Startup believes AI-guided hydrofoil flotilla is key to green hydrogen

Ok folks, the score so far is
WIND: 1000
Professor Crackpot: 0
But nothing stops the good professor! He’s at it again:

just in case you were bored…

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There’s still a lot of “ifs” and unproven cutting-edge concepts in the Drift ecosystem, but the company announced its first successful sea trial last week. Its prototype yacht was able to produce 6 liters of green hydrogen in a two-hour test off the coast of Brightlingsea, exceeding company expectations.

Excellent stuff. Though a little farfetched, I dont see immediately why this could not work.

I could say one thing though; a turbine and foil in saltwater will collect growth over time. I think this is a really difficult one to solve. Another is accumulation of sea-creatures in the turbine. I had rather seen an onboard windmill than a subsea turbine for these two reasons.

Next thing obviously foil sailboats are not really autonomous yet. This one is difficult to solve though I think not impossible. Question is, can this group afford that R&D?

Finally maybe also add that the whole hydrogen scheme may add to global warming. A broken sailboat with a leak could probable generate massive leaks unnoticed.

I’m bored

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Oh sure, like kites and cars, the whole self-driving thing seems to be perpetually in tomorrow-land. Gosh it seems obvious that “All they gotta do is” get their boat working right, and they can be not only selling hydrogen on the world market, but delivering it to any location! Once delivered, it can be utilized in fuel-cell vehicles that don’t mind paying 4x as much for their energy. It will be worth it since, with a combination of hydrogen fuel and a vegan, gluten-free diet, they can be at the top of the heap in virtue-signalling. This will be great as soon as they get their boat working right, and it turns out to be an affordable energy solution. But what are the chances of that? Oh yeah - very close to zero… :slight_smile:

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Hi Doug,
I can guess what you think is wrong with this concept: they should replace the sail with a kite, the whole becoming an AWES. Isn’t that right?

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Hard to imagine how they could have missed that one! :slight_smile:


Hey, that was my idea!!

Actually I was thinking along the same lines, but rather just using a normal hull with a keel, and then recharging other ships in transit. But I admit it probably fits the Professor Crackpot stamp of approval.

I was thinking this “company” is already way behind the curve, since it seems we’ve discussed this basic idea here more than once.
Seems like a possible great idea, until we realize we’ll get 95% of energy beck from batteries, and maybe 25% back from hydrogen, plus the hydrogen requires a separate infrastructure to compress or cool the hydrogen, another to contain it, another to transport it, and another to get the energy back. A battery converts the energy to storage, contains the stored energy, then converts it back to electricity, all many times more efficiently, and without much fanfare. Hydrogen: if it made any sense, Elon Musk would not be making fun of it.

Let’s just say each step is 60% efficient:

  • Electrolysis is 60% efficient
  • Compression or liquefaction is 60% efficient (requires 40% of the chemical energy content)
  • Transport is 60% efficient (requires 40% of the chemical energy content)(?)
  • fuel cell to get the energy back is 60% efficient

0.6 x 0.6 x 0.6 x 0.6 = 0.1296
So you get 1/8 (one eighth) of your energy back.

OK if we forget about transport, and assume we can use it onsite or transport it for free (to gas stations? To Europe on Liquefied storage? Sure - for free.
0.6 x 0.6 x 0.6 = 0.216 So you get 1/5 (one fifth) of your energy back

Either way, how can anyone in their right mind be advo9cating “a hydrogen economy” or keep talking about hydrogen for energy storage, hydrogen for powering transportation? What the hell are people even talking about???

‘The most dumb thing’: Elon Musk dismisses hydrogen as tool for energy storage

“I really can’t emphasize this enough,” he continued. “It’s important to understand that if you want a means of energy storage, hydrogen is a bad choice.”

Musk has also maintained a very public beef with hydrogen cell-powered truck manufacturer Nikola Motors, tweeting back in 2020 that “fuel cells = fool sells.”

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk calls hydrogen “the most dumb thing I could possibly imagine for energy storage.”
  • He made his comments during a wide-ranging interview at the Financial Times Future of the Car summit.

Even if you store the hydrogen at ambient pressure, say in a cave or salt mine, and your projected math is just making hydrogen and then using it to generate electricity, it still returns 0.6 x 0.6 = 0.36 = ~1/3 (one third) of the energy input.

If you charged your phone to 100% , then walked out the door and found your phone was only12% charged, or 20% charged, or 36% charged, would you be happy with that?
Or would you start looking for a new phone?

The problem we really have with this whole energy question is people are so dumb.
Like, why has Toyota put so much effort and capital into hydrogen cars?
Why did Arnold Schwarzenegger get behind “The Hydrogen Highway” in “Calee-foonia”?
I mean, we assume politicians are not exactly rocket scientists, but they are supposedly advised by scientists. And we assume engineers at Toyota know what they are doing - Toyota vehicles are affordable and reliable, with good performance, not an easy task.

OK I assume maybe Arnold is not exactly a techie, but Toyota??? Nobody at Toyota can do fractions? OMG! :slight_smile:

I’d say the problem is 50% how dumb people are (Like Ahhhhnold - “I’ll be back”), and 50% global warming derangement syndrome (makes people so crazy they lose track of what is real and what is fantasy) (Like Profethor Crackpot!).

Actually state of the art is 74% efficiency, and the goal of NEL is 91%. Edit: state of the art is 64% so @dougselsam was spot on here, sorry

Important to use realistic numbers if you want the conclusion to be accurate.

Hi Tallak: The article you mention shows an existing efficiency of around 64%, with a hoped-for improvement using their innovation. These numbers are best-case research numbers, unlikely to be realized in actual industrial applications, since there are always many little factors that add up to reduced efficiency.
However, let’s recognize, this was just a ballpark, back-of-the-envelope calculation. Of course not all these percentages will be exactly 60%, but the exercise serves well to illustrate the general point of what a poor means of energy storage hydrogen really is.
It’s reminiscent of vertical-axis wind turbines, and global warming itself, where a complicated scenario is improperly analyzed by casual observers without the time or energy to look into all the nitty-gritty details. It is called “single-factor analysis”. For vertical-axis wind turbines, the single factor is “no need to aim - responsive to wind from all directions - more suitable for urban locations”. However what is the first thing Professor Crackpot does with his wind turbine that doesn’t need to aim? Realizing the performance sucks, he immediately “improves” it, fine-tuning the blade pitch in real time, by making it have to aim into the wind. He is quickly lost, because his bad design retains most bad qualities of a VA turbine, throws away the one supposedly-good quality, and is still worse than a regular wind turbine. “All he needed to know” was his turbine didn’t need to aim, but where did that take him? Nowhere. Next, you have the climate alarmists, who may be correct, yet their thinking revolves around “single-factor analysis” - “CO2 causes a greenhouse effect”. Yet as time goes on, temps have diverged greatly from ALL of “the models”, and meanwhile, other factors enter the equation. Suddenly, now methane is “25 times as bad as CO2”! I just read today that just the methane from trash dumps in Asia alone cause 25% of global warming, and that unless we conquer methane, we have no hope of stopping runaway warming. Same with CFC’s - forget the ozone layer, now they cause global warming too. Not only that but there are so many huge natural sources of methane, it would seem unlikely to stop them all. So much for the single factor that we’ve been told for decades is “all we gotta do”.
In the case of hydrogen, the “single-factor-analysis” goes something like this: School kids are taught in science class in maybe 3rd grade (8 years old) about H2O, being composed of hydrogen and oxygen, and electrolysis can produce hydrogen by splitting water. So that’s their “single factor”. They’re now instant armchair geniuses who “know” that “all-ya-gotta-do-is” split water and your troubles are over! Only thing is, if you went down that road, your troubles would be just beginning, because the entire scenario is SO inefficient that it becomes a very unlikely contender. Kids who mastered their 3rd grade science have all the answers. It’s just that people who haven’t really grasped junior-high-school math don’t know about how inefficient H2 is as a means of energy storage. They just know about sexy-sounding buzzwords, money, votes, and what is in style this week - the flavor of the month. So sure, you could nitpick the figures I presented for a few percentage points in either direction, but if the figures are anywhere near reality, they do not look good for any supposed “hydrogen economy” scenario.

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