Cella Energy is developing the Hydrogen Bag™ that contains micro-fibres. The fibres resemble white tissue paper and can be packaged in any container or even in clothing. There is no need for a metal canister because the hydrogen is stored at normal temperatures and pressures, and is safe to handle in the open air. Previously we have discussed the Cella Energy markets of cars and rockets.
The way the hydrogen is supplied has held up the adoption of these fuel cells up to now because hydrogen storage has only been possible in hydrogen cylinders. These metal cylinders present safety risks and are not practical for large scale market adoption
Reducing Emissions for Aircraft
The Cella Energy hydrogen storage materials could also be added to kerosene, JP-8 or jet-fuel to lower the emissions from aircraft. If used in this way there would be minimal modification of engine design.
Environmental scientists are concerned about the long term impact of these emissions in the upper atmosphere.
Because of the large scale of aircraft jet-engines compared to say a car, the emissions are much greater, and so even a small reduction in emissions of say 1% could have a significant affect on global warming.
Cella can add the hydrogen micro-beads to kerosene. The beads have diameters of ~ 0.5 – 5 μm and will not affect engine design, but could reduce emissions significantly
Bringing power from offshore wind
Typically undersea collection cables connect multiple turbines, and transport the electricity to a transformer – also out at sea. At the transformer the combined electricity is converted to a high voltage for transmission via undersea cables to shore. These undersea cables have to be buried in the seabed to stop them being snagged by fishing vessels. Once the cables reach land, they are connected to the onshore electricity grid. The connections, transmission equipment and transformers required are also expensive. Multiple cables and equipment is required to provide redundancy. Some cables will have to be hundreds of miles long.
The cables require considerable quantities of copper and their costs are vulnerable to the variable price of copper on the commodities market. There is also concern that the high electromagnetic fields created by these high voltage cables could interfere with navigational ability.
Hydrogen – turning wind from an intermittent power source to a consistent one
An alternative approach, is to use the electricity to produce hydrogen through the electrolysis of seawater. Water is H20, and is converted into hydrogen and oxygen.
The hydrogen can be stored in vessels that can be brought ashore and used to make electricity in a turbine or fuel cell. This also has the benefit of turning the variable or intermittent nature of wind generation, into a consistent or constant power source.
Previously storing hydrogen in vessels of this type would have required high pressure tanks. This pressurization or compression would have taken considerable amounts of energy in itself. By using the Cella Energy low-pressure hydrogen storage materials minimal energy is required for the hydrogen storage process. The shipping vessels themselves would be low-cost to construct because they would not need heavy and robust pressurized tanks.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.