We’ve got some really cool news that some people have interpreted as bad news. And this has to do with general motors and their hydrogen fuel cell. This is a very interesting story.
I’ve always been fascinated with the Hindenburg and what happened there. And I did a lot of investigations. And of course, there was the initial investigation that happened back in 1937. When the Hindenburg actually crashed, I found online, you can buy pieces of the Hindenburg online.
[00:00:35] There’s this kind of an auction house. You can get a small square of the fab. Of the Hindenburgs outer shell for 99 bucks. I found them online. I didn’t buy any, although I was thinking, that might actually be cool, but what am I going to do with it? Rights to get on a wall then what w what was interesting about it and about the fabric was what the German engineers had.
[00:01:01] Now we know that you can use helium and helium is a great little gas it’s inert. It’s not going to catch fire. It is also lighter than air. There’s a lunch, a lot of others, great properties that has, you can use it for super cooling things that you can’t with. Most other gases, helium is much better for super cooling than oxygen is.
[00:01:23] And hydrogen is Excel. Helium is getting hard to find the United States had a strategic reserve of helium. Now, to me, that makes sense because we did at one point need helium. We had dirge bubbles. We still do. We still use helium to send weather balloon. Been various other things, but then the federal government decided ELA.
[00:01:48] We don’t need to keep this reserve anymore. So they sold it off. As of next year, there won’t be anything left in that strategic reserve. So where do we get helium? We get it from regular old oil mine. So they drill a hole it’s created by the breakdown of various elements in the soil, primarily some of the hard rocks.
[00:02:14] And as they break down and decay, they produce helium as one of the byproducts. Now what’s been happening in the reason we are in. A helium shortage. Number three in fact, is that we are now fracking. Fracking Lutz is extract a lot more natural gas and a lot more , which is what we’re really trying to do and keep some of those costs down.
[00:02:44] But it also does not create as much helium and that’s. And it’s a really big problem when you get right down to it and you’re trying to figure out if we’re going to fill up a balloon, that’s going to go up. What are we going to do now? Approximately a quarter of all of the helium that’s news out there goes into these birthday balloons.
[00:03:09] Okay. So yeah, it’s it’s kinda cool, but it’s not an absolutely necessary thing, frankly, but it is used in all kinds of other things, including experiments. You remember? I said that helium is used to super cool thing. Think of these massive hydraulic colliders, some of the other experiments that are going on, where we have a magnet.
[00:03:37] Now, one of the biggest, most important things we’re doing with magnets right now is trying to create a container for nuclear fusion. Now nuclear fusion doesn’t have the byproducts of nuclear fusion. Although we’ve solved most of those vision problems, you don’t have this highly radioactive stuff anymore that we used to have in the old reactors.
[00:04:01] Although we haven’t been building new ones for what, 40 years now. But those particular types of containers, if you will, are built by these big magnets. So these magnets hold it in place. And in order to get the amount of power we need to, to these magnet, we have to super cool them. We have to super cool, the power supplies, and that is typically using helium.
[00:04:27] So we’ve had to shut down some of these experiments. Because we don’t have enough helium so much for the strategic reserve, that is almost completely depleted. And by the way, the federal government in its infinite wisdom sold that helium off at a fraction of fair market value. That’s a problem because it just went crazy.
[00:04:52] People were using it for things that just weren’t that important. And now many of our experiments are getting shut down, but in the world war two era and pre-World war II era Germany had a problem trying to get helium itself. Germany doesn’t have a whole lot of oil reserves and it had to buy everything.
[00:05:12] And the United States really didn’t want to sell here. To Germany. So what Germany did and you guys probably all know this from your history lessons, cause you are the best and brightest hydrogen was used. And because hydrogen was used it was a flammable gas. And when there was a spark, when it was trying to land.
[00:05:36] It went up, it caught fire. Now what’s really interesting is if you look at the pictures that were taken of it burning, there were obviously elements other than hydrogen, because hydrogen burns beautifully pure. You can’t really even see it. And what would normally happen is you wouldn’t have. Poof.
[00:05:58] And the whole thing just burns up. You’d have a hole and that hole be shooting a flame out as it was ignited, right as the hydrogen was ignited and the whole, my discontinue to get a a little bigger until there’s no pressurized hydrogen anymore. And the fire’s over, but that’s not what happened with the Hindenburg.
[00:06:18] She caught fire. Because of that spark and it had that spark because of the weather conditions at the time, they just weren’t being cautious enough. In fact, that was the very last large dirigible Airship. Ever made, frankly it’s crazy, yeah. We got the Goodyear blimp, we got some of these others and they need the helium to fill them up.
[00:06:43] And then over time it was kinda like a swimming pool. You filled it up and you, all you have to do is just add a little bit more now, and then you don’t have to, because of leakage, you don’t have to completely refill it all of the time. So what ended up happening is they had hydrogen on board.
[00:07:02] Had the spark started a flame and then the cloth material that coated this massive container holding all of the hydrogen caught fire, but it didn’t just catch fire. What happened was it caught fire and. It burned very quickly because effectively the entire outside surface of the Hindenburg was coated with rocket fuel.
[00:07:30] Some of the same components that go into gunpowder aluminum powder, which gave it that kind of silver shine. They really messed up. So people are looking at what is happening now with general motors. Tech fuel cell technology and other a little bit worried because this technology was developed for cars.
[00:07:51] It is being used in some parts of the world, in some parts of the country. I know California has some hydrogen cars on the road with a fuel cell. Now they’re not burning hydrogen. In order to transport the car, they’re actually allowing a chemical process to occur. So the hydrogen atom is attracted to the oxygen atom and they use a membrane so that they’re trying to get together.
[00:08:18] And that’s what produces electricity. And then what is the result when you have two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom and they combine H two O so the only. Final end product here coming out of that car is pure. Which is cool. So GM says wait a minute. Now we have this technology, why don’t we try and make airplanes a little bit more efficient?
[00:08:45] And so they’re saying you don’t, you’re taking off with two tons of water on board. How about we put a hydrogen fuel cell in there. You will be well to generate electricity. Now that’s a very big deal because now that electricity doesn’t have to be generated by the turbines of the gas engine. And on top of it all, you don’t have to take off with two tons of water on board because we can generate water as your.
[00:09:16] And of course, they’re not going to coat it with a rocket fuel. They are going to put it in one of these really cool containers that is considered to be very safe. So it’s very cool. So the litmus test, according to our friends over at general motors, he this is a GM executive. Director Charlie frees.
[00:09:36] He says our technology can address customer needs in a wide range of uses on land, sea, air, or rail. And this collaboration we could open up new possibilities for aircraft transitioning to alternative energy, power sources. Now I don’t expect a plane to be actually flying on this any time soon.
[00:09:58]Hydrogen is a great little fuel, but it doesn’t provide enough energy to get that jet off the ground at all, but it does provide enough energy to supplement it so good for them. I think this is a good use frankly, of the hydrogen fuel cells, as long as we can avoid it leaking and causing other major problems.
[00:10:21] But I think that can be solved. Look at what we’ve been able to do now. These containers for the pretty much everything that can be hit by a train at full speed and not. So I think we got this covered. All right, everybody stick around. We’ll be right back. And we’re going to talk about it. A new type of vigilante that you may not have heard of before.
[00:10:46] Of course, you’re listening to Craig Peterson. Check me out online. CraigPeterson.com.