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Category Archives: Fossil fuel

Global warming and climate change are the topics of the day and doomsday predictions are abounding. In a divided world of differing ideologies and dogmas, emotions play a major role and all conclusions are drawn out of such emotions. Emotional intelligence is the key and in-depth analysis will clear the clouds of doubts and disbeliefs and not just raw emotions.

When quantum science emerged as a mainstream science substituting classical science the world changed dramatically often leading to spirituality or eastern philosophy of ancient India. When Albert Einstein said, “I hope the moon is still there when I am not looking at it”, it had huge implications and a few decades later quantum science confirmed that Einstein was wrong. In other words, it is the conscience that creates the reality. With  this is the reality of science  one may wonder whether “reality” has anything to do with “science” at all. Albert Einstein in his own words said, “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain they do not refer to reality”.

Let us examine about the science of global warming due to man-made GHG emissions resulting in climate change. Electricity was a new form of energy discovered in eighteenth century and it became part of human civilization ever since. But it was already existed in nature in the form of lightning, but we were unable to recognize it or reproduce it in the scale that can be useful to us. Then the question is whether electricity was discovered by human beings at all and if so, can we reproduce “lightning?” and use this electricity without emitting any carbon emission at all. The answer is no, at least for now due lack of technology to predict lightning, tapping it economically and storing it for distribution. Theoretically lightning alone can supply all the electricity world needs but practically it is almost impossible to utilize it for the above reasons. When electromagnetism and electricity were discovered they did not relate it to “lightning” but claimed as a separate discovery between the relationship between magnetic and electric charges which resulted in generating electricity. Then later we were able to explain “lightning” due to positive and negative charges between the cold clouds and rising hot air with water.

Science is nothing but explaining nature with theoretical concepts and physical demonstrations. That is why yoga sutra describes the world as a phenomenal world and it is an irreducible experimental substance. That is the peculiarity of science because it is the human conscience that creates this scientific reality. I too conclude that “as far as law of science of climate change refers to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain they do not refer to reality.” Similarly, science has nothing to do with economics and but we human beings made economics as a measure of one’s life and his or her success. This is the fundamental flaw in human thinking. One can conclude that all man-made theories and practices are fundamentally flawed which is evident from the world of turmoil we are witnessing and living in. We failed to ask emotionally intelligent questions by endless pursuit of happiness through money and materials in the name of science.

As I mentioned in my previous article we developed generating electricity from thermal source and we ended up digging fossil fuels at enormous cost and added further value by combustion with air generating huge amount of CO2.But we never estimated the cost of CO2 at that time and we never realized the future impact of such a CO2 emissions from fossil fuels till now. Even now we do not want to put a price for CO2 emissions and continue to emit by simply denying the fact that such unabated emissions will have consequences. We conveniently use science and economics when it suits us, otherwise we reject them outright when it does not suit us. All climate change denials come from the fear of economic collapse unconsciously.

Therefore, the first step in achieving zero carbon emission is to eliminate fossil fuels completely or impose penalty to discourage emissions if we accept global warming and climate change as the reality. Without taking this first step we cannot move forward.

Now there is a new awakening that Hydrogen will substitute fossil fuels with zero emissions. This is again a mistake. Imaging all cars and power plants using hydrogen and fuel cell and emit (only) water vapour into the atmosphere. I am sure that will drastically change our climate in a very short span of time. The atmospheric moisture will dramatically increase trapping enormous amount of heat and precipitation. The consequences will be dire. Every kg of Hydrogen will require 9 kgs of water. Renewable Hydrogen is a precious commodity and it can be used only to decarbonize the fossil economy and cannot be used a fuel directly. Such an attempt will be a failure.

Alternatively, we can continue to use fossil fuel as usual but eliminate CO2 emission by simply recycling in the form of RNG (renewable natural gas) using renewable hydrogen. This may look as an expensive proposal at the first instance, but it will become a norm in the long run and we human beings have a capacity to adopt to this new reality.  It is now possible to capture CO2 economically and substantially while generating power using direct Carbon fuel cell with highest electrical efficiency. It can be easily recycled in the form of RNG. Why Governments don’t act?

In the absence of above alternative, we may have to face the consequences of climate change due to man-made emissions and simply be content with an American slogan, “In God we trust”.

References:

  1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2013.11.122
  2. ,DCFC by Fuelcell Energy and Exxon.

 

 

CO2 capture using DCFCMCFC for bottom cycling for CO2 capture

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There is likely to be a dramatic change in energy landscape with introduction of super critical CO2 power cycle. It not only increases the power efficiency, reduces the foot print considerably, utilizes part of CO2 emission internally in the form of super critical fluid and open a new path to eliminate Carbon emission completely (zero Carbon emission). It also reduces the water consumption in power generation unlike current conventional Rankine cycle power plants. We will soon be able to continue to generate base load power using fossil fuels with zero carbon emission. Unlike Carbon capture and sequestration already tried unsuccessfully in many parts of the world, Carbon capture and recycle will open a new chapter in the history of power generation. By capturing carbon in a solid form with potential industrial applications such a possibility is now within our reach. It means utilization of existing fossil fuel based power generation infrastructure without any Carbon emission and continue to generate continuous power to meet the increasing demand at a reasonable cost. The current focus on renewable energy will continue but until a practical and viable energy and mature storage technology is developed the renewable energy will have uncertainties. Whatever may be the case the overall cost of energy is likely to go up.

Introduction of Oxy combustion in natural gas turbine has eliminated the oxides of Nitrogen from flue gas thus facilitating separation of CO2 from water and recycling water vapour into combustion process. The condensate from gas turbine is a by-product. Despite the usage of CO2 in the form of super critical fluid there is still an excess CO2 to be disposed of.

A conceptual design to capture CO2 and convert them into SNG while generating additional power using the superheated steam obtained as a by-product of methanation has created a new opportunity to achieve zero carbon emission.

It is an exciting development and our company is now in an advanced stage of developing and commercializing such a technology.

Our new reformation process of natural gas using the captured CO2 and steam allows to precipitate Carbon in a solid form. The chemistry of the process can be explained by the following final methanation process using a proprietary catalyst involving few steps.oxy-fuel-directly-heated-sco2-power-cycle-flow-diagram-1sco2-power-cycle

3CH4 +CO2 +H2O ——–> 2CH4 + 3 H2O + 2 C which will take a final form as follows:

CH4 + CO2 ——> 2H2O + 2C

The superheated steam generated in the process can be exported to generate additional power while the condensate water can be exported and recycled. By using an excess of natural gas the captured CO2 is converted into SNG (synthetic natural gas) which can be recycled into the gas turbine thus achieving a zero-carbon emission while continuing to generate base load power. Such a technology can easily be integrated with other sources of energy such as solar, biomass, waste heat and nuclear.

 

 

Automobile industry has come a long way since the time of Henry Ford. The internal combustion engine that drives the modern car is slowly but steadily evolving into an emission free engine. The carbon pollution has caused globe to warm and changed the climate and also caused respiratory illness for millions of people around the world for decades. The Carbon pollution was completely ignored in the past while other design features of the car have undergone massive changes. However, when the smog and deteriorating air quality of Delhi and Beijing was beamed around the world in our TV sets, people realized how vulnerable they are to carbon pollution.

But how to eliminate the Carbon emission from our automobiles?

1.The simple answer is to substitute the fossil fuels we use every day such as Petrol and Diesel with Carbon free fuel such as Hydrogen.  Hydrogen being a light gas it has to be compressed and liquefied so that it can occupy less space. However, it requires a special ‘cryogenic tank’ to store liquid Hydrogen at – 253 C. BMW has already produced a commercial vehicle and it is in the market. However, the Hydrogen dispensing stations are limited in numbers. It uses existing internal combustion engine suitably modified for Hydrogen fuel so that they can use existing infrastructure that produces their petrol engines. There is no carbon emission except for water vapour. However, Hydrogen should be generated using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind. Hydrogen generated by reformation of natural gas will still have a Carbon foot print. It can be classified as a Carbon free car depending upon how Hydrogen is generated. However, producing liquid hydrogen or filling in a cryogenic tank is not commercially feasible for individual household. Hydrogen supply will have to be a centralized filling station. BMW has recently focussing their attention towards Fuel cell car. While those early vehicles were fun to drive, they suffered from the inefficiencies of super-cooling the liquefied hydrogen, and the hydrogen vaporizing in storage. Around the turn of the century, BMW began to research the hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell electric vehicle as an alternative to the hydrogen-powered combustion engine.

2.The other alternative is to substitute fossil fuel with compressed Hydrogen that generates an electric power using Fuel cell that drives the motor and the car. Here both fossil fuel and internal combustion engine are substituted with Hydrogen fuel and Fuel cell. This is a marked deviation from a conventional car. Honda of Japan was the first to introduce a commercial car using a Fuel cell. It uses compressed Hydrogen at 70 Mpa pressure that supplies Hydrogen to PEM (proton exchange membrane) Fuel cell that generates power that drives the motor and the car. There is no emission except for water vapour. The car runs smoothly and silently because there is no mechanical engine or moving part. It is truly a Carbon free car if the Hydrogen is generated from a renewable energy source such as solar or wind. It is ideal for houses with roof top solar panels. However, one has to install a water purifier, an electrolyser, a compressor and a compressed tank for Hydrogen storage. If the Hydrogen is generated by steam reforming of Natural gas, then it will have a Carbon footprint and cannot be classified as carbon free car. Generation of Hydrogen using roof top solar panel, electrolysis and compression is possible by individual households but it involves still some risk due to the explosive nature of Hydrogen. A centralized Hydrogen dispensing is still a safer method.  Toyota Mirai Fuel cell car is a new model introduced by Toyota motor Co of Japan. It too has certain additional features such as a power generator for a remote households or camp.

2.The third alternative is to eliminate fuel as well as the engine completely; instead supply power to the motor from a storage battery. Here there is no emission or noise because there is no engine or moving parts similar to Fuel cell car. However, the battery is heavy and occupies a large space and it requires frequent charging from an external power source. The power often comes from the main power grid which carries the power generated from a power station which invariably uses fossil fuel. Though there is no Carbon emission from the electric car it still has Carbon footprint. However, if the power is generated from a renewable energy source such as solar and wind then it can be classified as Carbon free car. It is ideal for houses with roof top solar panels. However, it should be connected to the power grid in parallel. Alternatively, it can be connected to a storage battery if there is no grid.

The Lithium ion battery pack in Tesla Roadster weighs 990 pounds, stores 56 kWh of electric energy, and delivers up to 215 kW of electric power. Tesla battery packs have the highest energy density in the industry. To achieve this energy density, Tesla starts with thousands of best-in-class Lithium-ion cells and assembles them into a liquid-cooled battery pack, wrapped in a strong metal enclosure. The battery is optimized for performance, safety, longevity, and cost. The cells used in a Roadster employ an ideal chemistry for electric vehicles

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are commonly used in hybrid cars. However, a 56 kWh NiMH battery pack would weigh over twice as much as the Roadster battery. Instead, Tesla uses Li-ion battery cells which dramatically decrease the weight of the Roadster pack and improve acceleration, handling, and range.

With Lithium-ion chemistry, there is no need to drain the battery before recharging – there is no “memory effect”. Roadster owners simply “top-off” each night

Each of the above cars have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, Fuel cell cars have certain advantages over Electric cars in spite of the advancement in battery technology primarily due to the weight of the battery and frequency and time required to charge the battery. Fuel cell car has a capacity to store Hydrogen fuel as well as to generate power onsite and this advantage will go a long way to make fuel cell cars truly carbon free not only for transportation but also for stationery power generation in remote locations.

A large scale deployment of renewable energy generation such as solar and wind around the world can deliver a Car that is truly carbon free. However fossil fuel power generation will continue for years to come as the new technologies are developed to generate power using fossil fuel without emitting Carbon emission such as Carbon recycling. The real winner of the car race will depend upon how a Carbon emission free power generation technology will emerge in the future. Whatever may the power technology Fuel cell be here to stay and if a cheap alternative catalyst is developed for Fuel cell then the race will be well and truly on.(Ref : BMW,Honda,Toyota and Tesla Roadster websites)

 

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