Amonia Borane, A New Discovery for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Usage

Another discovery that supports hydrogen fuel cell usage and production

Chemical Engineers of Purdue University consisting of Moiz Diwan, former Purdue doctoral student, Hyun Tae, Hwang Purdue postdoctoral researcher, Ahmad Al-Kukhun, doctoral student – is headed by Arvind Varma, R., Games Slayter Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering, is testing a new process to produce large amount of hydrogen at fuel-cell temperature-level with no catalyst - a US Department of Energy funded research.  This is a promising development towards hope of dicovering an efficient and cheaper method of generating hydrogen.

The process is a combination of hydrolysis and thermolysis, which now called hydrothermolysis. Such combination releases hydrogen very efficiently from amonia borane (or borazane, with the formula H3NBH3. The colourless solid is the simplest molecular boron-nitrogen-hydride compound). It's high weight of 19.6% requires only small amount to store comparatively large amount of hydrogen ideal for hydrogen fuel cell applications.

Amonia Borane Hydrogen Distribution and Recycling

Amonia Borane Hydrogen Generation Distribution and Recycling

Hydrolysis means adding water into the amonia borane compound and thermolysis means heating up to 170 degress celcius to release the hydrogen. But with the combination it works at considerably lower pressure.  Research found that 77% amonia borane holds the ideal  amount of hydrogen generated for hydrogen fuel cell usage.

It is a promising technology for other fuel cell applications to recharge batteries in portable electronics devices, such as cell phones, notebook computers, digital cameras, medical diagnostic devices and defibrillators.

Basing from government research data, here's the progress:

"To our knowledge, on a material basis, the AB hydrothermolysis process is the first one to provide such high hydrogen yield values at near PEM fuel cell operating temperatures without use of catalyst. Further, for the same temperature range, these yield values are higher than previously reported in the literature by either AB hydrolysis or thermolysis alone. It is worth noting that DOE system targets for H2 yield are 4.5 and 5.5 wt% for the years 2010 and 2015, respectively. The material-based H2 yield (~14.3 wt%) achieved in this work is sufficiently higher than the target values, suggesting that the noncatalytic AB hydrothermolysis method is promising for hydrogen storage in fuel cell based vehicle applications."

—Diwan et al.

The research findings were presented on June15, 2010 at International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering in Philadelphia.

Along with this new development on hydrogen production is the research into technologies for recycling waste residual products back into ammonia borane.

So get ready with your DIY Fuel Cells, Hydrogen fuel is coming your way!

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