Surely A Large Human
Date registered: Jun 2006
Vehicle: '08 C219
Location: Between Earth and Mars
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Quoted: 640 Post(s)
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In what looks like an example of modern-day alchemy, scientists at Purdue University in Indiana have come up with a way of turning water in hydrogen using an aluminum alloy. If the process is replicable on a large scale, it could have a massive impact on the market for hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars, which could use the technology as a source of on-board hydrogen generation.
The process relies on the use of aluminum pellets, which are mixed into liquid gallium (a metal that liquefies at just over room temperature) to produce a liquid aluminum-gallium. When water is added to the compound, the aluminum reacts with the oxygen to form a gel as well as free-standing hydrogen, which can be collected and used to power a fuel cell. According to EDN, an Indiana-based start-up already has a license to commercialize the technology.
Many of the major auto makers including Honda, and General Motors, have invested heavily in developing fuel cell-powered cars. However, to date hydrogen has faced significant obstacles to becoming a viable alternative to gasoline, principally the expensive (and often carbon-fueled) process of isolating it, and the lack of a fueling infrastructure. The Purdue development has the potential to address both of these issues.
The Purdue announcement is the latest development in the race to create sustainable, on-demand sources of hydrogen. Earlier this year, a start up company called Ecotality announced that it had enlisted the help of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop an advanced hydrogen-production process using magnesium and water.
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