Israeli Startup Tackles On-Board Hydrogen Generation for Combustion Engines
23 September 2005
|A sketch of the Engineuity process.|
The technology is based on a high-temperature process causing a light metal wire (e.g., aluminum or magnesium) to react with water, producing a hydrogen/steam stream. The hydrogen/steam mixture entering the engine is oxidized by air, thereby using both the chemical energy stored in the hydrogen and the thermal energy produced by the reaction.
The spent product from Engineuity’s process is a light metal oxide that is eventually separated and sent back to the factory for electrochemical recycling.
Engineuity says it has produced a continuous flow of hydrogen and steam under full pressure, temperature and power control. The company is now working on the integration of its production unit with a modified engine.
The refueling and waste removal process sounds like the most complex aspect of the scheme. The vehicle will contain a mechanism for rolling the metal wire into a coil during the process of fuelling, while the spent metal oxide is collected from the car by vacuum suction.
The volume required for containing the metal wire is similar to the volume required for gasoline; however the “fuel” weight will be 3 times greater.
The production unit ostensibly can also be used for producing hydrogen for fuel cells and other applications requiring hydrogen and/or steam.
This is actually not the first attempt at using the reaction between aluminum and water to produce hydrogen to fuel a car. A European patent filed in 1982 and a US patent filed in 1987 also describes such a device.
The inventor—Francois Cornish—apparently even enticed BMW to test it in 1981. Although the device performed, fueling a test car for a 70-minute run, one of BMW’s areas of concern was the disposal of the waste oxide.
Engineuity R&D is a start-up company operating within an incubator program run by the Ashkelon Technological Industries. One of the founders of the company is Prof. Amnon Yogev, recently retired from the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he, among other functions, led the Energy Research Center.
Prof. Yogev also held various positions in the defence services and was an active member of numerous EU energy related committees, planning the 6th Framework Program.
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