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QuantumSphere to Present New Electrode Design for Hydrogen Electrolysis; Nearly a 7x Increase in H2 Production

15 March 2007

Qsi1
Earlier results of QSI electrode development. Click to enlarge.

QuantumSphere, Inc. (QSI) will present the results of its recent research into increasing efficiencies of electrodes made from compressed nano catalysts for hydrogen electrolysis, as well as a new concept in electrode design it calls Stingray, at the upcoming National Hydrogen Association meeting in San Antonio.

The Stingray electrode and system design allows for nearly a sevenfold increase in clean hydrogen production, while maintaining efficiencies in excess of 85%, according to QuantumSphere.

The presentation will also cover the effect of the use of QSI-Nano catalysts mixed with larger electrode components to give hydrogen generation efficiencies “well above the US Department of Energy’s 2010 targets [75%], and well ahead of the literature to date.”

QSI developed a unique electrode structure for alkaline water electrolysis by capitalizing on the enhanced surface area and catalytic reactivity of its nanometal catalysts. The QSI technology also eliminates the need for platinum precious metal catalysts, further reducing electrolyzer cost.

The high surface area metallic nanoparticles have an expanded metal surface facing away from the electrolyte for strength and current collection. The electrodes have tortuous pathways within them to expose orders of magnitude larger surface area to reacting water and to also allow the escape of the gaseous products.

Earlier this year, QSI also announced that it had achieved a 45% enhancement in power for a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) through the use of QSI-Nano Cobalt into the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), along with an almost 50% reduction in cost.

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March 15, 2007 in Hydrogen Production, Nanotech | Permalink | Comments (49) | TrackBack (0)

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I guess this might answer the "where are we going to get the hydrogen?" question posed in the last GCC post.

Here comes the nanotechnology.

We are never going to be driving hydrogen cars around. Its a dead end. Get over it and move on.

This isn't for directly hydrogen-fueled cars. This hydrogen has a lot of uses, including synthesizing Fischer-Trosph fuels from biomass or coal.

The question I have is: which current concentration is the target for? Is the lower density useful?

"We are never going to be driving hydrogen cars around. Its a dead end. Get over it and move on."

Not with that attitude.

Why is it that every time there is a huge leap foreward in hydrogen people are always saying "it's just a scam, electric cars are better, hydrogen will never work" but when a new battery technology comes it's all "see, electric cars are the future". Hydrogen can work just as well as electric, we just need the supporting infrastructure in place. It's 20 years off, but it's coming along.

Depends on how much these cost but if they are cheaper then old style due to not using platinum and they realy do belt out alot more h2 and more eff then before then its a gyfe leap forward.

The main cost of h2 production was actauly the cost of the equipment if this can make 7 times the fuel and do it with less energy per kilo then its gona drop the cost of the h2 ALOT.

But we will have to see a generator running for some time to see how it realy pans out. But if it does this litteraly could mean h2 stations selling h2 now for less per kilo then gas is per gallon.

Amen, Brad. If Edison and Alexander Graham Bell had this posters' attitude, we would all be in the dark, at night, talking only to those in the same room with us.

Hydrogen, in my opinion will be used in, ever increasing more efficient fuel cells, to power our electric cars. It will also likely supplement our ICE engines in the short term before being phased out for BEV. We can only survive by changing from the carbon based society, to the hydrogen.

Just one solution of many being developed. The future is looking bright. I cant wait.

Hydrogen can be used to chemically reduce CO2 to get methane, a far more practical energy carrier (and end use form of energy for that matter) than H2 itself.

Methane can then be used to produce liquid fuels where they are really needed...methanol, DME, even alkanes where you really need alkanes. Methanol is also the precurser for plastics by using it to make ethylene, propylene, light olefins, etc.

The Bush vision of a so called "hydrogen economy" however is a scam and a smoke screen for their agenda of actually prolonging a fossil fuel economy for the benefit of those folks who were there in May of 2001 developing the Cheney energy plan...which is the real energy policy for the US.

who knows

... when we get a hydrogen tank at ~1000-2000$ (which is possible with mass production )
and hydrogen at about 2$ a kgr from renewable energy

then H will be a true option.

Actauly we dnt need yh2 ro be 2 bucks a kilo as a car can go a fair distance on very little of it.

What we need is for a car to go about 250 miles on a tank of fuel that costs about 25 bucks.

Oddly enough we can already do that. We just are improving on that metric before we bother to realt go for mass production o the tech.

increased Electrolysis efficiency means it might be possible to viably produce hydrogen locally. i.e, on site at the filling station. That dramatically reduces the costs and risks assocaited with a larger hydrogen distribution infrastructure. no pipes, no trucks, just thousand of mini electrolysis stations. all probably located on existing gas station sites.

clean electricity powering efficient electrolysis. H2 goes into a tank, and burned in a hydrogen ICE. (forget fule cells). that leverages as much of the existing infrastructure as is probably possible. and all at a reasonable cost. if this tech (or others) can work the only real challenge left is on vehicle hydrogen storage. high pressure tanks are ok, but something better will eventually be discovered.

all sounds reasonable to me.

Forget the filling station ... put one in your garage. (if you have one)

The reason to not do that is of course a silling dstation gets its power alot cheaper then you.

The infrastructure for hydrogen is already in place. It is called the electric company. If you have your own hyrdogen plant in your home, it will run your home, your car, your gas stove and allow you to sell excess power back to the electric company. You need to make a long cross country in your car, fill-er up at an electric station. There are millions of them already. A 5 minute battery charge is reality today. No need to store hydrogen, just manufacture to meet demand. Keep it simple.

Gents -

the electrode above produces 7 times as much hydrogen per unit of macroscopic surface area. That means the hydrolysis units are smaller. The extra manufacturing effort involved suggests they may not be cheaper.

The energy required to produce a kg of hydrogen depends on the efficiency of the process and the cost of electricity. High temperature electrolysis with efficiencies of 90%+ has been around for quite a while.

In other words, in terms of the stated objective of a hydrogen economy, this is a rather small step on a journey that is still very long indeed. More to the point, with batteries improving at a rapid clip, it is perfectly legitimate to ask if it is a journey worth continuing.

What makes you people think a hydrogen-based society will be any better or less environmentally damaging than a carbon one?

First off...Nobody knows the exact mechanism(s) for global warming or cooling. All the current global warming doomsayers conveniently leave out the effect our sun has in the process despite evidence of a correlation between sun cycle activity and warming of other planets in our solar system. Furthermore, climate will never ever remain static and planetary cooling and warming cycles have been going on since the earth was formed millions of years prior to humans driving around in cars.

With that said, has nobody done their homework on hydrogen? Besides the fact that Hydrogen is an energy carrier not an energy source (it takes energy to make it), hydrogen is also similar to carbon monoxide in that it acts as an indirect greenhouse gas through its effect on hydroxyl (OH) radicals. By reducing the levels of OH in the atmosphere, hydrogen increases the lifetime of some direct greenhouse gases, such as methane. Methane as we all should know by now is a far greater greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Also, hydrogen being the smallest base element has a knack for passing through and getting around the containments we try to place on it. Hydrogen containment is tricky and no hydrogen containment effectively prevents some hydrogen from escaping. Therefore, with millions of hydrogen cars and fuel cells leaking more and more hydrogen into the atmosphere, and that hydrogen acting indirectly to increase the longevity of more powerful greenhouse gases like methane, we could actually do more harm to our planet then we are currently.

So...I hope all you hydrogen junkies out there feel better about yourselves and your arrogance.

I think battery powered cars might be closer to reality rather than hydrogen fuel cell cars, but I think the real objection to a hydrogen economy is the fact that Bush backs it. Given the rampant Bush Derangement Syndrome, if Bush says it, it must be attacked.

Er no. The new doodad is a low temp design as will be all local generators. Pint is the goal was only 75 percent and they leaped the goal markedly.

A working fuel cell car needs only a few things.

1 a tank wich we have and wich is being reduced in cost as we speak.

a fuel cell... great work on them and when they bother to actauly enter mass priduction design stage they WILL get vastly cheaper.

3 Cheap enough h2. And that depends entirely on the milage of the car now doesnt it? If a car can go a week on 1 kilo of fuel or 4 kilos then thats very different then a car or truck that requires 30 or 40 gallons to do the same.

The real question isnt will it work its when will it get to the point I would use it? Its one thing to make a fuel cell or ev car that a ruich buy will drive around in its anouther to make a fuel cell or ev yugo.

Oddly enough thats where the fuel cell will win out. A bat pack will still need to be quite large to handle the range needed even by a chap car BUT a fuel cell cheapo car could combine a small bat pack and a small fuel cell with a low power motor to give the rquive of a fuell cell put put car.

Hydrogen has it problems.

1. Storage is difficult and will likely never be as cheap as say a plastic/metal tanks for holding petrol or another liquid/paste like fuel (Like Zn, Al or Mg paste). Pressurization is a energy loss (unless you run a air engine on the decompression, but I have never heard of anyone trying that)
2. Fuel cells are expensive: Sure their working on cheaper nano-nickel PEM fuel cells and CO2 resistant AFC. But other energy storage system like lithium ion and Zinc (metal fuels) already have cheaper cells. The efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells is limited: 50% at best for PEM, 60-70% for AFC., this is great compared to ICE, but lithium ion have discharge efficiencies above 85%.
3. Hydrolysis is inefficient; most hydrolysis processes have horribly low efficiencies, or require very high temperatures. Research like this if it proves true would fix that problem, but 85% efficiency is a very dubious mark, I’ll believe it when I see it. Lithium ion already has above 85% recharge efficiency at room temp, Zinc has slightly better recycling efficiency then standard hydrolysis.
4. Hydrogen has safety concerns, sure it can be argue that hydrogen will be safer then gasoline, but lithium ion batteries are fully enclosed, Zinc and other metal pastes are non-flammable and have no vapor pressure, and both are qualified to run in enclosed spaces (say inside a house), hydrogen is not.

Batteries only drawback is recharge time, Zinc and other metal pastes need to be recycled, which means when fueling up, the used fuel needs to be sucked out and recycled at the station or at a recycling plant.

Run a mix of H2 and CO2 through a nickel catalyst and methane and H2O come out. Run the methane through a second catalytic reaction based on a zeolyte will produce gasoline and H20. All that is needed is a source of electricity and someone willing to pay for very expensive fuel.

You got alot of your numbers wrong fuel cells are not 50 eff they are already passing 75. Also the goal was 75 eff electrolysis and this is more then 85 so thats nor horribly low as you stated.

Finaly the tanks are not horribly expensive as a total system as the system cost includes the factor that noth ev and h2 systems dont need transmissions or radiators both rather spendy parts.

The fact is they set goals for a reason and are ahead of all thier goals. That means they are ahead of the timegrame to be able to make a sellable low bolume fuel cell car in 2012.

ALSO recent improvements in h2 ice have lead to ice engines that should be able to get far more miles per kilo then before garanteeing that even IF fuel cells take longer then expected wich isnt very likely given how fast they are improving... h2 itself will come in the 5 to 10 year timeline and should and is ramping far better then expected.

And again as again ive said aiagin and again and again h2 is not about what you seem to think it is. Its about a very vauable segment of the market and providing a fuel for thier cars and trucks. The same segment that now drives 7 and even 4 mpg begemoths and does just fine will do fine on an h2 hummer ultra jumbo.

Guys, if this new process was just used for hydrogen on demand, for heating your home, and hot water.

What a improvment that would be from paying for oil, with the cost changing dayly.

Or, the storage tanks for oil, or propane we currently have.

Us in the North East, retired are just managing to heat our homes. Every time the oil truck comes, it is what bill will we not pay this month. We need a change, at least the price would remain constant for the most part.

In my mind efficient hydrogen production by electrolysis has always been the major reason for dismissing the "Hydrogen Economy" as a hoax.

In my opinion, up until now, storage of energy directly into batteries has been way ahead in this area but with this announcement maybe not any more.

From somebody who drives a BEV daily, I find this news startling.

Erm im fairly sure that heating a home via direct electric is far better thn h2 unless the h2 is comming from a place that gets its power much cheaper then you do.

And yes it is getting rather creepy now as things are popping up in both batteries and h2 I realy hadnt expected till next decade or 2.

Its kinda freaky what a bunch of people trying to make trillions can do...

Hydrogen gas ICE have other problems, there not as efficient as FC, they have to burn lean (extra air to prevent knocking/pinging/backfire) that reduces their power to weight ratio and increase NOx production

Hydrogen will have its place in the post-peakoil and globalwarming world, but I believe biofuels, batteries and metal-air fuel cells have better potential and markets. The only thing hydrogen has for it over the rest is massive support... from oil companies that know its a pipe dream and hardest to implement alternative.

tom deplume,

Show me a 75% efficient fuel cell. Only an AFC is close to that efficient and it has CO2 poisoning issues, most fuel cells systems in real world conditions with a variety of parasitic loses do less then 40%!

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