9 Comments to “A Fuel Cell Generator for Home Power?”

  1. Chris Green

    Jan 17th, 2011

    Hi, Chris. My thinking on this is that if the methane is from a biogenerator-a methane digestor for example-the use of the BlueGen will have a bonus not mentioned in the company’s literature (that i noticed): turning a very intense greehouse gas-methane-into water and a smaller amount of a somewhat less intense greenhouse, co2. It remains to be seen IF the fuel cell appliance can be powered by a methane digester, of course. For some applications, the heat put out by this could be used by a thermo-electric system to generate more electricity. If the heat isn’t used to heat water, that is. Cheers, Chris Green.

  2. Christie

    Jan 18th, 2011

    Wow! This is very Twilight Zone – I JUST pressed “send” on an e-mail to a production company I work with. Attached to the e-mail are several documents I have proofread. They discuss cutting-edge research in hydrogen power. The national university located in Fukuoka has opened a center for hydrogen research. From the brochure: “The hydrogen projects at the Ito Campus aim to realize a society powered by environmentally-friendly hydrogen energy, and are being implemented under close cooperation between the university, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Fukuoka Strategy Conference for Hydrogen Energy.” They have a couple of high-profile projects going on right now, one of which is a “Hydro Town”, populated by a number of families and powered by fuel cell energy. They also have a hydrogen station on campus where they can supply fuel to cars that run on hydrogen. I guess it’s not all science fiction anymore…

  3. Chris

    Jan 18th, 2011

    Hi Christie,

    This is neat!

    You would not happen to have any links to the town?


  4. Jasper

    Jan 18th, 2011

    So, that will add a fifth use to Mike’s Earthship water cycle then!

    – Collect water, turn it into hydrogen for storage. Use hydrogen to power house, water coming back!
    – ….. do regular Eartship cycle stuff with water

  5. Christie

    Jan 19th, 2011

    Hi Chris –
    A quick search over my lunchtime tea turned up a brief explanation on an English page ofthe METI website:

    This about fuel cells for cars:

    Oh! Here’s the mother lode – the Kyushu University hydrogen energy research center’s page. Click “English” in the top right corner to see what they have in English (a quick look shows some info on the Hydrogen Town in the “practical demonstrations” topic)

    Happy reading!

  6. Tim

    Feb 4th, 2011

    A hydrogen fuel cell takes in hydrogen and oxygen and produces water. A fuel cell does NOT crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.

    Hydrogen in this case is the fuel. To ‘make’ hydrogen, one needs a electrolysis machine, a steam cracker, or maybe even a biological reactor of some sort. These all require energy to run. This energy can be from solar/wind or other renewable, but there is always a loss.

    Other fuel cells take methane as a fuel, and produce water and carbon monoxide. note that ‘methane (CH4)’ does NOT have to mean ‘Natural Gas’. Most living things make methane, and I’m sure you can find stories of dairies or pig farms producing power from their sludge, mainly by having the sludge be eaten by microorganisms which give off methane.
    Note again that there is plenty of losses in the cycles here, I’m not sure how many ‘cows’ equals how many lightbulbs. But there are losses.

    FCs tend to require rather ‘clean’ inputs, so an additional scrubber is usually required, reducing efficiency.

    For all of that though, if you have a good source of H2, or CH4 (from a carbon neutral source), then a FC can be great. They are still rather expensive, as they tend to require platinum and gold in their construction. :/

  7. Chris

    Feb 5th, 2011

    Thanks for the clarification Tim. I think the fuel cell originally asked about uses propane or natural gas to generate methane?

  8. Bob

    Aug 27th, 2011

    I’m all for the benefits hydrogen and fuel cells will have for our environment. Has anyone done a serious review of the long term (decades/hundreds of years) consequences of converting massive amounts of water to hydrogen? “Burning” hydrogen will produce water and that is fine. However, hydrogen is hard to contain so there will be losses into the atmosphere. Hydrogen is so light that gravity can not keep it on earth. It can literally float away into space. This happens now through natural processes. We should be sure this is a truly sustainable long term model for energy production before launching massive consumption of such a critical resource. I hope it is.

  9. a

    Jun 17th, 2014

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post
    and the rest of the website is extremely good.

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