxygen can be ignited to produce water vapor, which contains...umm...2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, leaving...ummm...nothing?

    What excess oxygen are they talking about? Sure, the hydrogen could combine with the oxygen in the room that's already there, and therefore there would be excess from the original separation, but we are talking a net zero gain...it's no like we're adding oxygen to our home, which really has no benefit...
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Saturday August 06, 2005 @10:09AM (#13257732)
    It's a way of storing energy. You have to produce the hydrogen somehow and you need another form of energy to do it.

    This fire is a joke.

    Power stations are inefficient. Most of them are around 40%, there are a few types like combined cycle gas turbines that make it up to around 60% efficient. That means electric heating is no more than 60% efficient. That sounds OK till you realise that the power station is throwing away gigawatts of "waste" heat.

    If this "waste" heat was pumped round houses, buildings and used to heat them instead of the electricity then the electricity could be used for something else instead. Closer to 90% efficiency rather than 40% or 60%. It's called District Heating and has been round for decades.

     

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