Science
Alt.CES: I can haz hydrogen?
HYDROFILL03.jpg

On the assumption that hydrogen-powered cars (jet packs?) will be commonplace some day, H-hawker Horizon introduced a consumer gadget at CES that converts water into hydrogen and stores it safely in solid form.

altCES1.jpg

The small desktop device simply plugs into the AC, a solar panel or a small wind turbine, automatically extracts hydrogen from its water tank and stores it in a solid form in small refillable cartridges. The cartridges contain metallic alloys that absorb hydrogen into their crystalline structure, and release it back at low pressures, removing concerns about storing hydrogen at high pressure. This storage method also creates the highest volumetric energy density of any form of hydrogen storage, even higher than liquid hydrogen. Unlike conventional batteries, these cartridges carry more energy capacity, are cheaper, and do not contain any environmentally-harmful heavy metals.

Horizon believes the HYDROFILL is the first step towards private refueling of new generations of fuel cell electric vehicles. Fuel cell technology can greatly improve the features and usability of many battery or engine-powered devices, and create the possibility for lower cost electric cars that drive longer distances and recharge instantly.

[via electronics-lab.com]

18 thoughts on “Alt.CES: I can haz hydrogen?

  1. “This storage method also creates the highest volumetric energy density of any form of hydrogen storage, even higher than liquid hydrogen.”

    Really? Really?!? You’re telling me that the metallic crystalline storage structure (which is probably either one of the Alkaline Earth Metals or Zinc (if the structure isn’t one of these, then the storage structure almost has to be a molecule)) can force Hydrogen molecules to take up less space than the space between liquid Hydrogen molecules? (Nevermind that the structure itself is taking up space; and therefore reducing Hydrogen density.)

    Two things called the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the Electromagnetic Force say no.

    1. I completely agree with “heretic” (and was in the process of typing something not nearly so clear).

      I will add that the phrase “automatically extracts hydrogen from its water tank” is also suspicious. Shouldn’t that be something more like “electrolytically splits water into hydrogen and oxygen?” In which case, where does the oxygen get separated out? it can be rather …oxidizing to one’s “metallic alloy cartridges”.

    2. Palladium can store 900 times its volume in hydrogen. Liquid hydrogen is only 754 times as dense as STP hydrogen.

      I doubt that they are using Palladium (it is a heavy metal that is WAY too expensive to be environmentally harmful) but the statement is not intrinsically impossible.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with heretic’s comment that this is B.S.. I don’t doubt that you can store hydrogen by ABsorbing or ADsorbing hydrogen onto a surface, but to say that it holds more hydrogen per unit volume than liquid hydrogen is absurd. Also… the easier it is to get the hydrogen in there, the harder it will be to get it out and vice versa. So when they say it releases the hydrogen at low pressure… that just doesn’t come for free. What they’ve described is a magic wand.

  3. I agree – can’t compete with the density of liquid hydrogen…
    I think they mean to imply the size of their storage system in entirety…
    A system that would take the hydrogen produces and store it as a liquid – safely – and allow it to be released – safely
    Is likely to be considerably larger

  4. I find it odd that they claim that adding hydrogen to a binding material can store more energy than just liquid hydrogen can. But isn’t there a possibility that when hydrogen is trapped in this manner it behaves more like a solid version of hydrogen than a liquid version? If this is true then it’s possible that this “frozen” hydrogen has more in it than the “melted” version. Please enlighten me of my error.

  5. Following the links back to the maker’s site, it seems that they are comparing the entire system for both methods of storage when they make this claim of energy storage density.

    They also call 10-30 bar (approx. 150-450 psi) as ‘low pressure’, which it is when you are comparing it to conventional hydrogen storage pressures.

    Yes, many of their claims look fantastic and almost unreal when taken out of context. Compare ‘apples to apples’, however, and it makes much more sense.

    Not near as much fun to read as ‘gut level’ rants, however :)

    (and the usual ‘text entered wrong’ erases my whole post…glad it is SOP to copy it before sending…)

  6. Maybe we can use the free wi-fi energy we harvest with our Airnergies to make hydrogen?

    I think the bigger problem here is that people still take hydrogen even semi-seriously. The energy density can’t compete with most battery technologies, and the most efficient way to get hydrogen for fuel cells is from hyrdrocarbons… perhaps from crude oil? You know, the stuff we’re trying to use less of?

  7. Come on, we can argue about the particular details of hydrogen, palladium, etc. forever and be missing the point.
    The more important thing to realize is that this is not a scientific journal, and really nor is it a sensible site about DIY. This is a blog that has little do with science/DIY and everything to do with any neato fluff piece that will generate ad revenue. Think Gawker. Does the picture even look like a photograph to you? No, most of the items in there were probably drawn by hand, and the other ones awkwardly pasted in. How many other mocked up art images have been uncritically posted as real on this blog?

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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