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:


It is usually listed on the internet as

Coollaboratory LiquidPro Fluessigmetall Waermeleitpaste

My other Instructables:
Hack The Spy Ear and Learn to Reverse Engineer a Circuit
Super Easy E-mail Encryption Using Gmail, Firefox and Windows
Make a Voltage Controlled Resistor and Use It
Make a Ball Mill in 5 Minutes
Make a Rechargeable Dual Voltage Power Supply for Electronic Projects

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.

Umm.. excuse me could i ask when did you made this experiment? Biotele

you think it is easy to charge aluminium battery ?
i can see for reference.
charging aluminium battery is complex process

you think it is easy to charge aluminium battery ?
i can see for reference.
charging aluminium battery is complex process

Danajavue1 year 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.

kooool3 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)  kooool3 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

Check it out.
Biotele (author)  adamwd843 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.
AChillyDog3 years ago
How much hydrogen does the average H-powered car need to go 100 miles at 60 mph?
InfDeath8 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 InfDeath3 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)  InfDeath8 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/>
ameenkhan4 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):

Biotele (author)  Lefrançois4 years ago
This is not the same thing. But absolutely cool!
I have a small question.
Are there any rechargeable/refillable Hydrogen fuel cells having same power specification and size specs as a AA battery?

oui ici:
(bottom of page)
Biotele (author)  Lefrançois4 years ago
Merci mon ami. Facinant.
TheGoodLife6 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)  TheGoodLife6 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)  wilecoyote225 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)  wilecoyote224 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 HHO5 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 baron5 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 baron5 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)  thefunktopus5 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/
DrStoooopid8 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)  DrStoooopid8 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)  DrStoooopid8 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.
Biotele (author)  Austringer8 years ago
I am not sure it is the same thing. Did you see the second picture in step 5? There is no hole, the only change is a shine that is different from the surrounding aluminum, and it's that shiny area that is extremely reactive with water.
just hypothesising here but the mercury might have removed the unreactive aluminium oxide and revealed the aluminium, which does react with water, dont know if it would have reacted that vigorusly though...
How so?
gateon5 years ago
Or, you could just use the works to make hydrogen.
Kryptonite5 years ago
Is this "liquid metal" Galinstan?
I hait to burst your bubl but Iceland can't supply all the world with power. It's not possible.
Oh, It's not possible! Why didn't I see that? Seriously if you are going to say something is impossible, at least have some kind of concept behind your assertion, and ideally have some links and figures showing how you have come to this conclusion.
In 2005 we as a world yoosd 5*1020j.
Let me give a agsampl of that 1j is a nuf energy to rase 1kg 1m.we could of
raisd 1kg 500000000000000000000m
if it wus in mile it would be 3.106855961e+17mi from erth.
And you think that one countrie could do this?
not taking in to the risk of puting all your eggs in one baskit.
Gravitational potential energy = mgh in a linear gravitational field
At low altitudes, the earth's gravitational field can be modelled by an approximate field strength of 9.81 n/kg

Anyway it would take 9.81J of energy to raise 1kg to a height of 1m

But since you are talking about raising it high enough, you would have to consider the earth's field as a radial field, gets a bit more complicated but here goes.

Work done = mass * (change in gravitational potential)
Gravitational potential = -GM/r
therefore work need to raise 1kg up to 500000000000000000000m

r = radius of earth = 6378100m
G = gravitational constant = 6.67^-11
M = mass of earth = 5.97 * 10^24

Work = 1 * (-GM/(r + 5*10^20) + GM/r)
Work needed = 62MJ (Mega joules)
i.e 62,000,000J

Now i'm sure a power station is able to output that amount of energy very easily as most are in the order of hundreds of mega watts, therefore, it would take less than a second to output the energy needed to raise this 1kg to the height you said, not 5*10^20 J as you said

Go learn some physics, learn how to spell.

well I made a mistake it's not 1j is a nef energy to raise 1kg 1m
it's, 1 joule is the amount of energy required to exert a force of 1N through a distance of 1 meter. It has bin a fue years sins my high school physics class, but I don't remember having to add gravity to this problem. I thank it includes it

crekt me if this is false.
try to use a spell checker please
I have dyslexia, so it is hard to spell. And yes I yoos spell check but the ikon is gon on the reply butten!!! :0
I'm dyslexic too, and besides I speak Spanish, not English. But I proofread iteratively until the result is understandable (at least I think that).

You have more obligation to make you understand, than we interpret what you write. It's BASIC!
If you have dyslexia then you understand the frustration in writing a simple coming. I don't have a lot of time to waist on this.
Funny how people who claim to have dyslexia have no problem spelling dyslexia.

If you had a problem wouldent you be able to spell it ?

That isn't dyslexia, that is just someone who cannot spell and is using it has a crutch.  I have dyslexia and you do not see me spelling like I was in preschool.   
I have bin chekt by a sikolejist and I have the most sevear case he has ever seen. I am in 12 grade with a 5.0 GPA , I am going to Purdue. My life would be inposibl with out my laptop and Read&Write Gold. I don't know why people have to judge people on this site including me.
But no matter what I say, you will not believe me.

PS " I used spell chek" ;)
Are you an American? I understand that UK humour can bounce off Americans.

I said exactly what you said.
Biotele (author)  Hunter40006956 years ago
I guess not, but Dr. Pieter van Pelt thinks it's a good idea, I just added his idea to my instructable because it is interesting and somewhat related to my invention.
IX Smith XI5 years ago
Liquid metal is Galinstanm or mercury?
Biotele (author)  IX Smith XI5 years ago
liquid metal is galistan. Mercury is toxic.
I am lost for what this is about, liquid metal? etc?

if you want hydrogen gas, aluminium and caustic soda is all you need, and in the early '70s, thats how I sent up long ranging balloons.


As for "processing bauxite ore from New Zealand" somebody is spreading misinformation, we only have one aluminium smelter in NZ and we import ALL our bauxite ore from Australia as WE dont have any to dig up.

The ONLY reason NZ imports bauxite ore from Australia, is because that is the ONLY way we can export all the electricity from the big Manapouri hydro power station built just for the smelter. We earn overseas funds, by exporting aluminium. (its a way of useing our hydro resources to earn money overseas.))

No way does NZ export bauxite ore seeing we got none here to dig up.


If USA wants new cheap electricity sources, why not move its aluminium smelters to Iceland, which does not require investment in new unproven  technology and divert the cheap smelter electricity produced in the USA into the USA national power grid for residential sales? Its really silly, to transport power on ships, when you can relocate BIG consumers of cheap power. (Smelters are not viable anywhere in the world  unless supplied by cheap hydro power)

During NZ wide power shortages, the company running our smelter cuts production. Due to Global Warming, NZ's big investment in Hydro power, can no longer be relied on.)


And I am almost certain, the ideas mentioned above in the Instructable is not viable, because to generate batches of 50 GW.h electricity in Iceland will require enormous expenditure on new infrastructure, using borrowed money on which interest is paid. The infrustructre requires regular maintence, insureance and no doubt Iceland will expect tax payments on the income any infrastructure makes for the owners.

There is also enormous expenditure of borrowed money on the ship which requires interest payments, and regular repayments of the borrowed money, because the ship's hull wont last for ever.

How long does that ship sit in Iceland while taking on a load of 50 GW.h electricity?

And how long does the round trip take, once its loaded, until it returns for a recharge.

how much investment of borrowed money, will be required in Iceland for port infrastructure? And how much investment will be required at receiving ports, to "unload" the delivery? Because the delivery will come OFF the ship in the form of Direct Current, (DC) and the world got out of DC a hundred years ago because AC is more efficient for power transmission. (Edison began by supplying DC, and quickly found so many issues that AC suppliers almost ran him out of business.)

The ship requires maintenance, insurance and paid manpower as a crew. How much is that per delivery?

The big investment in infrastructure in Iceland, and the costs involved with having it there, means it must be operating 24/7 to be economical, which means there has to be enough ships operating, to ensure that at least one is being "loaded" 24/7 and taking all the production. Idle generators are not making revenue to pay for their installation, let alone overheads like insurance and maintenance.

Big amounts of high cost venture capital would be required.

As for "Large quantities of hydro-power or geothermal power in Iceland are very cheap"

It is a common fallacy that hydro power and geothermal power is cheap. NZ has both and KNOWS the truth..

Hydro power stations do have cheap OPERATING costs, but require enormous capital expenditure for dams, tunnels and tens of miles long channels, and the resulting borrowed money requires enormous interest payments, unlike 50-60 years ago, Some of the big Hydro power stations in the USA were built during the deprestion of the '30s with cheap government money because the intention was more to create jobs and kickstart the economy. Nowadays, Governments no longer have money like that lying around, it has to be borrowed. Borrowing TOO much, increases the costs of borrowing, for everybody, and can bring down a country's economy by increasing costs for building new factory's etc meaning unemployment goes up, less taxes collected, etc.

No way will the Iceland Government subsidise such infrastructure to help the USA UK Europe, neither will it underwrite loans to private enterprise, because the whole scheme is at the mercy of the countries willing to buy the power.

Example, the USA (or a private company in the USA) could say, drop the price, or we wont buy any more. Iceland would have to comply or shut down its infrastructure, YET still have to continue paying for the investment.

Likewise, few countries in the world will invest in infrastructure knowing that ONLY Iceland is selling such power, no alternative suppliers is just too much risk on big investments in transport and  "unloading" infrastructure.

Iceland could abuse its monopoly and DICTATE prices once a large part of another county's economy becomes DEPENDANT on so-called-cheap power from Iceland.

Look at how the price of Oil bought down the world's economy. (But I suppose the USA could invade Iceland to ensure supplies of cheap electricity continues non-stop?)

At any stage terrorists could knock out some of the generating, loading, and receiving infrastructure, resulting in large areas of the world experiencing power shortages

As for Geothermal power, the fact that its called renewable is misleading.

As well as capital costs for infrastructure, the equipment needs a lot of maintenance, lots of minerals come up with the steam, and gradually block up the pipe work, turbines, and condensers. In some cases, the steam carries corrosive and abrasive material which can and will damage the equipment..

In NZ's oldest geothermal power station, new holes have to be regularly drilled, as the old ones slowly clog up.

Then taking too much steam too fast out of the ground in Iceland can and will reduce the steam temperature (heat does the work, as pressure results from heat, and often, to prevent mineral harm to generating equipment, steam from the ground is used, by heating clean feed water to create clean steam. (Like a nuclear power station)

Taking too much HEAT (as steam) out of the ground can destroy a whole Geothermal Field, so dont assume there is unlimited geothermal steam in Iceland.

NZ has a world renown geothermal area, (Rotarua) where all the tourists visit, boiling mud pools, hot pools for swimming, and the residents use the same hot water for heating, and even commercial glass houses use the hot water, as more people moved into the area, and drilled for hot water, the geothermal field began dieing, today, its no longer free for all to drill.

True, there is plenty of HEAT deep below Iceland, (and below every land mass on the this planet in fact) but it does NOT travel up instantly. Its like a battery, use it slowly, it lasts for a long time, but take power out flat out, the battery dies before its chemical action is fully used.

Some older Geothermal Fields only survive today, because water has to be pumped back down, otherwise there is nothing for the field to heat up, to be used on the surface.

Geothermal fields are, by nature, in volcanic areas, which are by nature, on fault lines and OFTEN rocked by earthquakes, just one, could wipe out the whole geothermal field by closing the cracks in which water gets heated.

Does anybody STILL want to invest big bucks in Iceland as a source of electricity?

Would any country want to risk its economy on the idea that Iceland is a no risk source of electricity?

Consider that Iceland is near the North Pole, and most of the ice has melted there, for the first time ships can travel the passage that early explorers gave their lives to find, and failed, until Global Warming melted the ice cap.

How LONG can Iceland rely on getting enough rain to fill its hydro power system?

I would not be surprised if people in Iceland are ALREADY worried about getting enough rain to generate power for THEMSELVES.

And you can be sure that Dr. Pieter van Pelt has NOT looked into that, just made some assumptions that Iceland will ALWAYS be the same, and thus 99.9% of all the work he did, JUST covered those batteries.

BTW, my parents were Dutch.


In the '70s I was a great believer in wind power, wanting to put up a wind generator. I knew a scientist in a NZ Government Grass Lands research facility, he believed in renewable power too.

He explained a very important rule.

While wind is free, the equipment to make use of it is NOT free.

To get the equipment and set it up, requires large amounts of money.

You have to borrow it. To repay the loan, PLUS the interest, your wind generator has to generate a certain amount of power per year or you go BUST and the equipment is sold off, by the investors recovering their loan monies.

But should you have cash in your bank already, rather than wind mills, you might be wiser in investing that money elsewhere, if it gives a better return, than a wind mill would.

He also mentioned operating and maintenance costs and insurance for "Acts of God" destroying your investment..

And all my life since then, I have applied that cost of investment rule to everything I do, it even applies in business, example, cost of investment can and does cause power suppliers to forget about a new hydro power station scheme, if the returns dont cover the investment plus a profit.


Finally, the English Channel Tunnel, was never a technological break through, INSTEAD it was all about financing.

Money was needed from day one to begin digging, BUT there was NO revenue from investment for 8-years, borrowed money, was used sometimes, to pay for the initial loans, the whole project depended on getting the tunnel making money BEFORE the construction companies went bust because of all the borrowed money became overdue for repayment.

So, in Iceland, there is the chicken and egg question, who will begin investing in battery ships before Iceland can generate the power to load the ships, and who will invest in unloading infrastructure if they can not be sure Iceland can deliver, and that there will be ships to do the carrying?

And relying on Iceland for electricity, its also putting all your eggs into one basket. :-)

Anyway, if the idea was viable, why has Dr. Pieter van Pelt not begun in a small way, delivering small amounts of power, to Antarctic bases, remote islands, remote defence bases, etc where currently the cost of power is VERY high, due to diesel generators being used? (The USA at their South Pole base now uses wind power, to save flying in fuel for generators)

Remote areas like I mention have power costs way above residential rates of 45 to 50 Euro per MW.h, so Dr. Pieter van Pelt could buy power at normal prices and still make a profit.

AND then, Iceland might decide to invest in power generation, AFTER power transport technology is PROVEN.

The English Channel Tunnel, would have built in the 1960s, IF it could have been done in small stages, with each stage bringing in revenue, once completed.

The Iceland idea will NEVER happen, if the whole project has to be done in ONE go, rather than independent stages.

The big investment required would very likely be more worthwhile spent on other ideas

Sorry for the heaps of words, because rather than just say "NOT POSSIBLE" I have also said WHY not possible.

Biotele (author)  Lateral Thinker5 years ago
I read the your whole post and i agree with you on most the points, except I have to update you on wind energy. The new generation of wind turbines have made wind energy competitive with oil based power sources even to the point of being very lucrative if you possess sustainable winds.  The price per megawatt installed has dropped dramatically since the 70's.  The turbines are more efficient and dependable. Today it is safe to think of windturbines as an inverted oil wells. Just like an oil well you need initial investment then afterwards it is just profit.
Its not just profit, you still got insurance and other overheads, compliance costs, there is maintenance, connection to the grid, taxes.

Its not just better technology that makes wind power worthwhile, its the increasing cost of oil, the world is never going to run out of oil, the law of supply and demand dictates that as oil gets harder to find, its cost goes up, which makes other forms of energy more economical.

The world's energy market will find a new equilibrium, an example was when oil took over from coal.

But while there is plenty of coal, due to Global Warming the world wont go back to coal, but what is happening is renewables are taking over.

As the demand for renewanle energetic increases, its associated technology will become cheaper to install, due to economy of scale.

One reason wind power became viable is because of microchips being used to control each generator, and entire wind farms.

Solar cells, the more that are being bought, the cheaper they become, look at how much the price of microchips dropped when home computers ended up in every home.

As for oil fuelled cars, the world has always wanted to switch to electric, but the cost of battery storage was always the preventer, and there was too much money invested in the world's petrol/gasoline filing stations etc.

I always say that the car manufacturers should decide on a rechargeable battery pack standard common to all cars. That is a standard package, with standard mounting points and power connections.

And car owners would by their choice of car, then would sign up with their choice of a nationwide battery pack supplier, there would be different usage plans, depending on how many battery refills the car owner would use per year. This supplier would OWN all its battery packs.

Then the car owner whenever his power pack runs low on energy, will pull into a service station and swop power packs. The empty one will get recharged over say 12 hours, and go back into stock for the next car needing a swop.

And power pack suppliers could have arrangements amongst themselves to supply each others customers when needed.

However, it needs a lot on infrastructure, to ensure a customer can get a new power pack wherever he was. Such a lack of refill infrastructure prevented cars switching to Liquid Petroleum Gas and Compressed Natural Gas.

Popular Mechanics Magazine recently announced that a company in the USA was getting into power pack swapping, as I mention above, after having done a deal with a car manufacturer.

But it will be the car manufacturers that make or break the idea.

However, I have a updated idea, the battery pack form factor could also contain a gasoline engine, for use in the first few years until the battery pack swapping infrastructure becomes common place, and other forms of power pack, could contain a hydrogen fuel cell.

At the moment, its very easy and fast to refill a petrol/gasoline tank. But as the cost of oil goes up so even hybrid cars become too costly, the world will switch. And if swappable power packs come in, car owners can chose the technology they want.
Dang, maybe I should have patented my invention...

JGDES6 years ago
Hydrogen production is actually pretty undesirable unless you can control it. Plus the heat and the alumina gunge cause other problems This was why aluminium batteries never got too far in the past. However using the aluminium directly to produce electricity without the intermediate hydrogen step is still more sensible. You just need to dope the reaction to control it better, which we at www.metalectrique.com can do. For another (I'd say better) soda can experiment look at this:
We can get this can to produce electricity for a couple of weeks with no heat, no explosive gas, no expensive catalyst and totally safe. It does start to produce pin holes and leak, so you need to stick it in a tumbler or paint the outside with latex paint. You also need to top it up with water, but it's cute so our investors use it as an executive toy. We had this running at a show next to a hydrogen cell which was 1000 times bigger but turned a similar fan half as fast as us: quite funny. See our site for our grander projects, such as the Trash Power (TP3) for Africa battery.
I love the can power video. I am assuming that (from Jr High Chemistry) it is an acidic liquid in the can, and a copper core that was inserted.  Kind of a reverse of the lemon battery?
Biotele (author)  JGDES6 years ago
That's awesome! I put an article on aluminum batteries in the last step. How do you build one of those batteries? I agree, burning Aluminum is not a great idea, but there is certain applications (which I have patented) where it is ideal.
JGDES Biotele6 years ago
Well that unassuming plastic cap holds the carbon-based air cathode which is the only expensive item. After obtaining, or making, that that all you need do is scrape the inside of the can to remove some of the epoxy, add an electrolyte and connect up the edge of the can (the anode) and the cathode to the fan. We use a proprietary chemistry that controls the byproducts so that it runs non-stop. However you can safely use salt water (about 12%) to get 0.7 volts but you will need to scrape gunge off the cathode, or shake the can, from time to time. Do not use drano for this because it gives far too aggressive a reaction and pretty nasty to the skin too. With salt water it's all very safe. Actually a shredded can works better, so if you know of any cheap, small-scale, shredders that work on aluminium cans please let me know. Re step 7: Already a few new smelters have opened in Iceland to use their geothermal energy so that basic idea is very sound.
Biotele (author)  JGDES6 years ago
Are you a commercial company? I was thinking that opening the aluminum cans and stacking the sheets like a battery will be better. If you need shredded aluminum you can get tons of it from Aluminum window frame fabricators. Anytime you drill aluminum it makes small shredded pieces. Aluminum is very malleable and it is like putty, relative to other metals, it is very hard to turn into powder or break into pieces.
JGDES Biotele6 years ago
The original idea was to go commercial but we might just stay R+D. The can battery was just meant as an attention grabber at a trade show but we will sell a kit for schools because we've been requested for it. Yes stacking or crushing the scrap is better, which is on related demos:
Again they weren't meant to be commercial - more of a charity thing - but it will become semi-commercial for the African market.

I was actually thinking of a home/office generator. The idea being to put your own aluminium scrap through a hopper/shredder and produce electricity from it: It's incredible just how much aluminium we throw away. It's quite easy to cut aluminium using blades but that rim at the top of the can needs a bit of power to cut. A small shredder that produced flakes would be nice. Though you can order flakes of aluminium scrap too I suppose. It's a nice idea for boats too - just chucking the beer cans in the hopper and getting electricity.
Biotele (author)  JGDES6 years ago
The shredder is powered by the aluminum. That gave me another idea, a robot that eats aluminum,and it's sole purpose in life is to collect aluminum and carry it to be recycled.
MaJonesy5 years ago
Instead of using the powder (Your Metallic Substance) to convert water into hydrogen why not use a process called Electrolysis. Using this process seems a lot more efficient since there is only a little or no residue to clog up the generator. However this process does also produce Oxygen as well, and if you spark off the Hydrogen in the same container as the Oxygen it could be dangerous (Well Science is, so you would take precautions). 

All you need is two glass/ even plastic containers joint at  the bottom  

 (      )     (      )
 (      )     (      )
 (      )__(      )
 (____ ____)

One container for the Hydrogen to be produced in and the other for the Oxygen. After that stick one 12/12+ volt negatively charged wire into one container and the positively charged wire in the other. (you can use any type of wire but to produce more bubbles use a pencil or just the Graphite tube inside it). 

Fill each container with slightly salted water (you can use tap water and add a small amount in) just enough to fill them both 3/4 full.  

Cover the tops of the container with something to stop the gases from escaping or invent a gas extraction and storage system to contain the gases that you can use for a generator or anything else.

For more information on this process please visit this web page i found that will explain things a lot more thoroughly.


P.S. A good idea to produce the electricity in the first place is to maybe go Solar as you don't need that much electricity to start the reaction 
danman29915 years ago
 Would this powder be highly reactive in water?
backy6 years ago
how can i make a light use of urine., do we have a project like that?
Biotele (author)  backy6 years ago
a "light use of urine"? Many twisted thoughts come to mind.
brainiac6 years ago
OK you can't panted this its already been made look electrolysis
and K0H your just spiting them with an already patented can O_o
and I figured out electrolysis by accident its called being a 10 year science nerd =P for simplicity try dissolving salt in water and adding the cathode and anode
9V batteries r good to,and is you can figure ou how to heat this up to 400 degrees F with little energy usage and using this for energy your loosing 50% of the energy used in making the hydrogen 25% using energy to split it and 25% more turning it into energy

P.s. nice any way nice try...
Biotele (author)  brainiac6 years ago
Thank god you don't work at the patent office, Mr. Brainiac.
wats that supposed to mean?!?!
You understood that?!
ironsmiter8 years ago
I know it may sound silly, but this stuff ships ground freight only.. or at least it SHOULD only be shipped that way. The FAA, AND the terrorists are already aware of this stuff. Mercury poses the same risks, so it's not something new. The reason for ground shipping is, aircrafts are almost completely Al in construction. just as the stuff is bad for your soda can, likewise, it's bad for airplanes. For a better informed opinion, google "dissolving aluminium" and goto the pop-sci link about 1/2 way down the first page.
Biotele (author)  ironsmiter8 years ago
Ok, so I wanted to see if Liquid metal is bad for aircrafts, like the pop-sci article says about mercury. I placed a drop on the bottom of the soda can and left it in open air. That was two days ago. It made a little grey fuzz on it's surface (look at the pics in update section). Nothing spectacular happened, unlike mercury. I inspected the drop today and I COULD NOT FIND IT! IT LOOKED LIKE IT DRIED UP! Metal drying up, go figure! but there was a large blotch on the aluminum. I added a little bit of water and the thing went INSANE! It bubbled like a volcano. There was so much heat the water dried up! The reaction was much more violent then freshly applied liquid metal!
Ever "silver" a penny? That's probably beyond the reasonable safety limits and other associated b.s. that protects our younger generation from any danger or discovery.....anyway. Painting a penny with mercury leaves a shiny near mirror like finish, but let it sit overnight, and it returns to copper. The rest of the trick, throw it onto a hard surface...and it'll shatter like a terracotta, because the hg mixes with the cu jacket and the zn inner core, and creates a much weaker mixture, somewhere between the soft copper, and softer zinc, and the heavy liquid mercury..... be aware with your volcanic can, and any shattered pennies, as they're now hazmat contaminated with mercury.
nizzo odiekokee7 years ago
Preventing children from playing with mercury is b.s. now? sounds pretty ignorant to say.
odiekokee nizzo7 years ago
No, We're so far lost in safety and P.C. that children with a creative mind and enough sense and supervision aren't allowed the chance to explore and discover. We're stuck catering to the lowest common denominator where intellect and education are concerned. In times past, and in the animal kingdom, we relied upon natural selection to see our progress mentally and physically. Irrelevant. You're looking for an argument and missing the entire point. Most of us who've been around more than 20-25 years had a chemistry set growing up which had mercury and depending on the time period, dozens upon dozens of other highly dangerous chemicals. What would we have done if Mdm. Curie had been unwilling to experiment? She paid dearly for it, but how else would those things have been discovered. But that's ok. we've discovered everything there is to be discovered, and video games just as good replacements for mental exercise as they are phyisical.
Check out "Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sacks. He was able to buy hydrofluoric acid when he was a child. I would have loved to have interesting relatives like that. A good read also.
markf odiekokee7 years ago
I'm pretty sure that children can explore and be creative without having to risk serious brain damage. We want these kids to grow up to be scientists -- a chemical known for stunting intelligence is probably not what the doctor ordered. There are certainly times when people go way, way too far with "safety", but mercury exposure is not one of them.
nizzo odiekokee7 years ago
This sounds like very reckless and potentially health hazardous information to be spreading on a tutorial/how-to site, where safety should the main priority in giving advice and suggestions. I am not trying to argue or rant, just simply prevent young ones from playing with dangerous chemicals that could put them in a very serious debilitating condition, when it never even ha to happen.
dUc0N odiekokee7 years ago
It's not all lost--when I was in high school chem we made brass pennies with HCl and Zinc. Dip the penny in the acid for a bit to clean it up, coat it with zinc powder and toss it on a hot plate... when it turns from silver to a brassy color (which'll be lighter than a clean copper penny), it means the process is complete and you've successfully played with alloys. =-)

Still less dangerous than my teacher's claim of playing with little balls of sodium, tossing them into the lake while it was full of geese...

(Disclaimer for the PETA-oriented crowd: I didn't /do/ it... it's just what he claimed to have done! Besides, it's not harmful physically, they just go 'bang.')
Biotele (author)  odiekokee7 years ago
This sounds very interesting. I will try it with liquid metal. Unlike mercury, liquid metal is very safe and nontoxic.
someone check out my expiraments. cut & paste this on the adress bar. http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-dissasemble-a-motor/
Biotele (author)  ironsmiter8 years ago
thanks for the info. I would need to do an experiment to see if this is true. I wonder if mercury will catalyze the reaction of aluminum with water just like liquid metal does. Now that I have so much Aluminum oxide laying around, I wonder how I can turn it to sapphire.
heat it up lots and lots and lots and then lots more, and it'll melt, and you'd get pretty crystals of alumina once it'd cooled down.
mash40776 years ago
wow this is not mercury hmm.
I call bullshit and selfpromotion on the last two posts. Accounts created just to post the advertisements. I like the topic of hydrogren experimentation however. Dangerous stuff beyond description however.
Biotele (author)  blakeredfield6 years ago
Not so dangerous, but very intriguing. You should try it.
I have been thinking about it all day. I will do some research on the subject, so that my fears go away. Is there a direct application to this kind of homebrew hydrogen generation? Burn it or something? Have it react? Thanks for flagging the posts. I should of realized that when others post, mine will move around with them, so its hard to tell what I'm talking about. I usually dont bother, but I care about instructables a lot and want to keep it clean from quacks.
Biotele (author)  blakeredfield6 years ago
I flagged the last two post as spam. Just in case they are removed and someone is readying your post and thinks you are refering to the legitimate posts. To the HHO advertisers, if you product is so great then...make an instructable.
mattl6 years ago
The same can be accomplished by dropping a shredded soda can into a mixture of lye & water.
Biotele (author)  mattl6 years ago
That reaction is uncontrollable and results into something called a "Draino bomb".
mattl Biotele6 years ago
Certainly. I didn't say it was safe. But then hydrogen Is rather explosive no matter how it is produced. Nice Instructable.
backscan6 years ago
So John Connor could have just thrown water and aluminum on the robot to kill it?
thats damn genious lol
There's a fine line between genius and me I think they call it sanity ; )
I did this in the chemistry class. If you sand the Al and then ad it to 6M HCl
mlapoi79957 years ago
Hello and TY for letting me put in my dribble. I am New to this site and so far have found it to be informative and fascinating. But to my point. I had a science teacher who said nothing is impossible only our minds limit us. Most major discoveries have happened by accident...scotch guard..vulacanization of rubber...microwave ovens etc. The main point is let your mind be free to experiment of course follow safety conventions. If Davinci, the Wright brothers and Einstien all listened to conventional wisdom then we would not be where we are. Document what you do and keep good notes. Laws are laws based on theory until someone else disproves it and then the laws change or are modified. Instead of dampening what I see to be the underlying spirit of this site, we should continue to encourage and delight in the fact that the pioneering spirit of experimentation has not died. The sharing of ideas and the willingness to help each other improve upon each others ideas as a collaborative. Most of all encourage the young minds that are here and present your arguments as positive motivators. share the failures with the successes. Ty again for allowing me this space to share my thoughts.
Biotele (author)  mlapoi79957 years ago
The internet has given the innovator the public access that he was always been denied. This is the age of the inventors. From now on inventors will be prized and parasites that leached of inventors either by stealing or plagiarizing their inventions or pocketing all the money is about to be the thing of the past.
Ty for adding your comments Biotele, I felt I had probably rambled on to much as it was and you hit my other thought's right on the head. I think your Instructable is great and have enjoyed immensely. I am currently starting my build up of a hydrogen generator in collaboration with my neighbor. Some of the applications will be farm equipment our own vehicles and my brothers Semi. As we progress I'll try to keep updates coming and free share our information and techniques. Thanks again
Biotele (author)  mlapoi79957 years ago
Thank, best of luck.
dentsinger7 years ago
You think it might be feasible to create a rocket nozzle using this approach? Whereby the gallium is "soaked" inside and sitting on top would be a chamber of water.
To function as a propellant, the mercury/gallium would need to have soaked through the entire mass of aluminum. And at that point, you have to ask yourself why you're messing around with the water and heavy metals in the first place -- there are easier to oxidize aluminum. See "thermite" for a particularly showy example.
tomsofer7 years ago
I tried this with NAOH from the start: 1. shred aluminium foil/cans (some cans are only part aluminium part steel) 2. put inside water canister 3. add naoh (i used industrial drano-like stuff that comes in white crystal form) 4. it takes 5 minutes to heat up , and then the reaction is strong and you are left with black gunk. I would like to know what reaction took place in my experiment and if It's less efficient.
markf tomsofer7 years ago
You probably produced Aluminum hydroxide. It's a nice redox reaction, but I don't think it produces any hydrogen gas. The black junk left over is just the organic impurities, mostly carbon from the can's plastic liner and the label.
Biotele (author)  tomsofer7 years ago
It is similar. The NaOH melts the oxide layer on the Aluminum. It also dissolves the alumina. For practical purposes, the NaOH reaction is uncontrollable. This reaction is faster,leaves the alumina in suspension and the catalyst, liquid metal is recoverable.
Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure as to what you mean by "leaves the alumina in suspension" , but I do remember I had to add quite a bit of NAOH crystals each time the reaction died off... Are you saying the NaOH and Al reacted in an unfavorable way? I did get a suspension of -something- .... Maybe you can point me to a link that explains these reactions , or at least something I can show a chemist so he can explain it to me?
Biotele (author)  tomsofer7 years ago
step 4 shows the alumina in suspension. It's the fluffy white stuff. I added a little NaOH to precipitate the liquid metal.
jdyahoo7 years ago
100 years ago, (give or take), this was one of the plans to electrify the world. With 80% of the electricity generated being lost in transmission, you have to wonder how much energy would be expended transferring the aluminum back and forth.
Wired_24_77 years ago
This is a very cool lab scale idea to try... and it would be a good use for reclaiming recycled aluminum. However, aluminum is mostly manufactured using an electrolytic process which consumes an exorbitant amount of energy. That electricity has to come from somewhere. The net energy benefit of producing hydrogen from aluminum is not necessarily feasible. But it would be a great idea to use recycled aluminum for this.
pindi7 years ago
would be cool to have liquid metal running through ur veins, like X-men! no, that was a joke, dont try it kids!
Biotele (author)  pindi7 years ago
It will give you a stroke if it is arterial or the person has an atrial defect. And if injected by vein will result in pulmonary embolism. Seriously dangerous.
That means no right? Should i call 911 now? kidding
Biotele (author)  allstarn077 years ago
Yes, inject that stuff is bad.
codongolev7 years ago
look up "galinstan" in wikipedia. the silver liquid metal that is used in this instructable is also found in mercury-free glass thermometers. the term "galinstan" comes from the words GALlium, INdium, and STANNum (the latin name for tin) and is the metal that is in mercury-free thermometers.
pwhayez7 years ago
how many times can you recover the "liquid metal" ? I mean how many times can you do this before you have to buy more? Thanks.
Biotele (author)  pwhayez7 years ago
hundreds of times. It hardly reacts with anything. Sometime it becomes more viscous because I think some metals are dissolved in it. It really acts like mercury but it is very safe.
That and if the boat is electrically propelled then it' almost all green and free too.
Biotele (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
Yes, the ships are all electric.
That makes the Idea very feasible, there's initial cost then simple moneymaking after that...
Biotele (author)  killerjackalope7 years ago
You will have to factor in maintenance and accidents. What if 50Gigawatts of batteries are shorted?
well you see what i mean, beside accidents would be minimal and the 50 gigawatt batteries would be hard to short, but i daresay it would be difficult to do the charging on a boat...
hard to short? what are you talking about? submerge a battery in sea water and see what happens.
I meant through accidents on the boat, if it sinks they're scuppered...
tecno geek7 years ago
im not very smart, on other vids it says to put a hose carrying the highly explosive hydrogen gas into a bottle of water so that is doesn't travel up the tube into the jar and blow up when you light it. i did exactly the opposite, and guess what happened/ it blew the lid off the moyonase jar and made a loud POP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! plus it probobly caused me permanent hearing damage for life. and it sprayed water all over the ceiling!!!! so just a warning, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!!!! P.S. im still a kid. i would tell you how old i am but id risk alot of things like getting kicked off the site. and, its a little personal
Biotele (author)  tecno geek7 years ago
There is no vid in this Instructable. Which instructable are you referring to? Sorry about your hearing.
its OK, nothings wrong with my ears cuz of that. it just hurt when it happened. and if you go to M e t a c a f e . c o m (i put the spaces in there cuz this site dont allow you to name other sites.) and search "hydrogen generator", click on the first picture. thats where i got the vid.
Biotele (author)  tecno geek7 years ago
Yes, but the metacafe vid does not relate to this instructable. Are they using aluminum and liquid metal? Looking at their setup, it looks clumsy and the experiment are performed outside.
i know, it doesn't relate to this one other than the fact that they both make hydrogen. they use electroids and running it through water, with salt as an electrolite. and i know, im too stupid too follow directions.
Biotele (author)  tecno geek7 years ago
Have you tried doing this experiment?. It is intriguing and counter-intuitive. Soda cans are supposed to hold water, but in this experiment they bubble violently and vanish in water.
iv'e only done it with electricity and salt water.
omnibot7 years ago
I ones heard tha Zinc-oxide-batteries are extremely efficient also. Currently used in hearingaides the biproducts are fluffy, white zinc-oxide and the smell of raspberrys.
stratholm7 years ago
There is an instructable on this site that shows how to make Aluminum Ingots. They come out shaped a bit like cupcakes so they're thick. Is there a limit to the thickness of the aluminum? Do I have to use thin strips of it? Maybe I would be able to make the ingots hollow somehow. Anyway, last question... does this produce hydrogen at a faster rate than electrolysis? Hopefully someone knows.
Biotele (author)  stratholm7 years ago
This does produce a reaction faster then electrolysis. The idea of the ingot is based on the faster reaction I got when I used the bottom of the can. You can find aluminum heat sinks from old computer in place of an ingot. Or you can melt them just like you describe. It will be interesting to use the hydrogen from this reaction to melt the aluminum into ingot.
I have looked up these kind of torches. One company makes one that produces 6000Degrees of heat using electrolysis only. They were a bit vague as to Fahrenheit or not but regardless, that should be enough for steel too, no matter what. The problem is that they put all this R&D into their product and I'm only one man so I need to see if there is a way to produce the gasses faster or just as fast using an alternate method. I can't spend time trying different transformers and all that to find the right mix to mitigate the 2:1 hydrogen rate. besides that, how will I possibly compress those into usable form so that I could put them through pipes to combine and combust? I have a few ideas using compressors from the store like walmart. you know the little 'fill your tire up' compressor tank combos. They seem rather sealed so if I use water jugs from the water machines and put a tube in the top that allows me to suck out the hydrogen and oxygen into a tank using the compressor, that'll give me a store of it to make steel and iron ingots too. The same instructable that described how to make aluminum ingots also detailed making a bucket for the fire using concrete. I'm thinking of doing the same but for holding molten steel. do you think concrete can stand the temp of molten steel? P.S. I looked up liquid metal on both ebay and google. No real results unless I'm looking for liquid metal colored g-strings. Can you post any links for buying it?
An old Navy trick is to run the elecrolysis cell at high pressure by pressurizing the water inlet. The gases than come out at that pressure. Of course, you then have the combined hazards of high pressure, hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolysis units that generate oxygen on submarines are designed to contain an explosion, and they sometimes have to. For metallurgy, electrolyzing water for fuel is extremely inefficient. You'd be better off with an electric resistance furnace. That will easily melt aluminum or even brass. For really high temperatures, use a carbon arc. Ordinary concrete has water in it, even if it feels dry, so it will explode in molten steel. It even spalls violently in contact with molten aluminum. Homemade refractories are adequate for aluminum, zinc alloys and brass, but for steel you have to use the expensive stuff, Have a look at www.backyardmetalcasting.com
Funny you should mention that site. I just came across it yesterday. It's a great site! I found out from him/them that I need refractory clay. I looked at the different info on concrete and found that it can't melt but it can explode like a solid ball of clay in a kiln, which wouldn't help a whole lot when it comes to careful handling of molten metal. I found refractory online for about $25 a bag but I did some research and found a local supplier but I don't know their price, yet. It may be worth paying more considering the weight of shipping. I never thought of pre-pressurizing the gas. It makes sense. I don't have to worry about containing an explosion since the hydrogen and oxygen will be separate. I thought of having it premixed but I don't need to risk it by having it mix in the container. If I have it premixed then I have to worry about static and other such hidden dangers. It's best for me to have hydrogen separate from the oxygen. Besides the safety reasons, I'd like to be able to control the rate of hydrogen and the rate of oxygen independently so I can adjust it properly instead of taking a 2:1 mix which explodes, often. Since normal air has some oxygen, I probably won't be injecting a whole lot of that into the furnace; maybe just a touch-up to increase the temp. That way I can avoid having to make the "Home Hindenburg Disaster" instructable. As for the inefficiency of electrolysis, in most place that would be true but in my town/village we have extremely cheap electric. When I say cheap I mean "It's worth considering converting your home furnace and water heater to electric" cheap. Since it's so inexpensive I want to leverage that for generating fuel that can produce some of the highest temps I may ever need. Any ideas on how I can pressurize a whole water tank? I'm going to be using large containers for this like the ones on the top of water coolers at work. I looked at using 50gal drums but they cost about $100 a piece so I probably will use the Poland Springs ones since they're free. I'm also working out a method for having the gas compressed automatically when the water level gets below a certain point. That way I don't have to always watch it like it's a 2 year old at a machine shop when I need to get more fuel. Any suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm in planning phase now since it's winter and all the outside furniture is packed in the garage. In summer I sould have this working and an instructable to come for it.
Biotele (author)  stratholm7 years ago

look in here


look for "Coollaboratory Liquid Pro"
Thanks much. I found it. I'll order some and see if the time I save is worth the cost over electricity. I wonder; if I get a car battery charger and use it in 50Amp mode for electrolysis and in combination with graphite rods I may be able to increase production of gasses. I'll post when I find out. All this just to melt crap in my garage... I just like this one the most:
Biotele (author)  stratholm7 years ago
Liquid metal is not available in the US, will pure gallium work? (as long as its melted?)
Biotele (author)  Dirtbiker4607 years ago
Of course, the Perdue University experiment is based on pure Gallium. If you look at their video on their website, they melt the aluminum in heated Gallium first. They almost use more gallium then Aluminum. The beauty of this experiment is that you only need one drop of liquid metal, at room temperature, to make the reaction go.
userhck7 years ago
Just a tip with the liquid metal. Don't squirt it out of the syringe until you are ready to use it. Almost impossible to get back in, and i lost a good amount of the stuff in cleanup. I may have to buy some more. I am almost done with constructing a reaction chamber, and my test motor is ready to go. I'll post some pics later.
Biotele (author)  userhck7 years ago
Can't wait to see the pics. If you wet the aluminum and leave to "dry" for a couple of days, there will be more activated surface for the reaction. The reaction becomes super fast as it is in the last pics. I found that the stuff doesn't actually "dries" but sort of creeps in every direction dissolving all the oxide layer it comes across.
Biotele (author)  userhck7 years ago
I have no problem sucking it back into the syringe. Did you get the tiny syringe with the tiny needle, the one they use for insulin shots? Coollaboratory is also very generous. They gave me 5 syringe and I only used two to couple my CPU to my heat sink. The rest I played around with and discovered this reaction. BTW, this stuff is best heat coupler I ever came across. It far outperforms all the metal pastes and greases. And it leaves no mess.
budsiskos7 years ago
why use liquid metal? you can do the same by smearing chocolate on the can
Biotele (author)  budsiskos7 years ago
by jove, brilliant! You should also try other brown stuff!
if hydrogen is coming out, then the oxygen comes out also. how long will this work for?
not necessarily. the reaction is h2o + Al = AlOH + H2 with gallium acting as something of a catalyst. only hydrogen gas and aqueous aluminum hydroxide are created.
The byproduct of the reaction in step 5 looks very similar to the byproduct of a thermite reaction. I wonder if the aluminum is reacting with oxygen in the gallium mixture and the thermite reaction was hot enough to flash evaporate the water. However I don't know what caused the ignition.
Biotele (author)  Mechanical Engineer8 years ago
It is aluminum oxide just like in the thermite reaction. It is grey because it is mixed with the liquid metal. I recovered the aluminum oxide and added NaOH, The liquid metal precipitated leaving behind the white aluminum oxide like in the picture of step 4.
I am going to try this expirement in a dark room to determine if sparks or flame are present during the reaction I'll let you know what happens
Uthman8 years ago
since heat is produced in this reaction, im assuming some water vapors mix with the hydrogen gas.. are there any simple, effective (and reusable) methods of removing those vapors?
Biotele (author)  Uthman8 years ago
if you need dry hydrogen, you can compress it and the water will condense or you can cool the gas and the water will also condense. But if you need to burn it or use it in a fuel cell, there is no need to remove the water vapor.
phoenix1248 years ago
i built a rig to seperate water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis a while back. i spaced out 2 carbon rods in a gallon gatorade bottle and then ran a hose from the cap to a dish of soapy water. lol exploding bubbles :) soapy weapons of mass destruction lol
:P i wasn't very careful and one of my happy little *pops* went awry... the bubble was hung up on the end of the exit tube and the little flame traveled up the tube and reached the half gallon or so of hydrogen and oxygen (which was sitting on my lap at the time) i didn't really register the explosion, i just suddenly found myself covered in gator-aid shrapnel, water, and chunks of carbon rods. after the initial shock wore off it was replaced with terror originating from my, well, more personal regions. i seem to remember saying: "holy crap, i've blown off my balls!!" (i did just set off gaseous hydrogen on my lap, after all)
Fortunate for me and my and my prospective future generations it blew straight up, not out. lol
moral of the story: think before you go lighting things off :P
Biotele (author)  phoenix1248 years ago
You are less likely to blow yourself up because there is no oxygen generated, but you can fill a ballon with hydrogen pretty fast, much faster than I could ever do with electrolysis.
jmengel8 years ago
FYI, I am pretty sure the metal alloy you are buying from eBay is galinstan. No, it isn't an oil-rich middle eastern nation soon to be invaded by the US, but rather a non toxic mercury replacement alloy of gallium, indium, and tin.


Cool instructable.
Biotele (author)  jmengel8 years ago
That's correct, this a mixture of tin indium and gallium. I mention this on the next slides.
As an automobile fuel source, the question is: How much does it cost to produce aluminum from the waste alumina? How does it compare to gasoline? Also, can solar energy offset the production cost?
Biotele (author)  Unsafe At Any Speed8 years ago
from Jerry's Woodall's presentation:

If an Al recycler is built next to a nuclear power plant* with an on-site power cost of $0.02/kW-hr, the Al can be recycled from alumina back to Al for:

9 kW-hr/lb. x 350 lbs. x $0.02/kW-hr = $63

2.7 lbs. Al will produce the same amount of energy in the form of hydrogen as 1 lb. of gasoline, i.e., 19K BTU

The cost of 2.7 lbs would be about 49 cents

At $3.00/gallon, 1 lb. of gasoline costs 46 cents

  • In the future, Al recycling could be done at solar photovoltaic farms and or wind generators sites "
rickharris8 years ago
just add a little sodium hydroxide to the water, It will disolve the aluminium and produce hydrogen. Where to get it - It's the main chemical in drain cleaner as well as often used as a garden weed killer. Take care it is very caustic (think it's like an acid)
Take care it is very caustic (think it's like an acid)

It's actually a very strong base, which is on the opposite end of the pH scale.
True, However my experience is the general public, (especially the young) do not appreciate the properties of strong alkalis - BUT they are aware of the harm an acid may do to your skin etc. Hence the "Think of it as..." comment But thanks for the clarification any way.
Hehe, I have nice little chemical burn on my hand, so I definitely appreciate what they can do when not handled properly. : )

We should just have everyone watch that scene in Fight Club...Makes me wince just thinking about it. :P

Indeed, I had read your comment as "I think it's like an acid, but I don't know for sure." I apologize.
Biotele (author)  rickharris8 years ago
I am not a chemist, so I asked one of the guys at purdue that works on this technology to answer your point. I also don't have 40% caustic soda lying around the house. And I don't know if Draino will make hydrogen from Aluminum. Can you try it for us?
carbon Biotele8 years ago
Drano crystals work fine, but there's also a few other chemicals mixed up in there, so the reaction will not be very clean. Expect nasty fumes and smells.
I have done this - very vigorous reaction.
Biotele (author)  rickharris8 years ago
it will be interesting to try activated aluminum in a solution of Drano. Maybe it will accelerate the reaction and maybe they are complementary. I have read that NaOH, the main ingredient of Drano, dissolves the alumina. I get a lot of alumina that chokes the test tube.
just out of curiosity, uh... is the gallium re-usable? if not, would the lye solution not be an easier method? it too strips the oxide layer off (great for DE-Anodizing aluminum) aluminum and will just destroy the aluminum. However, if the Gallium is being used in this experiment, and is being used up, very expensive way to do it, but, none the less, an interesting way. I assume this reaction goes quickly?
Biotele (author)  thecheatscalc8 years ago
Yes, I am able to recover the liquid metal by filtering the alumina and pressing the alumina. The liquid metal squeezes out. I am going to try dissolving the alumina in Draino to see if I can recover more liquid metal. On the industrial scale, the alumina will be reprocessed to Aluminum by using green energy or nuclear energy, and the Gallium will be recovered from the alumina to be used again with aluminum. According to Charles Allen on the Purdue team "In avoiding NaOH we are avoiding using caustic materials in the reaction chamber. We also don't need to mix or control the pH of the reaction water." Personally, I can envision a hybrid NaOH/Gallium or liquid metal system to achieve an optimal recyclable energy system.
No you also NEED Gallium >:-|
Yes, but the hydrogen is from the water, technically. :P
Yeah. Good point.
can you stic the aluminum strip in the water and try to scrape the oxide of while it's submerged
Biotele (author)  Magnelectrostatic8 years ago
Sorry I didn't understand your question completely, initially. I thought about that, I guess it will work but it won't be efficient and your will end up with a lot of aluminum dust unless you are able to scrape the surface atom by atom.
Biotele (author)  Magnelectrostatic8 years ago
The alumina breaks off and remains suspended in water . The aluminum strip is completely consumed BELOW the area that I treat. The test tube becomes choked with fluffy white-grey alumina. Maybe if I use a bigger container the alumina will disperse and the reaction will proceed faster.
No, or a lot of boats would sink and a lot of car parts disappear in the rain : )
where are we supposed to get liquid metal? i typed in liquid metal on ebay and got some baseball bats, some baseball caps, this: SEXY EXOTIC CLUB WEAR LIQUID METAL TANK TOP/ PANT SET and some eye shadow. any suggestions? can u give me a link?
the guy running www.scitoys.com sells it in small vials. but it's pretty expensive ($30-$40 per vial) it'd be cheaper and cleaner just to use electrolysis.
Biotele (author)  joe570058 years ago
You will never get as much Hydrogen from electrolysis as from this process. The efficiency of this process in producing hydrogen is orders of magnitude greater than electrolysis.

This technology is seriously being investigated for the 'Hydrogen Economy'


on eBay it's item number: 150114576580.

And it costs about $15-$17 including shipping.

untrue... this process may produce the hydrogen QUICKER, but standard electrical "hydrogen production" has the potential to convert ALL the water into hydrogen and oxygen. ONE of the differences is, the AL/galium reaction consumes the oxygen, so you have pure-ish hydrogen, to collect.
Biotele (author)  heyzuphowsitgoin8 years ago
on eBay it's item number: 150114576580. And it costs about $15-$17 including shipping.
fegundez18 years ago
Where on ebay is this fine product
Biotele (author)  fegundez18 years ago
The seller is in Germany and he has a messy item title. look for Item number: 150114576580 Coollaboratory"Liquid Pro" Flussigmetall Warmeleitpaste with a item title like this, you cannot find him.
jtobako8 years ago
The reference material specifies a Gallium-Aluminum alloy, or dissolving the aluminum in liquid (gallium). Are you saying that a simple layer of gallium smeared on the aluminum will work? And there was no reference that I could find on the biotele site.
Biotele (author)  jtobako8 years ago
This is not exactly the same experiment as Purdue. Maybe I invented something new. The only thing that I knew that contained gallium was the liquid metal that I bought for my CPU heat sink (it's actually a very good thermal coupler, worked perfectly).

Zaen8 years ago
Very nice job, this presents some very interesting ideas.
frollard8 years ago
That's a pretty neat reaction, good stuff.