Researchers Discover Doped Aluminum May Make Hydrogen Fuel Cells More Practical
November 1, 2011 2:16 PM
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Aluminum doped with titanium was able to catalyze hydrogen
We already know that hydrogen is a green fuel that can
. 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
for storing hydrogen.
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11/2/2011 1:46:48 PM
Using methane via steam reformation in a PEM or PAFC fuel cell is a much cleaner and more efficient way to produce power than by burning it in a large power generation plant. Only 20-30% less CO2, and no other pollutants at all. It has just been more expensive. The Bloom Box 100 kW SOFC are even more expensive but even more efficient. And SOFC technology has the potential to get much cheaper very quickly - Bloom's customers include FedEx, BofA, Google, Apple, WalMart, and others. They are just one of many global SOFC developers (Ceres, CFCL, SOFCpower, Acumentrics, Topsoe,...) including Lilliputian making a 10-100 watt SOFC on a chip.
"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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