Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Portable hydrogen reactor for fuel cells

Date:
May 23, 2011
Source:
Stevens Institute of Technology
Summary:
Chemical engineering students have developed a portable microreactor that converts liquid fuels into hydrogen for fuel cell batteries.

Chemical engineering students at Stevens Institute of Technology are transforming the way that American soldiers power their battery-operated devices by making a small change: a really small change. Capitalizing on the unique properties of microscale systems, the students have invented a microreactor that converts everyday fossil fuels like propane and butane into pure hydrogen for fuel cell batteries. These batteries are not only highly efficient, but also can be replenished with hydrogen again and again for years of resilient performance in the field.

With soldiers carrying up to 80% of gear weight in batteries, the Army has a high interest in replacing the current paradigm of single-use batteries with a reliable, reusable power source. The Stevens-made microreactors thus have the potential to not only reduce waste from disposable batteries, but also provide American soldiers with a dependable way to recharge the batteries for the critical devices that keep them safe.

Current methods for generating fuel cell hydrogen are both sophisticated and risky, requiring high temperatures and a vacuum to produce the necessary chemical-reaction-causing plasmas. Once in a container, hydrogen is a highly volatile substance that is dangerous and expensive to transport.

The Stevens microreactor overcomes both of these barriers by using low temperatures and atmospheric pressure, and by producing hydrogen only as needed to avoid creating explosive targets in combat areas. These advanced reactors are created using cutting-edge microfabrication techniques, similar to those used to create plasma television screens, which use microscale physics to produce plasma under normal atmospheres.

The team has already had success producing hydrogen from methanol. After gasifying methanol by suspending it in hot nitrogen gas, the mixture is drawn into a 25m channel in the microreactor. There, it reacts with plasma to cause thermal decomposition, breaking down the methanol into its elemental components. Now the team is conducting tests to see what kind of yields are realizable from various starter fuels. Eventually, soldiers will be able to convert everyday liquid fuels like propane or butane, commonly found on military bases, into high-potency juice for portable fuel cell batteries.

The team, made up of seniors Ali Acosta, Kyle Lazzaro, Randy Parrilla, and Andrew Robertson, are supporting Ph.D. candidate Peter Lindner in a research project sponsored by the U.S. Army. The project is overseen by Dr. Ronald Besser. The team will be presenting their device prototype at Senior Projects Expo on April 27.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stevens Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stevens Institute of Technology. "Portable hydrogen reactor for fuel cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101913.htm>.
Stevens Institute of Technology. (2011, May 23). Portable hydrogen reactor for fuel cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101913.htm
Stevens Institute of Technology. "Portable hydrogen reactor for fuel cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101913.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins