Hoboken NJ (SPX) May 25, 2011
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 25 m 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.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
Enhanced electrical energy storage may result from professor's research
Austin TX (SPX) May 17, 2011
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering have created a new porous, three-dimensional carbon that can be used as a greatly enhanced supercapacitor, holding promise for energy storage in everything from energy grids and electric cars to consumer electronics. The findings of the group, led by materials science and mechanical engineering Professor Rodn ... read more
Iraq to fuel generators to head off power protests|
Hydro Alternative Energy Announces MoU With Republic of Benin
Shareholders Press FirstEnergy to Come Clean on Coal Ash
US presses green growth in Asia
Berkeley Lab Research Helps Fuel Cells Meet their Potential
China gets massive deep-water rig
Students Develop Cheaper, Greener, Alternative Energy Storage
Falklands step up oil quest through 2012
Windpower 2011 highlights industry trends and job creation
Google backs wind energy in California desert
Evolutionary lessons for wind farm efficiency
Global warming won't harm wind energy production, climate models predict
Japanese PM pledges 10 mn solar-powered homes
Positive Energy completes construction of 2MW PV park
Historic Green Energy Deal Funds Long-Term School Roof Renewal
Tecta Solar Installs PV System for GlaxoSmithKline
EU firms push nuclear despite Fukushima
Switzerland opposes building further nuclear power plants
EU to test nuclear plants' safety after hard bargaining
Japan retired nuclear workers ready for duty
New sustainable bio-derived jet fuel industry is achievable
Teaching algae to make fuel
Biofuels 'viable' for Australia, NZ aviation: report
Wildlife in trouble from oil palm plantations
Top Chinese scientists honored with naming of minor planets
China sees smooth preparation for launch of unmanned module
China to attempt first space rendezvous
Countdown begins for Chineses space station program
Report a push for Australia carbon tax?
No link between tornadoes and climate change: US
West 'causing drought' in Iran: Ahmadinejad
China reporting climate worsening: survey
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|