Sodium borohydride (short for sodium tetrahydridoborate: NaBH4) is a chemical compound with high hydrogen content. When NaBH4 is suspended in an aqueous solution and then passed over a catalyst, the reaction produces hydrogen, along with a benign byproduct—sodium metaborate—that can be recycled back into sodium borohydride.
One of the disadvantages to sodium borohydride as a hydrogen source is the cost and availability of the compound.
As part of the contact, Millennium Cell is working with Los Alamos National Lab, Rohm and Haas and others to evaluate lower-cost sodium borohydride manufacturing methods.
Up until recently, Millennium Cell had been vocal about targeting automotive applications for its technology, and provided the hydrogen source for a 2001 DaimlerChrysler fuel cell concept, the Natrium. Recently, however, Millennium Cell has been focusing on more immediate markets: portable electronic devices (consumer, military and industrial, such as laptops and DVD players; and portable and standby power.
The funding from DOE may give the company a boost back toward transportation.