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TimberWolf
26th December 2011, 23:31
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8975382/Apple-plots-smartphones-powered-by-hydrogen.html

Not sure what is being patented exactly, but I hope it works out. I imagine people have been trying and failing to get them working economically for hundreds of years.


Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar...

Cliphead
26th December 2011, 23:32
Both Gemini and Apollo spacecraft obtained electrical power from hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells.

AtW
26th December 2011, 23:35
Might as well get a few patents to my name next year then :eyes

TimberWolf
26th December 2011, 23:38
Both Gemini and Apollo spacecraft obtained electrical power from hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells.

True, but rockets must rank as one of the most uneconomic forms of transport ever invented - almost all the energy ends up in the exhaust.

Cliphead
26th December 2011, 23:39
True, but rockets must rank as one of the most uneconomic forms of transport ever invented - almost all the energy ends up in the exhaust.

Fuel cells weren't used for propulsion.

TimberWolf
26th December 2011, 23:40
Might as well get a few patents to my name next year then :eyes

Methane powered back links?

TimberWolf
26th December 2011, 23:41
Fuel cells weren't used for propulsion.

I'm saying that economic efficiency wasn't a primary consideration for NASA's choice of power generation. Fuels cells themselves are old hat, at least 150 years.

MarillionFan
26th December 2011, 23:44
All about mOney and will.

If you have the money. The rest will follow.

Cliphead
26th December 2011, 23:44
I'm saying that economic efficiency wasn't a primary consideration for NASA's choice of power generation. Fuels cells themselves are old hat, at least 150 years.

But Apple can patent hydrogen fuel cells?

AtW
26th December 2011, 23:46
True, but rockets must rank as one of the most uneconomic forms of transport ever invented - almost all the energy ends up in the exhaust.

You've got better more economical way to delivery high payloads to orbit?

TimberWolf
26th December 2011, 23:46
But Apple can patent hydrogen fuel cells?

Not sure what they've patented. 'Just' joining the dots I expect...

(see NickFitz's sig)

Cliphead
26th December 2011, 23:50
Not sure what they've patented. 'Just' joining the dots I expect...

(see NickFitz's sig)

No tech involved I suspect just lawyers.

TimberWolf
26th December 2011, 23:53
You've got better more economical way to delivery high payloads to orbit?

A monster cannon (not good for humans, or much else currently), rail guns, space elevator, air breathing rockets, very small light rockets, etc. All hard to do.

AtW
26th December 2011, 23:59
A monster cannon (not good for humans, or much else currently), rail guns, space elevator, air breathing rockets, very small light rockets, etc. All hard to do.

How are those methods economical if nobody ever proven them to work consistently enough for a big insurance company to insure the launch?

At the moment rockets are the most economical ways of launching stuff into space.

NickFitz
27th December 2011, 00:13
But Apple can patent hydrogen fuel cells?

No, no more than one could patent nuts, bolts, or internal combustion engines. But one can patent something ingenious that relies on such components, and a lazy tech "journalist" will see an easy way to generate pageviews and thereby earn his monthly bonus by writing it up in such a way that it sounds as if you're trying to patent them :eyes

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 00:14
How are those methods economical if nobody ever proven them to work consistently enough for a big insurance company to insure the launch?

At the moment rockets are the most economical ways of launching stuff into space.

Yes, but rockets are nevertheless exquisitely energy inefficient. Something like 0.1% of the rocket fuels ends up as mechanical energy of a satellite in orbit (which is what keeps it up), or something like that IIRC.

Mind you, maximising energy inefficiency turns out to be the most efficient means of zipping about the galaxy at speed, as you have to trade losing mass or energy to accelerate things, because those terms appear in the momentum and energy equations of a rocket or anything that is accelerated. And it turns out that the most efficient propulsion is one that shoots out pure energy, wasting most of it in the 'exhaust', because you'd otherwise quickly run out of mass unless you could scoop some up on the way.

AtW
27th December 2011, 00:20
Yes, but rockets are nevertheless exquisitely energy inefficient.

Efficiency is a relative term.

Do you have more efficient way of getting stuff to orbit without using rockets?

Pigeons also very energy inefficient - they had to eat a lot to fly every day, yet they are tuliping on your car from the above.

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 00:29
Efficiency is a relative term.

Do you have more efficient way of getting stuff to orbit without using rockets?

Pigeons also very energy inefficient - they had to eat a lot to fly every day, yet they are tuliping on your car from the above.

People are working on it, e.g.

Reaction Engines Limited :: Press Release 19 Feb 2009 (http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/pr_19_feb_09.html)
Project Babylon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Babylon)
Railgun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun)
Space elevator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator)
Lightcraft: A Laser Push to Orbit (http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=9413)

Chemical rockets (what we are talking about) are out of the question for serious space travel.

AtW
27th December 2011, 00:32
People are working on it, e.g.

Reaction Engines Limited :: Press Release 19 Feb 2009 (http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/pr_19_feb_09.html)
Project Babylon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Babylon)
Railgun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun)
Space elevator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator)
Lightcraft: A Laser Push to Orbit (http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=9413)

Chemical rockets (what we are talking about) are out of the question for serious space travel.

As I said none of those are in production - there is NO other more economical way to launch stuff (commercial weights) into orbit but rockets.

Newer rockets made by SpaceX and others should cut down costs nicely as well.

bless 'em all
27th December 2011, 00:35
As I said none of those are in production - there is NO other more economical way to launch stuff (commercial weights) into orbit but rockets.

Newer rockets made by SpaceX and others should cut down costs nicely as well.

WAtW said. Don't confuse might for IS.

Mwah!

AtW
27th December 2011, 00:40
WAtW said. Don't confuse might for IS.

Mwah!

There is Might and there is Magic.

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 00:47
As I said none of those are in production - there is NO other more economical way to launch stuff (commercial weights) into orbit but rockets.

Newer rockets made by SpaceX and others should cut down costs nicely as well.

Rockets will always be inefficient because most of the energy goes into lifting the fuel itself.

Funnily enough, the very thing we are talking about, hydrogen, gets in to orbit without any help from us at all.

AtW
27th December 2011, 00:54
Rockets will always be inefficient because most of the energy goes into lifting the fuel itself.

Look, it's like this - rockets it the CHEAPEST available means of putting stuff to orbit right now.

Efficiency talk is pointless unless you've got better way of doing it.

At the moment rockets fired up by NASA cost so much due to Govt higher costs: pensions, extortion from sole suppliers etc, but private smaller companies will cut down price massively.

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 01:11
Look, it's like this - rockets it the CHEAPEST available means of putting stuff to orbit right now.

Efficiency talk is pointless unless you've got better way of doing it.

At the moment rockets fired up by NASA cost so much due to Govt higher costs: pensions, extortion from sole suppliers etc, but private smaller companies will cut down price massively.

"CHEAPEST available means of putting stuff to orbit right now" is a strawman you posited only to demolish yourself. At least twice now :laugh I never said it wasn't.

I was speaking in physical terms. A tiny fraction of the energy in those huge rockets ends up in an orbiting satellite and sacking people and cutting pensions payment won't change that. Rockets will be inefficient even with smaller companies.

AtW
27th December 2011, 01:26
I was speaking in physical terms.

When trying to make something big happen physics is nothing, it's all about economics - the cost of launching newer rockets from private companies probably 10 times cheaper than the kind of cost everybody got used to in the last 10 years.

As I said - there is no currently any other proven method of launching commercial grade heavy stuff up in orbit other than rockets.

If you have come up with a better way then stop posting tulip on CUK and get it working! :mad

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 01:38
When trying to make something big happen physics is nothing, it's all about economics - the cost of launching newer rockets from private companies probably 10 times cheaper than the kind of cost everybody got used to in the last 10 years.

As I said - there is no currently any other proven method of launching commercial grade heavy stuff up in orbit other than rockets.

If you have come up with a better way then stop posting tulip on CUK and get it working! :mad

You have to understand the physics though, to make that first step, and the the next steps. Most big companies and ideas were founded by geeks you might be glad to hear.

Anyway the last guy who was getting somewhere ended up deaded: Gerald Bull - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Bull#Assassination)

It was to be capable of placing a 2,000-kilogram projectile into orbit

Not sure how realistic that claim is, bit dubious myself, it would be mighty impressive to get something into orbit ballistically without destroying it and the gun in the process.

But people are working on it. Also sometimes there are large capital costs that deter the short-sighted, see the British Space Programme (RIP).

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 02:06
Looking at the Wiki, getting to Low Earth Orbit isn't as energy inefficient as I thought:


Given the energy input of 20 TJ, the Space Shuttle is about 16% energy efficient at launching the orbiter and payload just 4% efficiency if the payload alone is considered.[citation needed]
Fuel efficiency in transportation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency_in_transportation#Rockets)

Efficiency would be much worse if you needed to land and take off some place though, say to go to the Moon, so perhaps that's where I recollected my numbers ('a fraction of a percent efficient').

AtW
27th December 2011, 02:12
You have to understand the physics though

I understand the physics.

What you don't understand is economics - there is no other feasible way to get stuff into orbit, end of story.

You have new way to do that cheaply with your physics? Great - a lot of companies would love to cut down costs of launching satellites up there, but word of worning - none of then give a flying monkey about physics.

NickFitz
27th December 2011, 02:35
Has "obligatory xkcd" become one of those "Godwin's Law" things yet?


http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/space_launch_system.png (http://xkcd.com/984/)

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 02:35
I understand the physics.

What you don't understand is economics - there is no other feasible way to get stuff into orbit, end of story.

You have new way to do that cheaply with your physics? Great - a lot of companies would love to cut down costs of launching satellites up there, but word of worning - none of then give a flying monkey about physics.

Do you know how much energy it takes for you to walk up the stairs (or take the lift) to get to your executive flat, versus the energy that would be needed if you used a rocket? You say you understand physics so I will enjoy seeing the answer in the morning :laugh

I said rockets were inefficient, I didn't say that there is currently any other way of getting to orbit. You like totally invented that argument.

Without the physics there is no economics, unless you want rapidly emptying pockets. Want to invest in a perpetual motion machine?

Work is in progress on more efficient methods of getting things in to orbit, for example by using air breathing engines. And once in space further proposals still, solar sails, nuclear powered engines, etc.

NotAllThere
27th December 2011, 07:41
Anti-matter factories is what we need.

Doggy Styles
27th December 2011, 08:29
Rockets will always be inefficient because most of the energy goes into lifting the fuel itself. Given the problem, how are you measuring efficiency?

TimberWolf
27th December 2011, 10:16
Given the problem, how are you measuring efficiency?

Maximum efficiency is when the total mechanical energy equals the energy used.

Because rockets are so grossly inefficient, rocket travel will always be expensive economically too.