Skip to comments.Hydrogen on demand from silicon nanospheres - just add water
Posted on 01/23/2013 10:55:20 AM PST by ShadowAce
Instant energy, just add water you might expect the expression under an ACME label in an old Warner Bros cartoon, but not from a University.
However, researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York have demonstrated that nano-particles of silicon react with water to produce the non-toxic silicic acid and release hydrogen. The reaction is well known, but the university says using 10nm spheres of silicon works 1,000 times faster than bulk silicon.
Published in Nano Letters, the experiment didnt require external heat or light to release the hydrogen, which was captured by the researchers to power a small fuel cell driving a fan.
Geometry is the key to the performance of the 10nm nano-spheres, which present the maximum possible surface area (relative to their size) to the water. Larger particles, the researchers explain, clump together and their surfaces react less uniformly with the water. When it comes to splitting water to produce hydrogen, nanosized silicon may be better than more obvious choices that people have studied for a while, such as aluminum, researcher Mark Swihart, UB professor of chemical and biological engineering and director of the universitys Strategic trength in Integrated Nanostructured Systems says in the universitys announcement.
Swiharts colleague Paras Prasad, executive director of UBs Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, believes the technique would find its first applications in portable power sources.
Theyre not putting forward the idea as free power, however, noting that it takes significant energy to create the silicon nano-spheres. Rather, they see the phenomenon as having potential as a portable energy source. A small hydrogen fuel cell is lighter to carry than a generator or battery packs, Swihart said, and could be used to power remote devices like GPS, satellite phones and laptops. ®
The gas station to become the sand and water station?
Okay, what do you do with the silicic acid after the balls are all used up?...................
At the risk of being the mean old engineer....how much energy does it take to produce enough nano particles of silicon to liberate a watt of energy?
Sad experience tells me the answer may something greater than a watt.
So, E really does = Mc Squared.
How much energy is required to create these nanospheres?
I work in the shadow of a power-generating facility that helped build and support my community since the 1950’s. It is now closed by the United States because of the coal ash produced along with the power it produces. It is a sad day to cast aside an old friend in favor of the wishful and hopeful thinking of morons.
Hey, you're not allowed to ask questions like that if the inventor is a lib. Their "intentions" were good, after all. Supposedly.
Sad experience and the laws of physics, Jim! Energy is liberated when hydrogen is oxidized. Therefore the same amount of energy is going to need to be added to split the hydrogen atoms back off the oxygen, presumably provided by some reaction involving the silicon, so you're exactly correct. To be fair, the developers aren't pitching this as "energy from nowhere" but simply as a potential way to transport energy derived from some existing source.
If your governor and state legislature had stones large enough to see, they'd direct that the plant resume operation and dare the feds to do something about it.
It will always cost more in than anything puts out.
The cost to drill, refine and produce gas is 80% and the engine then is only 20% efficient in the real world in terms of emery out.
Same with batteries. Why does a pack of batteries cost $10? Because it takes energy to make them.
No one is saying this new way to make fuel cells is “free” energy. But it would be DAMN convenient to carry this in place of a heavy battery or generator and “just add water” to make power.
If one of these cost $2,000 and I could carry it to a remote spot and or use it if TSHTF with just water, I would buy 2 of them!
A power generator than runs on WATER would be a gift of the gods especially if ITEOTWAWKI.
Some people never had that talk and fail to understand.
Thermodynamics was probably the single most important class I ever took.
It’s also the one single subject area that the largest number students had difficulty understanding.
if hard core STEM students have a hard time grasping Thermodynamic fundamentals, how much of chance does your average public high school graduate or even your average liberal Arts College Grad have.
This is why we have so much bogus garbage floating around pretending to be energy policy.
Large scale Man Made Global Warming is a hard sell to some one who understands Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
Thermo was the hardest class I ever took...
Thermo was the hardest class I ever took...
Well, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton at today's senate hearing, "What difference does it make!"
I don't think that's the point of it. The cost of the nanospheres will be much greater than the value of the resulting power in most civilian uses.
But I would imagine that silicon has an indefinitely-long shelf life, as does water. There are lots of military applications for something that can sit in a box for years, and then deliver reliable power on demand.
While youre thinking about that you might get a headache . . . could you possibly use it for a feedstock to make acetylsalicylic acid?
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