Boron + water = hydrogen + boron-oxide.
Tuesday, 26 September 2006 15:06
I've been predicting for a while that once there is the demand - created by proper pricing of oil, that techno-fixes will emerge to the shared problem of global-warming and peak-oil.
Hydrogen has been pitched as part of the solution (along with renewable energy to make it), but the problem is carrying enough of it safely.
Though its too soon to tell, this advance is the sort of out-of-the-box thinking we need. The idea is simple - instead of carrying hydrogen, you carry water, plus something that can be used to make the water into hydrogen, then you use renewably-generated energy to turn that something back into a re-usable form. This announcement uses Boron as the carrier, if Boron doesn't work then someone else will come up with an alternative.
The basic reaction is simple:
Water + Boron -> Boron-oxide + Hydrogen;
Hydrogen + Oxygen = Mobile Power + Water;
Boron-Oxide + Electricity = Boron;
The energy density sounds pretty good - 40 lbs Boron + 12 gallons of water being equivalent to 10 gallons of petrol. They are expecting a prototype in 2009, which is a bit long away, but this - or some alternative carrier - sounds to me like a promising alternative.
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