Re: Methane and other winds (was Re: alternatives to big oil andifthey can ...

From: Stirling Westrup (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 02:16:14 MST

Spike Jones wrote:

> > Stirling Westrup wrote: What
> > is the highest density chemical energy storage that is currently known?
> This is a much more complicated question than it looks.

Yeah. Actually I knew that.
> > answer different if we look at joules per mililiter instead of per gram?
> Of course. If volume doesnt matter, hydrogen and flourine
> pack a tremendous bang per gram. Solid rocket fuels are
> way down on specific impulse per unit weight, but they
> exceed liquid rocket impulse as a function of volume. Furthermore
> the answer depends on how you want to actually *use* the energy.
> For instance, a hand grenade has less chemical energy than
> a twinky. If you are interested in converting energy via
> internal combustion, good old octane is quite respectable.
> As far as energy released, a rusting piece of iron does well.
> If you are imagining chemical storage for nanoconstruction,
> mitochondria have found a good energy transfer medium,
> the breakdown of simple sugars.
> Please sharpen the question Stirling.

Okay, I am working on a chemical model for futuristic role-playing purposes.
What I am trying to find out (in my naive way) is what is the maximum amount of
energy you can get from a chemical reaction. Any reaction. It doesn't matter if
it takes a billion years to react, or if the energy is produced by expanding
gasses (such as gunpowder) or by heat from simple combustion (as in octane).
The idea is to get an upper bound on the theoretically achievable, and to then
attempt to express different classes of chemical reaction as percentages of the
achievable. So, if the most energetic reaction produces some X j/g then we
might say that the theoretical maximal gunpower produces kX j/g where k is a
characteristic of that mode of chemical reaction. By the same token, we end up
with factors k1, k2, k3 and so on for theoretical most caloric food, best
rocket propelant, and electricity-producing reaction. I would then attempt to
rate where we stood by doing some research in various newsgroups (including
this one, naturally) to get candidates for our best current tech in each
category. If I can get a coherent enough picture, I can build a tech-level
model for chemical technology.

 Stirling Westrup  |  Use of the Internet by this poster       |  is not to be construed as a tacit
                   |  endorsement of Western Technological
                   |  Civilization or its appurtenances.

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