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#1 2016-10-15 07:58:44

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Plot0012 Insitu pipeline manufacturing and connectivity of plots

I think that the distribution of power, and water can be accomplished best by pipelines carrying vaporized materials, likely H2 and O2, possibly Methane.

Obtaining and building electric grids on Mars, would be much harder in my opinion than using pipes and fuel cells. 

The potential piping could be made of Basalt, Plastic, and Steel for a starting proposal.

Here is a Home Fuel Cell method that helps to show the idea:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_fuel_cell

It is possible that piping the Oxygen will be a problem.  Perhaps basalt pipes for that, perhaps local production from CO2, using solar power.  That is an alternative to consider.

However, if you piped hydrogen from a major water source, you could have power from fuel cells, water at that location from the fuel cells, and you could also grow food with chemosynthesis.

It does then perhaps conserve conductive materials such as copper and aluminum, which may be rather important.

Going to the extreme with the notion, you could pipe Hydrogen to the Southern Ice cap, and inject it to promote a chemosynthetic biology in a small body of water.  That should then heat the body of water and allow it to expand.  Liquid water could be conveyed by special canals by gravity feed to lower latitudes, to provide feedstock for the process, to send Hydrogen from the water to the south polar ice cap.  Of course water split at the low latitudes would provide Oxygen for consumption there.

Anyway the South polar ice cap is said to be partially dry ice, and I think this would be a great way to force that CO2 out.

I do believe that also, the output of the chemosynthetic biosystem under the ice would include Methane, a greenhouse gas.

Anyway have mentioned these things before, and as always, I expect to hear crickets about this.  It seems to be taboo to talk about it for some reason here.  Perhaps it is considered to be Heresy.  Ha Ha!

What a strange place.  A place of science which behaves like a religion.  But it is an interesting experience.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-15 08:15:17)


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#2 2016-10-15 18:32:54

JoshNH4H
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Void-

What is it about Mars that you believe makes this kind of power system cost-effective there even though it's not here?

To put it another way, why do you think we use wires to transfer power on Earth and why do you believe that these reasons are not relevant to Mars?


-Josh

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#3 2016-10-15 20:40:13

louis
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

We have to differentiate the colony's stage of development.

For certainly the first few decades I think energy generation and distribution will simply not be a problem in any respect.  The per capita energy generation on Mars will be many multiples of even US levels.  Energy distribution issues hardly arise but to the extent they do, I think distribution by charged battery is probably the most effective way of doing that where needed. But in most cases, the colonists will have small PV Panel systems to ensure independent generation if they are away from main bases.  Methane production will also allow storage.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#4 2016-10-15 20:53:16

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2 … 191102.htm

Summary:
Researchers have engineered a strain of electricity-producing bacteria that can grow using hydrogen gas as its sole electron donor and carbon dioxide as its sole source of carbon.

Well, I have stepped into it now.  Some big crickets!  They tend to be cannibals, oops!

So, I apparently need giant cricket insurance.  And I will have to be slippery and weaselly.  You have me off balance, but I am going to push the issue anyway.


From my first post I said this:

It does then perhaps conserve conductive materials such as copper and aluminum, which may be rather important.

So, sir's there are quite a lot of variables, which could swing which way to do things.

I said this as well:

I think that the distribution of power, and water can be accomplished best by pipelines carrying vaporized materials, likely H2 and O2, possibly Methane.

So, dropping the O2 and Methane for now, and just proposing to transport H2, and H20, a method of life support involved is worth considering.

If you for instance can pipe H2 to a remote location, such as a copper mine smile
You can get electricity, water, and organic matter out of that process, if you react H2 with CO2.  (Apparently).

Conversations with kbd512 have encouraged me to believe that even the dry soils of Mars contain redeemable amounts of water.  However, some are better than others.  Lets say a good water content is the contributor of Hydrogen to the pipes, and the pipes bring Hydrogen to a dry location which happens to have an item of economic interest you want to exploit (Oh, I am sorry for exploiting copper).

Expanding that, I consider the polar reservoirs of ice to be very valuable, and all that is likely to be needed to get value out of them is a stream of H2 to the poles, in pipelines.  Food, melt, electricity.

And from the melt, rivers/canals to bring water towards the equator.  That water to be split, the Oxygen generated used for breathing, or dumped to atmosphere, the Hydrogen piped to the polar caps.

What do you get?  Biospheres, similar to the deep parts of our oceans in the poles, long before any other part of the planet supports a biosphere.  It sounds like it would be a meager biosphere, but actually, that would depend on the amount of chemicals you dumped into the ice covered water.

That's the concept, I don't have an anti-copper/powerline fetish, I just like to explore the chemical alternatives.  A network of every option is not out of the question at this point.

Your turn.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-15 21:17:32)


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#5 2016-10-16 09:54:25

SpaceNut
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Oxygen and Hydrogen would then need to be transported in seperate tubes which just doubled the energy needed to make, the water to which they would come from would need more energy to electrolsis into there components to make use of this system and even more energy is need to gather it from the regolith surface just to get the water.....less energy required just to send the water from site to site for use in a single tube.

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#6 2016-10-16 16:18:57

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Spacenut said:

Oxygen and Hydrogen would then need to be transported in seperate tubes which just doubled the energy needed to make, the water to which they would come from would need more energy to electrolsis into there components to make use of this system and even more energy is need to gather it from the regolith surface just to get the water.....less energy required just to send the water from site to site for use in a single tube.

I am sorry, but it is apparent you missed the biggest points I made.

I am also afraid I must complain that this is yet another case of only this or only that.  My proposal if you look at it did not preclude the use of conductive power transmission.  It only made the case for an also method using pipelines.

This is something very bad that happens on this site, the attempts at summary dismissal without a reasonable discussion.

First of all I most championed a one pipe system where Hydrogen would be piped to a location, and local CO2 would be used to generate electricity, and provide water, and perhaps even biological activity.  And please note that power lines require 2 lines for a circuit, this requires one pipe.

I did suggest as well Methane and Oxygen being piped, but those would perhaps be done only in the "Markets" where that made economic sense.  I may return to that later, but for now, the single pipe model, vs electric power lines and water pipes.

OK, about materials:
For power lines; Copper, Aluminum, Insulators?  (The Martian atmosphere is more conductive than the Earths, can't say for sure when that would be a problem).
-Can you mine copper and/or aluminum at a reasonable price?  Unknown.
-Electrical circuits require a circuit loop, therefore this brings the question the criticism where two pipes are needed.  Two conductors are needed.

Water pipes: Steel? Plastic?  Other?
-I have suggested canals much later on, for really big flows of water, but here we are perhaps talking about providing a trickle to an outpost.
-Frozen pipes?  Mars is not that great a place to be running water pipes, very cold most places, most times.

Alright, pipes to convey Hydrogen, and possibly Methane or Oxygen.
I mentioned basalt, steel, and plastic.
Of these I favor plastic.  That is a pretty broad term.  Many plastics do not hold up very well under the Mars surface environment, so I am going to stipulate that such pipes would be buried for the most part, probably not by digging a trench but by scraping a berm over them.

Where you have to mine copper and aluminum, the bulk of materials for plastics can come from atmosphere, and water ice deposits.  Yes you may need Chlorine or Fluorine from salts, but salts are widely available.

And the manufacturing site therefore would most likely be facilitated by the source materials in bulk being available locally.

So, my sum point so far is it really is unfair to claim that we know what is the most economical, doable, and useful method at this point.

We won't fully know such answers until we try.  In the mean time, it is perfectly reasonable to speculate on both methods, and hybrids of those methods.  It is better that we don't just stick to things to invent that have already been invented.  If it hasn't been invented, then you must surely take greater risks to hope to invent it.

Although I am in favor as well of using power lines when it is useful and possible to do so, I will mention a few problems I think may be experienced.
-Obviously obtaining and creating the parts for power lines will be a problem, but of course humans should do all that they can to do it.
-Day night temperature swings.  A much harsher situation than Earth I would speculate.  But to be fair, perhaps the lines could be buried under a berm, and that would help to buffer it.
-But then your lines would be laying on the ground.  How high can you put the voltage, before arc over?  Are you going to need insulation?
-The Martian atmosphere is 100 times more conducive than Earths, so that is another problem.  Arc overs, line losses?
-What about global dust storms, if your lines are not buried.
-What about Dust Devils?  The do have electrical characteristics.  Maybe it can be engineered around.
-What about solar storms?
http://www.ineffableisland.com/2016/10/ … begin.html
solar-storms-regional-forecasts-set-to-begin-orig-20160928.jpg
Not much magnetic protection on Mars, what if your grid goes down, your transformers burn up?  With gas piping, you would still have electronics and electrical gear that would be affected however, so it's still a problem even with that.

And I also have a "Giant" project which is to melt the polar ice caps from below, and to make the resulting bodies of water have life in them.  It a bit of a pipe dream isn't it? smile

If power lines alone were used, then you still would not have any chemical energy for the seas, and I might note also that if you had elevated power lines of course you are going to have ice problems at high latitudes in the winters.

Now on to Methane and Oxygen.

It could be that you would have a power facility solar or nuclear, which is centralized, an large, and you make your chemicals there with that power, because the ice deposits are there.  Pipes make to make deliveries to consumers should make some sense in those cases.  Oxygen is going to be a problem because of the potential for combustion.  I can propose some potential solutions, but lets not go there.

Now you assumed electrolysis as the source of the chemicals from water ice and atmosphere, but photolysis is being researched here on Earth, and should those methods become practical, then you would not have an electrical process directly involved, it would be sunlight, water, atmosphere, and machinery.

So, no hard feelings at all Spacenut, I know your time budget is limited, and you have to just skim these materials, and you must sometimes get tired of it, but the above is my rebuttal.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-16 17:00:54)


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#7 2016-10-16 22:46:04

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

With respect:

One thing I forgot to mention about a pipeline, is that in a time of stress, it is possible it would serve as a reservoir of Hydrogen, which could be drawn down, even if the source temporarily shut down.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-16 23:12:39)


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#8 2016-10-26 12:35:57

elderflower
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

For power distribution you might use pure Iron wires. It isn't as good a conductor as Copper, or Aluminium but it isn't so bad that you could not use it over modest distances. Alloying elements increase strength and stiffness but reduce conductivity.
On earth high purity iron can be made by electrolysis or by breakdown of iron carbonyl, both of hich may be possible on Mars.
The difficult bit might be sourcing telegraph poles!

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#9 2016-10-26 13:41:35

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Posts: 1,003

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

I have often been interested in the possibility of liquefying CO2 at the Martian poles and pumping it to the equator where it could be boiled into vapour using solar heat.  The liquid CO2 pipeline would need to be pressurised to at least 5 bar.  It would also need to be at least 3000 miles long, so this won't be done in the early base building stage.

Ultimately, Mars has an advantage that would appear to make pipeline transport uniquely attractive, it is a global continent.  It is highly probable that water will eventually be delivered in this way.  If methane deposits are found on Mars, then steam reforming could be used to convert it into hydrogen which can then be burned in atmospheric CO2 in fuel cells.  Or methane can be used for ore reduction.  Pipelines could deliver it all over the planet.

According to this chap, huge quantities of methane could be stored as gas-hydrates beneath the Martian surface.  Without tectonics and with very little free water, methane deposits could be even more abundant on Mars than on Earth.
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source … HOdEquLKCQ

Last edited by Antius (2016-10-26 13:57:06)

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#10 2016-10-26 14:16:50

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Posts: 1,003

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

More discussion of hydrates on Mars.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source … Hk1dPIK1Lw

If these can be released using solar energy or nuclear waste heat, they would make colonisation much easier.  Steel production can be ramped up rapidly during the base building stage.  Since the Martian atmosphere contains a small percentage of O2, perhaps methane can be burned in a fuel cell if CO2 is removed from the air through liquefaction.

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#11 2016-10-26 15:28:30

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Posts: 1,003

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

elderflower wrote:

For power distribution you might use pure Iron wires. It isn't as good a conductor as Copper, or Aluminium but it isn't so bad that you could not use it over modest distances. Alloying elements increase strength and stiffness but reduce conductivity.
On earth high purity iron can be made by electrolysis or by breakdown of iron carbonyl, both of hich may be possible on Mars.
The difficult bit might be sourcing telegraph poles!

One of my pet favourite technologies, the compressed soil block:

http://www.oskam-vf.com/CEBS_living_bui … erial.html

Basically, a slightly damp clay soil rammed into a mould at 3000psi.  The resulting block has compressive strength of 4-6Mpa (40-60atm) and flexural strength about 10% of compressive strength.  As far as I know, there is no reason why the member has to be block shaped.  It could be rod shaped for example.  A vehicle could tow a CEB machine producing poles from local regolith and fixing them into the ground.  As Mars is a universally dry environment, the poles would not require stabilization and should not be adversely effected by thermal cycles.

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#12 2016-10-26 18:28:55

SpaceNut
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Posts: 16,181

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Power sources should be buried in the location that uses it ( for the reason that void illustrated) and not really needing cables to be run in a pipe unless we are looking for redundancy.
Hydrogen is a problem as it escapes quite easily and has a boiloff problem, so either leave it as water or make methane to transport down the pipes to the other substations that would use it. Also the throughts of liquid co2 is also a good item to send down the pipeline as well to any substations to be used locally.
Now if the pipeline is large enough for a man to fit its then an ideal underground way to get from place to place fully protected.

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#13 2016-10-26 22:54:58

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Sorry bud:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_ … _transport
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy

Pipeline storage[editA natural gas network may be used for the storage of hydrogen. Before switching to natural gas, the German gas networks were operated using towngas, which for the most part consisted of hydrogen. The storage capacity of the German natural gas network is more than 200,000 GW·h which is enough for several months of energy requirement. By comparison, the capacity of all German pumped storage power plants amounts to only about 40 GW·h. The transport of energy through a gas network is done with much less loss (<0.1%) than in a power network (8%). The use of the existing natural gas pipelines for hydrogen was studied by NaturalHy[62]

And if somehow there is great luck, their may be natural gas (Methane) supplies to drill into, and then to get hydrogen you could use "Reformation".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_reforming
You could get your steam power from a solar power tower.
And I can think of other ways to get Methane.

And I am sorry, but I am not hearing much in the way of comments on the concerns of solar storms and power lines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpentinite

In the presence of carbon dioxide, however, serpentinitization may form either magnesite (MgCO3) or generate methane (CH4). It is thought that some hydrocarbon gases may be produced by serpentinite reactions within the oceanic crust.

On Mars:
https://nai.nasa.gov/seminars/featured- … nd-theory/

And we have some reason to believe that life does exist on Mars, as water from snow melts made lakes exist deep until 2 or 3 billion years ago.  And it could have taken root from Earth.

So, for those who do not believe in abiotic natural gas, then maybe hydrocarbons from underground life or oceanic life long ago.  Life related to Earth life.  It's not proven, but not unreasonable.

And stone me if I'm wrong, but I think piped Hydrogen could be useful in cases, where you want to generate electricity at a remote location, such as a mine, and you want to have water, and chemosynthetic biology to produce food.

But...Yes maybe all those needs could be provided in other ways.  I just never like the deal where when we have a tool box, someone says ok throw out all the tools except the screw drive, flat blade.  "Be careful what you throw out, you may need it later".  That does not come from me, some science geek posted it at my last place of employment.  Actually science people turned out for the most part to be some of the most kind and polite people I ever met.  I suppose I should not use the word geek.  That applies to me more likely smile

Last edited by Void (2016-10-26 23:38:41)


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#14 2016-10-27 18:30:05

SpaceNut
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Hydrogen has problems with both hydrogen embrittlement and corrosion. Hydrogen has an active electron, and therefore behaves somewhat like a halogen.[9] For this reason, hydrogen pipes have to resist corrosion. The problem is compounded because hydrogen can easily migrate into the crystal structure of most metals.[10] For metal piping at pressures up to 7,000 psi (48 MPa), high-purity stainless steel piping with a maximum hardness of 80 HRB is preferred.[11]

Because it is a small molecule, hydrogen tends to diffuse through any liner material intended to contain it, leading to the embrittlement, or weakening, of its container. The most common method of on board hydrogen storage in today's demonstration vehicles is as a compressed gas at pressures of roughly 700 bar (70 MPa).

http://scitechdaily.com/earth-loses-500 … very-year/

While mars has less free hydrogen in the atmosphere its still a high loss rate for what you have to start with.

https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2 … -reduce-it

Costs of Storing and Transporting Hydrogen  http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy99osti/25106.pdf

Not much stainless steel piping on mars and the temperatures make the metal brittle...

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#15 2016-10-27 19:33:09

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

I repent and recant.  Maybe it was a bad idea.


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#16 2016-10-27 20:05:49

SpaceNut
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Not to worry there are items to pump down the pipelines and many ways to use them once we build them. It appears man's best hope of a colony for mars will start underground for those reasons to which makes us so fragile. Mars can shelter us from those thing and give us a way to grow as we stay.

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#17 2016-10-28 15:59:07

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Why transport hydrogen and not methane?  You do not need to reform it at the point of extraction.  It would make sense to reform it close to its point of use, if at all.  In fact, at typical Mars night temperatures, methane is liquid at 10-20 bars.

http://chemistry.tutorvista.com/physica … iew=simple

A liquid has several hundred times the density of a gas, so it will always be better to transport it in this way.  A pipeline 0.5m wide, carrying liquid methane at say 5m/s, is delivering about 25GW of power.  Good luck designing a cable that can do the same thing at the same low price.  It's why we pipe oil from Alaska rather than building power plants in Alaska and shipping the power.  It is difficult to rival the cost effectiveness of power delivery through pumped flammable liquids, if you can do it in bulk.

I think the same is true for any liquid over any distance and even gases if they are energy rich.  We do not transport water by truck.  Even in the UK, a small and densely populated country by anyone's standards, we tend to build power plants as close as possible to demand centres and ship fuel to them rather than the other way around.  Cables may be thin, but pylons are huge structures and are not cheap.  A superconducting cable could alter the cost-balance, but in its absence electric transmission is unlikely to be cheap on Mars.

Last edited by Antius (2016-10-28 16:12:57)

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#18 2016-10-28 16:34:05

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Antius,

Yes, you have been a fair dude pretty much all of the time, if you are a dude.

Anyway, yes your suggestion of transporting Methane and then reforming at place of use is an interesting one.  Perhaps appropriate to many situations that might be imagined.

Lets first make peace if possible with you, I, spacenut, and all others.

Can we agree on these two principals. PLEASE!

1) It is morally acceptable to have pipelines on Mars.
2) It is morally acceptable to have electrical power lines on Mars.

I think the above can be accepted by all except the insane.

You know in fact Antius, I am going to do an end run.  You came up with a nice improvement on the original notion.  One could perhaps transport Methane, and then reform it at site of location as a preferred method of getting Hydrogen.  The process of reforming would be largely solar, which seems wise.  Then Hydrogen provided can be reacted with CO2 in fuel cells for electricity, and can then also be used in chemosynthesis with CO2 to provide a bulk food.  (Yuck-slop). smile  And of course a byproduct of either fuel cell of biological processing will be water.  As well, if you are desperate for water, having Methane gives you a path to water by interacting with the atmospheric CO2.  But that will require an energy supply.

But you must then count what you have surrendered by arranging this.  You no longer can have a stored energy supply in the event that your solar energy source goes down.  It is something to evaluate.

And for the record my trial balloon for Hydrogen entertained plastic piping covered by scraped regolith, not stainless steel.  I think that might be relatively practical but it is on trial after all.

*Pipelines are not Satanic!

Last edited by Void (2016-10-28 16:48:24)


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#19 2016-10-28 16:48:28

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Posts: 1,003

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Void wrote:

Antius,

Yes, you have been a fair dude pretty much all of the time, if you are a dude.

Anyway, yes your suggestion of transporting Methane and then reforming at place of use is an interesting one.  Perhaps appropriate to many situations that might be imagined.

Lets first make piece if possible with you, me, spacenut, and all others.

Can we agree on these two principals.

1) It is morally acceptable to have pipelines on Mars.
2) It is morally acceptable to have electrical power lines on Mars.

I think the above can be accepted by all except the insane.

Morality is only meaningful when it comes to human interactions with other humans and possibly other living creatures.  It has no bearing on human relations with rocks, energy sources or anything else that isn't living.  It only has meaning when you need to consider the impact of what you do on someone else that has their own ambitions and values in life.

In as far as making peace, this is not a war in which anyone has anything to gain except maybe some fun, and just possibly, stumbling on something that will bring us an inch closer to our collective dream of colonising space.  So we should combat ideas in the hope of arriving at new solutions.  Keeping pet ideas and being upset when they get shot to pieces is about as daft as you can get on boards like this.  The best we can hope to do is not win arguments, but collectively develop concepts that greater men can develop further.

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#20 2016-10-28 16:51:49

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

I'm actually handling it rather well.  Perhaps we have a lost in translation cultural problem.

My apologies to any and all who I have caused any ? Not happy?

Hydrogen is still a reasonable option for some cases, but I will relent that perhaps Methane with solar reformation should be given a much deeper look.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-28 16:56:14)


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#21 2016-10-28 17:32:39

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Posts: 1,003

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Void wrote:

One could perhaps transport Methane, and then reform it at site of location as a preferred method of getting Hydrogen.  The process of reforming would be largely solar, which seems wise.  Then Hydrogen provided can be reacted with CO2 in fuel cells for electricity

That was my original idea.  But looking at the energetics of steam reforming followed by H2/CO2, it doesn't look so good after all.  When the energy losses in steam reforming are factored in, you get 3.6MJ of heat per kg of methane by reacting it with Martian CO2.  My maths may be wrong though.  I will check again tomorrow.

Reacting it with oxygen in the Martian atmosphere may work as well, but would require somehow separating the CO2.  Not sure how practical that would be.

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#22 2016-10-28 17:51:02

Antius
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From: Cumbria, UK
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Posts: 1,003

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

According to Zubrin's 'Case for Mars', 1kg of H2 burned in CO2, yields 93MJ of heat.  It takes 4kg methane to make 1kg H2 and steam reforming is about 70% efficient, so each kg of methane would yield 16MJ of heat if burned in Martian CO2.

That is actually better than I expected, but still only 1/3rd of what you get if you burn it in O2.  If the product gases are reducing gases, then it may be possible to use them for ore reduction and recover heat and power from the waste heat.

The Martian atmosphere is 0.146% O2.  If we could somehow separate out the CO2, then the oxygen is enriched to a little over 3%, with most of the remainder being argon and nitrogen.  Maybe this could be burned with methane in a gas turbine.

Last edited by Antius (2016-10-28 17:54:58)

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#23 2016-10-28 20:41:49

Void
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Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Alright with a sense of remorse for perhaps being more blunt than needed, I will apologize (To a degree), and request that my further conversations on these topics, be considered a sincere effort to get something new and good for the effort, or at least to learn more.

I will agree with the previous dialog that Methane is a better gas to transport, easier.
I will agree with the previous dialog that we would prefer to simply extract Oxygen from the atmosphere, to "Burn" the Methane with.

I will state that if forced to use reforming to produce Hydrogen to "Burn" with CO2, it might be reasonable to expect to have a "Local" piping network for delivery of Hydrogen to sites of use.  In saying this I indicate that such a scheme H2 burning in CO2 will have to prove it's worth to be better than other possible methods of delivery of power/water.

So, can we have chances to beneficiate the Martian air, to increase the Oxygen content of a concentrate, while discarding some of the CO2 and other non-oxidizing gasses?

I am wondering just how beneficiated does the Martian atmosphere need to be to allow a fuel cell to process Oxygen against, pipeline Methane?

Pure Oxygen would work, but might ignite and explode everything, so we likely don't want pure Oxygen.
If you had a mix that was 20% Oxygen and mostly elsewise CO2, could that work?  I suspect it would.
If you had a mix that was 1% Oxygen, might that work in a fuel cell?  I don't know.  Any notions on your part(s)?
So, here the important question is just what kind of an Oxidizing mix will work as a minimum in a fuel cell?
Granted there are probably many variations of fuel cell, so let me rephrase it: "Can a fuel cell be designed to use a conveniently obtainable beneficiated Oxidizer concentrate which is obtained from the Martian atmosphere?".

I am aware of several possible routes, none are proven.

Cryogenic:
Perhaps we can cool the atmospheric gasses and with pressurization and centrifuges obtain subparts, even an increased Oxygen content.  I recall that you Antius and perhaps some others already explored this route, and seemed to believe that you had chances.  Of course the cold of Mars tends to suggest that it has viability as a method to explore.

Osmosis:
Membranes of course and energy supplied as pressure.  Based on some readings, I do not discount the possibility that this might be assisted by a proper electrical charge, but that is only a guess.

Hemoglobin:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemoglobin
Yes, blood on Mars the red planet!
Several problems to work with/around:
CO is much more attracted to Hemoglobin than Oxygen, and will clog it up.  How do you deal with that?  I believe the numbers I have seen suggest a ratio of O2 to CO which is approximately 2/1  Oxygen being the 2, CO being the 1.
Unfortunately it is a wet process, which is somewhat incompatible with the actual situation of the atmosphere of Mars.  You might need to go to some really far extremes to engage Hemoglobin in a beneficiation process.  Your "Blood" would have to be very salty and very cold, or you would loose too much moisture to the atmosphere.  I am not saying that it should not be looked into, but that I don't think human technology is quite ready yet.   That does not indicate that we should give up, in a whimpering fluid gush, but that it's not ready for prime time.  I myself haven't been able to connect the dots.  Is smells like something could happen, but I need a lot more to get anywhere near there.

Paramagnetism:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt4P6ctf06Q
I recall being told perhaps 40+ years by a certain instructor the a flame off a candle can be displaced by a magnet.  So, per the video above, and that recollection, can we imagine finding a way too influence Oxygen in the Martian atmosphere?  In fact the colder the Oxygen, the more a magnet influences it.  That is what I have been lead to believe. 

Perhaps there are other Oxygen concentration methods, but above are 4.  We know if we have an Oxygen and a fuel, we have a lot.  This has been available knowledge for at least 10,000 years I think.  Most likely far longer.

Can we find a way?  Perhaps with one method, or an association of several methods?

And in addition to this, might the human race hope to employ photolysis?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photodissociation

Now consider the shortwave U.V. that apparently impinges on the surface of Mars.  Vicious death granting radiation.  But, with concentrating mirrors acting on CO2, could it be forced to give life?

We already know that Oxygen and CO are generated in the Martian atmosphere in small quantities as portions of the entire mix of the Martian atmosphere.

So, could be speculate on what would happen to the focus of a mirror apparatus, where Martian atmosphere is included, and the U.V. spectrum of Mars is focused?

And what if you found and included an appropriate catalyst?
https://www.bing.com/search?q=catalist& … q=catalist

So, then what if your input to your source of Martian air for beneficiation was already enriched by photolysis, beyond what is normal for photolysis on Mars?

Goodnight.   The above is plenty to consider.

Maybe more talk later.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-28 21:57:54)


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#24 2016-10-29 09:34:53

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Splitting CO2 with the Martian sunlight spectrum, and using pipelines as transfer devices, storage devices, and refining devices.

Some hard reading, maybe a bit off the specific topic but a good indicator.
http://www.pnas.org/content/109/39/15606.full

A rather easy read rather on topic I think, not quite what I have in mind, but so what.
http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/archive/newsre … 2split.asp

I myself recall a process for photolysis which involved a catalyst which I believe was Titanium Oxide.  In that process they had to do some special weird things to the catalyst to make it work in visible light, but I am thinking I recall that Titanium Oxide will work just fine as is under U.V.

So, the raw Martian atmospheric gas already has traces of CO and O2 in it.  This is due to natural photolysis, and I presume that the reason the amounts do not go any higher then they do, is that some process allows the CO and O2 to ultimately join/burn back into CO2.

So, should it be possible to elevate the levels of CO and O2 in a CO2/N2 dominated mixture, I would expect it to gradually decline.  If you elevated the amount of CO and O2 very much, fire and explosion might be possible, and probably not desirable either.

So, in my mind, I have the idea of a solar power tower, with of course heliostat mirrors involved.
I see no reason to not have a heat engine of some type to harness the waste heat of the process.
But on the surface of the thermal collector, also a catalyst, perhaps Titanium Oxide or something better.  This surface would have focused U.V. and other wavelengths impinging on the catalyst, and that could be at a very high temperature.

That very high temperature could be a problem, as it might facilitate the CO and O2 recombining.  Not sure about that.  The treated atmosphere would be suctioned into a collector, and then cooled off.  Probably some kind of metal radiator, literally radiating heat.  Then it might be cooled more, by conducting it through a radiator system using cool water.  That could be the pre-warming of liquid pushed into the heat engine (Maybe a turbine?)

Now the rest of this will presume that indeed, by that process, a gas mixture was created with elevated amounts of CO and O2, but the mix is still dominantly CO2 and Nitrogen, and I hope is not excessively prone to fire and explosion.

This activity happening in the daytime, then a reservoir to place this gas is desired.  I propose a pipeline.
For the moment, I propose a plastic pipeline with a mineral cloth wrapping.  I propose that this pipe simply be place in the open air, on the ground on Mars.  In that case, it can and will experience great thermal swings day and night, so, yes concerns about it's endurance of that need to be addressed.

It is my intention that this pipeline will be a condensing radiator at night, and will heat up during the day.

So, the pipeline ideally will be part of the refining of the atmospheric gasses.

During the day when the pipeline was warm, pressurized treated atmosphere would be pushed into it.
Later, as the pipeline cooled a condensation of either dry ice or liquid CO2 could be induced by the nighttime cold.  Bursting of the pipeline could be a concern with cold and pressure.  I am not sure about dry ice.  I think water is the one that expands when it freezes.  I don't think CO2 does.

Of course if you have condensate of some kind in the pipeline blockages to flow could occur.  That will have to be addressed.

But the intention is to then draw off a Nitrogen dominated mixture, with elevated amounts of CO and O2, hopefully not at an explosive level.  This mixture would be drawn off at night.

Probably the most reasonable vision of this would use gravity flow, and a pipeline pressurized to 6 bars plus, to facilitate liquid CO2 formation.  Just that narrow view, causes me to see many variations possible.

I do not discount using the dry ice method either.  That could involve lower pressures, but perhaps would be harsh on the pipeline, and any blockage would prevent the extraction of a Nitrogen dominated mix.

If you did get your nitrogen dominated mix, you would still need to either come up with a direct use for the mix, or do some further procedures to get your various gasses out of it.

Last edited by Void (2016-10-29 10:15:38)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#25 2016-10-30 08:40:19

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,181

Re: Power Distribution by pipelines on Mars.

Methane fuel cell have been around for about a decade and they are quite addaptive to the mix of fuel types which will make it work...
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/5185 … generator/

methanol
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_methanol_fuel_cell

Natural Gas Fuel Cells: Technology, Advantages and Opportunities
http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016 … illips.pdf

off the shelf commodity
http://www.tropical.gr/products/fuel-ce … as-fc.html

I will read more of you post very limited on time but will do so Void....as I can see lots of good stuff in the

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