> One thing that will probably keep natural gas as the fuel of choice is that
> hydrogen will embrittle and ultimately make steel gas lines fail. Also,
> hydrogen burns with a colorless flame (it does emit UV, that's how you can
> detect a hydrogen fire) so there are safety concerns with piping the pure
> gas around the country.
> Chuck Kuecker
Butane seems to have potential as well.
Cosmo Oil Develops Butane-Fueled System for Homes. Cosmo Oil, in cooperation
with Toshiba Corp., has developed a butane-fueled onsite fuel cell system for
power generation in homes. The fuel cell, which has a generation capacity of
up to one kilowatt, is the first time in Japan that fuel cells using butane
have been developed.
"The vision is staggering: a society powered almost entirely by hydrogen, the
most abundant element in the universe . . . The overall goal of DOE's Hydrogen
Program is to replace two to four quads of conventional energy with hydrogen
by the year 2010, and replace 10 quads per year by 2030. A quad is the amount
of energy consumed by 1 million households." National Renewable Energy
Breakthroughs in fuel cell development are sparking international interest and
the race is on to perfect this ultimate power source. Canada has become a
world leader in fuel cell technology. "We've been working on making the fuel
cell marketable since 1983 and we finally see light down the road," says Dr.
Martin Hammerli, Acting Manager of Hydrogen and Electrochemistry at CANMET's
Energy Technology Centre (CETC).
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