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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: Just hit the brakes there.
By Keeir on 11/1/2011 7:07:04 PM , Rating: 3
When I said current storage technologies, I did not limit it to those in the market/production.

A technology is not "proven" until there are actual production parts. Since we don't even have concept parts for these storage technologies on car, they are not solutions... just potential solutions.

it will beat the pants off of current internal combustion designs in every measurable way.

Your counting you chickens a little early there.

The "best" comparing one is the GM Equinox. Currently it uses 10,000 psi tank with a maximum range of 200 miles. Clearly much worse than the ICE. Its acceleration and general performance is about the same as the ICE. It masses a good 500 lbs more than ICE version. Its get at first glance an impressive 47.6 miles per Kilogram. But once you understand its really a Hybrid on LA04, it becomes less impressive.

I've seen figures as high as 90% for hydrogen fuel cell

WHOA. Slow down there. In automotive applications, I have seen no number higher than 50%, even in Steady State. Performing an actual cycles (such as EPA) its much closer to 40%. A Toyota Prius is 30-33% efficient. A Honda Clarity is 35-38% efficient. A Nissan Leaf is 65% efficient which includes the cost to get the energy into the tank... without that its more like 90% efficient. If at a future time we can harvest the heat in an automotive application, we may be able to break than 50% barrier.

If I want to drive 100% emission free today with Hydrogen over 100 miles I must

Generate 70 kWh of Hydrogen on site from Water using at best 70% efficient. Compress said Hydrogen to 10,000 psi which means I would need an extra 7 kWh of Energy. Total Required Energy would be 107 kWh. If I used a BEV, I could drive up to 300 miles on the same energy. 3! times the amount. And I am being generous to the Hydrogen Car! And guess what? I can do it TODAY not at some future date. All of this technology for the BEV is available today.

RE: Just hit the brakes there.
By Quadrillity on 11/1/2011 8:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
A technology is not "proven" until there are actual production parts

You are right in part. It doesn't have to be on the mass market to be a proven technology. But considering the context here, you are right in saying that it much be mass marketable. I am fully aware of this.
Your counting you chickens a little early there.

Maybe, but I have been stating the "penitential" of the concept rather than the actual products invented thus far. Look how far the gasoline engine has come!
In automotive applications, I have seen no number higher than 50%

This is probably my fault, but what I was referring to is the efficiency of the actual fuel cell itself. Not total power to wheels. That is somewhere in the range of 65% or greater in the lab as compared to 20% of the ICE.

I'm definately not saying that the technology is proven yet, but it is looking pretty good so far. You can't really compare a highly developed concept like the ICE with something that is still in its infancy. But, you made some valid points. Overall, I think hydrogen fuel cells have a really long way to go, and they are also depending on other major breakthroughs in renewable energies as well. Time will tell.

RE: Just hit the brakes there.
By Keeir on 11/2/2011 2:41:03 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't have to be on the mass market to be a proven technology.

To be proven, something must absolutely demonstrate the ability to perform in its target area. For mass-market cars, the storage technology must be shown to work for 5-10 years on an actual mass-market car. The simple fact that no car manufacturer has even created a working concept with these fancy hydrogen storage systems yet should tell you there is a LONG LONG way to before these technologies are proven.

Look how far the gasoline engine has come

Listen, the bar is pretty high. On one hand we have the Leaf and Volt, both of which are in the consumer market right now, that leverage technologies useful in other applications. These technologies (Electric Production and Battery) have a proven history of improvements in cost and size being rolled out to the market place.

The very best current path one could even conceive of for Hydrogen is

NG --Mining--> Tank --Pipeline--> Home --Steam Reform--> Hydrogen --Compressing--> 10,000psi --Transfer--> Car Tank --Fuel Cell-->Forward Motion

Compared to Leaf/Volt

NG --> Mining --> Tank --Pipeline--> Power Station --Combustion--> Electricity --Transfer--> Battery --Motor--> Forward Motion

Steam Reformulation: .7
Power Station: .6
Compression+Transfer: .9
Electric Transfer: .9

The Honda Clarity gets 1.7 Miles/1kWh (LA04). This means for each mile of Clarity Travel, in a best case scenario, .94 kWh of Natural Gas was Required.

The Leaf gets 3.03 Miles/1kWh (EPA post 2008 Combined). For each mile the Leaf travels, only .6 kWh of Natural Gas was Required.

Seems to me that a Mass Market, affordable, BEV or PHEV is beating the best Fuel Cell Car by nearly 40%! Thats a huge number. I am sorry, but I just don't see Hydrogen Fuel Cells as practical for Automobiles, when BEVs and PHEVs are at once further along and high a higher ceiling.

As I have stated before, even if the source of Hydrogen is somehow "free" its probably better to use a Large Steady State Fuel Cell capable of 70-80% efficiency to simply turn the Hydrogen into electricity use it in BEVs than in Fuel Cell Cars.

RE: Just hit the brakes there.
By Quadrillity on 11/2/2011 10:42:20 AM , Rating: 2
To be proven, something must absolutely demonstrate the ability to perform in its target area.

Um, no it does NOT need to be on the mass market to be a proven functional technology. By your standards, something needs to sell X million amount of products in order to be functional? Sales =/= functional, and that's been my point from the beginning. You should have picked up that context clue when I said "in the lab". Now, does it have a long way until it can reach mass market? Absolutely. But that in, no way, means that it isn't or can't be a functional piece of technology. I remember creating simple radio PCB's in my electronics classes that didn't hit mass market; yet they were still functional lol. Don't get me wrong though, I know what you mean. A better word for it is a "useful" technology. But we see things all the time that are WAY too expensive to meet any market, yet they manage to make it there in time. Look at the personal computer for proof of that.

Seems to me that a Mass Market, affordable, BEV or PHEV is beating the best Fuel Cell Car by nearly 40%!

That's because battery technologies are long since proven and profitable. HFC's are still very much in infancy. I think somehow we are still pretty much comparing apples to oranges here when talking about a matured and un-matured tech. Also, lets not forget all of the massive amounts of energy that it takes to make the batteries (mind you there are always new battery technologies coming out every year it seems). In fact, I have heard several estimates that it takes far more energy to make them; more than they can ever put out in their lifetime (which is still pretty short, keep in mind). Then again, current HFC's have a relatively short lifetime too.

Maybe I'll buy into the BEV theory when we are all running on nuclear power complemented with a maximum amount of profitable renewable's. Until then, we are still buying our oil from unstable countries who hate everyone and everything but money. I'm looking forward to any solution that would free us of those binds, really.

RE: Just hit the brakes there.
By Keeir on 11/2/2011 12:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
m, no it does NOT need to be on the mass market to be a proven functional technology.

Did I say that?


If any technology for mass market cars is going to be called "proven" it must be demonstrated to work in that enviroment. IE, please show me a demonstrator car with 50,000+ miles and 5-10 years of use. Not some lab test is ideal conditions. Until there is an ACTUAL car that uses the product, its just potential. For years Carbon Fiber on Commerical Aircraft had potential (50+ years). Now finally we might call it "proven" technology since 1 actual aircraft was delivered to a customer.

I'm looking forward to any solution that would free us of those binds, really.

Whelp, look no further. A family of Volt type with 25, 50, 75 AER would eliminate close to 80% of the oil used for transportation. Using a Lotus Omnivore engine as Range Extender would reduce it even further by allow use of E20/E50/E85 in place of gasoline. (Ethonal can not hope to supply 100% of our transportation needs, but right now it supplies close to 5%. If we reduce the needed gasoline, we could dramatically increase the percentage of ethanol used, further reducing oil usage).

Best part? Not really needing new infrastructure or any new technology. No adjustment in your lifestyle (besides pluging in).

There are challenges. The old outdated power grid needs fixing up. It needed that anyway, and it will happen anyway. Lets just make it stout this time. Power Stations will of course have to increase thier output... by about 15%. But Power Stations typically use Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, or Renewables. Each of these is far better than imported oil.

Battery technology will also have to become lighter and cheaper. Thankfully they are already proven to do so! It might not be until 2020 that a PHEV reachs essentially price parity with an ICE engine, but that date looks much more promising than 2025-2050 timeframe given for HFC

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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