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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: Hmmm
By JediJeb on 11/2/2011 5:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
As for Biofuels, I find it very disturbing that nobody addresses the problem that our fresh water supplies are already maxed out. There is no fresh water to supply the enormous requirements that growing biofuels on a significant scale would require. Nor is soil erosion losses addressed. To achieve economical yields per acre requires intensive tilling and soil loss rates at 1 inch per 10-20 years. Topsoil replacement rates are around 1 inch in 500 years. It's sacrificing our future farm land for fuel, it's not sustainable. If you go with covered aquaculture your infrastructure costs go up and you might as well go with solar panels. The only viable biofuels growth areas seem to be the oceans.

I'm not sure about the fresh water supply being maxed out. Maybe in certain areas but not everywhere. You could simply build offshore structures out past the point where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, then pump fresh water from the river, through the biofuel growing platform with the excess going into the Gulf, it would still end up at the same place only take a different course.

Also if you are using algae for the biofuel production then there shouldn't be any problem with topsoil erosion, since that type of facility can be placed anywhere, on an offshore platform, on rocky less fertile ground, or even on rooftops of industrial plants. If you place an algae biofuel plant on top of a building you would shade the building by capturing the sunlight used to produce the fuel which would lower the energy needed to cool the building. It will take a little creative thinking but overall I believe biofuels can be made to work without too large an impact on the environment.

RE: Hmmm
By Quadrillity on 11/2/2011 6:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, algae is looking really good right about now.

RE: Hmmm
By m51 on 11/2/2011 9:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
The problem lies in the sheer scale of biofuel production needed. Energy capture and storage by plants is very low in efficiency. Coupled with the enormous fuel requirements we have dictates fresh water requirements far beyond any available supply. I agree that algae has probably the best potential of the biofuels and that seawater based algae may be the only potentially workable direction for biofuel production.

Unfortunately with conversion efficiencies so low, area requirements so large, and the energy and materials costs to harvest and economically extract from such a low density energy source the problems are formidable.

There are many alternative energy sources that are technically feasible, but very few of those are economically feasible, and even fewer can be accommodated within our sustainable resource limits. Any workable solution must meet all three requirements. Biofuels may supply a small percentage of the energy puzzle, but it currently doesn't look to good at large scales.

It's a difficult problem with no clear winning answers, and anybody who tells you there is a clear solution is just ignorant of the over all picture. The clear answers evaporate before you when you look into the details.

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