On Step Closer to Affordable Hydrogen Fuel

The world just got one step closer to affordable, clean hydrogen fuel. Scientists at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio have developed an efficient way to convert ethanol and other biofuels into hydrogen. The new catalyst uses ethanol to make hydrogen, producing a 90% yield. Even better, the process uses inexpensive ingredients and produces hydrogen at a workable temperature.

Unlike other hydrogen processes under development around the world, the OSU process does not use precious metals like platinum or rhodium, making it considerably less expensive than its competitors. “Rhodium is used most often for this kind of catalyst and it costs around $9,000 dollars an ounce,” said Umit Ozkan, OSU professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “Our catalyst costs around $9 a kilogram.”

Ozkan believes the OSU-developed catalyst could make the use of hydrogen-powered cars a practical reality in the future. She noted, “Our research lends itself to what’s called a ‘distributed production’ strategy. Instead of making hydrogen from biofuel at a centralized facility and transporting it to gas stations, we could use our catalyst inside reactors that are actually located at the gas stations. So we wouldn’t have to transport or store the hydrogen. We could store the biofuel and make hydrogen on the spot.”

This entry was posted in Environmental News, News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to On Step Closer to Affordable Hydrogen Fuel

  1. John R. Sans says:

    The achievement at Ohio State is impressive, but the whole hydrogen economy concept may be doomed due to the intrinsic ineffieciencies. The manufacture of ethanol from corn is not very efficient has already driven up the price of food. If the manufacture of hydrogen is only 90% efficient, the overall hydrogen system will be too inefficient to function.

  2. Kimohall says:

    Sounds like a process we could use on Maui.

  3. Bob Klein says:

    The research article is very encouraging, but I don’t think you’ve taken the concept far enough. I’ve been wondering about something that I haven’t seen written about or discussed. Why do we need hydrogen fueling stations? By this, I am asking more basically, can the technology of creating hydrogen from whatever biofuel is chosen be scaled down? Can the process be performed in the vehicle to satisfy demand on an individual basis? Then, fuel stations could simply pump ethanol or whatever biofuel is chosen into a vehicle and let the hydrogen synthesis process work on an as-needed basis. Since hydrogen is so difficult to store for any significant period of time … why try to do so? If the process is scalable … and can be downsized to the point necessary for an individual vehicle, hydrogen fueling stations will not be necessary. Thus, the fuel infrastructure issue goes away!

  4. Cindy says:

    Our company, Limnia, Inc. (http://www.limnia.com) has resolved almost all of the issues associated with hydrogen infrastructure. We store hydrogen in patented, solid-state, non-pressurized canisters that are safe, efficient, better than many battery solutions, use common carriers already built out globally and can recharge a car in seconds via hot-swap. Our many hydrogen generation partners have shown methods, this year, to make hydrogen from water or organic waste for highly efficiency energy ratios.

    Cindy Lewis

  5. Mark McAree says:

    What is the by-product of the reaction? How is it recycled?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>