Do You Know That Aluminum Can Be Used As a Hydrogen Source for Fuel Cells?
6 Aug, 2007 11:35 am
Metal Al has been widely used in industry and daily life because of its light weight and good oxidation resistance. However, recent findings by Zhen-Yan Deng et al. show that metal Al powder could completely react with water and generate hydrogen at room temperature under atmospheric pressure after surface modifications; this opens a new, cost-efficient way of supplying hydrogen for portable fuel cells.
Deng et al. used a simple ceramic processing procedure to modify the surfaces of Al powder and found that modified Al powder could completely react with water and generate 4.8 wt% H2 under ambient condition. Aluminum is cheaper in comparison to other hydrides and requires no expensive catalysts in order to react with water. Therefore, the modified aluminum powder is a more economically viable material to generate hydrogen for the use of portable fuel cells. This will make fuel cells a more practical and realistic option in many applications.
Moreover, Deng et al. also found that pure Al powder could completely react with water and generate 3.7 wt% H2 at a temperature of above 40°C under a low vacuum at 0.03 atmospheric pressure. This will also be a promising choice for fuel cell bus' or other large vehicles to use cheap pure Al powder as a hydrogen source, because it is possible and affordable to add a vacuum pump in them.
1) Zhen-Yan Deng, et al. Physicochemical Mechanism for the Continuous Reaction of -Al2O3 Modified Al Powder with Water, J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 90?2007) 1521526.
2) Zhen-Yan Deng, et al. Temperature Effect on Hydrogen Generation by the Reaction of -Al2O3-Modified Al Powder with Distilled Water, J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 88  2975977 (2005).
3) Zhen-Yan Deng, et al. Modification of Al Particle Surfaces by -Al2O3 and Its Effect on the Corrosion Behavior of Al, J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 88  97779 (2005).