Alternative Energy Sources: Geothermal and Hydrogen Energy.

external image alternative_energy.jpg Geothermal EnergyWhat is Geothermal Energy?
  • Ground based heat energy.
What it is Used For:
  • Electricity production
  • Heating of air in residential and corporate buildings.
  • Agricultural uses: crop drying, fish farming.
  • Heat is used in ethanol and bio-fuel creation.

How it Works:
  • In its most basic form, Geothermal Power Plants pull hot water and steam from deep underground, uses it and then returns warm water back to the source.
  • Traditionally steam is extracted, put through a turbine and then condensed back down to water and returned to the earth. A newer approach takes hot water which is then depressurized ("flashed") into seam which then turns the turbine to create electricity. Using a binary system, the hot water and steam is used to heat a second liquid which would boil at a lower temperature than water. This second liquid would more efficiently run a turbine.
  • external image Alternative%20Energy%20Geothermal.gifThe heating of houses follows the same system but on a much smaller, more personal scale. Each house, office building or community would operate their own pipe system which directly pumps hot water and steam into the building.





YouTube Geothermal Energy:[[http://: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfUQy86ZMpQ | How It Works]]


How Available is it?
  • It can be found almost anywhere worldwide.
  • The main logistical restriction associated with this type of energy is personal space. For a house to use Geothermal power, it must have a large yard. Typically a building must own around an acre to obtain use from Geothermal power. However, apartment complexes or small communities can share one turbine and generator.
  • Money also causes restrictions. In the building stages, geothermal energy is expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars to dig out the land and put down pipes.

Who is Using This?external image Arnold-Schwarzenegger-The-Terminator_thumb.jpg
  • Presently the United States is the world leader in geothermal power with more than 3,000 megawatts of capacity.
  • The movement is lead by California which makes up 8% of the total US Geothermal energy capacity. Almost 5% of the state's energy is provided by 40 geothermal power plants.

How Green is it?
  • Geothermal energy reduces transportation costs because it can be produced on a small or large scale. A house can have its own personal access to geothermal energy, but also a large power plant can be set up on the same system and provide for an entire community.
  • Geothermal heat is reusable and will not run out.
  • Because at the end of the process the water is returned to the source (ground) this is sustainable for long periods of time.
  • No poisonous gases or waste products are released in the creation of geothermal energy.

Geothermal Pros:
  • Geothermal Energy is extremely cheap after the initial installation.
  • There are no emissions.
  • Requires little or no reliance from gas or electricity to heat homes and water.
  • Agricultural application in fish farming and crop drying.external image 1175613399z4N9YZ.jpg
  • Can be used to create electricity, ethanol and bio-fuels.

Geothermal Cons:
  • Expensive to set up.
  • Requires some land to lay pipes.
  • Can not power cars, planes, or boats.




What is Hydrogen Fuel?
external image fuelcell.jpgHow is it obtained?
-can be produced from water using a multitude of different energy sources (solar, nuclear and fossil fuels)
-can be converted into usable energy efficiently without too much damage to the environment
-using solar energy to produce hydrogen is renewable and environmentally compatible
-by using fuel cells, hydrogen can be directly converted into electricity (hydrogen combined with oxygen in a fuel cell)
-this process is called electrolysis
-it can also be produced from methane, gasoline, biomass or coal (in addition to water)
-these sources cause different amounts of pollutants, technical challenges, and energy imput requirements

How available is it?
-It has no limitations on production location (it can be produced anywhere)
-if we use water to produce hydrogen then we have a sustainable production system

How much does it cost?
-the cost of hydrogen fuel can vary from $1 to $20 per kilo
-in comparison to gasoline, a gallon has the same energy content as a kilo of hydrogen
-vehicles using hydrogen fuel get two or three times higher mileage
-the vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel are much more expensive than traditional gasoline powered vehicles
-shelby cobras start at $149,000
-Hummer also has a conversion available for $60,000, but this does not include the price of the actual car
-in the next 10-20 years it is expected that there will be a conversion to a hydrogen economy

external image greenenergy1.jpgEnvironmental Impacts?
-hydrogen fuels only by-product is water or vapor (unless air is used for flame combustion, then a minimal amount of NOx is produced)
-production of hydrogen from solar energy is renewable and compatible with the environment

-this means that hydrogen is an ideal, clean and permanent energy system (called the Solar Hydrogen Energy System)
Impact to people?
-Typically, gasoline powered cars use roughly 20% of the fuel to power the car, while hydrogen would use 40%-60% of the fuel.
-Less dependency on foreign oil because hydrogen used for powering cars can be created using a variety of sources such as water.

What can it be used for?
-Hydrogen can replace the function of all fossil fuels except in cases that carbon is specifically needed
-it can be used as fuel in furnaces, internal combustion engines, turbine engines, jet engines
-it can fuel all of these productions more efficiently than coal, petroleum and natural gas
-Hydrogen fuel can also power automobiles, buses, trains, ships, submarines, airplanes and rockets
-when Hydrogen is converted into electricity it can be used in transportation and stationary power generation
-it is also an important industrial gas and raw material that several industries use:

-computer, metallurgical, chemical, pharmaceutical, fertilizer and food industries all can use hydrogen for production
Pros of Hydrogen Use Over Other Fuel Sources:
·
-A very clean fuel that has minimal emissions when combusted directly or in combination with hydrocarbon fuels.
· -It has no limitations on production location (it can be produced anywhere)
· -Is much less expensive than gasoline
· -The only byproduct of using hydrogen as fuel are heat and water.
· -Typically, gasoline powered cars use roughly 20% of the fuel to power the car, while hydrogen would use 40%-60% of the fuel.
· -Less dependency on foreign oil because hydrogen used for powering cars can be created using a variety of sources such as water.
· -It will cut down the amount of atmospheric pollution.
o Fossil fuels (including gasoline, diesel and coal) produce airborne pollutants
o Noxious fumes are created by methanol and “natural gas”
-Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and methane are all by-products of using these alternative fuel sources
-They contribute to smog, acid rain, and global warming
o
In comparison hydrogen fuel is a much cleaner alternative
o Since it is produced by wind, solar and hydro-power it is 100% pollution-free and 100% renewable
· -Using Hydrogen is safer than gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.
Cons of Hydrogen Use:
·
-Preparing Hydrogen for a fuel source uses natural gas and other fossil fuels, such as coal, which is a major pollutant.
·external image angry-face.jpg -We do not currently have the technology to produce, store, or transport hydrogen power efficiently and this technology will probably not be available for some time.
· -Creating usable Hydrogen takes more energy than is produced.
· -One Hydrogen fuel tank will not have the same travelling distance as the gasoline tank, so more frequent fill-ups would be required.
· -Since water is in the fuel there is a risk that it could freeze and it must be at a certain temperature to reach maximum performance.
· -Hydrogen has a highly explosive quality.

SOURCES:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4563676/

(Wikipedia.com)
(http://www.iahe.org/)
(http://www.hydrogenenergycenter.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=108367&module_id=8616)
(http://www.4hydrogen.com/ab out.html)
(
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energyexplained/images/hydrogen_fuel_cell-large.gif)
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http://205.153.241.230/issues/emergeoct2005/fuelcell.jpg)