March 20, 2012

ONE INNOVATION AFTER ANOTHER:

Catalyst Helps Store Hydrogen In Liquid Form for Simple, Safe Future Fuel Use (Rebecca Boyle, 03.19.2012, Popular Science)

A future powered by hydrogen fuel, whose only byproduct is water, has long been an eco-friendly dream too difficult to realize. Storing and transporting hydrogen can be difficult and dangerous, and hydrogen production methods can also produce unwanted carbon dioxide. A new catalyst promises to solve these problems, using CO2 and hydrogen to store energy in liquid form. The only thing you need to worry about is pH.

It's the first catalyst to combine hydrogen and CO2 at room temperature and pressure, using water as the liquefying solution. As such, it could use existing fuel infrastructure built for the liquid hydrocarbons we have been using since the dawn of the combustion engine.

In basic (as in alkaline) conditions, the catalyst converts hydrogen and CO2 into formic acid, a promising hydrogen-storage fluid that is safer to handle and transport than cryogenically stored dihydrogen. If you flip the pH switch to acidic, the resulting redox reaction frees the hydrogen from its carbon bonds, allowing you to grab and use the hydrogen for use in a fuel cell.

Posted by at March 20, 2012 6:27 AM
  

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