I\’m a great believer in hydrogen as the transport fuel of the future. But I still don\’t believe this number:
Biomass – trees, plants and other waste vegetable matter – is an abundant and rapidly renewable source of starch and sugars, that is nowadays used to produce biofuels. Exploiting biomass to produce sugar, and turning that sugar into hydrogen, could lead a change in global energy production.
In 2011, the US consumed 134bn gallons (507bn litres) of gasoline, but \”with our technology, just 700m pounds [317,500 tonnes] of biomass would be enough to replace the whole yearly [gasoline] production,\” says Zhang. The last official assessments estimate the availability of crop residues for biomass in the US to be about 157m tonnes per year.
No, I\’ve not examined it. But there seem to be too few zeros on that biomass number.
507 billion litres is, close enough, 507 million tonnes of gasoline. I\’m really very unconvinced that you can replace 507 million tonnes of gasoline with the hydrogen produced from 317,500 tonnes of biomass. Perfectly willing to be proven wrong but it really just doesn\’t sound in the slightest bit likely to me.
Anyone know enough chemistry to be able to grind through the possibilities?
Assume that biomass (wheat straw, say) is equal to grain production from a field. Wheat yields are four tonne a hectare these days? Thus we would get 317,500 tonnes of biomass from 80,000 hectares. 800km2.
Land area of US is 9 million km2. We can grow the fuel to replace gasoline on 0.008% of the US?
I\’m afraid I just don\’t believe it.