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Old 30-07-2008, 15:29   #1
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The ideas of March - Project H115

Hi,

I recently read an article in the august issue of Boat International concerning a very interesting design by Berkeley March called Project H115. Not only is the exterior design of this vessel extraordinary, but her proposed means of propulsion is using green hydrogen energy to give unlimited range 40 degrees either side of the equator.
The article stated, and i quote: 'One of the key features of the H115 is the innovative propulsion system, which would use green hydrogen energy to give unlimited range 40 degrees either side of the equator'. Now this is pretty much what i said above, but later on in the article it berkeley march said: 'I'm currently working on a 32m using more conventional hydrogen production [using electrolysis] for a Belgian outfit...'.

This then suggests that the hydrogen production method is something other than electrolysis, and that brings me to the question i had in mind: How does it produce it's hydrogen?

Berkeley March said that he had done a lot of research into this and i have tried to obtain as much information as i have been able to on the field myself, but i still have no idea what kind of hydrogen production device Berkeley March had in mind.
I would really apreciate all replies that can help me figure this out.

Kind regards,
Octavian

PS: I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this kind of question but i thought i'd give it a go.
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Old 30-07-2008, 16:44   #2
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Hydrogen is only "Green" if it is PRODUCED "Green". The only way to separate the strong bonds between hydrogen and oxygen is with ENERGY. Typically, through electrolysis.

The FIRST Law of Thermodynamics is NOT a THEORY:

Whatever energy is "produced" by burning hydrogen (in a fuel cell, or otherwise) is the SAME energy that is required to separate hydrogen and oxygen in the first place!

Look folks, there's no Silver Bullet here. For some reason, people think that just because Hydrogen is derived from water, and then when it's burned (oxydized) the byproduct is water, that it's the perfect fuel. It's just so far from that!

Think of it this way: producing hydrogen is just like storing energy in a battery. It works the same way. Now, how far do you REALLY think you would get on your boat, using ONLY solar or wind generated power, and an electric motor? Well, this has the SAME efficiencies/inefficiencies.

UGH!
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Old 30-07-2008, 17:28   #3
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Quote:
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Hydrogen is only "Green" if it is PRODUCED "Green". The only way to separate the strong bonds between hydrogen and oxygen is with ENERGY. Typically, through electrolysis.

The FIRST Law of Thermodynamics is NOT a THEORY:

Whatever energy is "produced" by burning hydrogen (in a fuel cell, or otherwise) is the SAME energy that is required to separate hydrogen and oxygen in the first place!

Look folks, there's no Silver Bullet here. For some reason, people think that just because Hydrogen is derived from water, and then when it's burned (oxydized) the byproduct is water, that it's the perfect fuel. It's just so far from that!

Think of it this way: producing hydrogen is just like storing energy in a battery. It works the same way. Now, how far do you REALLY think you would get on your boat, using ONLY solar or wind generated power, and an electric motor? Well, this has the SAME efficiencies/inefficiencies.

UGH!
Yes sir, i am well ware of the the laws of thermodynamics and the fact that energy does not come out of thin air, or in this case water. My question was concerning the method of the other "green hydrogen production" that the article mentioned, and not some sort of free energy device.

Thank you.
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Old 30-07-2008, 20:20   #4
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Quote:
My question was concerning the method of the other "green hydrogen production" that the article mentioned, and not some sort of free energy device.
Since they didn't mention it maybe they didn't mean it. Splitting water into hydrogen is an age old goal. Easily more than 100 years old. Nothing got missed.

With attention drawn to "green" anything. We should expect a lot better scams than this one.
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Old 31-07-2008, 02:48   #5
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Quote:
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... Whatever energy is "produced" by burning hydrogen (in a fuel cell, or otherwise) is the SAME energy that is required to separate hydrogen and oxygen in the first place!
... Think of it this way: producing hydrogen is just like storing energy in a battery. It works the same way. Now, how far do you REALLY think you would get on your boat, using ONLY solar or wind generated power, and an electric motor? Well, this has the SAME efficiencies/inefficiencies.
Experts cite three big roadblocks to a hydrogen economy: manufacturing hydrogen cleanly and at low cost, finding a way to ship it and store it on the vehicles that use it, and reducing the astronomical price of fuel cells.

Most current hydrogen production in the U. S. today is by steam reforming of methane from natural gas, not by hydrolysis.

Low and zero-carbon sources like wind hydro power, photo-voltaic solar power, photo-biological,* and direct photo-oxidation (and perhaps many more) means can be utilized to produce “green” (carbon-free & renewable) Hydrogen.

* Photo-biological water splitting uses light energy to activate certain photosynthetic microbes, producing hydrogen (and oxygen) from water. Specific purple bacteria and blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) are being developed to be used in a photo-bioreactor to produce solar hydrogen.

Just as I don't produce (drill for & refine) my current diesel/gasoline fuel, I wouldn't expect to produce my own H2 fuel.
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Old 31-07-2008, 03:07   #6
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More important is that having produced H2 it has to be stored (at pressure) released and burnt in an engine to drive a prop shaft etc etc
That is not going to way better than charging a battery from a solar panel and using that to drive an electric motor. Solar Panels; Batteries; Wet Motors and Props will develop as volume of production gets bigger. H2 still needs a big jump in tecnology.
p.s. Sails produce unlimited range already!!! Was this just a 'sails' pitch
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Old 31-07-2008, 04:38   #7
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Just as I don't produce (drill for & refine) my current diesel/gasoline fuel, I wouldn't expect to produce my own H2 fuel.
Since the zeppelin explosions of the early 20th century the use of hydrogen has been a very undesirable topic. Psychological barriers to hydrogen I think are too great to overcome.

Compressed gas use even with propane gets a lot of people uncomfortable. We have enough threads about fear of using propane for cooking fuel aboard. Hydrogen storage for propulsion would make a very simple clean burning engine design but a very nasty storage nightmare. The size of the tank could be enough to kill the idea.
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Old 31-07-2008, 05:48   #8
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Since they didn't mention it maybe they didn't mean it. Splitting water into hydrogen is an age old goal. Easily more than 100 years old. Nothing got missed.

With attention drawn to "green" anything. We should expect a lot better scams than this one.
To be honest i do not think it is some sort of scam due to the fact that he (Berjkeley march) was among the finalists in the inaugural young designer of the year competition held by boat international group in association with Camper & Nicholsons international and the royal intstitute of naval architects (RINA).
these are respectable people and not likely to try and scam you.
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Old 31-07-2008, 05:57   #9
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To your information there are other ways of producing hydrogen besides splitting water. Electrolysis of ammonia (NH3) is 95% more energy effective compared to electrolysis of water (H2O), which makes it easily splitable by renewable energy sources such as wind or solar etc.
the infrastructure needed to produce Ammonia is well established and currently consumes about 1% of the worlds energy production.

but this does not explain what they say about unlimited range, and why only 40 degrees either side of the equator?

Now the reason i ask is merely due to what i think is an article lacking some vital information which i thought you boat people might know.
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Old 31-07-2008, 06:02   #10
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Since the zeppelin explosions of the early 20th century the use of hydrogen has been a very undesirable topic. Psychological barriers to hydrogen I think are too great to overcome.

Compressed gas use even with propane gets a lot of people uncomfortable. We have enough threads about fear of using propane for cooking fuel aboard. Hydrogen storage for propulsion would make a very simple clean burning engine design but a very nasty storage nightmare. The size of the tank could be enough to kill the idea.
Ammonia is a very good hydrgen carrier (NH3) and is only explosive in something like 19-25% mix with air and can be stored in liquid form at about 8 bar. production would be at demand with electrolysis and fed intp a fuelcell.
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Old 31-07-2008, 09:05   #11
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Yes, and there's a reason Ammonia isn't used for non-commercial refrigeration anymore.

Making Hydrogen from Methane? Where does the methane come from? The head? Maybe the ocean floor? And, it's a fossil fuel. On top of that, what is THE byproduct of hydrogen production from methane? You guessed it! CO2!

I mentioned hydrolysis, 'cause that's what the original poster mentioned.

Seriously, you would be better off with solar & batteries.
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