Sci/Tech Iron Powder Passes First Industrial Test as Renewable, Carbon Dioxide-Free Fuel

tom_mai78101

The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host
Staff member
Simple question: What if we could curb this whole fossil fuel-fed climate change nightmare and burn something else as an energy source instead? As a bonus, what if that something else is one of the most common elements on Earth?

Simple answer: Let’s burn iron.

While setting fire to an iron ingot is probably more trouble than it’s worth, fine iron powder mixed with air is highly combustible. When you burn this mixture, you’re oxidizing the iron. Whereas a carbon fuel oxidizes into CO2, an iron fuel oxidizes into Fe2O3, which is just rust. The nice thing about rust is that it’s a solid which can be captured post-combustion. And that’s the only byproduct of the entire business—in goes the iron powder, and out comes energy in the form of heat and rust powder. Iron has an energy density of about 11.3 kWh/L, which is better than gasoline. Although its specific energy is a relatively poor 1.4 kWh/kg, meaning that for a given amount of energy, iron powder will take up a little bit less space than gasoline but it’ll be almost ten times heavier.

It might not be suitable for powering your car, in other words. It probably won’t heat your house either. But it could be ideal for industry, which is where it’s being tested right now.

Researchers from TU Eindhoven have been developing iron powder as a practical fuel for the past several years, and last month they installed an iron powder heating system at a brewery in the Netherlands, which is turning all that stored up energy into beer. Since electricity can’t efficiently produce the kind of heat required for many industrial applications (brewing included), iron powder is a viable zero-carbon option, with only rust left over.

So what happens to all that rust? This is where things get clever, because the iron isn’t just a fuel that’s consumed— it’s energy storage that can be recharged. And to recharge it, you take all that Fe2O3, strip out the oxygen, and turn it back into Fe, ready to be burned again. It’s not easy to do this, but much of the energy and work that it takes to pry those Os away from the Fes get returned to you when you burn the Fe the next time. The idea is that you can use the same iron over and over again, discharging it and recharging it just like you would a battery.


Read more here. (Spectrum IEEE)
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    It is online though at night
  • The Helper The Helper:
    You would probably have to take a loan to get the Rice cert it is like 14l
  • The Helper The Helper:
    I was hoping you were going to say you wanted to be a cook and wished to open up a Food Truck there are so many opportunities for that here
  • The Helper The Helper:
    you can only open the bar if you sell food and a food truck in the parking lot counts
  • The Helper The Helper:
    here in houston
  • The Helper The Helper:
    most bars are struggling to build food prep and even some I know are doing there own food trucks
  • The Helper The Helper:
    but yeah man you should come to Houston there is so much more opportunity here than San Antonio. Just look at all the homeless people on the Riverwalk and downtown there you cannot even walk down the street without getting mobbed them
  • The Helper The Helper:
    check out this place apparently it is the best roommate site out there roommates.com lol
  • Varine Varine:
    The homeless people reminded me of New York
  • Varine Varine:
    I'll check it out, my lease expires in like a few months so I need to figure something out.
  • Varine Varine:
    I tried to open a food truck in Sandpoint a few years ago but the city said no, then like two years later they passed new laws to encourage it and gave them all fucking tax breaks and shit. And at that point I didn't have enough money to go buy one so I was way too late to the game once other cities realized they could just bring their existing truck there, or sell their brick and mortar.
  • Varine Varine:
    I do like food trucks though, they're way more fun than restaurants and usually I also get some of that tip money there.
  • Varine Varine:
    Restaurants are really hard if you don't have a back up source of income to fund them sometimes, in my experience most owners either got really really lucky, had existing money that allowed them to buy an already successful one, or they have family money to fall back on for loans. It's few and far between to see very inspiring success stories where the person actually got it through hard work and perseverance. I thought about opening one lots and I always just end up not thinking it'll work. I would much rather just find someone that has that money and go work for them
  • The Helper The Helper:
    i am not talking about opening a brick and mortar I am talking about food trucks though I have seen some brick and mortar mexican places open up during covid that are doing good because there food is awesome!
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Food trucks are killing out here because Bars cannot open unless they sell food and the governor ok'd the use of a food truck in front as serving food
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Just not enough food trucks
  • The Helper The Helper:
    a buddy of mine just opened up a food truck and he is killing it but he is a great cook and has awesome food right in the middle of the pandemic too food trucks are immune to pandemic because they are take out in Texas you will always be able to get take out or delivery
  • The Helper The Helper:
    He is in the different food facebook groups in houston and posts videos of him making his food
  • The Helper The Helper:
    he is killing it
  • jonas jonas:
    @Varine with the restaurants, there surely is a lot of luck and hard work but most restaurants fail because they suck. Flair isn't right, economics not well thought through, food is mediocre or sucks, location is bad, etc. If you're thinking about opening one, make sure you're looking at the stories of those that would be playing at your level, don't let your hopes be dragged down by all the subpar restaurants out there.
  • jonas jonas:
    I'm a bit worried about the future of data science, there's an influx of incompetent people hired by incompetent managers, that can't last. But I'm sure smart data scientists will always be useful and hireable. Same as smart security people.
  • jonas jonas:
    My sister in law worked in a vegan food truck, the owners were also making a killing, added several trucks and opened two restaurants over 5 years
  • Ghan Ghan:
    The CompTIA stuff is pretty much crap unfortunately. The places that ask for those low-level certs aren't likely places you want to work. For IT you really want a degree, but in the meantime you need to figure out some way to learn the skills. Cybersecurity is really hot right now so competition is fierce.
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    I realized I don't have anything much to say, other than "Good luck!". Compared to other places, I'm just very lucky we didn't have a lot of surges of cases coming in.

    Members online

    No members online now.

    Affiliates

    Hive Workshop
    Top