[FoRK] Magnesium / Water cycle hydrogen production

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Tue Oct 25 17:58:36 PDT 2005

If it works and produces enough net energy, it's pretty interesting.
The energy is stored in the purity of the metal; "burning" the metal 
provides hydrogen to burn for combustion.
Clever, if it works as stated. The metal gets recycled and the water is 
easy to come by. No volatile energy is stored in the vehicle, not even a 
200+ volt battery.


A unique system that can produce Hydrogen inside a car using common 
metals such as Magnesium and Aluminum was developed by an Israeli 
company. The system solves all of the obstacles associated with the 
manufacturing, transporting and storing of hydrogen to be used in cars. 
When it becomes commercial in a few years time, the system will be 
incorporated into cars that will cost about the same as existing 
conventional cars to run, and will be completely emission free.

Illustration photo ? the car in this image is not related to the story. 
Actual pictures of Engineuity's system are classified at this stage.
(Image credit: Ford)

As President Bush urges Americans to cut back on the use of oil in wake 
of the recent surge in prices, more and more people are looking for more 
viable alternatives to the use of petroleum as the main fuel for the 
automotive industry. IsraCast recently covered the idea developed at the 
Weizmann Institute to use pure Zinc to produce Hydrogen using solar 
power. Now, a different solution has been developed by an Israeli 
company called Engineuity. Amnon Yogev, one of the two founders of 
Engineuity, and a retired Professor of the Weizmann Institute, suggested 
a method for producing a continuous flow of Hydrogen and steam under 
full pressure inside a car. This method could also be used for producing 
hydrogen for fuel cells and other applications requiring hydrogen and/or 

The Hydrogen car Engineuity is working on will use metals such as 
Magnesium or Aluminum which will come in the form of a long coil. The 
gas tank in conventional vehicles will be replaced by a device called a 
Metal-Steam combustor that will separate Hydrogen out of heated water. 
The basic idea behind the technology is relatively simple: the tip of 
the metal coil is inserted into the Metal-Steam combustor together with 
water where it will be heated to very high temperatures. The metal atoms 
will bond to the Oxygen from the water, creating metal oxide. As a 
result, the Hydrogen molecules are free, and will be sent into the 
engine alongside the steam.
The solid waste product of the process, in the form of metal oxide, will 
later be collected in the fuel station and recycled for further use by 
the metal industry.

Refuelling the car based on this technology will also be remarkably 
simple. The vehicle will contain a mechanism for rolling the metal wire 
into a coil during the process of fuelling and the spent metal oxide, 
which was produced in the previous phase, will be collected from the car 
by vacuum suction.

Click to enlarge

Beside the obvious advantages of the system, such as the inexpensive and 
abundant fuel, the production of Hydrogen on-the-go and the zero 
emission engine, the system is also more efficient than other Hydrogen 
solutions. The main reason for this is the improved usage of heat 
(steam) inside the system that brings that overall performance level of 
the vehicle to that of a conventional car. In an interview, Professor 
Yogev told IsraCast that a car based on Engineuity's system will be able 
to travel about the same distance between refueling as an equivalent 
conventional car. The only minor drawback, which also limits the choice 
of possible metal fuel sources, is the weight of the coil. In order for 
the Hydrogen car to be able to travel as far as a conventional car it 
needs a metal coil three-times heavier than an equivalent petrol tank. 
Although this sound like a lot in most cars this will add up to about 
100kg (220 pounds) and should not affect the performance of the car.

Engineuity is currently in the advanced stages of the incubator program 
of the Chief Scientist in Israel, and is seeking investors that will 
allow it to develop a full scale prototype. Given the proper investment 
the company should be able to develop the prototype in about three 
years. The move to Hydrogen based cars using Engineuity's technology 
will require only relatively minor changes from the car manufacturer's 
point of view. Since the modified engine can be produced using existing 
production lines, removing the need for investment in new 
infrastructures (the cost of which is estimated at billions of dollars), 
the new Hydrogen cars would not be more expensive. Although Engineuity's 
Hydrogen car will not be very different from existing conventional cars, 
the company is not currently planning an upgrade kit for existing cars 
but is concentrating on building a system that will be incorporated into 
new car models.

Possibly the most appealing aspect of the system is the running cost. 
According to Yogev, the overall running cost of the system should be 
equal to that of conventional cars today. Given the expected surge in 
oil prices in the near future Engineuity's Hydrogen car could not come 
too soon.

Iddo Genuth - IsraCast

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