• Mar 3, 2008
Efficiency is a large stumbling block if you're looking for a way to replace gasoline. It's pretty hard to better such an exceptional fuel, and several alternatives show promise but are nagged by inefficiencies or cost, and usually both. Nanotech to the rescue; it may soon be possible to produce your own hydrogen at home cheaply and easily, and NiMH batteries and fuel cells also stand to become less expensive and offer much better performance. With claims like that, QuantumSphere might well be selling fairy dust, but the Portland, Oregon-based company has developed a nanoparticle coating that may end up being the key to making alternative fuels actually viable.
QuantumSphere's catalytic nanoparticle coatings have 1,000 times the surface area of traditional materials, which means that more catalytic action can be housed in the same space. It's the the highly reactive nature of the coatings that allows cheap home electrolysis, also boding well for replacing precious metals like platinum in fuel cells with a coated piece of stainless steel. QuantumSphere's president Kevin Maloney claims that his company's technology makes electrolysers so efficient that they can supply hydrogen on demand while driving. The technology will roll out later this year in a battery that uses a coated cathode for a five-fold increase in energy density, which translates into a 320-percent power gain over alkaline cells. If things go QuantumSphere's way, we won't be paying $100,000 for the Tesla Roadster in a few years, and it will have an even better range than already promised.

[Source: Automotive Design Line]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can't make hydrolysis 1,000 times more efficient, or you'd be getting out more energy than you put in.

      And making hydrogen using hydrolysis "on demand while driving" makes no sense, because hydrolysis is just converting one form of energy into another. If you have that much electricity available in the car, just supply it to the motor directly.

      I think this product is comprised of largely snake oil.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think they are saying it will make it more energy efficent just much cheaper since I assume it costs less than the current catalysts in fuel cells today for the same surface area because of it's effectiveness.
        Of course we don't know if it really works so...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Making "on demand" H2 makes absolutely no sense since it's just getting sent through a fuel cell to make electricity. If this tech nology can improve the power density of a battery, thats great, but the electrolysis business doesn't add up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sadly, it's still a "zero sum gain" or "negative sum gain".

      Can't these folks get it through there thick skulls that hydrogen isn't going to be cheap, unless the U.S. starts building nuke power plants ASAP, like France and China, so we can have a surplus of "grid power", and can use the surplus electicity to crack hydrogen from water, and stockpile hydrogen like the French are doing.

      Also we will be not spewing as much foul radioactive elements into the atmosphere via our 500+ coal burning power plants.

      Yes, coal burning, at it's cleanest, actually creates and spews radioactive elements into the atmosphere in great quantities.

      Nuke power is the safest, cleanest form of electric power. Even the Japanese who know the bad side of nuclear energy are less afraid and less constrained by hysterical greenies from the Sierra Club and their monstrous anti-nuke lobbies in Washington D.C..

      France is freeing themselves from OPEC blackmail, by mass building Nuke power plants. At present, they have surplus power for their grid and are selling and using their surplus to break hydrogen from water for future automotice/industrial clean fuel burning.

      We are spending so much research moneys on these extreme, and involved technologies, when right in front of our faces like a bright neon sign is clean, safe, nuclear energy.

      Also remember that those old used fuel rods can be re-processed and new fuel rods will result from that. The amount of fuel left over is so minute and has a dangerous radioactive life of less than 100 years.

      Spent fuel rods are not a danger. They still can be used via reprocessing.

      Instead we are playing around with nano-tech to make better batteries. This is good research, but we have hydrogen available in infinite quantities if we would only get over the nuclear fear phobia that has been brainwashed into our boomer and later generations because of Green peace, and the Sierra Club and their propaganda that would drive us back to the Stone Age.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seems to me like I read that there isn't enough uranium to support a large scale, long term, shift to nuclear.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not trying to bust chops here but does anyone that commented on this topic have any education or qualifications that make their comments more then inferences? I'm being sincere, I want to know because it seems possible. Heck did anyone know that fiber optics were around at the same exact time as the telephone? They just couldn't figure out how to bend the glass.......... Soo...
        • 6 Years Ago
        nikola:
        It's "drivel", not "dribble".

        And am I supposed to instead defer to your obvious huge mass of knowledge since you share your handle with a dead guy who all but invented AC?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sadly no. Most of these cynical posters have been around-the-block so to speak, they are generally negative, sarcastic, and hostile to anything that deviates beyond the standard GM product. Even if they said they had professional background I wouldn't believe them.

        The way they talk you'd think they already invented the product and found it didn't work, but in fact most of them are just spouting off dribble they saw posted by someone else or read in a magazine. maybe its the winter blues.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If there's one thing I've learned in all my years in economics its that something is never cheap and available when only one company produces it. So we now have a Standard Oil of hydrogen fuel.
      • 6 Years Ago
      See you have a big battery pack that runs the electrolysis machine to make the hydrogen to run the engine. Then you plug the car back in to recharge it. See it's better than a hydrogen car because you don't need filling stations and better than an electric car because it uses hydrogen.

      Currently every argument about electric or hydrogen cars just seems stupid. Hopefully this technology can make battery packs smaller and more efficient for electric cars. I read about this technology before, problem is that while efficiency goes up the number of recharge cycles goes down. These batteries just do not last as long so you will have to replace the packs more often.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Since when do people need any qualifications to post on a blog? It's a BLOG! It's free and open commentary, information, and opinion. If you can dispute comments, why can't others dispute an article or technology?

      Snake oil comes packaged in press releases like this often enough, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to dispute claims of physics defying technology (AKA perpetual motion machines and energy from thin air).

      That said, if EVERYONE would just RTFA before posting, you might actually have an idea if it's seemingly snake oil or seemingly viable. In this case, the core technology sounds viable. For instance, they never claimed 1000x efficiency, they said 1000x surface area of "traditional materials" (whatever that means), but also said it would be 85% efficient for electrolysis (current systems are between 50-70% with a theoretical max of 80-94%). If they can get up to 96% (for both electrolysis and fuel cell conversion) like they are targeting, they will be competitive with most lithium ion batteries (for efficiency, but who knows about total cost, energy density, or power density).

      Their little comment about producing hydrogen on-demand from a tank of water in your car "while you drive" was definitely snake-oily though (maybe their president Kevin Maloney is full-o-baloney just to pump up investors). Maybe water is an easy storage medium without needing high-PSI tanks, but you'd have a couple extra energy conversions (vs. just using power straight from the on-board batteries), and a lot of extra weight, so it just doesn't make sense. Maybe they (QuantumSphere Inc.) can elaborate.
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds good, hope they aren't just blowing smoke to raise capital and actually have the ability to deliver on their claims in real world products
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