A year and a half ago I talked about how ammonia borane (H3NBH3) was being looked at as a hydrogen-rich chemical carrier for fuel cell applications. This week, small portable fuel cell maker Jadoo Power Systems was given a contract by the U. S. Air Force to develop ammonia borane pellets for hydrogen generation.
Using ammonia borane as a hydrogen carrier reduces weight for military applications by as much as 80-percent. This is quite a benefit to solders carrying portable power packs over long distances or for unmanned aerial vehicles as lower weight will increase flight time and distance.
According to Jadoo (which means ‘magic’ in Hindi), “Ammonia borane is a white solid hydrogen fuel stock that can be contained in pellets about the size of the tip of a person’s small finger. For fuel cell power applications, this means a dramatic improvement in system size and weight while improving energy density and reducing overall system costs over current power system technologies.”
The use of ammonia borane may also be scaled up for use with fuel cell vehicles as well and would solve a key infrastructure problem. Centralized production and transportation of solid pellets would be a much easier task than transporting compressed hydrogen on trucks or through great lengths of pipeline.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve talked about using hydrogen-rich liquid compounds such as hydrogen slurry to help solve the infrastructure puzzle. Add ammonia borane to the list of possible solutions for storage and distribution of hydrogen in a way that is both economical and safety-oriented.