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Still Waters

World's first Hydrogen-powered gin distilling

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Still Waters

A distillery in Orkney could make gin with the help of hydrogen power.

The Orkney Distillery 'HySpirits' project to explore the possibility of converting from using liquid petroleum gas has been awarded almost £150,000 of UK government funding.

The aim is to make providing heat during distillation more environmentally friendly.

The project is in conjunction with Napier University will the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec).

It is being described as a world first.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-49522752?

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RoofGardener

Hmm.. the article is very vague. It doesn't explain - for example - where the Hydrogen is supposed to come from  ?

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Desertrat56
7 minutes ago, RoofGardener said:

Hmm.. the article is very vague. It doesn't explain - for example - where the Hydrogen is supposed to come from  ?

You can get hydrogen gas from electrolysis, splitting the hydrogen atoms from water.  I assume since the project is specifically to convert from using liquid petroleum gas that they would not be using that method of extracting hydrogen.

I have read a few claims that once you start the electrolysis process you can keep it going on very little electricity but I have not researched it. 

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RoofGardener
Posted (edited)
On 8/30/2019 at 3:52 PM, Desertrat56 said:

You can get hydrogen gas from electrolysis, splitting the hydrogen atoms from water.  I assume since the project is specifically to convert from using liquid petroleum gas that they would not be using that method of extracting hydrogen.

I have read a few claims that once you start the electrolysis process you can keep it going on very little electricity but I have not researched it. 

Hmm... it takes a HUGE amount of electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Unless Orkney has acquired a nuclear power station, I somehow doubt that electrolysis would be a viable system ? And if they DID have a nuke station, it would be way more efficient just to use THAT to power the distillery ? 

I don't think that your latter comment - about keeping it going with very little electricity - is correct ? I mean... I have no doubt that people have CLAIMED to be able to do this. But then, people claim to have created perpetual motion systems, and discovered an honest politician, and discovered an American chocolate bar that doesn't taste of cardboard. These claims rarely stand up to scrutiny, however. :) 

Edited by RoofGardener
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Still Waters
On 8/30/2019 at 3:41 PM, RoofGardener said:

Hmm.. the article is very vague. It doesn't explain - for example - where the Hydrogen is supposed to come from  ?

 

Quote

Working with the European Marine Energy Centre’s plant — which uses wind and tidal technology to produce hydrogen — the HySpirits project would use this locally-produced “green” hydrogen to supply zero-carbon heat for the gin distillation process.

https://www.orcadian.co.uk/hydrogen-powered-distillery-to-produce-sustainable-gin/

 

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RoofGardener

Fine. Then why not just use the "wind and tidal technology" to produce electricity, and run the distillery directly from THAT, rather than using Hydrogen as an intermediary ? 

The article is VERY poorly written. Presumably it was by a journalist who learned his/her craft at  a "meeja studies" course at Doncaster Adult Education Centre, and hence doesn't understand ANY science. 

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DarkHunter
2 hours ago, RoofGardener said:

Fine. Then why not just use the "wind and tidal technology" to produce electricity, and run the distillery directly from THAT, rather than using Hydrogen as an intermediary ? 

The article is VERY poorly written. Presumably it was by a journalist who learned his/her craft at  a "meeja studies" course at Doncaster Adult Education Centre, and hence doesn't understand ANY science. 

The only reason to use hydrogen as an intermediary is that hydrogen can be stored relatively easily.  In general wind usually isnt blowing fast enough when its needed the most and tidal is completely dependent on tides which once again generally dont line up well with peak energy demands.  

While less efficient if wind and tidal are used to produce hydrogen you atleast then have a supply of fuel you can burn as needed instead of hoping that the wind keeps blowing fast enough for long enough, hoping that the tides match your energy demands, or dealing with periodic power drops/loss.

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RoofGardener
9 hours ago, DarkHunter said:

The only reason to use hydrogen as an intermediary is that hydrogen can be stored relatively easily.  In general wind usually isnt blowing fast enough when its needed the most and tidal is completely dependent on tides which once again generally dont line up well with peak energy demands.  

While less efficient if wind and tidal are used to produce hydrogen you atleast then have a supply of fuel you can burn as needed instead of hoping that the wind keeps blowing fast enough for long enough, hoping that the tides match your energy demands, or dealing with periodic power drops/loss.

Hmm.. interesting point. So instead of using batteries to 'smooth out' the irregularities in tide and wind power, they use Hydrogen instead ? Intriguing. 

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DarkHunter
40 minutes ago, RoofGardener said:

Hmm.. interesting point. So instead of using batteries to 'smooth out' the irregularities in tide and wind power, they use Hydrogen instead ? Intriguing. 

Hydrogen can be used to smooth out irregularities, wouldnt be common but it can be done.  Normally any electricity that can be produced when it isnt needed just isnt produced and if you need more energy at that moment then what you are producing you buy it off the grid.  Which is one of the bigger problems with green energy is that there is no good way to store it when it produces energy when you dont need it.

I dont know on what scale all of this is being done on but on large power scales, hundreds of kWh and up, batteries are generally a very bad idea as batteries are stupidly expensive to create and need replaced frequently, frequently on an industrial/economic sense.  There are other issues too like space, efficiency, and potentially safety depending on what battery is being used.

To give some perspective on all of this a Tesla Powerwall 2 cost about $6,700 and holds 13.5 kWh of electricity.  Given that I'm assuming this is being done at an industrial scale of production of gin, that there is more then 1 wind turbine that also isnt on a scale of what someone would put on their house, and the tidal power produces enough electricity to justify anywhere from tens of thousands to a few million dollars spent to create it, probably around a few hundred thousand dollars, then you would need at minimum a couple hundred if not over a few thousand Tesla powerwall 2s that would need replaced about every 10 years if you are lucky, since the amount of use they would be getting and how fast they would be going through charging cycles probably be closer to every 5 years if not worse.  The Tesla powerwalls are some of if not the best large energy storage batteries you can buy on the market and just using them would cost you hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars every few years.

While in comparison to store hydrogen for later use you just essentially need a large metal cylinder that wont probably need replaced for decades along with the equipment to pump the hydrogen into the cylinder.  Also need a boiler and the turbines to produce electricity but those are all generally one time cost with some maintenance instead of periodic cost with similar maintenance levels more or less.

Edited by DarkHunter

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