Hydrogen has many things going for it as a Fuel. But it has more uses than just a Fuel. It is has a very low density, which makes bouyant in either water or air. We should be able to generate electricity from this.

So here is the basic idea. We electrolyse water, get Hydrogen out. We stick this into a balloon, and then generate electricity as it rises.

There is a big problem with this. In general, the Electrolysis takes up a lot of Energy, which is what we are trying to produce. It certainly takes up a lot more than can be produced from bouyancy.

Diagram of a HydrogenMiner
Diagram of a HydrogenMiner

To get this to work, therefore, I think we need to do this as deep as possible. Given that an OilRig can have feet 50 metres deep at least, we should be able to operate at this depth. We can sink a BouyancyWaterTurbine, then float it to the surface again. Any electricity we generate, we can turn into more Hydrogen on the way up.

When we get to the surface, we still have a lot of Hydrogen. We could just store this. Or we could use it to lift a AirTurbine up, with a small Electrolysis plant, generating more Hydrogen as we go. Eventually, we get to some maximum suitable height, where we release the Hydrogen as balloon to the HydrogenBalloonNetwork, retaining enough to ensure that the AirTurbine drops gently. This doesn't need to be too much, because we can generate more as the AirTurbine should work on the way down as well as on the way up. We can use this Hydrogen to charge up the WaterTurbine which we need to sink again. Obviously, we can use this sinking to generate yet more.

There are problems with this system. Working at depth is always hard, particular as Hydrogen becomes infinately soluble under pressure; it will need to be kept separate from the water. And we need to put a lot on Energy in to get any out.

Incidentally, this is not as it might appear an PerpetualMotionMachine. Hydrogen starts off low and ends up high. As far as I can see, the energy here comes from the sun. Think of it in comparision to the WaterCycle. Water starts of at sea level, is transformed (with the addition of Energy) into another form which is less dense. When it rains, we can then extract Energy from the water on the way down. The difference here is that we are extracting Energy on the way up. I think, although I am not sure, that if there was no Sun, eventually the atmosphere would end up a big density gradient and the system would cease to work. The sun stirs stuff up.

Updated: 06-05-08
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