Catalytic Electric Generation
By taking a hydrocarbon and exposing surfaces composed of certain noble metals the molecules of the hydrocarbon can be broken down into carbon dioxide, water vapor and free electrons. Such catalytic technologies had been in place for a long time as smog control devices placed on the exhaust vents of inefficient hydrocarbon consuming equipment. Direct to electric catalytic generators have few moving parts and long service lives with minimal maintenance. At first developed on a small scale for use as emergency backup power, catalytic generators were slow to come into common use. That changed as the technology was proven. In remote areas they could provide not just electric but also supplemental heat. They could be combined with thermoelectric cells on the reaction chamber to produce even more electricity. Almost noiseless, they became favored above conventional wire transmitted electricity particularly on resorts where esthetics were a concern. Mobile versions were not far behind and began to replace supplemental reciprocating engine generators in hybrid vehicles where the engine was not also providing motive power. Public acceptance was rapid once personal transportation was proved reliable. The power banks of hybrid cars could be charged from the grid, and short distance communters usually operated thier vehicles exclusively in this mode. However, the nearly maintenance free catalytic generator made concerns of intermittantly used backup engines' failure irrelevant. With almost no moving parts and computer control a catalytic generator meant the car would remain nearly noiseless. Later generation systems were able to efficiently use chemical methods of storing the energy from recombinant speed control. It utilized the hydrogen cycle to split water molecules which could be fed back to the feed stock. This feed stock could be any hydrocarbon which would be in a gaseous state when it entered the catalytic chamber, but liquid propane was common. The conversion to natural gas was simple and eventually computer control could make the necessary changes. In some remote areas methane from bio-generators was the normally used fuel. The catalytic electric generator was heralded as one of the greater technological advances. It was considered as essential to modern life as the thorium-salt reactor.