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The problem with renewables
by TheEtruscan at 16:34 February 25, 2014


Much has been said about how burning fossil fuels to create energy loads the atmosphere with more CO2 (carbon dioxide), contributing to global warming as this greenhouse gas builds up.

Renewables get a leg up as clean energy but their biggest problem is that the sun does not shine all the time neither does the wind blow constantly. Neither does it when needed or on demand.

What to do then? I am not an expert but it seems to me that the logical thing to do would be to store the green energy produced while the getting is good.

Where to store it then becomes the next question.

Again I am not an expert but why not use the energy to break down water into oxygen and hydrogen? Oxygen could be promptly released into the air and hydrogen stored in vast tanks ready to be used up.

Burning hydrogen would be a clean source of energy: all you get is water back.

Another benefit of having vast expanses of solar arrays to produce hydrogen would be the cooling down of the areas where these installations are thereby counteracting the damage done by the warming trend.

These installations could be deployed for instance on platforms in the oceans with the storage tanks safely under water.

Besides for this purpose they should be deployed preferably on waste lands like Antarctica (6 months of continuous sun...), the Sahara Desert, the Gobi Desert, Death Valley, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. Take your pick there is no shortage of unusable lands (and all these arid lands could use the byproduct water though).

My favorite place? The vast lava flow fields on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Where to get the water to consume in the splitting of the water molecule? By desalination if necessary. The energy to run the required processes (pumping the water in, desalization and electrolysis) would be available and all would be functioning when the renewable source of energy (sun, wind, tides) is at hand.