Safe-Handling Hydrogen Generator Developed

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Description And Advantages

A safe, portable, hydrogen gas generator has been developed which makes high-purity hydrogen gas by combining cobalt, ruthenium or other transition metal catalysts with an aqueous alkaline solution of sodium borohydride (NaBH+). Scientists at Millennium Coil LLC of Eatontown, New Jersey have developed the generator.

According to Steven Amendola, vice president of research and development, These non-flammable sodium borohydride (NaBH+) solutions are aim-stable and can be kept in open beakers at room temperature. He added that When these solutions contact the high surface area of the catalyst, a rapid hydrolysis reaction starts generating hydrogen gas; withdraw the catalyst and the reaction stops, he said.

The difference between Millennium Cell s hydrogen-generating method and hydrogen-reforming methods is one of exothermic versus endothermic reactions, Amendola informed.

Reformers require heat, which must come from a starter fuel or from the hydrogen itself. As much as 20 per cent of the energy goes into maintaining an endothermic reaction, adding to a reformer s cost and complexity. Millennium Cells exothermic generator meets its heat need as the reaction proceeds according to a report in Mechanical Engineering.

Hydrogen generation rates are a function of the amount of catalyst, the concentration of the NaBH+ solution and the temperature, Amendola said. Millennium Cell has generated at 25 degree Celsius more than 60 ml of hydrogen gas per second, per gram of ruthenium catalyst. We have actually generated H2 from these solutions at 0 degree Celsius, boasted he.

The company has installed one of the generators in a Ford explorer on an experimental basis. The sport utility vehicle will use a hydrogen-burning, two-cylinder, internal combustion engine to charge a stack of 12 Optima batteries. The batteries will turn a DC motor as the final drive. This is the first example ot a hydrogen-powered series hybrid vehicle that uses an on-board non-polluting hydrogen generator.


May, 2001