Print 60 comment(s) - last by Kurz.. on Nov 4 at 11:57 AM

Aluminum doped with titanium was able to catalyze hydrogen

We already know that hydrogen is a green fuel that can power automobiles. The catch is that hydrogen is dangerous to store both at fueling stations and aboard the vehicle. The catalyst material used in a hydrogen fuel cell is often platinum or other rare and very expensive metal. A team of researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas and Washington State University think that they may have found a much cheaper catalyst material to advance the adoption of fuel cell technology.
The new catalyst material that the researchers are investigating is a doped aluminum alloy surface. The aluminum alloy is doped with titanium. The titanium is used sparingly in the new catalyst material. 
Using controlled temperatures and pressures the team studied the titanium doped aluminum surface searching for signs of catalytic reactions taking place near the titanium atoms. To discover the catalytic reaction the team used the stereoscopic signature of carbon monoxide added to the test to specifically help locate signs of a reaction.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class hydrogen fuel cell vehicle 

"We've combined a novel infrared reflection absorption-based surface analysis method and first principles-based predictive modeling of catalytic efficiencies and spectral response, in which a carbon monoxide molecule is used as a probe to identify hydrogen activation on single-crystal aluminum surfaces containing catalytic dopants," says lead researcher Yves J. Chabal of the University of Texas at Dallas.
The titanium added to the aluminum advances the process by helping hydrogen bind to aluminum to form aluminum hydride. When used as a fuel storage device, aluminum hydride could be made to release the hydrogen stores it holds by raising the temperature of the storage medium.
Other researchers have been studying composite materials for storing hydrogen.

Source: Eurekalert

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RE: Hmmm
By Aikouka on 11/1/2011 5:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you (and everyone else) for the information on methods for harvesting hydrogen. :)

I've always had a bit of fondness toward hydrogen, because of how the entire reaction is very cyclic (I think that's an accurate word...). I think it'd be interesting if the day came when we could fill our car with water, it separates the hydrogen, uses it for the reaction, and the byproduct of the reaction (water) goes back in the fuel tank. Of course this isn't going to be perpetual, and I have no idea when such a thing would be feasible, but it is an interesting concept. :)

RE: Hmmm
By Quadrillity on 11/1/2011 5:24:23 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, the only hindrance right now is a lack of development. What little they have worked on it (and I mean in terms of total, world wide collaborative research) has yielded very promising breakthroughs.

But, the single largest obstacle right now is invested interest in oil based transportation. Hydrogen would be so much of a good thing that it would devastate our economies (sounds stupid, but it's true). Think of how many jobs would be instantly lost if the only moving parts of a vehicle were the electric drive-train? Cars would probably cost a LOT less too.

I'm starting to sound a little bit like a hippy now, so I'll stop while I'm ahead :D

RE: Hmmm
By Kurz on 11/2/2011 9:52:37 AM , Rating: 2
It wont devastate anything... since the money and focus of our economy will just shift since now we have a more efficient system. If anything our economy will improve and more people (especially the poor) will have access to more energy.

Though I will argue that Hydrogen is currently less efficient what we have currently. It only will become more efficient when it can compete price wise with Oil. Hence why we have a system based on money, it makes it easy to tell when technology has progress far enough for it to replace what we currently been using.

RE: Hmmm
By senecarr on 11/3/2011 10:50:14 AM , Rating: 2
Long term it would help our economy, certainly. I believe the original poster is referring more the short term pains that would happen, and how it would affect those who hold a lot of power right now (people in oil industries).
I'm of the belief that we could get off oil and thus remove our involvement in the Middle East if we spent a fraction of our budget that goes into the military into a lot of these alternative technologies.

RE: Hmmm
By Kurz on 11/4/2011 11:57:44 AM , Rating: 2
The government choosing Winners and Losers is more devasting to the progress of our technology. There are so many hopeful technologies that can make it to the consumer market. However, if it doesn't get government funding its seen as a waste of time and effort.

Though we can both agree our meddling in the world needs to end.

RE: Hmmm
By Solandri on 11/1/2011 8:51:13 PM , Rating: 2
Being cyclical is not enough. The problem is hysteresis. The water->hydrogen step is the reverse of the hydrogen->water step, but it has a large amount of hysteresis. That is, there's a large gap between the energy put into the first step, and the energy given off in the second step.

Currently the hysteresis is enough to make hydrogen fuel cells no more efficient or only very slightly more efficient than an ICE.

RE: Hmmm
By tng on 11/2/2011 11:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
Being cyclical is not enough.
I understand your point, but if the HFC can be developed to the point where it is just as efficient as the ICE, then the point is the cycle. I don't think that they are there yet myself, but it is good to see people are still working on it, pure EVs will only go so far I think.

The pollution alone would favor the HFC.

RE: Hmmm
By Kurz on 11/2/2011 11:23:19 AM , Rating: 2
EV's have a more promising future than HFC.

RE: Hmmm
By tng on 11/3/2011 9:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
You are assuming that battery tech will make an advance or what is needed is a leap forward. I don't (personally) see that happening.

However there is not nearly the research money invested in Hydrogen Fuel Cells as there is in battery tech. The chances of a small advance in HFC research making them practical is a better bet than a leap forward in battery technology.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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