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Thread: IRHTDF - The International Renewable Hydrogen Transmission Demonstration Facility

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    IRHTDF - The International Renewable Hydrogen Transmission Demonstration Facility

    Does anyone have experience with networking among cities and communities through which the IRHTDF (the International Renewable Hydrogen Transmission Demonstration Facility) might run? Proposed locations for this facility include 1) a line running from North Dakota through northwest, central, and southeastern Iowa, toward west central Illinois and 2) a line running from North Dakota, through Minnesota, toward Chicago.

    The Leighty Foundation and Alaska Applied Sciences has more information on this project, but here is a summary. The purpose of the IRHTDF would be to demonstrate the process of transmitting the energy from large, stranded, diverse, dispersed, renewable energies (such as the wind corridor and the solar corridor) toward markets in cities (who would more likely use the energy carriers of hydrogen and/or ammonia) and toward agricultural markets which utilize nitrogen-based fertilizers (who might utilize renewable ammonia, NH3).

    Networking among cities and communities who may be first served by such a project could help create additional development and growth in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector. Any and all thoughts on this idea are welcome.

    (I see that the Iowa Chapter of the APA has a board hosted here, as well. Perhaps there are some thoughts from these folks?)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by MachWing View post
    Does anyone have experience with networking among cities and communities through which the IRHTDF (the International Renewable Hydrogen Transmission Demonstration Facility) might run? Proposed locations for this facility include 1) a line running from North Dakota through northwest, central, and southeastern Iowa, toward west central Illinois and 2) a line running from North Dakota, through Minnesota, toward Chicago.

    The Leighty Foundation and Alaska Applied Sciences has more information on this project, but here is a summary. The purpose of the IRHTDF would be to demonstrate the process of transmitting the energy from large, stranded, diverse, dispersed, renewable energies (such as the wind corridor and the solar corridor) toward markets in cities (who would more likely use the energy carriers of hydrogen and/or ammonia) and toward agricultural markets which utilize nitrogen-based fertilizers (who might utilize renewable ammonia, NH3).

    Networking among cities and communities who may be first served by such a project could help create additional development and growth in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector. Any and all thoughts on this idea are welcome.

    (I see that the Iowa Chapter of the APA has a board hosted here, as well. Perhaps there are some thoughts from these folks?)
    Don't know much about this, but I've read that it takes 20 grams of platinum to build a fuel cell, which is good for about 200 hours of operation, or a year's worth of driving at 60mph. There are 7.7 billion grams of proven platinum reserves on the planet and 700 million vehicles on the roads which would need to be replaced. Doing the simple math one can see that the hydrogen economy will never work. Besides, hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source. It always takes more energy to break the bond than is yielded from burning the released hydrogen. It is much smarter to generate the electricity and then store it in batteries, but this also has its problems. Your efforts might be better spent in promoting/researching a renewable all-electric economy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    PatrickMc - Thank you for your response. Thank you also for your discussions in other threads about sustainable cities.

    Platinum has to date been a great metal for its purposes in fuel cells, but as you noted, platinum is limited. There are, however, discoveries and inventions that seek to reduce the amount of platinum used in fuel cells. There is also research seeking replacement substances to do the traditional job of platinum. The hydrogen economy - or perhaps the electrified economy with hydrogen and ammonia playing significant roles - is still very possible.

    Also, it may not be necessary to have a fuel cell in every car. Perhaps some cars would be better served by batteries, some better served by fuel cells, and some better served by other electricity storage means. It is clear that we are moving toward electrification, but it's still reasonable to keep hydrogen and ammonia on the table as potential energy carriers and storage media. Being very scalable, fuel cells (especially the non-platinum fuel cells) have many potential places besides just inside cars.

    You point out that it takes work to store energy... this cannot be avoided, no matter which renewable electric storage medium you choose. The only reason we've been lulled into thinking it could be otherwise is because we've been stepping into the middle of an energy conversion chain that has already used the work of old plants and geological processes to store the energy. Indeed, energy was also lost along the way in the creation of fossil fuels. But our days, however many they may be, of relying on energy stored in or on the earth in easily recoverable forms - these days are numbered.

    Batteries and other electric storage media could have beneficial places, too. To say which is best in any scenario - I would leave that to the official cost/benefit analysis. Ammonia can also be an energy carrier - and the handling and storage methods have been proven in agriculture. There are also geologic scale solution-mined salt caverns in which hydrogen or ammonia might be stored. And these storage means could help "firm" electrical grid from the intermittence of renewable wind and solar.

    But there is also a need for nitrogen-based fertilizers in agriculture. The nitrogen is needed in the soil so that the plants can produce proteins. So far, these fertilizers have been manufactured using fossil resources. But again, these are limited resources. Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) is often used as a nitrogen-based fertilizer. Thankfully, there are renewable processes for producing at least this kind of nitrogen-based fertilizer. Basically, you use an renewable electric process to split the hydrogen off the oxygen in water, and then use another process to add nitrogen from the atmosphere. (There may be other, better nitrogen-based fertilizers... but I don't currently know them or if they can be renewably produced. I speak of NH3 because it is currently widely used, especially for high yields in the corn belt.) The chemical need for nitrogen in the soil also cannot be avoided.

    So, this IRHTDF could develop and demonstrate components helpful to both agriculture and to the electrical/transportation grid. Hydrogen and ammonia won't serve every need in an electric economy, but they are very beneficial components.

  4. #4
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    Newbie Question

    Hi MachWing,
    Your posting comes close to the topic I would like to pursue. I am a bit experienced with activities on the Ning site "Pickens Plan", and am looking for a different kind of community, I guess. You come across to me as someone with a positive attitude and a reasonably well developed skill at seeing the big picture. I'd like to open a conversation with you, if you are willing. Because you created the topic, I am wondering if you could say a few words about where you would like to go with it? Thanks! (th)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Sustainable Green Hydrogen/Ammonia City Conference Call

    Hi Tahanson,

    Thank you for your interest in this topic. A few of my other posts at Cyburbia and on the internet are in regards to the economic potential of the micropolitan city of Macomb, IL being developed as a model sustainable city, or a model hydrogen/ammonia and smart grid city. The IRHTDF might extend toward Macomb in west central Illinois. This IRHTDF could be a very helpful component for this proposed comprehensive project. The search option here at Cyburbia should yield my posts along those lines.

    As for where some of these ideas are going, a number of professionals with resources connected to Macomb and interested in evaluating the feasibility of this project will be having a conference call sometime in January. We will be having some round table discussion and networking. I'm trying to keep people posted on the details, as we figure them out. Let me know if you'd like to participate in some capacity.

    Happy Holidays!
    MachWing

  6. #6
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    Need to Subscribe to Thread per Dan

    Hi MachWing,
    Thanks for your prompt reply. I learned that I have to subscribe to the thread to receive email notification of traffic. Thanks Dan!
    ***
    Is the conference going to take place on Skype?
    (th)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Conference Call Format to be Determined

    You're quite welcome. The date, time, and format of the conference call has yet to be determined. (Skype could be a helpful format.) The Cyburbian here with username "Tranfund" (Chuck Pappacio) is helping to organize this conference call. Check out his introduction thread (The Sweet Smell of Green) and his other threads. I also looked up his websites and contacted him by phone - so consider your options. It will be after January 6 that we will be organizing more of the format. So far, I've been getting the preliminary word out, and a number of interesting folks are giving positive feedback. Stay tuned for more to come.

    MachWing

  8. #8
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    Skype Assistance Offer

    Hi MachWing,
    This is a first reply, since you have given me two sets of tasks to carry out, and those are going to require some time. If you are not familiar with Skype, and that is still true for a lot of folks, then you might be able to use some assistance in testing the facility. Skype will support up to 16 online participants at no charge. If you were planning a telephone conference, then I presume you were planning to pay for that, since I am not aware of any free services in the Plain Old Telephone arena. If you are interested in checking out Skype, then drop me a note when you are ready to test with someone. I am fairly flexible in my daily schedule, given enough time to plan. I am doing light consulting these days. (th)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Hi TH,

    This is weird... your reply is time-stamped 8:08 AM. I have been periodically checking these forums for most of the morning and afternoon, and only got an update of your post in this thread at approximately 2:30 PM eastern time. I have not even yet received an e-mail confirmation of your traffic. But in any event...

    I'm only beginning to become familiar with Skype at ID "machwing". I do know, however, that tranfund (Chuck Pappacio) uses Skype. I'd be happy to test the facility with you, as well, TH. I currently only have dial-up here at my desktop, so it could be a bit slow here. But if the conference call were to be held over Skype, I should be able to find high speed service somewhere with my laptop.

    If the conference call is by a paid service over telephone, then the funding will have to be secured. I am working on this project with my own shoe-string personal budget, and so I could not fund the call myself. Tranfund (Chuck) will likely be the one most able to answer this question, seeing as the conference call was his initial proposal. He is busy until January 6th, however.

    I too am mostly flexible with my schedule. I'm currently working as a substitute teacher, and it's the holiday season right now. We'll be in touch for Skype. You may add "machwing" and see if I'm online. Otherwise, this forum is slower, but sufficient.

    Happy New Year,
    MachWing

  10. #10
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    Skype Test Planning

    Hi MachWing,
    Thanks for your reply. I have a full schedule today, and have not yet gotten to the reading you suggested. However, I am interested in helping you with something I definitely know how to do, and that is Skype testing << grin >>. I do not recommend trying a modem connection. It would be frustrating for you and for your correspondents. However, if you want to plan for a Skype session when you can connect at a library or coffee bar, then I'm happy to help. I'll add MachWing to my Skype contact list after posting this reply. (th)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Skype Test

    Hey TH,

    Let me know when's a good time for you, too. Most any time is good for me. But my aunt has high speed service a few miles down the road from here, so I should be able to ask her for help when needed. I'll just have to confirm the time with her. I see you're reading the thread even right now. I don't yet see you as adding me on Skype. I'm online as of 3:26 eastern.

  12. #12
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    Skype works with modem connection: Amazing!

    I was impressed that audio worked as well as it did over a modem line.

    The chat held up better for the long run, and I was able to capture the chat by selecting all and using Copy/Paste. There doesn't seem to be a "save chat" option.

    Here is my recommendation to you, based upon the chat, and what I understand so far. Now is the time for the State of Illinois to apply for a Grant to build the project you have in mind. Just rough guess what it will take and send it to the Governor as soon as you can. All the States are going to be competing for the gusher of money that is likely next year.

    (th)

  13. #13
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    Small Correction to Previous Post

    MachWing ...
    Of course! I meant "Lieutenant Governor" for your proposal!
    ***
    Happy New Years! (th)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    We'll Get a Team

    Well, to whomever we submit the proposal at the state level I'm working on getting a team together to assemble that proposal.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I'll take it as a sign of progress that interested or curious parties desire to have a meeting with high quality content and communication. This would require more preparation than would be possible by January and more preparation than would a meet and greet type of round table discussion. So, there will be no meeting here in January. We may yet see what develops in the future.

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