Experimental setup used for chemical hydride hydrolysis. Various instruments can be placed between the reaction vessel and the gas burette, including a gas flow meter (shown), a sampling bulb to allow for collection of samples for gas chromatography, or Dräger tubes for low level detection (<1 ppm) of contaminants.
In this Office of Naval Research (ONR) funded project, we focused on developing volumetrically efficient systems for the catalytic decomposition of sodium borohydride. The research involves all aspects of a fuel cell driven power unit, from low-cost catalysts to volumetrically efficient sodium borohydride conditioning and delivery systems.
Among our accomplishments, our team demonstrated a novel cobalt based catalyst. The work focused on solution combustion synthesis (SCS) for rapidly synthesizing a high-purity, nano-foam cobalt oxide powder. This powder is converted in-situ to a magnetic, active catalyst. The magnetic nature of the active catalyst allows for implementation of magnetic immobilization for use in a hydrogen generation system for fuel cell power.
Decomposition reaction of sodium borohydride with low-cost catalysts
Ammonia borane is a solid state hydrogen storage material that provides a lightweight, low cost, and portable source of energy. Our work with the Office of Naval Research is motivated by the need to provide dismounted infantry with a cost and weight effective power source to replace the heavy batteries currently being carried by soldiers during missions.