“A tiny aperture or opening through which it would seem impossible to pass (esp. with reference to Matt. 19:24)” – Oxford American Dictionary

Synthetic fuel concept to steal CO2 from air
BY Nancy Ambrosiano  /  February 14, 2008

“The Laboratory has developed a low-risk, transformational concept, called Green Freedom, for large-scale production of carbon-neutral, sulfur-free fuels and organic chemicals from air and water. Currently, the principal market for the Green Freedom production concept is fuel for vehicles and aircraft. At the heart of the technology is a new process for extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and making it available for fuel production using a new form of electrochemical separation. By integrating this electrochemical process with existing technology, researchers have developed a new, practical approach to producing fuels and organic chemicals that permits continued use of existing industrial and transportation infrastructure. Fuel production is driven by carbon-neutral power.

“Our concept enhances U.S. energy and material security by reducing dependence on imported oil. Initial system and economic analyses indicate that the prices of Green Freedom commodities would be either comparable to the current market or competitive with those of other carbon-neutral, alternative technologies currently being considered,”
said F. Jeffrey Martin of Nuclear Design and Risk Analysis (D-5), principal investigator on the project.”


“In addition to the new electrochemical separation process, the Green Freedom system can use existing cooling towers, such as those of nuclear power plants, with carbon-capture equipment that eliminates the need for additional structures to process large volumes of air. The primary environmental impact of the production facility is limited to the footprint of the plant. It uses non-hazardous materials for its feed and operation and has a small waste stream volume. In addition, unlike large-scale biofuel concepts, the Green Freedom system does not add pressure to agricultural capacity or use large tracts of land or farming resources for production.

The concept’s viability has been reviewed and verified by both industrial and semi-independent Los Alamos National Laboratory technical reviews. The next phase will demonstrate the new electrochemical process to prove the ability of the system to both capture carbon dioxide and pull it back out of solution. An industrial partnership consortium will be formed to commercialize the Green Freedom concept.”

Ecotopias Aren’t Just for Hippies Anymore — and They’re Sprouting Up Worldwide
BY Frank Bures  /  01.18.08

In the 1970s, environmental idealists had a vision of Ecotopia: Everyone recycled, there was no pollution, and we all worshipped trees and co-ops. Today’s eco-communities are less crunchy and a lot more high tech. In addition to using renewable energy sources, these projects aim to limit their impact on surrounding ecosystems by building with green materials, promoting earth-friendly transportation, and recycling water and waste. The race for the first carbon-neutral, zero-emissions community is on.

Costa Rica
Dockside Green Victoria, British Columbia
Dongtan Chongming Island, China
Green Mountain Libya
Guangtang Chuangye Park Liuzhou, China
Masdar Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Northstowe Cambridge, England
Treasure Island San Francisco
Vauban Freiburg, Germany
Växjö Växjö, Sweden

Four countries sign up to go carbon neutral  /  21 Feb 2008

Four countries, four cities and five corporations have signed up to go carbon neutral, in an effort to combat climate change and help to de-carbonize the global economy. They are the first to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), launched in Monaco today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The Network is a web-based project, that is planning to federate the small but growing wave of nations, local authorities and companies who are pledging to significantly reduce emissions en route to zero emission status.

Over the coming months, more and more organisations, and eventually individuals, will be invited to take part. The aim is a global information exchange network open to all sectors of society from Presidents and Princes to people from Pittsburg, to Sao Paulo. Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said today: “Climate neutrality is an idea whose time has come, driven by the urgent need to address climate change but also the abundant economic opportunities emerging for those willing to embrace a transition to a Green

Four partners
The first four countries to partner are Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway. “For Norway it is emissions from oil and gas that dominate whereas for New Zealand, agriculture represents 50 per cent of its current greenhouse gases,” said Mr Steiner. “Iceland’s central challenge is perhaps transport and industry including fishing and fish processing. I am especially delighted that Costa Rica is at the forefront of the initiative. Its commitment demonstrates that the economic benefits of reducing dependency on fossil fuels and action on deforestation and degradation are of central interest to developing and developed countries alike,” he said.

Costa Rica’s forests
Costa Rica aims to be climate neutral by 2021 when it celebrates 200 years of independence. The strategy will build on Costa Rica’s decision to tax fossil fuels in 1996 with 3.5 per cent of the money raised allocated to the National Forestry Financing Fund. These are part of a ‘payment for environmental services’ programme that pays landowners who manage forests for their carbon sequestration and storage alongside management for water production, biodiversity and scenic beauty.

In 2007 Costa Rica planted more than five million trees or 1.25 per person making it the highest per capita planting in the world. Various industries are supporting the initiative including a C-neutral plan by Costa Rica’s banana sector. Other elements of the strategy include increasing the percentage of renewable energy generation to well over 90 per cent and action on energy efficiency including energy saving appliances.

Iceland’s green power
Iceland has drawn up a plan to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75 per cent by 2050. The country’s electricity production is already among the greenest on the globe. Currently 99 per cent of electricity generation and 75 per cent of total energy production is coming from geothermal and hydro-power. Iceland’s biggest challenge comes from transport including vehicles and its fishing fleet whose emissions have risen since 1990.

The country is planning to extend discount fees to people buying environmentally-friendly vehicles such as ones powered by methane, hydrogen, electricity or hybrid technology. Iceland is also looking to equip the country’s fishing fleet with eco-friendly fuel systems including fuel cells. Progress is also under way to substitute ammonia for HCFCs – an ozone damaging and greenhouse gas – in the fleet’s refrigeration equipment.

New Zealand’s renewables
New Zealand is aspiring to climate neutrality through a wide range of domestic initiatives including a trading scheme covering all sectors of the economy and all six greenhouse gases regulated under the Kyoto Protocol. The country has set itself the target of generating 90 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and halving per capita transport emissions by 2040 by introducing electric cars and a requirement to use bio fuels.

Meanwhile six government agencies will be aiming to achieve full neutrality by 2012. Where emissions cannot be cut they will be offset through forest regeneration projects on tribal lands. New Zealand, which will host World Environment Day 2008 under the theme ‘Kick the C02 Habit”, is paying particular attention to emissions from agriculture. Some 40,000 farms account for 50 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gases versus around 12 per cent from agriculture in most developed countries.

Norway’s 2030 target
Norway aims to become climate neutral by 2030, advancing by around 20 years a previously announced deadline. The country has embarked on an energy efficiency and energy savings policy and aims to capture and store carbon at its offshore oil fields.

Arendal, Norway
Arendal, Norway, decided to go carbon-neutral in 2007. Norway recently joined the European Emissions Trading Scheme and has approved over $730 million to invest in offsets via the Kyoto Protocol’s Joint Implementation and Clean Development Mechanism. It has also announced plans to invest $2.7 billion in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (emissions from deforestation are estimated to be around 20 per cent of the total from all sources.) In the next four years (to 2012) Norway expects to over-fulfill its Kyoto Protocol commitments by five million tonnes.

Leading cities
The four cities that have joined the CN Net. are Arendal, Norway; Rizhao, China; Vancouver, Canada and Växjö, Sweden. Arendal decided to go climate neutrality in 2007. Its initial target is to stabilise emissions by 2012 and to reduce them by a quarter by 2025. Rizhao’s transition to a low carbon society will involve a variety of measures, including boosting solar power in homes and schools and harvesting methane as a fuel from industrial waste-water. Nearly all urban housing now has solar heaters and 30 per cent of rural homes. Compared to 2000, the amount of energy used per unit of GDP has fallen by almost a third and C02 emissions by almost half.

Vancouver aims to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions to 33 per cent below current levels by 2020 and to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. It has a target for all new constructiin to be greenhuse neutral by 2030. The city also aims to make all its own civic operations carbon neutral by 2012, by retro-fitting public buildings to save energy, adopting more efficient vehicles, including those powered by alternative fuels, and capturing methane gas from its landfill and converting the energy to heat and electricity.

Växjö has decided to become a ‘Fossil Fuel Free” City and to reduce CO2 emissions per inhabitant by at least 50 per cent by the year 2010, compared to 1993. For the year 2025, the goal is 70 per cent and the long term goal is to stop using fossil fuels. Today, over 50 per cent of the city’s energy supply comes from renewables.

Five Corporations
The first five companies to join CN Net are Co-Operative Financial Services, UK; Interface Inc, United States; Natura, Brazil; Nedbank, South Africa and Senoko Power, Singapore. Interface Inc, a commercial interiors company, has committed to reach climate neutrality by 2020. Seven of its manufacturing facilities are run using renewable energy including its LaGrange plant in Georgia that is fueled by methane from a landfill site. The company is committed to greening its supply chain and offers a range of climate neutral products including Cool Carpet.

Natura, a Brazilian multinational cosmetics company, has pinpointed potential emissions savings of 33 per cent from its supply chain and is committed to replace petroleum-based products in favour of natural minerals and plant materials. As early as 1997, Natura converted its distribution fleet in the greater Sao Paulo area to natural gas. Emissions that cannot be cut will be offset via native species forestry projects and renewable energy.

Nedbank is working to reduce its own emissions and those of its 24,000 employees and is the only African bank to have signed up to the Equator Principles and is a leading member of the Carbon Disclosure Project that encourages companies to disclose their carbon footprint as a stepping stone to greater emissions reductions. Senoko Power is Singapore’s largest power company. In 1998, over 80 per cent of its power plants were powered by fuel oil or diesel. Today over 90 per cent of electricity is generated by natural gas and since 1990 the ‘carbon intensity’ has fallen by close to 40 per cent.





Green Mountain  /  Libya  /  Foster & Partners

“Unveiled last September, Green Mountain is a proposed ecotourism development in eastern Libya. Many details have yet to emerge, and some doubt the project will come to fruition, but Libyan officials consider the wind- and solar-powered development key to the country regaining legitimacy in the world community’s eyes. The plan also includes provisions to protect nearby Greek and Roman architecture.”

Dongtan  /  Chongming Island, China  /  Arup

“Perhaps the mother of all sustainable architecture projects, Dongtan will be powered by wind, biofuels, and solar energy. Chongming Island is on the eastern coast of China, near Shanghai. By 2010 the city will have a population of 50,000 inhabitants; by 2050 that number will balloon to 500,000. The sustainability challenge will be to manage that growth while maintaining the island’s natural environment, partially through zero-greenhouse-gas-emissions transit and complete self-sufficiency in terms of water treatment and energy production.”

Rise of the Carbon-Neutral City
BY Matt Vella  /  February 11, 2008

In the windswept deserts of Abu Dhabi, construction is under way on a green oasis planners say represents one of the most ambitious urban building projects ever. On Feb. 7, the United Arab Emirates-funded consortium behind Masdar City, a zero-carbon, zero-waste, self-contained community meant to house 50,000 people, finally broke ground, launching the first of seven building phases to be completed over the next eight years. All told, the $22 billion megaproject will include cutting-edge solar power and water treatment systems, nonpolluting underground light rail, and a small research university
operated in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Foster & Partners-designed Masdar project (, 12/13/07) is no doubt a bid to diversify the UAE’s petroleum-rich economy as well as green the country’s image. But more important, it is the latest in a growing list of high-profile, high-promise, environmentally friendly city design projects around the world. With mounting concerns over global warming and exploding urban populations, the race to design and build the model “green city of the future” is on. The sites proposed are of such scale and complexity that they represent a major new front in green innovation.

Equally ambitious projects to build entirely new, sustainabilitly-focused cities are cropping up on nearly every continent. Well-known architectural firms such as Charlottesville, Va.’s William McDonough & Partners and London’s Arup have signed on to create massive green projects in China, which will effectively test the ability of engineers and urban planners to manage that country’s staggering and often environmentally ravaging growth.

Avalanche of Innovation
In a similar vein, the governments of Costa Rica, Norway, and even Libya have announced grand, state-sponsored development plans that promise some version of carbon neutrality–offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, often by producing clean, renewable energy. Smaller private and public developments throughout Europe and North America abound, powered by everything from solar energy and hydrogen fuel cells to even human waste.

“These sites–even the more experimental projects–matter because they set ‘stretch’ goals,” says Ann Rappaport, a lecturer in the urban and environmental policy department at Tufts University. Rappaport says the most ambitious plans are likely to quicken the pace of technological and architectural development in much the same way corporations that set stringent green goals for themselves in the 1980s and 1990s learned the most, even if they did not always meet initial goals.

“Frankly, we need an avalanche of innovation,” adds Alex Steffen, the co-founder and executive editor of, a leading environmental blog and nonprofit. [See also Cities: A Smart Alternative to Cars, (, 2/11/08). “Such projects serve to push the boundaries of green practice and expand our sense of what’s possible,” he adds, suggesting the practice of urban design stands to gain from the trend.

Innovation Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
Developments such as Masdar and Arup’s $1.3 billion Dongtan project on Chongming Island, off the eastern shore of China, certainly have advantages over so-called in-fill projects, or plans that attempt to retrofit existing buildings and cities along green principles. According to Khaled Awad, director of property development at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., which is overseeing Masdar, starting from scratch allowed the city’s designers to position the development’s layout such that its wind turbines can generate as much clean power as possible. [Hear Awad speak in Putting Masdar on the Map, (, 2/11/08)]. That’s not a luxury afforded to an existing city whose plan may have been laid out hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago.

And as a reminder that innovation does not have to be expensive or high-tech, energy-savvy buildings that use things as simple as better insulation form one of the core components of many of the major city projects now planned, says Gary Lawrence, who heads up Arup’s urban strategies. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, energy inefficiencies in buildings account for some 33% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. “Much of the glass used in buildings is so inefficient at containing heat,” asserts Lawrence, “most people might as well have their windows wide open year-round.”

But even the glitziest, most intelligently designed projects have raised significant questions from environmentalists about how much of an impact new developments can have on the global environmental crisis. “You have to wonder what that money could have done to make existing cities more sustainable,” says Daniel Lerch, program manager of the Portland (Ore.) Post-Carbon Cities Institute, which helps local governments plan green development projects.

More Questions Than Answers
According to the United Nations Population Fund, the number of urban dwellers will rise to 5 billion by 2030. That’s some 60% of the world’s population, most of them flooding into existing urban centers. “We simply cannot build our way out this problem,” acknowledges Arup’s Lawrence of the global environmental crisis. Like most large firms, Arup is working on retrofit projects as well as new city developments. “We absolutely must also look at greening existing structures,” he adds.

And, of course, there are concerns about so-called greenwashing, or misleading sustainability claims. “One can beat the drum, but does it really make a difference?” asks Michael Kinsley, a senior consultant for cities with the Rocky Mountain Institute (, 10/29/07), a sustainability research firm in Snowmass, Colo. Though generally positive about the prospects of even the biggest new projects, Kinsley says it remains to be seen how transferable the planning expertise and technology of new development projects like Masdar will be to existing cities such as London or Los Angeles.

Kinsley says monitoring how these projects account for energy consumption once they are complete is likely the best indicator of how seriously their managers take the sustainability issue. After all, some much-vaunted planned green communities never made it off the paper they were printed on, while others have progressed at a much slower clip than originally hoped. The experimental green village of Arcosanti outside Phoenix, which was begun in 1970, is still under construction, for example.

Credibility on the Line
And some of the best existing green urban planning may not have been billed as such until recently. Since at least the 1970s, Canada’s third-largest city, Vancouver, has earned accolades from urban planners around the world for a development strategy that has managed the city’s population growth while minimizing its impact on the environment, partly by maximizing the efficiency of public transportation. The program was effectively developed before today’s green building movement took root. “In some ways, it isn’t rocket science,” says’s Steffen, pointing to Vancouver’s achievements. “A lot of the time, we simply don’t choose to plan smartly,” he adds.

Still, the engineers, planners, and architects behind Masdar, Dongtan, and other new cities say there are enormous technological and practical advances to be made via new projects that can be applied to retrofit projects–and other industries. They say the extensive international partnerships required to complete such projects have a generally positive impact on the global sustainability community, encouraging more information sharing, including which design strategies work most effectively and–more crucially–which do not. After all, what may ultimately be on the line in the deserts of the Middle East and on foggy Chinese coastal islands is the credibility of the green-city building movement itself. “If this project fails,” says Masdar’s Awad, “it will be a major, permanent blow to the idea of

Abu Dhabi unveils carbon-neutral city  /  January 22, 2008

Oil-rich emirate Abu Dhabi has unveiled its plans for a car-less, zero-carbon, zero-waste city in the desert. A model of Masdar City was formally unveiled at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The city, designed by British architect Norman Foster, is designed to house 1,500 businesses and 50,000 people. The location of the six-square-kilometre site, close to Abu Dhabi’s airport, is a harsh environment, with no access to fresh water and temperatures that reach 50 C in the summer. But the project’s sponsors, who include the World Wildlife Federation, said the project would incorporate a mix of current technology and ancient methods to beat the heat.

Masdar City’s electricity will be generated by solar panels, with solar power driving the city’s cooling systems and a desalination plant needed to produce fresh water. The city’s layout will also create micro-climates, or zones of different temperatures, to encourage air circulation. Masdar City has also been designed to be car-free, with public transportation — through a light railway and personalized rapid transport pods — never more than 200 metres away, according to architecture firm Foster + Partners.

Landscaping in the city and in the surrounding area will be irrigated with recycled and treated waste water. “Masdar is an example of the paradigm shift that is needed and the strategic vision of the Abu Dhabi government is a case study in global leadership,” Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, director of WWF International’s One Planet Living initiative, said in a statement. “We hope that Masdar City will prove that sustainable living can be affordable and attractive in all aspects of human living — from businesses and manufacturing facilities to universities and private homes,” he said.

The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, capital of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation, said Monday that ground would be broken on the project later this year. The cost of the project was not revealed. The city plans were part of Abu Dhabi’s larger strategy to embrace green technologies and change the perception of Abu Dhabi, home to most of the United Arab Emirates oil reserves.

Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said on Monday his emirate would make an initial investment of $15 billion US in projects targeting solar, wind and hydrogen power, carbon reduction and management and sustainable development. The UAE produced 149 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2004, or 34.1 tonnes per person, according to a 2007 UN Development Program report. The per capita rate is the third highest in the world after Qatar and Kuwait.


RE: posted by [ spectre ]  (thanks go to [ mdandml ])


Hydrogen production technologies have been available for generations. Initially hydrogen was manufactured primarily for use in the production of ammonia for fertilizers and other industrial uses, but over the years, the technological base for hydrogen utilization has expanded tremendously to incorporate applications in chemical and petroleum refining, metallurgy, hydrogenation of edible fats and oils, space and weather programs, fuel cells and the manufacture of some electronic components. NASA is the primary user of hydrogen as an energy carrier to power equipment.

Most of the world’s energy is based on non-renewable fossil fuels. The history and future trend for energy consumption is generally upward, and will continue to increase, particularly as heavily populated countries such as China and India develop a greater demand for energy. Fuel prices will continue to fluctuate and will likely trend higher as the finite reserves of fossil fuels are depleted and new production does not satisfy growing demand. According to some geologists, approximately half of all known petroleum reserves have been depleted.


In the future, SHEC intends to use a wide variety of sources in their DFR process, including methane from a source such as biogas, landfill gas, flare gas, stranded gas and coal-bed methane. The next generation of solar hydrogen involves direct water splitting with only water as the primary feed component. Six of the ten steps needed for this process are already integrated into the current DFR system.

Potential Uses

Hydrogen is used to make household items such as fertilizers, vitamins, cosmetics, soap cleaners, and is used to hydrogenate food like margarine and peanut butter. Hydrogen is an integral part of many industrial processes, and is used to make ammonia, gasoline, heating oil, glass, semiconductor circuitry and even power shuttles in the space program.

Perhaps the most exciting potential use for hydrogen would be fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cells would allow us the freedom of a operating a conventional vehicle, but producing zero emissions. Vehicles generally use hydrogen in one of two methods: combustion or fuel-cell conversion. In combustion, the hydrogen is burned, in much the same way we used traditional gasoline. In fuel-cell conversion hydrogen flows through fuel-cell compartments and reacts with oxygen to produce electricity with the only emission being water vapor.

The Hydrogen Highway
The state of California has implemented a plan to have a hydrogen highway by 2010. According to plan, every California citizen should have access to hydrogen fuel along the state highways, and this will mean 150-200 fuelling stations at a maximum distance of 20 miles. British Columbia is also proposing a Hydrogen Highway linking the provinces capital, Victoria , through Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Olympic games, with 20 fuelling stations currently planned.

For more information on the Hydrogen Highway , please visit:
California Hydrogen Highway

BC Hydrogen Highway

US Department of Energy

Executive Profiles

J. Thomas Beck  /  President & C.E.O.
Tom Beck founded SHEC in 1996, and has been working steadily to bring cost effective renewable hydrogen generation technologies to market. Tom was passionate about science and technology from and early age, and built his first thermal chemical hydrogen generator while still in grade school.



Company Overview
Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC) is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada, and was incorporated in 1996. Since that time, its mandate has been to develop and commercialize hydrogen production technologies that can take advantage of renewable energy sources and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions at costs competitive with conventional hydrogen production.

SHEC began with a theoretical breakthrough in 1996. Tom Beck, the founder and CEO, devised a theory for a process for the commercial scale production of hydrogen from water using sunlight. With this breakthrough, enough interest was generated to incorporate the company. In 1998, SHEC constructed the required components of a complete 250KW demonstration solar simulator, and proved that water could be split at high temperatures. This process exposed problems such as extreme high energy inputs to attain the temperatures required as well as material problems caused by these high temperatures. By 2000, the company developed a catalyst that lowered the temperature at which these reactions occurred, and by October of that year the improved process was verified by Wardrop Engineering in Saskatoon.

In 2001, Giffels Associates Limited had conducted an independent validation study on the bench scale unit of the entire process train. The study showed that the technology could be successfully scaled up 100 times from the lab study, and that hydrogen could be produced. By 2002, SHEC made advancements with proprietary design and electronics that dramatically reduce costs. This would allow the company to competitively harness solar energy for applications such as large-scale distillation, power generation and solar thermo chemical hydrogen production. SHEC also developed a catalytic process for the dry reformation of methane into hydrogen, and by December had signed a financial participation agreement with the Canadian Federal Government, Department of Natural Resources Canada to further enhance the catalyst.

In 2004, SHEC completed long term testing on its “Dry Fuel Reformation” technology in conjunction with its anti-coking fuel reformer. After nearly 1,000 hours, test results showed that the entire process was operating at 96% of theoretical conversion efficiency. SHEC then designed and built the first solar reactor and in Phoenix, Arizona successfully demonstrated that hydrogen can be produced from methane (Natural Gas) using a mirror array to concentrate the sun’s rays to generate the temperatures required to drive the reaction.

By the end of 2004, SHEC had announced some significant strategic partnerships:

Giffels Associates Limited
Giffels Associates has joined the project as the Engineering Firm of Record, and will provide project management and engineering and architectural design services.

Clean 16 Environmental Technologies Corporation
Clean 16 will design the gas cleaning systems for the project, and work with the University of Toronto would also provide research assistance related to the cleaning and separation of landfill gas that will be used for hydrogen generation.

The University of Toronto Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
The University of Toronto has agreed to provide laboratory facilities and assist with research.
With the addition of these companies to the process train, SHEC is currently negotiating potential partnerships with SaskEnergy as a source of natural gas, and the City of Regina for the use of their landfill as a demonstration site.
In October 2005, SHEC was approved for a $2 million grant from Sustainable Development and Technology Canada to support a portion of the Regina Fleet Street landfill solar hydrogen project. The company has completed an Offering Memorandum that will allow for private investment and raise the capital necessary to begin building a demonstration facility at the Fleet Street Landfill in Regina, Saskatchewan .

SHEC in 2007 formed additional associates with other universities and partners to diversify its Solar Concentrator and Solar Receiver technologies for the production of other alternative fuels, electricity and district heating for green communities. SHEC in 2008 has received expressions of interest from around the world for the use of its technology for the production of hydrogen from biomass, the potential production of other fuels, electricity and for industrial and district heating for green communities.


Hydrogen Village
Located in the Greater Toronto Area, the Hydrogen Village is a public/private partnership developed to accelerate and sustain the application and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell products and services.  Various hydrogen production, storage and delivery techniques will be deployed and demonstrated, as well as applications of hydrogen such as fuel cells for fuelling stations, transportation and portable applications.  The Hydrogen Village is planned as a template for other municipalities and regions – both in Canada and around the world – that are committed to the development of a hydrogen and fuel cell infrastructure.  The CTFCA is providing funding for the Hydrogen Village Project Coordinator and additional operating costs.

Total project cost: $831,230
CTFCA contribution: $547,173


“In The Hydrogen Economy, best-selling author Jeremy Rifkin takes us on an eye-opening journey into the next great commercial era in history. He envisions the dawn of a new economy powered by hydrogen that will fundamentally change the nature of our market, political and social institutions, just as coal and steam power did at the beginning
of the industrial age.

Rifkin observes that we are fast approaching a critical watershed for the fossil-fuel era, with potentially dire consequences for industrial civilization. While experts had been saying that we had another forty or so years of cheap available crude oil left, some of the world’s leading petroleum geologists are now suggesting that global oil production could peak and begin a steep decline much sooner, as early as the end of this decade. Non-OPEC oil producing countries are already nearing their peak production, leaving most of the remaining reserves in the politically unstable Middle East. Increasing tensions between Islam and the West are likely to further threaten our access to affordable oil. In desperation, the U.S. and other nations could turn to dirtier fossil-fuels – coal, tar sand, and heavy oil – which will only worsen global warming and imperil the earth’s already beleaguered ecosystems. Looming oil shortages make industrial life vulnerable to massive disruptions and possibly even collapse.

While the fossil-fuel era is entering its sunset years, a new energy regime is being born that has the potential to remake civilization along radical new lines, according to Rifkin. Hydrogen is the most basic and ubiquitous element in the universe. It is the stuff of the stars and of our sun and, when properly harnessed, it is the “forever fuel.” It never runs out and produces no harmful CO2 emissions.

Commercial fuel-cells powered by hydrogen are just now being introduced into the market for home, office and industrial use. The major automakers have spent more than two billion dollars developing hydrogen cars, buses, and trucks, and the first mass-produced vehicles are expected to be on the road in just a few years. The hydrogen economy makes possible a vast redistribution of power, with far-reaching consequences for society. Today’s centralized, top-down flow of energy, controlled by global oil companies and utilities, becomes obsolete. In the new era, says Rifkin, every human being could become the producer as well as the consumer of his or her own energy – so called “distributed generation.” When millions of end-users connect their fuel-cells into local, regional, and national hydrogen energy webs (HEWs), using the same design principles and smart technologies that made possible the World Wide Web, they can begin to share energy – peer-to-peer – creating a new decentralized form of energy use.

Hydrogen has the potential to end the world’s reliance on imported oil and help diffuse the dangerous geopolitical game being played out between Muslim militants and Western nations. It will dramatically cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate the effects of global warming. And because hydrogen is so plentiful and exists everywhere on earth, every human being could be “empowered,” making it the first truly democratic energy regime in history.”

Jeremy R. Rifkin
email : jrifkin [at] foet [dot] org

HYDROGEN ECON 101,%20author,%20The%20Hydrogen%20Economy&clip_id=ctvnews.20021010.00010000-00010565-clip1&subhub=video&no_ads=&sortdate=20021010&slug=hydrogen_economy021010&archive=CTVNews
Author envisions an economy based on hydrogen  /  Oct. 10 2002

The panic of the oil crisis days of the 1970s is long over, but we are still using far more oil than the Earth can replace. Author Jeremy Rifkin says there’s a solution within our grasp: hydrogen. Hydrogen is an abundant element found everywhere on Earth, including in air and water. It can be transformed into a potentially limitless form of clean burning fuel. And when it’s burned, its only waste product is pure water.

If hydrogen could replace oil and gas, not only could we decrease emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming, we would curb the pollution generated by extracting and processing fossil fuels. In his book, The Hydrogen Economy, Rifkin says he believes development of hydrogen would revolutionize the way people access energy. There would be no need for citizens to rely on utility companies to provide their energy. Every home could have the potential to create its own energy; it’s something Rifkin calls the “democratized energy web.”

“With hydrogen, every person becomes their own producer of energy. You put a fuel cell in your home, your factory, your business, you produce your own energy,” he explained to Canada AM’s Seamus O’Regan. “You take out the hydrogen from water, store it, put it in a fuel cell… Then the excess energy you can send back to the power grid. While the days of an infrastructure system based on hydrogen may be far off, it won’t be long before hydrogen-powered vehicles are available. “We’re going to begin to see this in the next few years in the auto industry,” Rifkin says. “You’re going to see the first cars in the showrooms within six or seven years.”

Every major automaker is working on hydrogen-feulled vehicles, with many planning to make some fuel cell vehicles available within a year for limited fleet sales, perhaps to government buyers who can carefully monitor performance. DaimlerChrysler plans to have 30 fuel cell buses working in 10 European cities next year. Ford Motor Co. has a fuel cell-powered Focus, aided by a battery for acceleration, that it plans to lease for fleet customers in early 2004. General Motors Corp. demonstrated a Chevrolet S-10 pickup last spring that converts gasoline to hydrogen. But to convince the world to switch to hydrogen would require a major up-ending of our current global economy and infrastructure. Oil companies would need to shift their focus, as would utility companies, automakers, manufacturers — the list is endless.

Rifkin says hydrogen has plenty of believers, with many government and private researchers working on technologies that will use it. But convincing everyone is not going to be easy. “Dutch Shell and BP, both their CEOs have recognized that we’re ending the fossil fuel era in the next 40 years. They are moving toward hydrogen and renewable technologies in a very big way. Exxon-Mobil, the U.S. company, says ‘We’re not buying it. We’re staying where oil is,'” Rifkin says. “In some ways, the United States is becoming the old world and Europe and other parts of the world are becoming the new world when it comes to energy. It’s going to be a big task making that change from one infrastructure to another. But already there are 800 or 900 companies rushing into hydrogen, and Canada is one of the leaders in this.”

Environmental Science & Engineering
BY Jamie Bakos, P.Eng.  /  May 2005

Notwithstanding Episode 2F 19 of a popular, long-running cartoon series (Lisa Simpson’s perpetual motion machine), the first law of thermodynamics is difficult to disobey. You simply cannot get more energy out of a system compared to the energy that you put in. Based in Saskatoon, Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC Labs) has recently constructed and demonstrated a Dry Fuel Hydrogen Generation System that is powered primarily by sunlight-focusing mirrors. The system comprises a solar mirror array and advanced solar concentrator and shutter system, and two thermo-catalytic reactors to convert methane, carbon dioxide, and water into hydrogen. SHEC has designed and constructed a solar hydrogen generation system that, when utilizing sunlight, appears to deliver more energy than it receives.

Why produce hydrogen?
The current market for hydrogen is approximately 42 billion kg per year and growing, and is used primarily in ammonia fertilizer manufacturing, for hydrogenation in the food and beverage industry, and in petroleum refining to reduce the sulfur content of fossil fuels. Hydrogen is also an energy carrier and is recognized by many as the fuel of the future. When hydrogen is consumed by a fuel cell, its only significant emissions are water and heat. A clean source of hydrogen will lead to energy self-sufficiency and clean air and clean water.

Traditional hydrogen production
More than 95% of hydrogen produced today is by the Steam Methane Reformation (SMR) of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas, a process that liberates massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants to the atmosphere. The SMR process provides a net energy loss of 30 to 35% when converting methane into hydrogen since a great deal of fossil energy or electrical power is required to operate the process. Hydrogen is also produced by electrolysis, a process that uses electricity to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. Although electrolysis itself can be quite efficient in converting electricity into hydrogen, the electricity used for electrolysis is often primarily generated from fossil fuels. Therefore, traditional hydrogen production methods result in a net increase in air pollution and are highly inefficient from an energy conversion perspective.

The value proposition for solar hydrogen
Solar hydrogen production provides a net energy gain when converting methane into hydrogen since the energy used to drive the process is from the sun. Since SMR is not typically cost-effective at small to moderate production levels, SHEC’s technology is particularly attractive for smaller and distributed hydrogen production. The environmental benefits of generating hydrogen using renewable energy include significant greenhouse gas reductions, and the reduction of smog precursors, acid gases, and mercury as a result of reduced local need for oil, coal, and natural gas.

To add even greater value, the process has the ability to use a renewable source of methane and carbon dioxide, such as biogas from municipal wastewater plants and landfill gas. Renewable methane generated from biomass results in no net increase of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere when the methane is converted into hydrogen by SHEC’s solar hydrogen generator.

Technology and process description
The unit produces hydrogen with solar energy as the primary energy input and has the following general chemistry:
* Methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are reacted to form hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO):

Reaction 1
CO2 + CH4 → 2H2 + 2CO ΔHf = 917 kJ/mole
* The carbon monoxide is reacted with water to produce more hydrogen and carbon dioxide:

Reaction 2
CO + H2O → H2 + CO2 ΔHf = 40.6 kJ/mole

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane gas (CH4) are fed into a reactor heated by a solar mirror array. The intermediate products from Reaction 1 feed into a water gas shift reactor (WGSR), controlled at near atmospheric pressure. The resulting gas stream is H2 and CO2 and is saturated with water. Solar energy provides the driving force for the endothermic Reaction 1. A water cooled iris dilates to control the amount of radiant energy directed to Reaction 1. Reaction 2 is exothermic and requires cooling to maintain the optimum temperature.

Gas Production
SHEC’s solar hydrogen generator has now operated for approximately 1,200 hours with no noticeable coking or degradation of the catalysts. Hydrogen production is near the theoretical maximum at approximately 66% in the product gas stream with a 98.2% mol conversion of the feed methane. The estimated maximum hydrogen production with the unit is approximately 3,500 kg per year with minor modifications to the operating pressure and reactor configuration and an increase in the solar mirror area.

Energy Balance
The system does not produce more energy than it receives. It does, however, produce more energy in the form of hydrogen than the energy input in the form of methane. When energy is converted from one form to another, a great deal of energy is typically lost (i.e. 10 kW of methane produces approximately 3 kW of electricity in a reciprocating engine). With the SHEC process, there are two sources of hydrogen (methane, CH4 and water, H2O). The process of SHEC Labs uses “free” solar energy to produce hydrogen from both methane and water.

In bulk terms, every 1 m³ of methane feed produces approximately 3.9 m³ of hydrogen in the process. Put in common energy terms at 1 bar pressure and 25°C, 1 m³ of methane equals approximately 40 MJ of thermal energy and 3.9 m³ of hydrogen equals approximately 45.7 MJ of thermal energy, which is a net energy gain of over 14% for the
demonstration unit.

Considering the total energy (from the sun and from the methane), the overall energy balance has a less than 100% conversion efficiency and obeys the laws of thermodynamics. In fact the SHEC system is quite inefficient at present in that a great deal of the solar energy is lost in the form of heat. And since we know nothing is free, this heat loss translates into additional cost for the solar mirror array. A few well placed heat exchangers and some added insulation will help reduce the amount of heat loss and allow more of the mirror area to be dedicated to driving the chemical reactions.

Cost analyses
Cost analyses and models have been prepared based on the use of the various feed gases (i.e. landfill gas, natural gas, flare gas, etc.) and based on empirical data for the cost of the demonstration unit, current gas production, and current size of the solar array. The cost analyses show that the hydrogen production costs based on using landfill gas are lower than traditional hydrogen production methods that use natural gas. It is important to note that the overall cost competitiveness of hydrogen extends beyond hydrogen production to hydrogen compression, storage, and distribution. The cost models are currently being expanded to include these elements and involve some innovative hydrogen distribution cost savings.

What’s next?
The next stage of development is anticipated to be a commercial-scale demonstration at a landfill gas site in Canada using 40,000 kg per year hydrogen production modules. This one project (a small-to-medium sized landfill gas project) will prevent more than 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from entering the atmosphere over the next twenty years and will significantly improve local air quality and reduce smog. The next generation of solar hydrogen involves direct water splitting with only water as the primary feed component. According to SHEC, six of the ten steps needed for this process are already integrated into the current system.

Hydrogen production from renewable methane, such as biogas from municipal wastewater treatment plants and landfill gas is ideally suited to SHEC’s solar hydrogen production system. Their solar hydrogen generator produces hydrogen from methane and carbon dioxide feed gases in a reactor maintained at temperature by solar thermal energy (directed by mirrors). A demonstration unit indicates that solar hydrogen generation is feasible, and appears to be cost-competitive with traditional methods. And yes, it does obey the laws of thermodynamics.

{Jamie Bakos, P.Eng., is Manager of Environmental Services with Ingenium Group Inc. (Giffels Associates Limited) in Toronto.}

Jamie Bakos
email: jamie.bakos [at] giffels [dot] com

RE: [ from deknow ]

please, if anyone has any real data on ways to produce/store/transport hydrogen in a real world system, i’d love to hear about it (working on a book that touches on this). everything i’ve seen so far looks like it’s really code for nuclear power (where else to get the cheap/abundant energy required to produce, cool, compress, and store the hydrogen going to come from?). i’m looking for data that shows hydrogen making sense without nuclear power…not something that says “hydrogen is clean burning, and when combusted makes water”.


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