Major advancement in hydrogen fuel productionApril 1, 2011
There have been many promising advances in technology for hydrogen fuel cells recently, moving hydrogen power ever closer to being implemented on a commercial level.
The promise of a truly clean energy has been around for decades and no one has yet been able to deliver. Some would argue that the standard for clean energy is far too high, making it impossible for such energy solutions to be a reality. Hydrogen fuel cells are now showing that they can make good on that promise as they begin to become more efficient.
It is no secret that hydrogen has faced its share of trouble. Producing hydrogen often requires the use of electricity originally generated from burning fossil-fuel. The cost of production for fuel cells is so high that many manufacturers flat out refuse to divulge the exact price tag.
Making fuel cells work more efficiently has been the goal of many researchers the world over.
Now, scientists are beginning to use sodium silicide, a chemical powder derived from the combination of sodium metals and silicon powders. Normally, the chemical is of little use to anyone. When water it added, however, the chemical reacts powerfully and produces pure hydrogen gas. By using this chemical, scientists have succeeded in generating hydrogen gas within fuel cells without having to rely on a proton exchange catalyst.
Conventional fuel cells use a platinum catalyst in order to facilitate the conversion of hydrogen from water. Sodium silicide can produce hydrogen without having to operate through a catalyst, drastically reducing the cost of fuel cell manufacture.
This, along with other advances in technology, may prove to be the final step in making hydrogen fuel cells a commercial reality.