[FoRK] Magnesium / Water cycle hydrogen production

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Tue Oct 25 18:45:07 PDT 2005

Thermite used magnesium, powdered magnesium, although aluminum powder 
should work also.

Liquid petrol fires are hard to put out also, but we power our engines 
with it already.  I don't see that one combustion method is that much 
worse than another.

"High-quality energy" is plentiful and cheap when created in bulk for a 
factory.  It's getting it in a form that is self-contained, relatively 
safe, and cheap that's hard.

If either production of energy or storage of energy has a breakthrough, 
everything may change.  It's the storage that's more interesting 
however.  It's easy to create a small engine or ray gun, it's just hard 
to power it with something you can carry with you.


Ken Meltsner wrote:

>Yep, I want a metal fire inside my car.
>Light metal fires are darned hard to extinguish -- you've seen
>magnesium burn, I suspect, but aluminum works great as does titanium. 
>Really hot aluminum particles + iron oxide is thermite, after all. 
>Get it going and it's really hard to stop until all of the
>aluminum/magnesium is gone.
>The energy is put into the system when the metal is produced.  You
>need to use high-quality energy (electricity for aluminum and
>magnesium) and you turn it into medium-quality energy (hydrogen). 
>Entropy loves this idea.
>It's not that this is impossible thermodynamically; it's just that
>it's going to be expensive.  Coal gasification is better, but then you
>end up with lots of CO2, which is sort of missing the point.
>Might be easier to power your car by dropping sodium into water.  That
>produces a lot of heat and hydrogen, too.
>On 10/25/05, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>>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
>>FoRK mailing list
>Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but model train sets do a pretty
>good job as well
>-- 2/28/05, in a odd dream

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