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Hydrogen

FUKAI's functional water generators (left) and a hydrogen-extraction demonstration (right)...

At least half of the world’s usable hydrogen is obtained through a process known as steam reforming, in which steam reacts with fossil fuels such as natural gas to produce hydrogen gas. On a smaller scale, hydrogen can also be obtained through the process of electrolysis, in which ordinary water is split into its oxygen and hydrogen components by running an electrical current through it – consumers can even buy their own electrolysis-based home hydrogen extraction kit, in the form of the HYDROFILL. Now, however, Japan’s FUKAI Environmental Research Institute has announced a new technology for obtaining hydrogen that it claims is less expensive and more efficient than anything that’s been tried so far.  Read More

Diagrams depict how an electrolyzer could be worked into a home's energy system

Although wave power is attracting a lot of attention as a renewable energy source, it is possible to generate power from still water. All you need is an electrolyzer, which separates water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, then feeds them into a fuel cell. Electrolyzers, however, require catalysts to get the process rolling. While hydrogen production catalysts aren’t much of a problem, the platinum catalysts used for oxygen production are expensive, don’t last very long, and the creation of them incorporates toxic chemicals. This Monday, however, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the development of a new oxygen production catalyst that is 200 times more efficient than platinum. The nickel-borate-based catalyst has been licensed to Sun Catalytix, which is hoping to be producing safe, super-efficient electrolyzers within two years.  Read More

Boeing Phantom Eye (Photo: Boeing)

Unveiled earlier this week in St. Louis, Boeing's Phantom Eye will set a new benchmark in long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology when it takes to the skies in 2011. With a wing-span of 150-feet, the hydrogen-powered aircraft will cruise at 150 knots, carry up to 450-pounds and stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days. Boeing calls it a game-changer, and plans are already in progress to build a bigger version that can remain airborne for 10 days.  Read More

Members of Purdue University's hydrothermolysis research team (Prof. Varma at left)

Fuel cell cars have come one step closer to practicality with researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University announcing a new process for the generation and storage of hydrogen. The process is called hydrothermolysis, and is a combination of hydrolysis and thermolysis – the two prevalent methods of hydrogen generation that some scientists consider impractical for use in automobiles. The new process utilizes powdered ammonia borane, a chemical that has one of the highest hydrogen yields of any solid substance.  Read More

The Horizon MiniPak will almost certainly be the public's first experience of the coming H...

Today is a day that you will probably tell your grandchildren about – the day they released the first affordable, pocket-sized fuel cell for personal usage. As with flying cars, personal jet packs and a usable voice recognition computer interface, the promise of a safe, affordable, personal power plant was entering the realm of perpetual vaporware. Now it's finally here! Whatsmore, at US$100, the Horizon MiniPak might well prove to be the “disruptive” technology the press release claims it to be. By producing electricity from hydrogen at the point of use and offering effectively unlimited run-time for personal electronics, it will almost certainly be the public's first experience of the coming Hydrogen Economy.  Read More

Intelligent Energy CEO, Dr. Henri Winand with London Deputy Mayor, Kit Malthouse, at unvei...

Two years ago we reported that London’s iconic black cabs would be getting a green makeover with a fleet to be fitted out with zero local emissions hydrogen fuel cell power systems in time for the Olympics in 2012. Now the first prototype fuel cell black cab has been unveiled. It is powered by hydrogen fuel system hybridized with lithium polymer batteries that allow the vehicle to operate for a full day without the need for refueling.  Read More

The H-Cell 2.0 hydrogen fuel cell, installed in a chassis

If you’re into R/C vehicles, there’s just the slightest chance that you might be interested in a power train that runs three to four times longer than regular battery-only systems, and that requires nothing but sunlight and water to recharge. It also educates people on what will likely be the power system of choice for future real-size automobiles... and oh yes, it looks dead sexy, in a Doc-Brown’s-Delorean-flux-capacitor kinda way. Without any further ado, please open your wallets for H-Cell 2.0, the latest miniature hydrogen fuel cell hybrid drive train from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.  Read More

Researchers identify new low-cost catalyst for hydrogen production

To make sunlight practical as a dominant source of energy a viable storage technology needs to be developed. One promising area of research is imitating the process of photosynthesis to separate the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water to create hydrogen fuel. An MIT team led by Daniel Nocera is now reporting that nickel borate can efficiently and sustainably function as the oxygen-producing electrode in such a process bringing the dream of energy storage systems that would allow buildings to be completely independent and self-sustaining in terms of energy.  Read More

Inexpensive metal catalyst discovered for electrolytic production of hydrogen from water

The hydrogen economy that may one day replace the hydrocarbon economy came a step closer this week with the announcement that researchers have discovered an inexpensive new proton reduction catalyst - seventy times cheaper than the platinum commonly used now - that can significantly reduce the costs of producing hydrogen using electrolysis to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.  Read More

MIT researchers have created a virus-templated catalyst solution used to harness energy fr...

A team of MIT researchers has managed to mimic the photosynthetic process in plants by engineering M13, a simple and harmless virus, to help splitting water into its two atomic components, hydrogen and oxygen, using sunlight. The researchers hope this is the first step toward using sunlight to create hydrogen reserves that could then be used to generate electricity or even produce liquid fuels for transportation.  Read More

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