Gallery: Purdue University Students Turn Ordinary Saltwater into Hydrog...

 
Purdue researchers demonstrate their method for producing hydrogen by adding water to an alloy of aluminum and gallium. The hydrogen could then be used to run an internal combustion engine. The reaction was discovered by Jerry Woodall, center, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering. Charles Allen, holding test tube, and Jeffrey Ziebarth, both doctoral students in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, are working with Woodall to perfect the process. The technology could, in theory, be used to replace gasoline with non-polluting hydrogen for cars. Initially the method will be used in portable electrical generators. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

Researchers from Purdue University are on the cusp on creating a new type of mobile technology that not only coverts non-potable water into drinking water, but also extracts hydrogen to generate electricity. The technology revolves around an aluminium alloy that the team believes could bring both water and power to poor villages around the world.

Leading the team is Jerry Woodall, a Purdue University distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering. Speaking to Science Daily, he stated that by immersing the new alloy (which contains aluminum, gallium, indium and tin) into water, you can create a spontaneous reaction that splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. The hydrogen can then be used to fuel power cells, while clean drinking water is produced in the form of steam.

“The steam would kill any bacteria contained in the water, and then it would condense to purified water,” Woodall said. “So, you are converting undrinkable water to drinking water.”

The technology even works with saltwater, which means it could be utilised on boats and marine vessels around the world to providing drinking water to sailors. A prototype has yet to be created and a patent is pending, but Woodall believes the portable technology could transform villages that aren’t connected to a power grid.

“There is a big need for this sort of technology in places lacking connectivity to a power grid and where potable water is in short supply,” he said. “Because aluminum is a low-cost, non-hazardous metal that is the third-most abundant metal on Earth, this technology promises to enable a global-scale potable water and power technology, especially for off-grid and remote locations.”

It would be cheap too, as water could be produced for about $1 per gallon, while electricity could be generated for about 35 cents per kilowatt hour of energy. ”There is no other technology to compare it against, economically, but it’s obvious that 34 cents per kilowatt hour is cheap compared to building a power plant and installing power lines, especially in remote areas,” Woodall said. ”You could drop the alloy, a small reaction vessel and a fuel cell into a remote area via parachute. Then the reactor could be assembled along with the fuel cell. The polluted water or the seawater would be added to the reactor and the reaction converts the aluminum and water into aluminum hydroxide, heat and hydrogen gas on demand.”

Simple! And as aluminum hydroxide waste is non-toxic it can be disposed of in a landfill.

+ Purdue University

Via Science Daily

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7 Comments

  1. Smeaton May 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Why would you put the aluminium hydroxide in a landfill, it should be recycled? You have effectively made a battery or even capacitor. The energy is stored from the smelter and released at point of use.

  2. awadheshian May 11, 2011 at 5:37 am

    great yaar

  3. Carl Reed May 9, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The oil and battery industries spend tens of millions of dollars per year on disinformation campaigns and fake pundits/shills to discredit hydrogen because it beats their products on every metric.

    The waste product from hydrogen is potable water, the waste product from oil is cancer. (Oil is the root cause of cancer. ) It is worth anything to end Cancer so any arguement against hydrogen is offset by this fact alone. The waste product from batteries is Lithium poisoning and EMF caused cancer (The GM- EV1 was destroyed because of the EMF cancer risk).

    Hydrogen can now be efficiently made from water and the competing interests can’t control water so that want H2 stopped.

    The more batteries you add to an electric car, the less far it goes. Hydrogen carries more energy at less weight than any battery.

    Detroit has a deal with the oil companies to make money by using oil. Big oil does not want Detroit using H2. Big Oil controls the U.S. DOE and orders them to delay hydrogen.

    For every negative you could get a shill to make-up about hydrogen, there are thousands of technical papers that disprove it. For every negative that you hear about oil and batteries there are hundreds of thousands of technical papers that prove it.

    The gulf coast will now experience a doubling of cancer rates within 10 years, essentially killing off the deep south because of the BP Oil spill.

    Hydrogen runs the sun and that seems to work pretty well.

    A company called millenium cell did the same thing as perdue and went out of business

  4. PManke May 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    This tech has existed for a long time. It is NOT a net gain because the energy entrenched in the metal far exceeds the net gain in hydrogen or potable water.
    It exists merely as an interesting school chemistry lab experiment.

  5. _david_ml May 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    it is possible to recycle aluminum ?

  6. Wastenot May 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I hope he meant $1 per thousand gallons.

  7. caeman May 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Arr, matey! ‘Tis gold in that thar test tube.

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