Purdue: on-demand hydrogen from aluminum, gallium and water

Anybody still interested in seeing a car run on water? Yeah, me too. We don't mean a car with an engine running on steam, either; we are talking about hydrogen. So far, we've seen nothing that leads us to believe that hydrogen can be separated from water quickly or efficiently enough to extract the amount of hydrogen needed to run a fuel cell or a hydrogen-powered engine. Researchers at Purdue seem to think that they have a potential breakthrough on their hands, though. Using just aluminum, gallium and water, the researchers can envision everything from cars to submarines powered by clean hydrogen from water using this safe, efficient process. Maybe.

What do we mean by maybe? The potential problem could be in the aluminum. Scientists have known for a long time that hydrogen could be extracted using a process like this. The breakthrough that Purdue is touting is in the gallium, which protects the layer of aluminum below the oxidation. This means that the process still uses up the source aluminum. The question which needs to be answered now is how much aluminum is being used, and how can it be recovered. Nanotechnology seems to be key to the process that Purdue is using to make this happen, as well as the technique to hopefully recycle the aluminum used in the process. We look forward to seeing what else the researchers from Purdue are able to show.

[Source: Purdue via Engadget]

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