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Hydrogen gas generator using temperature-controlled hydrolysis

Novel process avoids potential for runaway high temperatures and volatile chemical reactions

Energy

Graph of dataWith an increasing demand for hydrogen gas, methods to source the product must be refined. Common methods for producing hydrogen gas use volatile reactions between hydrates, (substances containing water) and hydrides (compounds with hydrogen bonded to an electropositive element). The reaction between a hydrate and hydride is called hydrolysis, where chemical bonds are broken by introducing water, which runs at uncontrolled extreme temperatures. It has been previously suggested to use a heat-absorbing reaction, along with a heat-releasing reaction, to produce hydrogen gas at moderated temperatures, but this comes without any formal system to utilize the theory. This new system provides a way to achieve the production of hydrogen while remaining within a desired temperature range.

This system of producing hydrogen gas uses new methods to pair the hydrate and hydride in a ratio that allows control over the temperature during a reaction. Control over the reaction temperatures ensures that the reaction can be run efficiently by utilizing the optimum temperature range that supports the reaction. Moderation of the heat created by a reaction is achieved by calculating the correct balance of molecules to achieve a low change in temperature, even with the use of a catalyst. Introducing a catalyst to the reaction speeds up the hydrolysis, while not disrupting the ability to control the temperature. A multitude of possibilities exist in the choice of hydride/hydrate. One possible combination is sodium borohydride/sodium sulfate decahydrate, the products of which are environmentally friendly.

Potential applications for this technology include hydrogen generation and production, fuel cells, combustion engines, blimps and lighter than air vehicles, as well as military applications such as remote deployment of expendable communication relays.

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