Hydrogen Evolution From Water Catalyzed By Room Temperature Liquid Metals

Tech ID: 32779 / UC Case 2019-755-0

Background

Hydrogen is a key fuel for future energy storage. Currently, most hydrogen is produced directly from hydrocarbons, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide. Catalytically produced hydrogen (from the evolution of hydrogen from water) does not produce carbon dioxide but requires a great deal of electrical power which is difficult to provide renewably. It also requires relatively pure water, which increases the cost and energy requirements.  

Alumina powder is a widely used component in many industrial processes.  Currently, alumina powder is produced from mined bauxite via the Bayer process, which requires enormous amounts of heat, the release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide, huge volumes of highly corrosive chemicals, and generates "red mud" which is a useless and dangerous environmental waste product. 

Technology Description

This technology began as an undergraduate research project and resulted in a composition and process that produces the cleanest hydrogen and the cleanest alumina available. The composition is generated by mixing gallium and aluminum in a molar excess of gallium (e.g. 3 moles gallium: 1 mole aluminum). This alloy results in the formation of aluminum nanoparticles within the gallium that react vigorously with water to generate hydrogen and aluminum oxide (Al2CO3 or alumina). The reaction can be performed at room temperature with no electrical or other energy input. Importantly, all the gallium used in the initial alloy can be recovered after the reaction is complete and reused indefinitely.  

The work began with the idea that waste aluminum can be used and the reaction has been performed using waste aluminum foil and soda can lids as aluminum sources. Similarly, no purified water is required: tap water, gray water, and salt water have also been used. 

 

 

Applications

Production of clean hydrogen fuel

Production of the cleanest alumina powder

On site production of hydrogen fuel

Laboratory hydrogen 

Advantages

Cleanest hydrogen and cleanest alumina possible.

No heating or electrical inputs

Gallium fully reusable

Reaction at room temperature

Any source of aluminum or water can be used

Intellectual Property Information

Country Type Number Dated Case
Patent Cooperation Treaty Reference for National Filings 2020223489 11/05/2020 2019-755
 

Patent Pending

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Keywords

hydrogen fuel, alumina, carbon free, catalytic hydrogen, aluminum waste, eco-friendly, green technologies

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