[ RadSafe ] Plutonium from Power Reactors

Jim Hardeman Jim.Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us
Fri Apr 11 08:36:26 CDT 2008

Mike --
As you might imagine, our own DOE has lots of experience in storing hydrogen <grin> in metal hydrides. At least one major auto manufacturer has a footprint in a hydrogen technology center just outside Savannah River Site (SRS). The last time I was there, their "footprint" consisted of signs on the wall and not much else -- but perhaps it's an indicate on the direction that things MIGHT be heading re: using H2 as an automotive fuel.

>>> "Brennan, Mike  (DOH)" Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV> 4/10/2008 19:58 >> ( mailto:Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV> )

Hydrogen looks good until you start seeing how it would work in cars.
Hydrogen can't be liquefied for use in cars due to its low boiling point
(14 degrees K), so it has to be stored onboard a vehicle as a gas.  H2
has a low density (about 1/10,000 of water), which means you need a
large tank to carry enough to be worthwhile.  H2 is a small molecule,
and leaks through almost any gasket material you want to use.

The REAL farce in using H2 as a "green" fuel, however, is that while H2
can be made by electrolysis of water (we did it on my submarine for the
O2) the economically preferred way to make it is from methane.  This
produces H2, but also CO2.  It would be more efficient, and less
polluting, to run the vehicle on the methane, and skip the H2 step.

IF someone comes up with a really, really good, light, cheep,
ecologically-friendly-to-make fuel cell, H2 MIGHT be a viable vehicle
fuel.  My breath remains unheld. 

More information about the RadSafe mailing list