Thursday, April 11, 2013

New fuel for H2FC - Hydrogen-tank free

A technology eliminating the need of the hydrogen-tank for FCVs (fuel cell vehicles).  The technology provides no necessity of a large-scale and money consuming infrastructure for hydrogen stations.

Developed byLab group led by Shinichi Hoshino (associate professor), Faculty of Engineering Tokyo University of Science.

Sodium borohydride (NaBH4) is used for the fuel for the hydrogen fuel cell (H2FC).  It is powdery. NaBH4 is hydrolyzed to generate hydrogen at normal temperature and pressure.  In the hydrolyzing process, sodium borohydride (dioxidized) as by-product is generated.  This sticks to the catalyst to stop the reaction.  A centrifugation mechanism was introduced to successfully solve this problem.  The new fuel cell is still in the lab stage.  In the test an automobile powered by the NaBH4 fuel cell (NaBH4 FC) successfully run around 1 Km. 

The energy density of NaBH4 is high, 25 Mega joule/liter.  It is about 5 times as high as that of the 70 MPa compressed hydrogen.  Theoretically, the new fuel cell is capable of driving the car a distance of 500 km by the NaBH4 of 20 kg.  NaBH4, which is solid state at normal temperature, is more easily handled than hydrogen.  NaBH4 generates heat in the hydrolyzing process.  If the heat could be utilized, the energy density of NaBH4 is comparable with that of gasoline.  Major problems of the NaBH4 FC to be solved are 1) how to recover the by-product and 2) how to reduce the adverse effect of the returning of the by-product to the fuel on the energy efficiency.  >> More

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