Many projects of our colleagues are related to the environment. They help the world to use its resources wisely, replenish them wisely, unpollute nature and already cleanse the problem areas of our planet. Every volunteer, like me, knows that nuclear power plants cause great harm to nature and the world around us in general. And besides, it is very dangerous (as an example, this is Chernoble). And Germany decided to abandon these "atomic monsters".
Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are ready to take over the function of the "field laboratory". An experiment of unprecedented scale will start in 2021 and will last until the beginning of the next decade. Fifty industrial companies, infrastructure networks and research centers are simultaneously launching 25 projects, the goal of which is to work out the "home" and cost-effective production of hydrogen as the main energy carrier. To transfer experience to other power engineers and operators, 12 demonstration complexes will be created, tied to various sectors of the economy and households.
The transition to hydrogen will allow the participants of the experiment to annually reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 500 thousand tons. Thus, the three federal states expect by 2035 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by three quarters, the culprit of global warming. "
The experiment will cost 355 million euros. A third of the funds will be allocated by the federal and state governments, the rest will be borne by commercial investors. Of course, the question may be asked: what is the revolutionary novelty of hydrogen? As a fuel, and very unsafe (forming an explosive gas in a mixture with air), it has been known since at least the century before last. But the point is not in hydrogen, but, as they say, in its quantity. Now we are not talking about compressed gas cylinders coming from an "explosive" chemical plant, but about domestic production of small quantities of hydrogen - and immediately its cold oxidation with the released energy in the form of electricity.
The product of hydrogen oxidation is, as you know, chemically pure water. No carbon dioxide. But the main trick is that the latest energy does not at all imply the combustion of hydrogen. It powers modern galvanic cells, the so-called “fuel cells” (German: Brennstoffzellen), which operate on the principle of storage batteries. The difference is that batteries store energy transferred from the outside, and they contain substances for an electrochemical reaction that converts the stored energy into electricity.
Batteries need to be recharged periodically to replenish energy. And "fuel cells" operate with an unlimited influx of a substance for an electrochemical reaction - hydrogen. The reaction takes place continuously as long as hydrogen is supplied. Accordingly, these batteries generate electricity constantly, without recharging. Such batteries have high efficiency, compact dimensions, they are absolutely safe and, of course, environmentally friendly.
The industrial operation of new fuel cells has already been tested in Germany and in other developed countries at various levels. There are, for example, mini-CHP (Mini-BHKW) for home heating, “hydrogen fuel” forklifts, cars, even trains. Drones with electric motors on fuel cells have been flying for fifteen years. In spacecraft, hydrogen is one of two "standard" sources of electricity, along with solar radiation.
In a word, the technique of cold galvanic conversions of hydrogen into electricity is, one might say, familiar. The problem is different: in the production of hydrogen. To make a reserve means to keep a "bomb" with you. Domestic production of hydrogen in small portions for continuous replenishment of "fuel cells" - this is the main task of the large-scale experiment of the three federal states. The raw materials for production are methanol or dibenzyltoluene - chemical products that do not pose such a high fire and explosion hazard as pure hydrogen. Compact home installations that extract hydrogen from these peaceful products, and their operation, giving a small but unlimited flow of hydrogen to fuel cells, is the essence of the innovation being tested. What are the results? Let's see in 2030.