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Tue Oct 21, 2014, 09:34 PM

Home made hydrogen fuel cells for your house may be the answer to SA’s energy crisis

Adam Oxford htxt.co.za


Fuel cell manufacturer Ballard is working closely with Anglo American and has one village in South Africa running off-grid already

Funny thing about Africa: 70% of its inhabitants don’t have access to electricity, but it doesn’t make those of us who suffer at the hands of Eskom any more grateful for our lot. Who hasn’t dreamed of ditching unreliable, expensive grid power for something more cost effective and self sufficient?

While the recent focus on solving the energy crisis in South Africa has been on nuclear reactors sourced from Russia and France, one man thinks the solution is much closer to home. Your home in fact. In around 18 months or so he hopes to have commercialised a domestic generator based on solar power, hydrogen storage and fuel cells that will cost somewhere in the region of R80 000 – which means it would pay for itself in around seven or eight years at current electricity prices (less if you factor in annual increases from Eskom).

And this isn’t some mad, hair brained scheme from the fringes, either: it’s the current focus of Andy Brauer, chief technology officer (CTO) for Business Connexion (BCX). About five years ago, he explains, he approached the company’s board with an idea for off-grid power generation. And then proceeded to explain why it should be core to – what is, to outsiders at least – an IT business...

...It’s a peer-to-peer model which, Brauer says, mimics the way the rest of the economy is developing. Small, interlinked networks are replacing top down structures in everything from organising protests to industrial supply chains to corporate org charts.“Eighty percent of the problems have been solved,” he says, citing research into more efficient solar technologies and nano-sized fuel cells. “To use an analogy, when the Americans wanted to write in space they spent millions of dollars developing a special pen which works in zero gravity. The Russians said ‘just use a pencil’. My philosophy is to look for the pencil in the problem.”..
MORE: http://www.htxt.co.za/2014/10/20/forget-foreign-nukes-home-made-hydrogen-may-be-the-answer-to-sas-energy-crisis/


Related: Inside the Solar Hydrogen House- Scientific American
A New Jersey resident generates and stores all the power he needs with solar panels and hydrogen
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hydrogen-house/



If you're interested in self sufficient houses and clean energy production it's worth the 2 hours to watch the video.

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Reply Home made hydrogen fuel cells for your house may be the answer to SA’s energy crisis (Original post)
nationalize the fed Oct 2014 OP
Fred Sanders Oct 2014 #1
bananas Oct 2014 #5
Fred Sanders Oct 2014 #6
NYC_SKP Oct 2014 #2
mn9driver Oct 2014 #3
nationalize the fed Oct 2014 #4

Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 09:43 PM

1. Millions for a zero gravity pen...Russians used pencils...explains a lot.

“To use an analogy, when the Americans wanted to write in space they spent millions of dollars developing a special pen which works in zero gravity. The Russians said ‘just use a pencil’. My philosophy is to look for the pencil in the problem."

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Response to Fred Sanders (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 10:19 PM

5. It's bullshit.

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

Claim: NASA spent millions of dollars developing an "astronaut pen" that would work in outer space, while the Soviets solved the same problem much more quickly and easily by simply using pencils.

FALSE

<snip>

Both U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts initially used pencils on space flights, but those writing instruments were not ideal: pencil tips can flake and break off, and having such objects floating around space capsules in near-zero gravity posed a potential harm to astronauts and equipment. (As well, after the fatal Apollo 1 fire in 1967, NASA was anxious to avoid having astronauts carry flammable objects such as pencils onboard with them.)

When the solution of providing astronauts with a ballpoint pen that would work under weightless conditions and extreme temperatures came about, though, it wasn't because NASA had thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars (inflated to $12 billion in the latest iterations of this tale) in research and development money at the problem. The "space pen" that has since become famous through its use by astronauts was developed independently by Paul C. Fisher of the Fisher Pen Co., who spent his own money on the project and, once he perfected his AG-7 "Anti-Gravity" Space Pen, offered it to NASA. After that agency tested and approved the pen's suitability for use in space flights, they purchased a number of the instruments from Fisher for a modest price.

<snip>

In December 1967 he sold 400 Fisher Space Pens to NASA for $2.95 each.

Lead pencils were used on all Mercury and Gemini space flights and all Russian space flights prior to 1968. Fisher Space Pens are more dependable than lead pencils and cannot create the hazard of a broken piece of lead floating through the gravity-less atmosphere.

<snip>

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Response to bananas (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 10:23 PM

6. Duelling facts, but the point is not lost.....do things on the cheap when possible, just not the

American way when taxpayer dollars are the currency.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 09:52 PM

2. Ballard and others will get filthy rich. This is way more tech than is necessary.

 

The smart move is to just go solar with a net meter, use the local utility as your battery.

These demonstration projects are fascinating, but they don't mean we all need to go to that future.

It's just not efficient or necessary.

I'm always glad that a pioneer does this kind of thing, thanks for posting.

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Response to nationalize the fed (Original post)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 10:10 PM

3. The Space Pen thing is a great analogy. Except it's not true.

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Response to mn9driver (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 10:17 PM

4. Thanks for that

I'll send that to Brauer and see if I get a reply.

His point is valid though, sometimes the answer is simple.

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