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Nickel = Hydrogen

Discussion in 'Auto News & Rumors' started by Shane Estabrooks, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Shane Estabrooks

    Shane Estabrooks Active Member

    Dec 9, 2014
    This looks an interesting advance and isn't FCA into some Hydrogen tech?

    Nickel: the secret ingredient in achieving this “world record”

    January 3, 2018


    How do we store solar energy when there’s no sun? By converting it into hydrogen… which on the surface sounds simple enough, but it’s actually not. While current hydrogen-production technologies have shown promising results in the lab, they are still too unstable to use on large-scale applications. Further, they are expensive.

    But that’s about to change, thanks to Switzerland-based researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology. This research team designed a device that outperforms in stability, efficiency and cost, using commercially available solar cells and none of the usual rare metals.

    Their prototype is made up of three interconnected, new-generation, crystalline silicon solar cells attached to an electrolysis system that does not rely on rare metals. The electrochemical part of the process requires a catalyst made from… you guessed it: nickel, which is much less expensive and more widely available than aforementioned rare metals.

    Hydrogen that goes the distance

    The device converts solar energy into hydrogen and has successfully run for more than 100 hours straight under test conditions. The method, which surpasses previous efforts for stability, performance, lifespan and cost efficiency, was published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.

    “A 12-14m2 system installed in Switzerland would allow the generation and storage of enough hydrogen to power a fuel cell car for more than 10,000km every year,” said Christophe Ballif, who co-authored the paper. “In terms of performance, this is a world record for silicon solar cells and for hydrogen production without using rare metals.”

    That nickel has proven to be the secret ingredient in achieving this “world record” is an exciting and proud moment for us, and brings to mind one of our company core values: Make it happen!

    This article was reprinted and edited for length, flow, tone and voice with permission from the Nickel Institute. www.nickelinstitute.org

    humdrum and MJAB like this.
  2. MJAB

    MJAB Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2013
    Very interesting, in last years there are many research activities towards improving hydrogen production (nowdays most of hydrogen is produced from steam-methane reforming).

    Always about nickel I read an article some months ago about a new process developed in Israel to allow separation of hydrogen production from oxygen using additional nickel electrodes.
    Technion develops hydrogen production method that blows others out of the water (at http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Tech/Technion-develops-hydrogen-production-method-that-blows-others-out-of-the-water-485279 )

    "... The new process allows geographic separation between the solar farm consisting of millions of PEC cells that produce oxygen exclusively, and the site where the hydrogen is produced in a centralized, cost-effective and efficient manner. They accomplished this with a pair of auxiliary electrodes made of nickel hydroxide, an inexpensive material used in rechargeable batteries, and a metal wire connecting them. ..."

    "... As stated, the vision of the Technion researchers is geographic separation between the sites where the oxygen and hydrogen are produced: at one site, there will be a solar farm that will collect the sun's energy and produce oxygen, while hydrogen is produced in a centralized manner at another site, miles away. Thus, instead of transporting compressed hydrogen from the production site to the sales point, it will only be necessary to swap the auxiliary electrodes between the two sites. Economic calculations performed in collaboration with research fellows from Evonik Creavis GmbH and the Institute of Solar Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), indicate the potential for significant savings in the setup and operating costs of hydrogen production. ..."

    "... The method developed at the Technion for separating hydrogen production and oxygen production was the basis for the development of new two-stage electrolysis technology. This technology, which was developed by Dr. Hen Dotan, enables hydrogen production at high pressure and with unprecedented efficiency, thus significantly reducing hydrogen production costs. The new technology is now in its pre-industrial development stage. ..."
    Shane Estabrooks likes this.
  3. 77 Monaco Brougham

    77 Monaco Brougham Active Member

    Jan 15, 2017
    This new technology.....combined with the gigantic discoveries of natural gas in the Mediterranean off Israel's coast....has the potential to make Israel not just energy-independent......but to actually become one of the world's bigger EXPORTERS of energy.

    Like a lot of other folks......I thought I'd never live to see this day.
    JavelinAMX and Shane Estabrooks like this.
  4. Erik Latranyi

    Level III Supporter

    Aug 20, 2003
    Nobody wants to talk about the FACT that under much of the world there are ample supplies of natural gas and oil. Far, far more than anyone ever knew about just 10 years ago.

    Almost every region of the world can be energy independent using hydrocarbon energy. Unfortunately, some do not want that to happen and hope to suppress it or drive the costs of hydrocarbon energy up so inferior alternative look more attractive.
    wtxiceman, somber, dakota21 and 3 others like this.

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