Young Siberian scientist develops “hydrogen pills” for cars
16 Dec '16
A student at Tomsk Polytechnic (TPU) in Siberia is developing what he claims is a safe system to store hydrogen fuel for use in vehicles and drones; he hopes to produce an operational prototype next year, the TPU website announced.
Evgeny Boretsky, the developer, suggested that carbon be used to create a safe “package” for hydrogen. In a compound with nickel stearate and sodium stearate, carbon black is pressed into some sort of pills; the pills are then subject to calcination and hardening.
Several such pills form a fuel system, with hydrogen, driven into it under high pressure, penetrating each pill’s porous structure to bond with carbon. A student team at TPU is said to have also developed a special machine to make the fuel pills.
Using the new fuel cells is expected, among other things, to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
The project also addresses the problem of storing hydrogen as a hazardous, yet very promising fuel. “Competing systems are complexly designed to store hydrogen under very high pressure, up to 150 atm, and at low temperature. As hydrogen is easily combustible, high pressure threatens to make the system explosive,” the developer said.
He added that vehicles that run on hydrogen are no news in the world, but their fuel systems are prohibitively priced. The new TPU solution is just a fraction of the cost, Mr. Boretsky said.
To further his research the Siberian student has received a government grant. When the prototype is complete, he wants to present it to manufacturers. Some investors have already expressed interest, the source said.