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Military research teams are working with General Electric, and other companies, to develop a new class of engine which will be able to efficiently burn hydrogen or fossil fuels to produce energy. The ‘detonation engine’ as it will be called is currently in the prototype phase.
Traditional combustion engines can also been converted to burn hydrogen, but these new detonation engines operate at 25% higher efficiency.
Not only could these super-efficient engines be useful in their fossil fuel forms, but they could also help the wind industry.
Wind turbines can be used to directly power simple electrolysers which can then produce hydrogen and oxygen from water. The hydrogen can then be stored in tanks and burned at a steady rate in these efficient engines attached to generators in order to produce electricity.
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Currently wind suffers from unpredictable variations in power output, but using the turbines in such a system will solve this problem, because technically the electricity will be produced by the engine, and therefore at a much more stable rate. Any fluctuations in the wind intensity will just lead to more, less hydrogen being produced and sent to storage.
The technology is estimated to still be around to years before it commercialisation.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com