SiGNa Chemistry Demonstrates Sodium Silicate-Based Hydrogen Generation System for Portable Fuel Cells
|Prototype sodium silicate hydrogen generation system as presented earlier this year at DOE merit review. Click to enlarge.|
SiGNa Chemistry, Inc., a developer of stabilized reactive metals for safer, more efficient industrial chemistry, announced the successful design, assembly, and initial testing of its H300 Hydrogen Generation System. The H300 utilizes real-time swappable cartridges that generate hydrogen on demand using SiGNa’s proprietary sodium silicide (NaSi) powder. (Earlier post.)
At greater than 9% hydrogen by weight, sodium silicide technology produces comparable results to chemical hydride technologies such as ammonia borane or sodium borohydride. However, sodium silicide offers benefits such as safety; high temperature storage stability; no catalyst required; no pre-heat necessary; and instantaneous start-up with near instantaneous off.
Sodium silicides rapidly liberate hydrogen from water (or water solutions) leaving sodium silicate, a benign common industrial chemical.
Sodium-Silica-Gel: 2Na-SG + H2O → H2 + Na2Si2O5
Sodium Silicide: 2NaSi(s) + 5H2O → 5H2(g) + Na2Si2O5(aq)
|Schematic and development of the generation unit. Click to enlarge.|
The H300 uses two hydrogen canisters that generate more than 800 liters of H2 at a combined flow-rate of up to 4 slpm (standard liters per minute) continuous and 10 slpm peak. This level of continuous hydrogen flow supports a broad range of portable fuel cell applications including back-up power systems, emergency responder work-stations, military battery recharging, and electric bicycles, the company says.
SiGNa has demonstrated hydrogen generation for applications ranging from 1 to 500 Watts.
The H300 features a real-time hydrogen fuel gauge, on-demand hydrogen generation, and rapid canister insertion/removal.
In collaboration with Trulite, Inc., a developer of portable and semi-portable hybrid power systems, SiGNa utilized Trulite’s FCS-300 PEM fuel cell system to demonstrate the technology. The FCS delivers 300 Watts of continuous power and has multiple electrical outputs including: 12 V auto, 12 V military, and 110 VAC.
The US Department of Energy supported the development of the system in a project which began in August 2008 and is due to conclude in January 2010. Total funding in FY08 was $1,845,000, with the DOE contributing $1,476,000; the bulk of that was spent in FY09. Additional funding for FY09 was $951,500, to be spent in FY09/FY10.
In addition to Trulite, the University of Texas Austin Center for Electromechanics has been a research partner.
NaSi and NaSG Powder Hydrogen Fuel Cells (SiGNa Chemistry, US DOE Merit Review 2009)