|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
Richard You Asked “Can Household Rubbish+H2SO4 work as an Accumulator.” The question is based upon the viability of degrading landfill waste using dilute sulfuric acid whilst at the same time using the mix as a buffer in the storage of electricity on the National Grid when consumption is low. A subsidiary question would be concerning the usefulness of resulting gases, liquids and sludge. Knowing the variability of household rubbish, the design problems of an efficient storage battery, the potential chemistry problems and variables one would face, I think the idea is not a practical or efficient way to produce or store electricity. A secondary issue would be dealing processing and disposal of the sludge, which in itself would be a problem and consume energy. A possible alternative to your suggested process would be to extract the methane produced by decaying material in a landfill and use it as a source of hydrogen in a fuel cell. A fuel cell converts energy directly, without combustion, by combining hydrogen and oxygen electrochemically to produce water, electricity, and heat. It is very much like a battery that can be recharged while you are drawing power from it. Instead of recharging using electricity, however, a fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen. Fuelled with pure hydrogen, they produce no pollutant emissions. A fuel cell system, which includes a “fuel reformer”, can utilize the hydrogen from any hydrocarbon fuel - from natural gas to methanol, and even gasoline. Even if fuelled with natural gas as a source of hydrogen, emissions are negligible: 0.45 ppm NOx, 2 ppm CO, 4 ppm HC, which are orders of magnitude below those for conventional combustion generating equipment. Principle of operation of a typical fuel cell: · When hydrogen is fed into a fuel cell a catalyst on the anode converts hydrogen gas into negatively charged electrons (e-) and positively charged ions (H+). · The hydrogen ions (H+) migrate through the electrolyte to the cathode where they combine with oxygen and the electrons (e-) to produce water. Fuel cells are ideal for power generation, either connected to the electric grid to provide supplemental power and backup assurance for critical areas, or installed as a grid-independent generator for on-site service in areas that are inaccessible by power lines. Since fuel cells operate silently, they reduce noise pollution as well as air pollution and the waste heat from a fuel cell can be used to provide hot water or space heating. They are highly efficient and low maintenance. Here are a couple of links on information on fuel cells. http://www.fuelcells.org/fctypes.htm http://www.howstuffworks.com/fuel-cell.htm
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