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Publication numberUS20060011472 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/894,459
Publication dateJan 19, 2006
Filing dateJul 19, 2004
Priority dateJul 19, 2004
Publication number10894459, 894459, US 2006/0011472 A1, US 2006/011472 A1, US 20060011472 A1, US 20060011472A1, US 2006011472 A1, US 2006011472A1, US-A1-20060011472, US-A1-2006011472, US2006/0011472A1, US2006/011472A1, US20060011472 A1, US20060011472A1, US2006011472 A1, US2006011472A1
InventorsTimothy Flick
Original AssigneeFlick Timothy J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Deep well geothermal hydrogen generator
US 20060011472 A1
Abstract
A deep well geothermal hydrogen generator for efficiently producing hydrogen gas with geothermal energy. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator includes an electrolyzer positioned within a deep well, and a generator fluidly connected to the deep well and electrically connected to the electrolyzer for providing electrical energy to the electrolyzer. Water is provided to the upper portion of the deep well and passes through the generator thereby producing electricity. The water continues downwardly to the lower portion of the deep well at an increased pressure where the electrolyzer gasifies the water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The hydrogen and oxygen are pressurized thereby forcing the same upwardly from the lower portion of the deep well.
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Claims(10)
1. A deep well geothermal hydrogen generator, comprising:
an electrolyzer positioned within a deep well at a depth of at least 500 feet; and
at least one generator having an input port and an output port, wherein said output port is fluidly connected to said deep well and electrically connected to said electrolyzer for providing electrical energy to said electrolyzer.
2. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 1, including a first pipe fluidly connected to said electrolyzer for transporting oxygen gas from said electrolyzer.
3. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 2, including a first lower valve within said first pipe for controlling a first gas pressure between said first lower valve and said electrolyzer.
4. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 3, including a first upper valve within said first pipe for controlling a second gas pressure between said first lower valve and said first upper valve.
5. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 1, including a second pipe fluidly connected to said electrolyzer for transporting hydrogen gas from said electrolyzer.
6. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 5, including a second lower valve within said second pipe for controlling a first gas pressure between said second lower valve and said electrolyzer.
7. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 6, including a second upper valve within said second pipe for controlling a second gas pressure between said second lower valve and said second upper valve.
8. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 1, wherein a flow of water is provided to an upper portion of said deep well and wherein said flow of water passes into said input port of said generator thereby producing electricity.
9. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 8, wherein said generator is positioned within an upper portion or middle portion of said deep well.
10. The deep well geothermal hydrogen generator of claim 8, wherein said generator is positioned exteriorly of said deep well.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable to this application.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable to this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to hydrogen producing systems and more specifically it relates to a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator for efficiently producing hydrogen gas with geothermal energy.

2. Description of the Related Art

Electrolysis has been in use for year for splitting water molecules to create pure hydrogen and oxygen. An electrolyzer is a device which uses electricity to dissociate hydrogen and oxygen from water molecules. The electrolyzer contains an electrolyte solution such as potassium hydroxide (KOH), or a solid polymer electrolyte. The electrolyte is a chemical compound that is ionized: its atoms or molecules have lost electrons and are electrically charged. Thus, the electrolyte substance is electrically conductive. When power is applied to an electrolyzer, the electrodes transmit the charge through the electrolyte which weakens the bond between the hydrogen and oxygen in the water molecules in the electrolyte solution, and thus releases hydrogen and oxygen gas. The oxygen gas can either be processed and stored, or released into the atmosphere. The hydrogen gas is then passed through a gas processing system.

While these devices may be suitable for the particular purpose to which they address, they are not as suitable for efficiently producing hydrogen gas with geothermal energy. One of the problems with conventional electrolysis hydrogen production is that it requires an independent source of electricity for the electrolyzer and that the water pressure is generally low thereby performing electrolysis with water having relatively lower dipole moment (i.e. higher electrode potential).

In these respects, the deep well geothermal hydrogen generator according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of efficiently producing hydrogen gas with geothermal energy.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of electrolysis hydrogen production systems now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new deep well geothermal hydrogen generator construction wherein the same can be utilized for efficiently producing hydrogen gas with geothermal energy.

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new deep well geothermal hydrogen generator that has many of the advantages of the electrolysis hydrogen production systems mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a new deep well geothermal hydrogen generator which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art electrolysis hydrogen production systems, either alone or in any combination thereof.

To attain this, the present invention generally comprises an electrolyzer positioned within a deep well, and a generator fluidly connected to the deep well and electrically connected to the electrolyzer for providing electrical energy to the electrolyzer. Water is provided to the upper portion of the deep well and passes through the generator thereby producing electricity. The water continues downwardly to the lower portion of the deep well at an increased pressure where the electrolyzer gasifies the water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The hydrogen and oxygen are pressurized thereby forcing the same upwardly from the lower portion of the deep well.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and that will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator that will overcome the shortcomings of the prior art devices.

A second object is to provide a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator for efficiently producing hydrogen gas with geothermal energy.

Another object is to provide a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator that utilizes high water pressure to decrease dipole movement in water.

An additional object is to provide a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator that may be utilized within existing deep wells.

A further object is to provide a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator that potentially may eliminate the need for an electrolyte within the electrolyzer because of the increased dipole moment at deep depths.

Another object is to provide a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator that utilizes geothermal heat to increase the temperature of the water prior to entering the electrolyzer.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that these objects and advantages are within the scope of the present invention.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects, this invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated and described within the scope of the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of the present invention illustrating the generator positioned near the lower or middle portion of the deep well.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the present invention illustrating the generator positioned near the upper portion of the deep well.

FIG. 3 is a magnified view of the generator and the electrolyzer within the deep well.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating the electrical connection of the generator to the electrolyzer.

FIG. 5 is a flowchart illustrating the overall functionality of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A. Overview

Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, FIGS. 1 through 5 illustrate a deep well geothermal hydrogen generator 10, which comprises an electrolyzer 30 positioned within a deep well 12, and a generator 20 fluidly connected to the deep well 12 and electrically connected to the electrolyzer 30 for providing electrical energy to the electrolyzer 30. Water is provided to the upper portion of the deep well 12 and passes through the generator 20 thereby producing electricity. The water continues downwardly to the lower portion of the deep well 12 at an increased pressure where the electrolyzer 30 gasifies the water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The hydrogen and oxygen are pressurized thereby forcing the same upwardly from the lower portion of the deep well 12.

B. Electrolyzer

The electrolyzer 30 may be comprised of any conventional electrolyzer 30 which are well known in the art. The electrolyzer 30 is formed into a structure that is capable of being lowered and positioned within a deep well 12 typically having a diameter of between 6 to 18. A filter is preferably utilized to remove impurities from the water prior to entering the electrolyzer 30.

The electrolyzer 30 is also preferably positioned within the deep well 12 at a depth of at least 500 feet, or to a temperature of 200 degrees centigrade and pressure sufficient to maintain the electrolyte in the liquid state, so as to be positioned within the pressurized portion of the water within the deep well 12. For example, a depth of 5,000 feet provides at least 300 atm for the electrolysis process and is more than adequate for reducing the electrode potential. A depth of 500 feet provides approximately 20 to 50 atm which is all that is necessary for the process. The compressed water has an increased dipole moment thereby allowing for increased separation of the hydrogen and oxygen gases from the water.

As shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings, a first pipe 40 fluidly is connected to the electrolyzer 30 for transporting oxygen gas from the electrolyzer 30 to above the ground surface. A first lower valve 42 is positioned within the first pipe 40 for controlling a first gas pressure between the first lower valve 42 and the electrolyzer 30. A first upper valve 44 is positioned within the first pipe 40 for controlling a second gas pressure between the first lower valve 42 and the first upper valve 44.

As further shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings, a second pipe 50 is fluidly connected to the electrolyzer 30 for transporting hydrogen gas from the electrolyzer 30. A second lower valve 52 is positioned within the second pipe 50 for controlling a first gas pressure between the second lower valve 52 and the electrolyzer 30. A second upper valve 54 is positioned within the second pipe 50 for controlling a second gas pressure between the second lower valve 52 and the second upper valve 54. By controlling the first lower valve 42, the second lower valve 52, the first upper valve 44 and the second upper valve 54, the system is capable of controlling the temperatures and flow rates of the gases generated by the electrolyzer 30.

C. Generator

The generator 20 may be comprised of any conventional generator 20 capable of converting fluid movement to electricity. The generator 20 is electrically connected to the electrolyzer 30 for providing electrical energy to the electrolyzer 30 to provide continuous electrolysis within the electrolyzer 30.

The generator 20 has an input port 22 for receiving the water and an output port 24 for releasing the spent water. The output port 24 is fluidly connected to the deep well 12 for releasing the spent water downwardly to the lower portion of the deep well 12. The flow of water is provided to an upper portion of the deep well 12 via an ultra pure water source to prevent impurities from collecting at the bottom of the well. The flow of water passes into the input port 22 of the generator 20 thereby producing electricity and then passes downwardly into the lower portion of the deep well 12 where the water within the lower portion of the deep well 12 is compressed by the water above the same.

The generator 20 is preferably positioned within an upper portion or middle portion of the deep well 12 for receiving the water. However, the generator 20 may also be positioned exteriorly (e.g. to the side, above the ground surface) of the deep well 12 wherein a water siphoning effect would draw water through the generator 20.

D. Hybrid Electrolyzer/Generator

As an alternative to the generator 20 and the electrolyzer 30, a hybrid electrolyzer/generator may be utilized instead. The hybrid electrolyzer/generator consists of a conventional magnetohydrodynamic generator having permanent magnets inducing a magnetic field perpendicular to the flow of water/electrolyte, in through the upper port and out the lower port, including a channel between the magnets to contain the flow of said fluid. The channel includes two electrode surfaces on opposing sides of the channel and mutually perpendicular to the magnetic field and the fluid flow. Above the electrodes and below the input port are positioned intakes for the collection of gaseous products generated at the surface of said electrodes. In the preferred embodiment, the electrodes are non-passivated and catalytic to the production of the gaseous products, hydrogen on the cathode and oxygen on the anode. The cathode and anode are electrically connected to permit the flow of electrons from one to the other, and electrically connected to the surface to allow initiation of the required flow. Pipes as for the above described electrolyzer convey the gases via pressure reducing valves to the surface. The pipes are arranged to allow multiple generator/electrolyzers to be stacked within the well.

E. Operation of Invention

In use, the water enters the upper portion of the deep well 12 as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings. The water passes downwardly into the input port 22 of the generator 20 thereby generating electricity that is provided to the electrolyzer 30. The water continues to flow downwardly into the lower portion of the deep well 12 into a compressed state by the water above the same. The compressed water has a decreased electrode potential which makes separating the hydrogen from the oxygen easier within the electrolyzer 30. The hydrogen and the oxygen gases generated within the electrolyzer 30 are then provided to the surface via the first pipe 40 and the second pipe 50 for storage and usage. The water should be completely converted by the energy provided by the generator. All of the water must be electrolyzed to facilitate continued flow of the water. A conduit extending from below the electrolyzer to above the electrolyzer, including a check valve, allows return of the concentrated electrolyte to be reused. An additional check valve above the return will prevent loss of electrolyte in times of low or zero flow. This process continues thereby providing a continuous supply of hydrogen and oxygen.

What has been described and illustrated herein is a preferred embodiment of the invention along with some of its variations. The terms, descriptions and figures used herein are set forth by way of illustration only and are not meant as limitations. Those skilled in the art will recognize that many variations are possible within the spirit and scope of the invention, which is intended to be defined by the following claims (and their equivalents) in which all terms are meant in their broadest reasonable sense unless otherwise indicated. Any headings utilized within the description are for convenience only and have no legal or limiting effect.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7751802Mar 16, 2006Jul 6, 2010At&T Intellectual Property, I, L.P.Systems, methods and computer program products for obtaining responses to announcement files
US7756934Mar 16, 2006Jul 13, 2010At&T Intellectual Property, I,L.P.Systems, methods and computer program products for electronic information transfer by a sender
US20110081586 *Aug 16, 2010Apr 7, 2011Mcalister Technologies, LlcSystems and methods for sustainable economic development through integrated full spectrum production of renewable energy
Classifications
U.S. Classification204/276, 204/278
International ClassificationC25D17/00
Cooperative ClassificationY02E60/366, C25B1/12, Y02E70/10
European ClassificationC25B1/12