My personal dream of a vehicle operating completely off of a safe, efficient, and affordable hydrogen fuel cell is one that separates hydrogen from water held in a tank instead of gasoline. The complete process occurs onboard as needed and the electricity necessary to initiate the process will be from solar panels built into the roof of the car along with a small backup storage battery. Byproduct: water vapor.
Think about this, a car that runs on water that you can collect for free from your roof, electricity made for free from the sun, no storage of hydrogen for safety, and drive long distances without gasoline, oil, fumes, smoke, noise, or pollution. That has been my "environmentally friendly dream car" since 1981 when I learned about NASA using 3 fuel cells aboard the space shuttle for all the shuttle’s power needs. Two of the three fuel cells were backups.
The above possibility may now be closer to reality than ever before, because of the research conducted at the DOE Brookhaven National Lab.
The issue with fuel cells is the current high cost to manufacture and operate. While NASA’s budget was able to handle the expense, the average car owner will never be able to afford this. Nevertheless, this vexing issue now has answers from the scientists at the DOE Brookhaven National Lab, but transferring these new breakthroughs from the lab to the road is another issue. Enter, Brookhaven’s Technology Transfer Office. They were able to secure funding for further research on the projects developing their innovative catalysts and fuel cell processes. Final step, find a partnership with automotive manufacturers to help run tests.
Elon Musk, I am sure you know about this research, but will you be involved with the testing? General Motors and Toyota are two companies collaborating with the researchers for years.
In addition to private investments to test, the scientists at DOE Brookhaven National Lab will also collaborate with Los Alamos National Laboratory for feedback on their work. If this work is approved in the testing and by consumers, future investors can step in to take Brookhaven’s team work out onto the blacktop for commercialization.
Now for the details:
This dilemma has been solved by making catalysts use tiny nanoparticles of less expensive metals and surround them with thin platinum shell. Corrosion caused by the highly acidic results of chemical reactions within the fuel cell are decreased significantly, efficiency is improved and the costs is reduced when buying, repairing, or with a replacement.
Also a new method of development for making tungsten-nickel core catalysts has been presented. This method combines several steps of the manufacturing process to simplified electrode production. It reduces the cost of manufacturing electrodes with a semi-automated electrodeposition technique for the catalytic electrodes.
Team work, isn’t it amazing? Now only if we can get Washington to understand the concept that when you work alone for all the credit, everything goes wrong.
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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