Silver Science - Hydrogen from Waste

  • The price of alumina is entirely dependent on grade and particle size. Happily, my process makes 3-5 micron size alumina, which is very saleable. The bottom price for so-called 'brown alumina is around €300/tone delivered EU. The top price for micron sized pharma grade is around €2000/tonne. Nano-alumina (which I also know how to make) is around €2000/kg.


    The market price of 'smelter grade' white alumina is around €300/tonne, but that would be for 500 tons minimum. And interesting (but perhaps obvious) fact is that the market price of aluminates in general follows the virgin aluminium and scrap aluminium prices - they move together.


    We have AFAIK no operational electro-smelter in the UK, and only a few gas re-smelters, so a lot of our scrap (and the UK creates 5% of the worlds scrap) is exported, but now the export markets are being shut down by governments - China, Vietnam, Malaysia even Bangla Desh, Pakistan, India are restricting imports so there's a huge mountain of scrap building up here and particularly in the USA.

  • Alan Smith

    According to your business exemple, you suggested to switch old diesel trucks by news powered by fuel cell .

    Would it not be interesting to buy rather classic petrol engines trucks that will burn hydrogen directly without CO2 too ?

    They would be cheaper to buy, allowing a faster cash back ?

  • According to your business exemple, you suggested to switch old diesel trucks by news powered by fuel cell .

    Would it not be interesting to buy rather classic petrol engines trucks that will burn hydrogen directly without CO2 too ?

    They would be cheaper to buy, allowing a faster cash back ?


    This is indeed possible, but you have to weigh a number of things before deciding how to use the hydrogen. I will entirely overlook the fact that there are very few petrol-engined lorries left. I think they have not been made in the EU since the 1950's. It is possible to re-convert modern Diesel engines to spark ignition, but expensive. Also the hydrogen tanks are not cheap and the effect of burning hydrogen over a long period in an engine not designed for it is uncertain, diesels for example use the fuel as a cylinder lubricant too.


    I think the credit terms available to fleet operators wanting to buy new trucks, the possible imposition of carbon taxes on freight companies, and the availability of cheap hydrogen are the key factors. It's a longer term game here, not many freight companies in the EU run vehicles more than 5 years old, by 2030 all the Diesels might be gone.

  • EPA landfill figures for Aluminium 2M+ tons a year landfilled in 2017 the USA - pretty disgraceful.


    Part of this problem is because of the law-value of small particle scrap - the kind the NZC process uses best. Using it to make hydrogen and alumina adds value and incentivises recycling. If made into hydrogen and aluminium tri-hydride it would provide as much energy as 1M kg of gasoline and produce 6M tons of alumina, which in turn would save strip-mining bauxite to the tune of 12M tons (even good bauxite is only 50% alumina). But you know that!¬


    https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-…um-material-specific-data

  • I'm finding this Aluminum thing quite interesting.

    EPA landfill figures for Aluminium 2M+ tons a year landfilled in 2017 the USA - pretty disgraceful.


    Part of this problem is because of the law-value of small particle scrap - the kind the NZC process uses best. Using it to make hydrogen and alumina adds value and incentivises recycling. If made into hydrogen and aluminium tri-hydride it would provide as much energy as 1M kg of gasoline and produce 6M tons of alumina, which in turn would save strip-mining bauxite to the tune of 12M tons (even good bauxite is only 50% alumina). But you know that!¬


    https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-…um-material-specific-data

    Interesting market would be islands if you can get it to work with sea water or modularly.

  • Interesting market would be islands if you can get it to work with sea water or modularly.


    Modularity is not a problem, but Islands can be, and sea water definitely is. You need somewhere with a good downstream market for aluminates to make it really profitable. And that may not be everywhere. The system works with salt water perfectly well, but the aluminate quality goes down badly. Also Islands might like the electricity, but generally the electricity supply on an island is controlled and owned by a tight-knit group of 'old money' families. This can make it hard to get a foothold.

  • Also Islands might like the electricity, but generally the electricity supply on an island is controlled and owned by a tight-knit group of 'old money' families. This can make it hard to get a foothold.

    Most important part. Someone (probably you with a local representative) could do this and sell electricity and hydrogen for people in mountainous islands with rivers.

  • Great piece in today's Guardian.


    Crucially, the hydrogen must be produced from clean sources to be carbon neutral, or “green”. So-called blue hydrogen, created using methane gas rather than electrolysis of water, has attracted significant interest from fossil fuel producers, but it does not come with the same environmental benefits.

    Hydrogen fuel bubbles up the agenda as investments rocket


    Hyundai Motor Group has been actively leading the transition to hydrogen energy in line with its fuel cell vision. In addition to NEXO, the world’s first mass produced hydrogen-powered vehicle from Hyundai Motor, the Group is expanding into other domains such as buses, trucks, vessels, and trains. The Group is also working closely with companies and governments around the world as a co-chair member of the Hydrogen Council to promote hydrogen energy and scale up infrastructure surrounding fuel cell technology.

    Video Links
    1. The History of Hydrogen and Its Value

    https://youtu.be/PRfqdS21Pgg

    2. Why Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles are Eco-friendly

    https://youtu.be/kjS7u2VzUv4

    3. Are Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Economical?

    https://youtu.be/eRPbQpIS0q0

    4. Hydrogen, Is It Safe?

    https://youtu.be/FpcBl8sbOj0

    5. The Future of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

    https://youtu.be/WqcxUqR2Als



    https://news.hyundaimotorgroup…-Value-of-Hydrogen-Energy

  • A comparison between BEV's and HFCEV's - and calculations based on how the hydrogen for fuel cells is produced.]


    This article extract (critiqued here) is from https://theconversation.com/hy…he-laws-of-science-139899 where it was published under a ‘creative commons’ license.

    It describes why hydrogen in less efficient than battery power for cars. There are many holes in this argument, not least the fact that we would need to make millions of tons of batteries every year. I will point out more problems afterwards


    NZC energy vector losses..pdf

  • This article extract (critiqued here) is from https://theconversation.com/hy…he-laws-of-science-139899 where it was published under a ‘creative commons’ license.

    It describes why hydrogen in less efficient than battery power for cars. There are many holes in this argument, not least the fact that we would need to make millions of tons of batteries every year. I will point out more problems afterwards


    Energy is primarily a conservation game. This hold for all electric power production including nuclear,coal etc.. The best carbon process is 60 Carnot efficiency. The generators transformer run in the > 99.8% region. But already the transmission lines do add 5-10% loss depending on distance. If you use local area current for Hydrogen production the the local area network consumes an other 10%. Thus doing electrolysis with carbon electricity is nonsense especially if we know chemical transformations that work with a much higher efficiency. But carbon any way should no be a source of Hydrogen.

    Storing primary carbon electricity in pump storage station adds an additional 30% overall loss.


    On the other side, excess wind-power has to be sold on the market very often at a low or even negative price. So if we convert excess wind-power to hydrogen then the energy costs are low and we do not waste primary energy. In fact the producers can charge overall in average a higher price.

    Electrolysis Hydrogen does not need (or only a little) chilling (claimed in paper) if you use high pressure electrolysis. Car tanks rarely use > 170 bar pressure. But new "hydrogen sponge" material are on the horizon - since a long time like the neutron blanket of ITER...

    Batteries for cars are only a weight problem After the most recent Chinese announcement the construction price is now equal to a carbon fuel system.

    There will no doubt emerge batteries with 2-3 fold energy density during the next 20-30 years. If super-caps make a break through then even a factor of 10 is possible.


    But all this has no impact on Hydrogen from ALU mixed remains as this is by far the most ecological process to recycle Hydrogen. Contrary to current you can store Hydrogen more or less lossless where as all accumulators do leak. But here we also will see progress.

    Fuel cells are a major game changer for lorries as there we find no space limits for a fuel tank and lorries with fuel cells can travel more than 1500km with one load. Just to make you aware of the biggest change in electro-mobility: You car needs more or less no maintenance and the reduction of traffic noise is large.


    Thus the game is and will be open for the next 30 years. And Hydrogen can always be used in chemical synthesis too. But if we after2050 will see a lot of fuel cells is not very likely.

  • I believe an article from Nikola ceo was posted here earlier. He sees fuel cells dominating trucking while batteries are better for short haul cars.

    Despite of inefficiencies he sees big win in connecting their network of hydrogen generators directly to the grid via power purchasing agreements thus eliminating distribution markups. He also states that the hydrogen generation is better positioned in getting most attractive electricity cost during the day as adding extra capacity is not as expensive as adding extra batteries.

    He mentioned that they already achieved cost of 2.4 usd per kg of h2.


    Then there is Proton Tech of Canada claiming .1 usd per kilo. I am sceptical of that but want who knows.

  • Then there is Proton Tech of Canada claiming .1 usd per kilo. I am sceptical of that but want who knows.


    What I am concerned about is the fact that Proton Technology are running (or proposing to run) unbounded reactors underground, with I suspect only the haziest idea about what is actually happening inside them. They will contain many temperature zones that might not produce hydrogen but in my opinion some of those zones are likely to produce both toxic and/or mutagenic compounds that will inevitably migrate into the water table.


    "It's not the reactions you want that are the proble, but the side reactions you don't."