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Jun 29

New Process to Boost Hydrogen Fuel Cell Usage

Posted in Energy Inventions | Fuel Cells | Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen Fuel Cell A new process is being tested by chemical engineers of Purdue University to get high hydrogen production at fuel-cell temperature-level with no catalyst use. This is full of promise for vehicles powered by hydrogen and other portable electronic items like dig-cams, medical diagnostic devices, defibrillators, cell phones and notebook computers. The research funded by US Department of Energy is ushering in a new process.

High hydrogen content material used:

The scientists who are working on this process are using ammonia borane – a powdered chemical -also one of the solid materials with highest hydrogen content. Because of its high-weight percentage of 19.6%, only small quantity is needed to store comparatively huge amount of hydrogen.

Combo process:

The new process is called hydrothermolysis, a combination of two hydrogen generating methods – hydrolysis and thermolysis processes. While each individually is not helpful, when combined, the combination releases hydrogen from ammonia borane very efficiently and at fuel-cell temperatures.

Actual process:

With hydrolysis, a catalyst is required to generate hydrogen when water and ammonia borane are combined. In thermolysis, it should be heated to higher than 170 degrees Celsius to release the hydrogen. The benefit of the combo process is it is working successfully at considerably lower pressures than presently possible in the test cars powered by hydrogen. After various testing, it was found that 77% ammonia borane is ideal for optimal hydrogen production.

Reaching targets set by US Govt:

Hydrogen generated from hydrothermolysis amounted to 14% total weight used in the process. This is considerably higher than the government target of 5.5% of total weight; higher than hydrogen yields from other experimental systems as well.

Research team:

The research team consisting of Moiz Diwan, former Purdue doctoral student, Hyun Tae, Hwang Purdue postdoctoral researcher, Ahmad Al-Kukhun, doctoral student – is headed by Arvind Varma, R., Games Slayter Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering. They presented their findings on June15, 2010 at International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering in Philadelphia. Also online, AIChE Journal will publish these findings.

Future plans:

Producing hydrogen economically and efficiently will go hand in hand with research into technologies for recycling waste residual products back into ammonia borane. This will go a long way in making this process a viable option for hydrogen powered cars to run about 350 miles before re-fuelling!

  • Jim Jonas

    I want this to go in cars today. Science should overrule Govt with exception of safety. I now know as a man who lives on and around the Gulf of Mexico we need to stop oil. We can’t say know to oil for we are to lazy to change. When I smoked cigarettes and I over did it was having breathing problems due to smoking. I tried to quit? When it was all said and done after a really serious operation while I was waking up I just was not breathing.I was aware I was not breathing. Finally after nurses help me I was finally able to breath. That day was it. Let’s get off oil before we stop breathing. Let us put us back to work,change our stars and let Hydrogen Fuel Cells electric battery car begin install both.Build driveways with solar.Let all windows be sealed and make sure 10 years from now America can say I can’t believe we didn’t start this in 1970 era? Back to School people to make sure we safely install The New wave of Energy. It is all of our problem so lets focus

  • styke

    I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this is a long ways from being ready for cars. Real world fuel cells coupled with electric motors are not as efficient as gasoline engines. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying. We need to work on these things to find a better way. At the same time, folks are also working on gasoline engines to make them more efficient. Maybe, one day, fuel cells and electric motors will be the best way to go, and, if so, clever storage mechanisms like this one are going to be necessary. But that doesn’t mean it is time to switch over.

  • Gregory Smith

    This makes perfect sense if the compounds and water are stored in a radiator type device/reservoir, since the water can be circulated through the engine to absorb the heat of combustion, and the transfer of heat will then, enable the combination of the heated water and Ammonia borane to react and release the hydrogen needed for fuel. The addition of new water could be applied to another reservoir before a trip and the resulting hydrogen and water vapor exhaust could be recycled using a special absorption process from the exhaust. While most vapor would be lost to the atmosphere, the resulting absorption could then be recycled into the primary reservoir of water for reuse. Not exactly a closed system, but very close to acceptable for most travel… A limited amount of hydrogen would be used via an alternative tank to begin the process each time, since temperatures would require some time for the radiant heat to raise the catalyst chemical temperature high enough to interact with the water.

  • Mike Round

    I agree! I’ve got my name in on the reservation list for the Nissan Leaf. We have to get away from oil while we can still do it in a sane manor. When we start to run out it is not going to be pretty.

  • Lawrence Weisdorn

    This technology makes compressed hydrogen obsolete and should be commercialized as quickly as possible.

  • sheckyvegas

    You still have to consider the embrittlement factor with hydrogen storage. That’s the real hurdle.

  • Twan

    As far as hydrogen storage, consider metal hydride containers. These turn hydrogen from a gas to a solid for safe storage. No boom if the container in damaged or punctured. I build devices that can attach to any int. combustion or compression motor that, on demand, turn water into hydrogen and oxygen which are fed into the motor. I have a 98 Ford expedition 4.6ltr 4×4 and I get on average 27 to 30 mpg. from this system. I charge $550 for the unit installed. More power, cleaner emissions, and my dollars go much further. I also have a solution for the problem with the efficiency of any and all electric vehicles but i’m holding on to that one till I can check a few more things out.

  • Jack Fisher

    @sheckyvegas – wrong. Embrittlement occurs at relatively high pressures and temperatures. Read more.

    All you other good folks – hydrogen and its ilk are not energy, per se, because you cannot find them anywhere in the form you want them; they are energy storage mechanisms like chemical storage in a battery. The primary energy source, for everything, is the sun. It drives the wind we can harvest, ultimately creates hydrocarbons, and can heat our water and provide direct electricity through PV.

    So figure out a way to live within your means (reduce, simplify, move closer to work, get out of your car, shoot your car), use less energy, and make an effort to get that energy from the sun, not a miracle substance that is man-made with high-quality energy input.


  • Jim Jonas

    Shecky and all are seeing your view and as I read we just need to come to a consensus. We all win when we are working and designing new ideas together. This will happen I hope our Science and Mathematical dynamics help our kids start clean manufacturing.

    Since 2000 much has gone on, we are brining back Cars engine. We are upgrading fuels hey wake up 75 miles to the gallon is not that hard to achieve. We must keep our manufacturing here and not ship this off to Germany. OK they took our steel why not produce titanium frames for cars. Sorry for the length

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