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Inexpensive Nanosheet Catalyst Splits Hydrogen From Water 141

An anonymous reader writes "Traditional methods of producing pure hydrogen are either extremely expensive or release lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Now, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed an electrocatalyst that addresses one of these problems by generating hydrogen gas from water cleanly and with drastically more affordable materials. Goodbye platinum; hello nickel and ammonia."
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Inexpensive Nanosheet Catalyst Splits Hydrogen From Water

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  • Re:Will it work? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:57PM (#39974245)

    I want to know why we have not gone nuclear across the nation. The latest nuclear fission technologies are a lot safer than most people believe. Renewable energy is a nice thought but it is not going to do it in the short term. Perhaps in the future when it is more advanced but not right now.

  • Re:Will it work? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Delarth799 ( 1839672 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:58PM (#39974267)
    Most people could care less about the future. Thinking ahead seems to scare a lot of people so they concentrate on the here and now until that future they ignored comes and smacks them in the face.
  • Re:Will it work? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:31PM (#39974569)

    Solyndra did not fail because of any technological fault or even internal corruption.

    They failed because China shattered the price on solar panels, with their own subsidized production, which meant Solyndra couldn't effectively compete.

    People are seeing the wrong lesson from what happened. It's like the flooding in the upper Mississippi. People got all worked up over the dams and reservoirs not working, but they never noticed that the reservoirs were kept full because of their use in fishing. Which made people money. Or like the California power crisis. Everybody swore up and down that the problem was California hadn't built power plants or some such, but they didn't notice that it was Enron's deliberate shut-downs of functional plants in order to create an artificial crisis. So they could make money.

    Perception and reality are often quite different.

  • by loshwomp ( 468955 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:53PM (#39974749)

    Almost the entirety of the cost of hydrogen gas is the energy used to create it by cracking water.

    Don't forget that you have to compress the H2 before you can use it, too, and that takes a huge amount of (usually electrical) energy. Enough energy that you could put it into a battery electric car instead and drive a significant fraction of the distance the fuel cell would take you without the stupid fuel cell.

  • by jmerlin ( 1010641 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:13PM (#39974879)
    Gasses can be condensed using temperature as well, imagine this process happening in space, where an absence of heat is abundant. Gaseous hydrogen will gladly float beyond our atmosphere, at which point it can be easily compressed and then gravity will bring it back down to earth. I don't think this problem has to require an enormous amount of energy to solve. And that process of moving hydrogen to space can also generate electricity...
  • Re:Will it work? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @09:18PM (#39975299) Journal

    Consider this.

    Apple's cash reserves are $110 billion. Microsoft has $60 billion. Google has $40 billion.

    U.S. is spending $8 billion per year for TSA (and growing).

    Direct spending on Iraq War is over $800 billion. In Afghanistan, over $400 billion.

    According to MIT fusion researchers we've had here on Slashdot the other day, we could have had fusion today if we were willing to spend $80 billion on it in the last 20 years. If true, it means that Apple alone could fund it if they wanted!

    Let's assume that they are overly optimistic, and increase that figure by an order of magnitude - even then it's what was spent with zero benefit on Iraq alone.

    When we fuck up our civilization by over-reliance on a single oh-so-convenient power source, we'll have no-one but ourselves to blame.

  • Re:Will it work? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NemoinSpace ( 1118137 ) on Friday May 11, 2012 @11:32PM (#39976089) Journal
    My friend, please compare the energy density (in Mj/L) of gasoline, coal, and hydrogen. - I'll even allow you to use liquid hydrogen.
    There is a reason engineers choose the materials they do.
    Another hint: the price of oil is not based on the amount of it in the ground. We'll burn gas till the last drop. If you think gas is expensive, wait till your plan comes true and see how much you pay then.
    If it makes you feel better, the entire planet receives lots more energy from the sun than we use. Sunlight is free, yet we don't use it. Why? - energy density. Converting this almost limitless source of energy into useful energy is not only inconvenient, but also because it's expensive.
    Most people like you will still claim "the sky is falling." Relax. We are engineers. We will do it for you. When the time comes.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982