I’ve talked about using ammonia borane as a chemical carrier for hydrogen about a half a dozen times in the past. Now, two universities have made discoveries and innovations that involve ammonia borane as a way to deliver hydrogen on demand.
Take for instance the researchers at the University of Alabama who have teamed up with scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop ammonia borane for the transportation industry. The ammonia borane would be placed into a car, the hydrogen extracted, then run through a fuel cell along with ambient oxygen to create electricity to propel the vehicle.
Once the ammonia borane fuel has been spent, it will need to be recharged with hydrogen and this is just what the researchers have been working on. They have developed a way to recharge the spent fuel with hydrogen using “a single reactor.”
Meanwhile at Purdue University, researchers have discovered a way to use ammonia borane marbles that contain hydrogen and release it on demand. The initial use will have military applications for soldiers in the field using soda can size ammonia borane batteries rather than regular batteries.
The advantage is that ammonia borane weighs less, lasts longer and can be easily recharged. According to Purdue University, “The chemical compound, which is a derivative of ammonia borane, contains many hydrogen molecules locked into a safe, compact and highly portable material.”
Even though the research and development was originally commissioned for use by soldiers to run communications equipment and other electronics in the field, the researchers also believe their discovery can one day be used in fuel cell vehicles as well.