Russia and other developed countries are now placing their stakes on what many call a technological breakthrough in power engineering because the currently available energy sources are limited. When this planet "runs out" of its resources of oil and gas, we shall be faced with the vital problem of using new types of fuels. And experts tell us that the time for this search is rather limited. This being so, specialists pin their hopes on using hydrogen as the main energy-carrier*.
In the opinion of the RAS Vice-President Acad. Gennady Mesyats, transition to this new technology means large-scale production, storage, and distribution (including transportation) of H2 for the purpose of energy generation with the help of new fuel elements. Used as raws can be methane, coal, wood, industrial and agricultural wastes. And the new fuel can also be obtained by water hydrolysis.
Since 1990s to this day specialists have been working on the development of fuel elements with the capacity from 1 kWt to 1 MWt. These can be used in automobile engines in combination with electric motors. Apart from that, there will soon appear new portable sources of electricity (of less than 100 Wt) which can be used for computers, cellular telephones and even cameras. Plans are prepared for the production of solid-polymer fuel elements on hydrogen which will be mainly used on automobile transport. For the time being their cost remains rather high: 1 kWt of rated power in the best units of this kind runs from 3 to 5 thous. US dollars (acceptable price of one thous. dollars can be expected in the nearest future).
Experts point to a very effective "combinations" of fuel elements with devices based on solar batteries. When energy consumption is low, the electricity they produce can be used for water hydrolysis and production of H2 . The latter goes into a storage unit and can later be used when necessary for electricity production in hydrogen electrochemical generators.
Today all of these problems a ... Читать далее