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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-09-14 02:11
  Subject:   [/.] Decent hydrogen storage, at last! Borohydride and water.
  Music:Chemlab - Burnout at the Hydrogen Bar

Chemist Don Gervasio and colleague Sonja Tasic, both at Arizona State University in the US, set out to develop a fuel cell that would generate more electricity for its weight than the best batteries, and would also work at room temperature.

Gervasio's solution was to use the alkaline compound borohydride. A 30% solution of borohydride in water actually contains one-third more hydrogen than the same volume of liquid hydrogen. "The difference is that the borohydride is at room temperature, and it's stable, non-toxic and cost-effective," Gervasio says. The borohydride solution releases its hydrogen as it flows over a catalyst made of ruthenium. The hydrogen passes through a membrane and combines with oxygen in the fuel cell, generating electricity and waste water.

Theoretically, this could achieve an energy density up to about 2200 watt-hours per litre Gervasio says, compared to 200 watt-hours per litre for a lithium polymer battery.


2000 Wh/kg! Now that's some serious improvement in energy density. The catalyst packs are going to be expensive as hell, but aside from that this sounds amazing.
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2006-09-14 03:28 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
It does look good. Let's see if the can lock it down in production.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-09-14 03:41 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Going to be in the lab for at least a little while longer, methinks...
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  User: randomchris
  Date: 2006-09-14 07:07 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
It also means that you're not messing with explosive liquid hydrogen, which is good.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-09-14 08:16 (UTC)
  Subject:   And best of all...
A 30% solution of borohydride in water actually contains one-third more hydrogen than the same volume of liquid hydrogen.

Can you believe that? It's a denser storage medium than actual liquid hydrogen!
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Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2006-09-14 09:03 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: And best of all...
Liquid hydrogen has low density, so instead of dealing with tiny H2 molecules at great distances from each other you bind four hydrogen atoms with boron, add sodium ion, and surround it with water. Density of the liquid is much higher, but hydrogen atoms are still more densely packed than if they were in H2 molecules.

Also a cheaper fuel cell version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_borohydride_fuel_cell
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Willow: Cartoon Willow
  User: willow_red
  Date: 2006-09-14 14:10 (UTC)
  Subject:   Re: And best of all...
Keyword:Cartoon Willow
This should also help prevent hydrogen from diffusing though its container and weakening the material, not to mention getting to lose the cryogenic temperatures!
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May 2015