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Ammonia or Aluminum May Be Key to Hydrogen Production

I’ve talked many times about either using ammonia or aluminum compounds as a chemical carrier for hydrogen and large scale production of H2 gas. Now scientists in separate facilities are excited about their findings in both of these areas.

Researchers at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have discovered that combining ammonia borane (H3NBH3), a hydrogen-rich chemical compound, with clusters of rhodium and other atoms provide a structure where the hydrogen can be easily released.

Scientists in many different research facilities have been working on ways to store a hydrogen-rich inert chemical compound in cars avoiding the safety issues of using compressed hydrogen gas. The problem has always been to find ways to easily and effectively dislodge the hydrogen atoms at the molecular level at ambient temperatures and pressure.

By taking X-rays of the catalyst plus ammonia borane in action plus other molecular level experiments, the scientists believe they have found a safe and effective method to pluck the hydrogen atoms off the larger molecule.

Now, on the aluminum and hydrogen front, AlumiFuel Power Corporation is working with the military in some early stage developmental research. AlumiFuel uses aluminum, water and other proprietary chemicals to create hydrogen on demand.

Right now the company is working with the military in creating hydrogen on demand for weather balloons. In the past, AlumiFuel has also done extensive research and development on using their proprietary formula to power H2 cars and vehicles as well.

If scientists keep plugging away on the ammonia and aluminum research fronts it’s only a matter of time until we have an environmentally friendly method to produce hydrogen on a large scale.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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4 comments

  1. How much aluminum and at what cost to the environment to mine and process Bauxite. What countries does it come from…. or will we recycle soda cans??? I like it but I have just read articles on mining of bauxite and it ain’t purdy.

  2. admin

    It is my understanding that once the water, aluminum and other chemicals combine to form hydrogen and oxygen, this process can be repeated many times with little degradation.

    Here’s another article on combining aluminum, gallium and water for creating hydrogen:

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/index.php/hydrogen-fuel-production/aluminum-and-water-create-hydrogen-according-to-penn-state/

  3. I’m not sure the “environmentally friendly” tag can be hung on either ammonia or aluminum production.

    Ammonia is made from hydrogen. Aluminum is (as described in post above) not so clean.

    These are storage technologies, not “clean production” solutions.

  4. admin

    Ammonia can come from renewable resources such as farm animal waste and vegetation and aluminum can come from recycling.

    I’ve written a lot about both:

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/?s=ammonia

    http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/?s=aluminum

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