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New Generation of Hydrogen Fuel Cells Powers Up 191

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the juiced dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A safer and more practical way of storing and releasing hydrogen, discovered by two Arizona State University researchers, could lead to a new type of fuel cell capable of packing 10 times more energy. The key is apparently using the alkaline compound borohydride — 'a 30% solution of borohydride in water actually contains one-third more hydrogen than the same volume of liquid hydrogen.'"
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New Generation of Hydrogen Fuel Cells Powers Up

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  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#16096740) Homepage
    Wiki has a decent write up on NaBH4 [wikipedia.org] for those interested and mentions the applicability to Fuel Cells.

    This is still in the research/development phase as per the article "Dr. Gervasio recognises that there are still many steps between his prototype and a competitively priced, off-the-shelf, battery-sized fuel cell. Nevertheless, he believes they could appear in power-hungry devices such as laptops, camcorders, and radios within five years." So until then, I'll be using CnH2n+2 to mow my lawn. [watching-grass-grow.com]
    • by palapa (69874) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:33PM (#16096830)
      Anhydrous ammonia has a hydrogen density of 0.12 gm/cm^3, compared to liquid hydrogen with a density of 0.07 gm/cm^3. In addition, ammonia is easy to reform for use in a fuel cell. Ammonia is already heavily distributed for agriculture, it volatilizes off as a lighter than air gas, it contains no carbon, and finding leaks is easy! The down side to either hydrogen-boride or ammonia is that they're not energy sources in themselves, but function (like a battery) as a convenient way to store energy.
      • by Smidge204 (605297) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:21PM (#16097304) Journal
        Diesel fuel has a hydrogen density of about 0.23 gm/cm^3, is a stable liquid at room temperature, and is noncorrosive (both Sodium Borohydride and Ammonia are corrosive). Biodiesel is roughly the same properties with the added benefit of being sulphur-free, cleaner burning (it's a naturally "oxygenated" fuel), biodegradable and renewable.

        The best, though, is that you can use any mixture of the two in existing vehicles with zero modifications* using the existing fuel storage, distribution and dispensing infrastructure.

        (* Rich Biodiesel blends may require additives or fuel preheaters for cold weather climates to prevent clouding.)
        =Smidge=
        • by srussell (39342)

          Biodiesel is roughly the same properties with the added benefit of being sulphur-free, cleaner burning (it's a naturally "oxygenated" fuel), biodegradable and renewable.

          You're right! Let me throw some of that into my ICE-powered laptop and fire it right up...

          Note that the very first sentence of TFA is:

          Within a few years, laptops and other energy-guzzling portable devices could run on long-lasting, easily recharged fuel cells based on a safe and practical new way of storing and releasing hydrogen.

          --- S

          • by Smidge204 (605297)
            Gee golly! If only there was a fuel cell technology [llnl.gov] that could use something other than pure hydrogen. Or if it must be hydrogen, maybe if there was a way to use the otherwise dense hydrogen-storing capability of readily available and stable hydrocarbon fuels [www.cea.fr] as a source... hmmmmmm...

            But no, it's much too much fun to just fly off the handle isn't it?

            Preemptive rebuttal: Don't bitch about temperatures and scalability of the above references. That's what research is for. Point is "hydrogen" is too much of a b
        • by Goonie (8651) *
          ...and you'd pretty much have to devote every piece of arable land in the United States to growing it to get enough for the US's vehicle fleet. Which wouldn't leave much for little things, like, um, food.

          Biodiesel from fast-growing algae might be a goer. Biodiesel from conventional crops is a stunt.

          • Biodiesel from fast-growing algae might be a goer. Biodiesel from conventional crops is a stunt.

            No, it might be a pain to get going, and it may require changes to be made, but it's not a stunt...

            Proposing cars running on 100% hydrogen is a stunt... Actually, hydrogen power isn't a stunt, it's a scam. It's 20 years out at the least, which is long enough for all of the current oil execs to retire (which is long enough for them).

            http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=6555 [yale.edu]
            http://www.worldwatch.org/nod [worldwatch.org]

      • I am thinking that on a first pass, any liquid that has hydrogen in it is worthy of consideration for fuel cell technology study. But the solution I am looking for is:
        0. Lights go dim in my house; Usage is about 1 Kilo Watt Hour per month.
        1. I go to some water source.
        2. Get a container of water.
        3. Pour the water through some type of Heat based Solar and/or Wind fractionator filter device.
        4. The filtered water is piped to some type of catalyst oriented Slitter/Generator device.
        5. Slitter/Generator device jo
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AtomicBomb (173897)
        On the other hand, if you are talking about fuel cell for laptop, you don't really want to use anhydrous ammonia. It is damned lethal esp in confined space (read: in aircraft)... Many people seem to overlook the danger of ammnonia because they've handled diluted (5-10%) ammnonia solution at home. But, in gaseous form, it is even more toxic than carbon monoxide. The concentration that is Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) for ammmonia is 500ppm [cdc.gov] whereas it is 1200ppm [cdc.gov] for carbon monoxide.

        The
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info AT devinmoore DOT com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#16096743) Homepage Journal
    curiously all research lost in a massive fire when a gasoline tanker truck collided with the research building, Big Oil was unavailable for comment.
    • Damn you are right... gasoline is so flammable that we must move on to a (slightly) more stable fuel. Big Oil's plan has failed mwahahaha.
  • Carbon (Score:4, Funny)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:25PM (#16096747)
    No one ever seems to mention this, but you can get some remarkably high energy capacity and relative stability (it's not going to blow up without a trigger) by using hydrogen-carbon compounds.

    Maybe I'm just a kook, but some serious work ought to go towards that sort of research, I think.
    • Re:Carbon (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:40PM (#16096904) Homepage
      You mean like the billions of dollars each year paid for by oil companies?

      Well for one thing, Sodium borohydride the fuel we are discussing has a HIGHER energy capacity then hydrogen-carbon compounds and has a HIGHER stability - less likely to burn).

      It is in most cases a far better fuel than hydrogen-carbon compounds like gasoline.

      The only reason we use gasoline is that oil is, despite new issues, still very plentiful. As we use it up, that will change.

      • by Nutria (679911)
        The only reason we use gasoline is that oil is, despite new issues, still very plentiful. As we use it up, that will change.

        We use gasoline because it's habit. Most new cars in Europe are diesel-powered.

        And Big Oil makes a lot of diesel oil.

    • Energy density (Score:5, Interesting)

      by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:00PM (#16097116) Homepage Journal

      In the article, they state the energy density of this new fuel is 600 watt hours / litre, with the goal of eventually getting it up to 2200.

      According to wikipedia, gasoline has an energy density of 32 megajoules per litre, which if I did the conversion right, comes out to about 8890 watt hours / litre. This sounds like a big difference until you consider that gas engines are typically somewhere around %20-30 efficient. It appears they may some day make a fuel that's roughly equivalent to gasoline.

      • Re:Energy density (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @02:06PM (#16097717) Journal
        You know, hydrogen injection does wonderful things for diesel motors.

        Instead of going 100% hydrogen or 100% [fossil fuel], you get more power & lower emission by running a combination.

        Right now there is at least one company that sells a kit for large diesels which electrolyzes hydrogen (from water) on the spot & injects it along with the diesel fuel.

        That system provides relatively small amounts of hydrogen, but this researcher [abc.net.au] claims 60:40 hydrogen:diesel hits the sweet spot..
        • I would be very careful about burning vast amounts of pure hydrogen in a modern IC engine. It's well know that after running an engine on pure hydrogen for X amount of miles (kilometers), piston rings crack and valves chip. This happens because of a process known as hydrogen embrittlement.
      • Interesting, so how efficient will the new engines be? Your statement as written seems to contemplate an 80% efficient hydro engine comparing favorably with a worst-case 20% efficient petrol engine...this sounds kind of unrealistic.
        • by Andy Dodd (701)
          Guess what? Since fuel cells directly convert chemical energy into electrical energy, they are far more efficient than a combustion engine that is limited by the laws of thermodynamics (i.e. the process is chemical energy -> thermal energy -> mechanical or thermal energy). I believe I've seen specifications indicating that fuel cells can achieve at least 50% efficiency, of not more. (The table on Wikipedia confirms this - some efficiencies are as high as 70%).

          The idea is not that sodium borohydride
        • by njh (24312)
          Best case for locomotion ICE is around 15% in practice. Stationary engines and maritime engines can get higher efficiencies. Note that engine efficiency is often quoted in % of carnot efficiency (multiply by say 40% for steel cylinders).
      • I went through a similar process, and came up with similar numbers (8864 watt-hrs/liter). One wonders how efficient this borohydride fuel cell is.

        One would expect a fuel cell to be a lot lighter than a cast-iron engine block, but then electric motors are not exactly light weight. The best things about the prospect of using this in an automotive context is that

        1) It deals very nicely with the carbon emissions issue (although to properly deal with greenhouse gas emissions, one would have to capture the wate
  • by Dimes (10216) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:25PM (#16096749) Homepage
    Ok, I am confused.....or ignorant.

    How does a mixture of Borohydride(not pure hydrogen) and Water(which is already only 2/3 hy
    drogen) end up being more hydrogen than Liquid Hydrogen? Isn't Liquid Hydrogen pure hydrogen?

    If I am ignorant, educate me....but this sorta reminds me of the line from Anchorman:

    "60% of the time it works 100% of the time"

    Help me understand.

    dimes
    • by Pyromage (19360)
      Liquid hydrogen is of relatively low density. That's why it has to be under pressure to even be liquid. Water, on the other hand, is solid and fairly dense at room temperature.

      I don't know the math behind it, but by starting from something that's naturally denser it seems at least possible to have more hydrogen in it. It'll probably weigh more.

      Can anyone spot-check this for sanity?
      • by OverlordQ (264228) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:37PM (#16096876) Journal
        Water, on the other hand, is solid and fairly dense at room temperature.
        Can anyone spot-check this for sanity?

        I dont know about you, but room temperature around here is a bit more then 0C, so 'round here our water is in it's liquid form at room temperature.
        • by dgatwood (11270)

          Pyromage lives in Siberia, you insensitive clod!

        • I dont know about you, but room temperature around here is a bit more then 0C, so 'round here our water is in it's liquid form at room temperature.

          Exactly. Water is actually more dense in liquid form than solid form.
      • Liquid hydrogen is of relatively low density. That's why it has to be under pressure to even be liquid.

        Ignoring the solid-water gaffe (assuming your air-conditioning simply isn't turned down too low...)

        Liquid hydrogen has to be cold. It's not like, say, propane or butane which will liquefy under pressure even at room temperature - liquid hydrogen's boiling point is sufficiently low that if you pressurise the gas at room temperature, all you get is a pressurised gas.

        Useful for storing smaller quantities of h
    • Although I am not familiar with the chemistry of this research, it is quite possible to pack inordinate amounts of compounds in a solution. For instance, 1 ml (1 g) of water can hold 99 g of the compound used to develop film. The space around molecules in a solution can vary quite a bit, and if the geometries of the solute and solvent match very well to the forces between them, the wasted space can be decreased, increasing the concentration of the solution.
    • How does a mixture of Borohydride(not pure hydrogen) and Water(which is already only 2/3 hy
      drogen) end up being more hydrogen than Liquid Hydrogen? Isn't Liquid Hydrogen pure hydrogen?


      They're saying there's more Hydrogen in the mixture per unit volume then pure hydrogen. So I'm guessing (most likely incorrectly) that their substance has a higher density then liquid hydrogen. Higher density => More 'Stuff' per volume => More Hydrogen.

      Course I could be wrong.
    • by LotsOfPhil (982823) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:35PM (#16096855)
      Liquid H2 is not very dense at all. It's density is .068 g/mL (compared to water, which is 1 g/mL). When the borohydride is added to water, you get NaBO2 and 4 H2 molecules.
    • by Your Pal Dave (33229) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:36PM (#16096865)
      They're probably figuring it on a volumetric basis. Liquid hydrogen is not very dense (71 g/l). I would imagine this solution would be greater than water (1000 g/l). In a mobile application the volume of the fuel would be very important, and storing LH2 is non-trivial due to the temperatures and pressures involved.
    • by MustardMan (52102)
      I'm not immediately familiar with the stuff in question, but I'n guessing it's a simple matter of densities. You're dumping a solid powder made up of slightly complicated molecules into a liquid made of very simple molecules. The density of that solid is likely quite a bit higher than that of water or liquid hydrogen.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Liquid Hydrogen is not very dense. The attractive forces that pull it together to form a liquid are weak and only effective a low temperatures. When hydrogen forms molecules its electron tends to migrate towards other atoms slightly increasing the size of that atom's electron shells. A hydrogen atom shrinks right down to its nucleus, not the next smaller shell, since there are no other elcetrons to form shells when it loses its elctron. It takes 779 ml of liquid oxygen and 1586 ml of liquid hydrogen to
    • by Ruie (30480)

      How does a mixture of Borohydride(not pure hydrogen) and Water(which is already only 2/3 hy drogen) end up being more hydrogen than Liquid Hydrogen? Isn't Liquid Hydrogen pure hydrogen?

      This is actually a very interesting question. Let's see if I can get this right:

      Each atom has positively charged nucleus and a bunch of electrons, so the whole thing is neutral. The more electrons we have the bigger the attraction force. Thus, while the diameter of the atom grows with element number it does so only slowl

      • by treeves (963993)
        You are not right. In many ways.
        1. The density of a liquid is dependent not only on the size of the molecules in it, but on their mass, and on the space between them (that's why hot water is less dense than cold water - on average there is more space between hot water molecules than cold).
        2. Atomic size is not constant. It does change (not monotonically) with atomic number. You can see how here: Atom radii [webelements.com].
        3. ALL molecules have "overlapping" electronic orbitals if you mean that the atoms are sharing some
        • by Ruie (30480)
          Thanks for the reply, comments below:

          1. The density of a liquid is dependent not only on the size of the molecules in it, but on their mass, and on the space between them (that's why hot water is less dense than cold water - on average there is more space between hot water molecules than cold).

          Yes - I was assuming that temperature is fixed and very low (as needed to liquify hydrogen.

          2. Atomic size is not constant. It does change (not monotonically) with atomic number. You can see how here: Atom rad

  • Within a few years, laptops and other energy-guzzling portable devices could run on long-lasting, easily recharged fuel cells based on a safe and practical new way of storing and releasing hydrogen.

    I assumed from the title that this article was about cars, but it turns out to be even more interesting because it's talking about laptops and portable devices instead.
  • "New Generation of Hydrogen Fuel Cells Powers Up"
    I read that first as a new ___ that generages Hydrogen Fuel Cells, and they are about to power it up for the first time! I guess I ought to try that coffee stuff, or maybe drink more of what comes out of fuel cells.
  • One of the major things that are holding Hydrogen Fuel Cells back is the fact that it takes more energy to extract the hyrogen from the envrionment then it produces in the fuel cell. So this makes hydrogen more expensive then fossil fuels, as well more of an inpact on the environment (assuming they are using non-green power generation)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      As opposed to oil, where each gallon we pump out puts two back into the ground?
    • by xshader (201678) <jaecob@gmai l . com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:48PM (#16096990) Homepage
      It is possible to design nuclear plants to preform electrolysis on the off-hours when the load is low. What does a nuclear power plant do? Boils lots of water. When the load is low, they can run the extra current directly thru the water that was just boiled. Yes, it is not the most efficient power conversion, but we have so much nuclear fuel available why not use it? Sometime in the future we will figure out what to do with the waste. We are a smart race. Worse case we can just launch it into the sun or in a trajectory pointing away from our planet.

      Is nuclear that bad? We have known the properties of the splitting atom for decades now... we should have a good understanding of how to utilize this abundant resource. The waste is manageable. Is the waste of a coal plant manageable? Once you spew all that C0_2 and other by-products into the atmosphere there is no (sane) way to recapture it.

      Nuclear is our future. Give in to our nuclear overlords.

      • by Rei (128717)
        That defeats the purpose. Next-gen nuclear plants often are high-temperature models, specifically designed for *thermolysis*, not electrolysis. It's much more efficient.
      • by Damek (515688)
        Solar is much better than nuclear and has just as great a potential to provide all our energy. Cover all the roofs with solar panels, even in places with lots of clouds, and you'll get all the power we need. Especially combined with wind, tidal, etc.

        Nuclear sounds nice until one remembers the real nuclear waste problems: uranium mine tailings [ccnr.org] and depleted uranium. Don't ever forget that depleted uranium makes up over 98% of the mass of refined uranium ore. Nuclear plants themselves are pretty clean, and
      • by owlstead (636356)
        "The waste is manageable."

        > fortune
        How many nuclear engineers does it take to change a light bulb ?

        Seven: One to install the new bulb, and six to determine what to do
        with the old one for the next 10,000 years.

        As long as the problem isn't solved the waste is NOT managable. We know how to split the nucleat atom for decades now, and we have decades of nuclear storage problems as well, first dumping it in the ocean, and - as I understand - now there a
      • by talonyx (125221)
        It pisses me off to no extent to see that the solution for all of today's energy problems have a fairly simple, 1950's era technology solution. Nuclear power is virtually pollution free, and all modern reactors (such as Canadian ones, the last of the British ones, and probably the new Chinese ones) are so far away from any chance of a catastrophic meltdown that it's not even a real consideration.

        I blame Chernobyl for a lot of this; it's always what people bring up when you mention nuclear power.

        As for the w
    • by bill_kress (99356) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:50PM (#16097009)
      You just described every enegery storage mechanism ever created INCLUDING oil (Oil does not create energy, it simply stores solar energy collected from the sun a while back.).

      The act of storing, transporting or using energy in any way involves waste (heat).

      Oil & coal happen to be pretty decent storage mechanisms--relatively little waste while in storage, but somewhat difficult to recharge and creating it is quite wasteful.

      So, if you are just talking about "Consuming" the energy, hydrogen is much more efficient and clean than oil. If you take into account the production of the energy as well, that's a different story. We'll have to set up some bogs and find some dinasours and wait a while before we can compare.
      • by kfg (145172) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:17PM (#16097274)
        We'll have to set up some bogs and find some dinasours and wait a while before we can compare.

        Might I suggest looking in our various legislative bodies?

        KFG
      • by Smidge204 (605297)

        Oil & coal happen to be pretty decent storage mechanisms--relatively little waste while in storage, but somewhat difficult to recharge and creating it is quite wasteful.

        Wasteful compared to what? With a variety of thermal chemical conversion processes, it is quite possible to convert biomass into crude oil quickly (hours) and efficiently - 85% or more of the potential energy in the biomass comes out as useful fuel, with the remainder going to sustain the process and to losses.
        =Smidge=

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ironsides (739422)
      One of the major things that are holding Hydrogen Fuel Cells back is the fact that it takes more energy to extract the hyrogen from the envrionment then it produces in the fuel cell.

      That may be one of the major things, but I'd say the biggest is that with existing fuel cells, you're required to have pure hydrogen as a fuel. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have something that is likely to explode around me. This will really help out in that respect.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ADamiani (983317)
        Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the capacity to go boom almost innate in any form of chemical fuel storage? Gasoline is always a spark away from exploding-- would hydrogen be any worse?
        • by Rei (128717)
          Nope. Paraffin (wax) holds lots of energy. When was the last time you saw a candle explode?

          Explosions are more about rate of reaction than the amount of energy stored.
        • by nuzak (959558)
          > would hydrogen be any worse?

          If you stored a tank of the liquid stuff, you could get a real nice boom if that thing had a catastrophic rupture. However, most tanks are pressurized gas, not liquid, and they're just going to puncture, not explode. Check this out [evworld.com] for some video of what happens when a hydrogen tank ruptures. I'd sure hate to be in the way of that flame jet, sure, but it's otherwise less than impressive.

          You want to talk about rolling bombs, how about LNG or propane powered cars?
    • by aug24 (38229)
      Whereas getting oil out of the environment is luckily free and non-polluting...?

      Ah yes, I remember. Those pumping rigs grow on pumping rig trees, and the great oil-hungry bore-worm provides us with pre-drilled holes in only the right places.

      If we could only train enough pelicans, the distribution network would be free too.

      (I know you're not actually claiming the above, but it bears observing that the same can be said for oil if the environmental costs are included.)

      Justin.
  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:44PM (#16096949)
    Who cares about how much hydrogen you can get into a given volume. It should be all about energy per volume. It will be great when someone notices the energy density of hydrogen atoms attached to carbon chains - i.e. hydrocarbons. Oh wait...
  • Not New (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gfordham (609304) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:45PM (#16096955) Homepage
    Look up (MCEL) Millenium Cell, They've been doing this for awhile. I believe the chemistry for this has been around a while too lazy to look it up tho. Platinum Catylitic mesh, and Borohydride The fuelcellstore has a nice little generator [fuelcellstore.com] --G
  • I believe this article is talking about the technology described here:
    http://tinyurl.com/fa3oj [tinyurl.com] (Science Direct)

    The original research paper states "The proposed fuel-cell system offers applications longevity owing to its more concentrated (up to 10 wt% H2) hydrogen storage than found with H2 stored under common tank pressures or in typical metal hydrides."

    Is the storage of liquid hydrogen considered a "common tank pressure"? I wouldn't think so. The big deal about this technology is that it stores the hydrog
  • Great auto analogy mapped onto a chemistry experiment!

    "The researchers can now run the hydrogen generator on a 15% solution of borohydride, half-way to their goal of a truly power-packed 30% solution."

    Half a solution? Not 10X but would disrupt LiOn market at the promising 10X potential.

    Anyone want to explain the difference between this apparent wet technology and LiOn dry storage technology?
  • When combined with water, NaBH4 produces 4H and NaBO2. How difficult is NaBO2 to deal with, and can it be dangerous/toxic? Any chemistry people want to share any info on this byproduct?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by timatcrn (778943)

      How difficult is NaBO2 to deal with, and can it be dangerous/toxic?

      From Batteries Digest [batteriesdigest.com]:

      The only other reaction product, sodium metaborate (analogous to borax), is water-soluble and environmentally benign.

      • The only other reaction product, sodium metaborate (analogous to borax), is water-soluble and environmentally benign.
        This is great. So what you're saying is that after my laptop battery is dead, I can toss it in the washing machine and finally get rid of those embarrasing pit stains and 'ring around the collar'? :p
      • Can't anybody think of Greenpeace?
        They have a born-given right to protest for everything that is ever sold!

        However, I think they will find something here to bitch about, too.
    • by orzetto (545509)

      As it's a reaction product, it is likely to be depleted of energy, so it won't bang. As it is oxidised, it should not react with air again. As it is ionic (Na+ and BO2^-) it is a solid salt. Not sure about solubility in water, but may precipitate at relatively low concentrations since ions are of similar hardness (though not perfectly matching). Would not eat it as anything I know only by a chemical formula, and boron is not especially friendly to life. In short, not more dangerous than things you can prob

  • I didn't RTFA, but...

    a new type of fuel cell capable of packing 10 times more energy. [...] a [...] solution of borohydride in water [...] contains one-third more hydrogen than the same volume of liquid hydrogen.


    So, it contains 33% more hydrogen but it ends up being 1000% more energy?

    I don't get it.

    • by Knetzar (698216)
      having a volume that's 33% larger doesn't mean it contains 33% more hydrogen. The solution of borohydride and water probably has a greater density of hydrogen then liquid hydrogen.
    • by boutell (5367)
      They may be glossing over an important detail, something like "10 times as much usable energy when you take into account that you're not wasting energy on pressurization or cooling."
      • They may be glossing over an important detail, something like "10 times as much usable energy when you take into account that you're not wasting energy on pressurization or cooling."
        Nah, the summary is just bad. The article indicates that it will have 10 times as much usable energy (2200 watt-hours/l) as LITHIUM POLYMER batteries (200 watt-hours/l).
    • by orzetto (545509)

      Quantity of hydrogen != quantity of energy, it's the strength/weakness of chemical bonds and how much energy they liberate when they react (usually with oxygen) that counts. Otherwise water would be a great power source.

      Aside from that, the 33% is relative to liquid hydrogen, the other one (too lazy to RTFA) likely to gaseous.

  • ...should the day Dell announce another battery recall [theinquirer.net] on their new hydrogen-powered [wikipedia.org] laptops ever arrive, I'll be the first to run for the hills.
  • New generation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zdzichu (100333) <zdzichu@@@irc...pl> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @12:57PM (#16097087) Homepage Journal
    I'm still waiting for previous generation to be available as laptop battery.
  • Hmmm ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadowlore (10860) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @01:23PM (#16097329) Journal
    It uses ruthenium. Ruthenium runs about 175 USD/ounce. Ruthenium is a member the cateogry called "precious metals". It's a rather limited supply item. Given it's other uses I wouldn't expect to see these things be inexpensive. Also menas it will be unlikely to be viable for larger scale applications such as automotive, residential, or commercial power requirements. Still, it is kinda cool.

    There is also the question of lifespan and cycling. While the liter of fluid requirement can be worked around, long term issues such as cleanliness of the proces with regards to catalyst maintenance. I'd be cautios about using the phrase "halfway there" just becuase they are using half the percentage of solution they are looking for. While they are at 15% vs 30%, they are also at 600Wh versus the 2200 claimed in the article. Granted, that's theortical maximum, but the effective use of 30% solution is also theoretical.

    • It uses ruthenium. Ruthenium runs about 175 USD/ounce. Ruthenium is a member the cateogry called "precious metals". It's a rather limited supply item. Given it's other uses I wouldn't expect to see these things be inexpensive. Also menas it will be unlikely to be viable for larger scale applications such as automotive, residential, or commercial power requirements.

      Wouldn't the same logic have ruled out the usage of catalytic converters in cars? It didn't say how much ruthenium was required. Per ounce,

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      It uses ruthenium. Ruthenium runs about 175 USD/ounce. Ruthenium is a member the cateogry called "precious metals". It's a rather limited supply item.

      Lets talk about catalytic converters, which are in just about every vehicle with 4 wheels and a combustion motor.

      It uses platinum. Platinum runs about 1192 USD/ounce. Platinum is a member the category called "precious metals". It's a rather limited supply item.

      P.S. Cat converters also use rhodium (4900 USD/ounce) and/or palladium (322 USD/ounce)

  • So I'm curious: After reading about this stuff on Wikipedia, it says:

    "Borax can be hydrogenated back into borohydride fuel by several different techniques, some of which require nothing more than water and electricity or heat. These techniques are still in active development."

    It seems that when the Borohydride fuel is used up, you are left with Borax, which you can buy at the grocery store.

    So how exactly does one hyrdogenate Borax to turn it back into Borohydride fuel? Because it would be way cool if my c
  • Uh, I'm not so sure that this is entirely new [freepatentsonline.com]. Maybe the antifreeze additive is new....
  • I am amused at how these eggheads predict huge efficiencies in theory , but say in practice they haven't quite achieved current technology.
  • > Theoretically, this could achieve an energy density up to about 2200 watt-hours per litre...
    > compared to 200 watt-hours per litre for a lithium polymer battery.

    Quick, anyone --what's the energy density of gasoline, for comparison?
    • by AlXtreme (223728)
      Ding! [wikipedia.org]

      Looks like fuel cells still have a long way to go. Gasoline has an energy density of 32 MJ/l.

  • They were thrown up by the US government to distract people from the battery advances that have been coming through and to give the oil companies another 15 years. There are batteries here now which'll charge in 15 mins, drive a car 200 miles or so and last three quarters of a million miles.

    Hydrogen fuel cells, filling stations simply don't make sense in comparison.
     

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