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Hydrogen On-Demand Discovery May 20, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Economy & Business, Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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New process generates hydrogen from aluminum alloy to run engines, fuel cells
A Purdue University engineer has developed a method that uses an aluminum alloy to extract hydrogen from water for running fuel cells or internal combustion engines, and the technique could be used to replace gasoline.

“I was cleaning a crucible containing liquid alloys of gallium and aluminum,” Woodall said. “When I added water to this alloy – talk about a discovery – there was a violent poof. I went to my office and worked out the reaction in a couple of hours to figure out what had happened. When aluminum atoms in the liquid alloy come into contact with water, they react, splitting the water and producing hydrogen and aluminum oxide.

“Gallium is critical because it melts at low temperature and readily dissolves aluminum, and it renders the aluminum in the solid pellets reactive with water. This was a totally surprising discovery, since it is well known that pure solid aluminum does not readily react with water.”

The waste products are gallium and aluminum oxide, also called alumina. Combusting hydrogen in an engine produces only water as waste.

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