A new compact and cost-effective hydrogen-gas generator has been made that is well suited for supplying hydrogen to a fuel-cell for providing base electrical power to hand-carried appliances. This hydrogen-generator operates at room temperature, ambient pressure and is orientation-independent. The hydrogen-gas is generated by the heterogeneous catalytic hydrolysis of aqueous alkaline borohydride solution as it flows into a micro-reactor. This reactor has a membrane as one wall. Using the membrane keeps the liquid in the reactor, but allows the hydrogen-gas to pass out of the reactor to a fuel-cell anode. Aqueous alkaline 30 wt% borohydride solution is safe and promotes long application life, because this solution is non-toxic, non-flammable, and is a high energy-density (≥2200 W-h per liter or per kilogram) hydrogen-storage solution. The hydrogen is released from this storage-solution only when it passes over the solid catalyst surface in the reactor, so controlling the flow of the solution over the catalyst controls the rate of hydrogen-gas generation. This allows hydrogen generation to be matched to hydrogen consumption in the fuel-cell, so there is virtually no free hydrogen-gas during power generation. A hydrogen-generator scaled for a system to provide about 10 W electrical power is described here. However, the technology is expected to be scalable for systems providing power spanning from 1 W to kW levels.
- Portable power
- Storage solution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering