Instructables

Soda Can Hydrogen Generator for Alternative Energy

Picture of Soda Can Hydrogen Generator for Alternative Energy
Make Hydrogen On Demand from Activated Aluminum and Water.

This invention has been patented!

I use a drop of liquid metal that I bought from eBay and aluminum from a soda can to produce hydrogen from water.

This reaction solves the problem of hydrogen storage for the hydrogen economy. Energy dense activated aluminum acts as the storage medium, liberating hydrogen on demand when exposed to water.

After the exhaustion of the reaction, the resultant aluminum oxide (alumina) is shipped to a power generator plant that reduces it back to aluminum. Since alumina is a suspension in water it can be delivered via pipelines to the power station.

Liquid metal is available here:

http://www.google.com/products?q=Coollaboratory+Liquid+Pro&hl=en&aq=f

It is usually listed on the internet as

Coollaboratory LiquidPro Fluessigmetall Waermeleitpaste

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Step 1: Prepare the Aluminum

Picture of Prepare the Aluminum
Cut the soda can into strips.
Sand the plastic off a strip.
The finished strip should be clean and shiny.
Proceed swiftly to step 2.
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Danajavue5 months ago

The gallium is keeping the surface of the aluminum from having an oxidative film which would stop the oxygen reduction reaction. This concept is not new, countries such as Iceland where geothermic energy is plentiful convert heat into electricity and store it in alumina as it converts to aluminum. It can then be exported to other places as stored energy. Aluminum is light and relatively energy dense. The resulting bi product after electrical extraction (alumina) is shipped back to the original energy source. Attempts have been made to infuse gallium and aluminum into one alloy but it has proven difficult due to the low melting temperature of gallium. It was discovered that by slowly lowering the temperature of molten gallium and aluminum over several days the alloy could be achieved. However this again makes the feasibility of aluminum as a sustainable energy storage system only cost effective for energy rich (heat) sources such as geothermic. Experiments with aluminum foam during electrolysis by infusing gallium gas through the alumina while it is solidifying to aluminum could give a increased surface area for gallium particulates stored innately within the resulting poris aluminum. I don’t know if anyone is working on this it is only a theoretical idea I pondered in this discussion.

(removed by author or community request)
Biotele (author)  fireblast_12124 years ago
BTW, I will be very happy if you use it for commercial use. It is a good thing to pay inventors because it promote innovation and inventors make more things for commercialization thus perpetuating the economy. If you don't pay inventors then they won't share their ideas.  Would like to live in a world were no one share ideas and nobody invents?
I do believe that inventors should be paid for their ideas, but regardless of if we were paid a real inventor doesn't invent just for money. We invent for the love of inventing.
Biotele (author)  The SYNer1 year ago
Inventing is a calling, you can't stop it, and you might go broke pursuing it, which is the sad story of the majority of inventors in history, from the alchemists to Nikola Tesla. Society now see the true value of inventors and the situation has changed a bit for the better.
Biotele (author)  The SYNer1 year ago
Inventing is a calling, you can't stop it, and you might go broke pursuing it, which is the sad story of the majority of inventors in history, from the alchemists to Nikola Tesla. Society now see the true value of inventors and the situation has changed a bit for the better.
Biotele (author)  The SYNer1 year ago
Inventing is a calling, you can't stop it, and you might go broke pursuing it, which is the sad story of the majority of inventors in history, from the alchemists to Nikola Tesla. Society now see the true value of inventors and the situation has changed a bit for the better.
Biotele (author)  fireblast_12124 years ago
This was patented prior to publication, and even if it was not, an inventor has one year after publication to patent according to US law. I am using Instructable as a new way to promote patent ideas.
kooool2 years ago
Ignoring all of the obvious problems with just telling people to go run their cars off hydrogen:
If you were planning on using hydrogen as a fuel source, why not just use electrolysis?
Biotele (author)  kooool2 years ago
As you said it is not a good idea to run an ICE engine with hydrogen. Better supply the hydrogen to fuel cell. But this invention is better suited for Jet engines. Jets power source should always be light weight and this packs as much punch as gasoline per weight.
You need a energy source for electrolysis.
What about doing the electrolysis on the ground and the aircraft only carries the fuel? Especially since your own updates indicate gallium would be dangerous to have on an aircraft.

Eagle Research has a book with detailed information on building a Brown's Gas (oxyhydrogen) electrolyzer at various scales.

Brown's Gas, Book 2
http://www.eagle-research.com/cms/node/204

Check it out.
Biotele (author)  adamwd842 years ago
the problem remains the same, the storage of gaseous hydrogen needs heavy tanks. Gallium like mercury is bad for aluminum aircrafts but not carbon composite or titanium aircrafts.
AChillyDog2 years ago
How much hydrogen does the average H-powered car need to go 100 miles at 60 mph?
InfDeath7 years ago
Have you used this to run an engine? I'm curious as to what the output is. Would it be possible for you to do a write up on the cost of this method as compared to using gasoline? Also is there any use for the alumina?
kooool InfDeath2 years ago
There are many variables in running a vehicle off hydrogen, for one, running a normal car, straight on it, would melt the engine.
Even mixing it with the gas, in newer cars at least, gives you a rich mixture, which can actually bring down your mileage. :/
There are many sites solely dedicated I suggest you explore if you already haven't. :)
You ned to look at it this way - A 1 litre engine running at 40 MPH at 40 MPG is using 4.8 liters of fuel per hour. BUt that is a liquid and much more dense than a gas such as hydrogen. The problem is storing enough to get any distance let alone the issues of storing a gas nder pressure.
Biotele (author)  InfDeath7 years ago
Go to site below and download the presentation, it has all the economics in detail.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://hydrogen.ecn.purdue.edu/">http://hydrogen.ecn.purdue.edu/</a><br/><br/>The interesting thing, is that my method requires a small amount of gallium to produce hydrogen. Maybe not as fast as aluminum dissolved in gallium but nonetheless most of the Aluminum strip is consumed.<br/>
ameenkhan3 years ago
i need to know where i can find it liquid metal
For the manufacture of "liquid Metal", is here (toner powder + vegetable oil):

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbz1r9_fabriquer-simplement-du-metal-liqui_tech
Biotele (author)  Lefrançois3 years ago
This is not the same thing. But absolutely cool!
Hi
I have a small question.
Are there any rechargeable/refillable Hydrogen fuel cells having same power specification and size specs as a AA battery?

regards
bored_guy
oui ici:
(bottom of page)
http://www.horizonfuelcell.com/hobby_rc.htm
Biotele (author)  Lefrançois3 years ago
Merci mon ami. Facinant.
TheGoodLife5 years ago
Wouldn't it be cheaper to sail the ship once. During the journey, the ship lays a grid interconnector to the US or UK. Iceland can then distribute its excess power at a lower cost than shipping it.
Biotele (author)  TheGoodLife5 years ago
No. 80% of the power will be lost transmitting power through cable from iceland to UK/US.
you have your numbers backwards. 80% of the power would reach the UK/US while 20% (approximate) would be lost to natural resistance in the cable. All of this means nothing though. We are forgeting that charging the batteries will be wasteful as well. No battery has zero resistance. If electric rates are really so cheap then why not just lay a superconducting cable like are used in the US for extreme distance? Sure they are expensive but nothing compared to building and operating a ship at sea. Besides, cables don't sink or crash
Biotele (author)  wilecoyote223 years ago
The most ambitious submarine to date is a cable of 450-miles being installed across the South China Sea to carry power from a recently completed 2400MW hydroelectric power dam in Sarawak province to mainland Malaysia. "If electric rates are really so cheap then why not just lay a superconducting cable like are used in the US for extreme distance? " You must be a time traveler from the future, we don't have that yet.
Ok I admit that I dont "Know" of a superconductive power cable in commercial use exactly. I am assuming since they were doing demonstrations as early as 2007 over several hundred miles that they probably are being used commercially today. http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2007/05/next_generation.html
Biotele (author)  wilecoyote223 years ago
It will be great to have commercial superconductive cables. They have been working on them for 30 years. When they become commercially viable, they will be a game changer.

I will be careful about company announcements, they are meant to boost investors sentiment. This one was dated 2007. Any updates?
another way to make large amounts of hydrogen and oxygen is to put steel into acid in a bottle with a balloon on the top or something
DRY HHO4 years ago
While the idea is interesting the resources from Iceland is not. Currently there are major conflicts over Alcoa trying to industrialize Iceland. We now that industrialization didn't work. The only thing it did was add to how we pollute and destroy the environment. There 200 years too late for industrializing Iceland. Iceland is a place of natural beauty that should not be harvested for profit. Aluminum has great uses for these types of designs... we just need to be aware of where we get it from. These ideas are to protect the earth not pollute it in another fashion.
Dry hho
alter baron4 years ago
It's sad how academics always rush to patent such simple discoveries, especially when the discovery holds a great deal of promise for the future. Patents on processes such as this one do not help to stimulate innovation; rather, the drive to innovate is extinguished because the very roots of that innovation are owned by individuals. Until we can emancipate ourselves from the profit-motive, we may never see a truly green society.
Biotele (author)  alter baron4 years ago
I am not an academician, I am an inventor. And inventors have the right to make a living. But, Academia and corporations have hijacked the innovation process, because patenting has become too expensive for the lone inventor. The researchers in academia and corporations get little benefits from their inventions.
Regarding the icelandic scheme 1) the US does not have a national grid as such, grids are independent of state so electricity cannot be transferred between them and 2)would it not be better to invest in electricity transimission lines between iceland and the uk. If a high enoughvoltage could be created, it may be viable.
Biotele (author)  thefunktopus4 years ago
Yes, this is a viable alternative. but the economics must be calculated. I am not sure how much it will cost. however the EU is planning a supergrid between the middle east, africa and Europe. Iceland fits in that scheme. http://www.desertec.org/en/concept/
DrStoooopid7 years ago
You let it set long enough for the liquid metal to penetrate the aluminium, thus accounting for the violent reaction, as there wasn't a way for their any oxidation to occur, because the liquid metal thoroughly "wetted" the aluminium. You should be able to recover your gallium from that dried up mess on top there, just like normal.
Biotele (author)  DrStoooopid7 years ago
Have you ever came across a reaction were a metal permeates another metal like it was a sponge? If you look carefully in the second picture, the liquid metals does not wet and spread on the surface, but actually mixes with the aluminum giving a different shine from the original aluminum. Yes the gallium is recoverable after the reaction.
that's what true wetting is...the liquid metal soaks into the other metal. That's supposed to happen. It didn't happen before because you didn't let it sit long enough before.
Biotele (author)  DrStoooopid7 years ago
I am not expert on metal on metal interaction, do you have some papers that describes this phenomena? Personally, I never heard of metal soaking into other metals. I thought wetting process involved the loss of surface tension in the liquid metal because of surface boundary amalgamation.
The terminology is different, but ask a jeweler about eutectic melting. If you have a drop of a low melting alloy (lead, tin, antimony, etc.) on a piece of sliver or gold and heat it up enough to melt the low melting alloy, it will tend to pull the high melting alloy into solution. This tends to eat big pits (at least at the jewelry scale) into whatever it is that you are working on and cause no end of cursing.
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