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ENGR 101/HUM 200: Technology and Society October 25, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "ENGR 101/HUM 200: Technology and Society October 25, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENGR 101/HUM 200: Technology and Society October 25, 2005

2 Agenda The Hydrogen Economy Innovative Designs (video segment) Hand back exams

3 Hydrogen Fuel v. Hydrogen Economy Changes in energy sources have broad economic consequences Energy is a key input into our economy The current worldwide economy is dominated by fossil fuels Energy fuels economic growth Infrastructure is shaped by energy needs Energy is infrastructure

4 Replace or Enable? Replacement technology –Replaces an existing product Electric vs. gas light –New product must cost less Enabling technology –Provides a new capability Airplanes and flight –Cost not as important Consider the technology for “Make it Better”

5 Fuel Cells Replace and Enable Energy efficiency is about replacing a technology Providing environmental protections (whether or not in response to regulations) is about enabling a technology

6 Hydrogen Replaces and Enables If it increases efficiency of ICEs, that is replacement If it creates a decentralized energy infrastructure, that is enabling

7 Hydrogen Economy Network of three functional steps –Production –Storage –Use But where does hydrogen come from? –Lots of it, but not in the right form for use as a fuel Not just a fuel, but an infrastructure

8 Challenges Posed by H.E. Competitive production Distribution Storage Safety

9 Why Hydrogen? Need replacement for fossil fuels –Energy independence, pricing, worldwide stores Environmental regulations (Clean Air Act, CA’s zero emission standards) Hydrogen is viewed as clean, renewable energy source Hydrogen is also an energy carrier for renewable energy sources (stores, moves, and delivers energy in a usable form to consumers)

10 Some economic drivers: Automobile manufacturers looking for good fuel match for fuel cell technology Governor of California initiated Hydrogen Highway Project –150-200 stations along state highways –500K each –One step in chicken-egg dilemma

11 Where does hydrogen come from? Introduction of hydrogen as an energy source for fuel cells doesn’t necessarily mean no use of fossil fuels Hydrogen is produced from: –natural gas, coal, gasoline, methanol, or biomass through the application of heat (“reforming”) – from bacteria or algae through photosynthesis – using electricity or sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

12 Fossil Fuels Not renewable Reserves will eventually run out –Some debate on when; modes of extraction becoming more complex, more expensive Prices are rising even now By 2050, there will be a 50% increase in energy use worldwide –Population growth –Industrialization of developing countries

13 Current Energy Sources Oil supplies 40% of the world’s energy needs Oil accounts for 90% of energy used for transportation Cars & trucks produce 10% of carbon dioxide emissions in the US Power plants produce more than 40% of carbon dioxide in US

14 Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Hydrogen fuel should not be confused with fuel cell technology –In order to use hydrogen as a fuel, it still needs to be ‘liberated’ from somewhere, and that takes energy Hydrogen fuel can be used to power ICEs as well as fuel cells Fuel cells are more efficient than either ICEs or batteries (can be constantly replenished: open v closed system) ICE standards of longevity: 15 years or 170K miles Current PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells: 2000 hours

15 Fuel Cells in development Fuel cells as batteries for consumer electronics Canon’s announcement 10/25 that it has developed fuel cells to replace conventional batteries for digital cameras and printers in 3 years Have to find way to provide consumers with fuel






21 Some work being done at UW Q.htm Q.htm s/design_for_environment.htm s/design_for_environment.htm s/life_cycle_assessment.htm s/life_cycle_assessment.htm –“Life cycle assessment is a protocol to assess the environmental, economic, and social impacts of an industrial system”

22 What Interrupts the Optimistic Narrative?  Hydrogen fuel burns clean but hydrogen fuel production is dirty Hydrogen is not an energy source like oil, coal, wind or sun but an energy carrier like electricity or gasoline But, the only byproduct from burning hydrogen in an ICE or a fuel cell is water

23 Likely Early Adopter Industries For hydrogen as a fuel –Not cars Difficulty manufacturing in advance of sufficient consumer demand Fuel companies unlikely to invest in infrastructure (filling stations) till a critical mass of cars For fuel cells –Battery replacements –Infrastructure elements that are looking for decentralization

24 Some Public Policy Issues Infrastructure for developing countries –A “hydrogen economy would democratize energy generation so that all nations can have equal access to the benefits of electricity.” The Futurist Values –Shift required for an energy policy that promotes energy independence based on diverse sources of cleaner energy, combined with tough emission standards, and conservation effort Safety –Hindenberg misconception; hydrogen fires not easily detectable (odorless, colorless gas)

25 Next class Guest lecture: Prof John Kramlich Read The Diamond Age

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