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.
Scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan worked with iridium-based catalysts with specific types of ligands, which are clusters of atoms surrounding the central metal atom. These ligands improve the catalyst's ability to release protons. The researchers say they drew inspiration from nature's catalysts — enzymes — and the way they move protons and electrons around inside biological molecules.
Under the right conditions, the iridium catalyst helps hydrogen react with CO2. The research team figured out the atomic structure of the catalyst to see exactly how it promotes this reaction. It worked extremely well, they say — they converted a 1:1 mixture of dihydrogen (the form you would want to use in a hydrogen fuel cell) and CO2 to formate, a form of formic acid, at room temperature. Then they increased the pH of the solution, and were able to regenerate the H2 at high pressure. There were no unwanted byproducts like carbon monoxide, the researchers say.
The paper was published online Sunday in Nature Chemistry.
four hydrogen atoms for every formic acid molecule. that's not bad but when you compare it to different things such as the adenosine-tri-phosphate that our body uses it's still pretty basic. usable but still basic.
my metric is that every two hydrogen atoms will only bond with one oxygen (techincally it's every four hydrogen for two oxygen). whereas our own ATP during the aerobic respiration cycle oxidizes two separate times with each phosphor atom connecting with at least one oxygen atom most likely more, it's been a while since I've read up on it. that's twice the power at least by using phosphors and sugars instead of using pressure and iridium.
could it be insane to think that maybe our body is such an efficient machine that we could actually pay people to run on treadmills all day to generate electricity? or maybe even someday we can achieve my mad scientist goal and synthesize raw ATP from electricity with an organ implanted in our body.
to mars or bust!
As I said and will say again--the future of cars is electric whether they are powered by solar stored in batteries or powered by fuel cells which power the electric motors.
Either way the gasoline engine is dead soon.
Let it die, let it die, let it die (the gas engine).
ummm isnt iridium rather rare for mass production technology?
Well this isn't necessarily a miracle technology. It is a way to mass produce formic acid in an easy way. It is a means to store and transport hydrogen easily. You still have to input mass amounts of hydrogen and do it cheaply.
While there are a billion miracle catalysts out there for hydrogen production, none of them make it out of the lab because everyone wants to release a product at the maximum theoretical limit rather than making something that is great as it is. I'm all for super products but we don't have decades to send everything back to the lab for tweaking to maximum potential.
You can use a cheap and efficient catalyst in the mean time to fund the further R&D rather than risking loosing all outside funding and making a great technology vanish.
except even the cheaper catalysts can't get you 20 miles down the road with conventional internal combustion engines. a greater idea is to throw out the convention and instead power our cars using a turbine with a reduction transmission. faster rpm but less torque isn't a game killer but it is a problem.
that's what we aren't getting, gasoline is bloody freaking powerful! even though it is 4 dollars a gallon here in new york it is still the most economically viable fuel that we can easily obtain from the ground. we can't run a car easily off of coal and trying to use wood is even worse. hydrogen is close but ultimately there aren't any hydrogen reserves buried in the ground or hanging around in the atmosphere.
if we were smart we would harness something that has a lot of energy pent up as it is, flourine would be a good one but it would add exponentially to our little green house. the same is true with the rest of that group such as chlorine and bromine. but we're still left with the same problems...
to mars or bust!
Hydrogen itself is still very powerful, and its carbon-neutral. The only problem we have with it presently is the fact that the electrolysis used to get pure dihydrogen requires ridiculous amounts of energy, which we get from coal. If we can use a combination wind/solar/hydro power to generate the electricity needed we could easily break away from our fossil fuel dependency.
Some help here? What's the BTU storage per unit volume of this formula (please speak slowly and use short words) as compared to say, a hypothetical tank of liquid hydrogen or some sort of hydride storage? It must be at least OK or they wouldn't trouble with it.
Hey, isn't formic acid what ants spit at enemies?
Good input. I would also consider the idea of bioenergy by burning of woody biomass to generate electricity for electroylsis or looking at transforming that woody biomass into syngas directly through gasification (which will give you your H2 after some cleaning). Sustainable forest management is definetely a viable option, but it obviously still needs a lot of research.
People don't often realize your critical point: it takes a lot more energy in to get H2 out of water through electrolysis. I believe equilibrium potential for water is 1.23V at 25C, using hydrogen as standard reference. So you can only expect to put in a lot more voltage than equilibrium, which is just a viscious circle.
-Suffer, learn and change.
The principle is sound but what is the point?
You can do anything on paper or in a lab.
And yes, Formic acid is not very nice on the skin.
I ask myself (with great respect to these people)is this one of the first knee-jerk experiments of potential geo-engineers?
Is this another whack-a-mole concept which will inevitably come to the fore as geo-experts tackle the problem of global warming when it gets extreme?
Will all the unbelievers who pay their taxes, demand quick remedies so they can get on with their hedonistic ways and beliefs, will seeding the oceans with iron, mirrors in space etc etc.. be the norm?
Of course it will! Why?
Because that trigger, that step off the cliff with no going back, is a slow, almost imperceptible, elongated event.
BUT when finally released; then the proverbial will hit the fan!!
THEN we shall be inundated with...? Imagine!
The reciprocal of the hydrogen ion will pail into insignificance.
Check out: www.blacklightpower.com
Dr. Mills has licensed 7 power plants, which produce over 750MW of power. The process is completely green, resulting only in the release of oxygen from water and using the hydrogen to create heat as the electron is forced into a lower orbitals.
Dr. Mills has also, unified the forces of nature by using only Maxwell's equations, Newton's laws of motion, and Einstein's relativity theory. No "quantum mechanics" needed. His theories explains everything from the microscopic to the macroscopic.
He also has a design on a car power plant that uses the heat from his process to directly drive an electric motor. No need for hydrogen storage. The hydrogen is produced as needed, then a state change, heat produced and used to drive the electric motor.
Excellent additional information, thank you!
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Unless electricity is free hydrogen is a joke.
The most cost effective way to get hydrogen is to waist energy breaking apart natural gas. But natural gas is a fuel that is easier to store and use in its regular state. Why would people waist energy to get a fuel that is harder to use harder to store and costs more.
In the middle east a good portion of the vehicles are cng, not because they don't have fuel but they want to conserve extraction and refinement capacity so they can sell the oil to us.
Just another example of how ass backwards we are. CNG is far more clean burning than gas but the epa makes it prohibitively expensive to adapt a wide variety of vehicles by requiring kits to certify for each model and year separately in a certification process that costs $200,000 and requires an expensive annual renewal.