View Full Version : Hydrogen Scheme Hailed a Success

2005-Oct-11, 07:20 AM
As reported on the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4324554.stm)

Thank God for all that Hydrogen - Mayor Bob on The Dish

I mention this as a staple of Sci-fi and Sci-fi RPG was the idea of a star ship taking on water to get fuel.

2005-Oct-12, 05:22 PM
Here is to seeing more.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Oct-12, 07:41 PM
Good. Now they just need to slap a reactor onto that set-up, and they'll be in business!

2005-Oct-22, 11:24 PM
When hydrogen is burned as fuel in a vehicle, what are its byproducts? The real question I'm asking is can we ever reach a point where were using up too much water to fuel our generators and damaging the climate that way?

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Oct-22, 11:52 PM
Well, the byproduct would be water, wouldn't it? I mean, burning is just oxidation, and water is simply H2O.

2005-Oct-23, 12:28 AM
Hydrogen produced from water in schemes like this is actually an energy storage system; hydrogen is split off from water using electricity (producing oxygen as a byproduct) and stored as a fuel, then burnt in a combustion engine using atmospheric oxygen releasing energy and producing water as waste product.
This process is somewhat inefficient; less energy is produced by the combustion of the hydrogen than it takes to produce it in the first place- but it is still worth doing, as hydrogen is a fairly convenient way of storing energy (pity there isn't any effiecient way to produce kerosine by a similar method).

On the other hand, when a spaceship takes on water for fuel in science fiction or in an RPG it usually is going to use the hydrogen (or perhaps just the deuterium fraction) for a fusion reaction; this actually is a primary source of energy, rather than a storage system, and at the end of the process the hydrogen is gone, converted into helium and energy.

Alternatively the water might be used as a propellant; this means it is heated up in some way (perhaps by fusion or fission or even annihilation, or maybe some other way) and expands until it is expelled off in a particular direction, which propels the spacecraft in the opposite direction. This use of water does not produce energy, but it is an efficient use of energy produced by other means.