Re: Gadget:Electrolysis Unit

Michael S. Lorrey (
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 23:41:00 -0400 wrote:
> >
> Is it possible to build a small, inexpensive solar powered electrolysis unit
> tht would take water (say...from his holding tank) split the water into H2
> and O....and store the H2 for use as a cooking gas in his stove, to run his
> refrigerator...and as fuel for his heater.
> Could such a unit be built inexpensively enough such that it would make sense
> to purchase it as opposed to the propane which he currently uses...(a little
> over a dollar a gallon....dual seven gallon tanks being good for not quiet a
> month....)
> if THAT is possible...what about a Hydrogen fueled..fuel cell
> powered semi?

The problem is that you would need to have your trailer panelled with solar cells to be of any use at all. You'll generate less than .2 kW per square meter of trailer roof and/or side surface, if you are lucky, even with the best commercial panels. A trailer is what? 35 or 40 feet long? 8 feet wide? 10 feet high side walls? Do you use your own trailer or do you haul other people's trailers?

That gives you about 30 square meters on the roof and 40 on each side. You'll never generate more than 7 or 8 kW with roof and sides panelled in solar panels in constant output between 9 am and 4 pm on sunny days. Thats barely enough power to run a geo metro electric car, you'd probably expend that much energy hauling the weight of the solar panels around. Converting to hydrogen/oxygen fuel and back in an IC engine will reduce your final output to less than 3 kW at best. I would say it would be better to depend on service station generated hydrogen if you want to go that route, or go with an electric semi.

The fuel cell busses in LA work because they all depend on a handful of hydrogen fuel stations in the LA area. You couldn't do that on a nationwide trucking basis unless you got a chain of truckstop franchises to make the investment in hydrogen facilities. Fat chance.

Mike Lorrey