Monday, May 23, 2005

Using Sodium Borohydride As Hydrogen Storage

I've tended to shy away from fuel cell stories simply because the the problems inevitably are the same, with different filigrees: promising technology that's either too expensive (i.e., use lots of platinum), can't handle real-world fuels (need H2 and therefore reformers), or have large hidden technical problems (viz. solid oxide fuel cells) which are not easily solved. So much of the efforts involved in using fuel cells comes from fuel storage, as this longish Technology Review article makes clear. Millennium Cell has a proprietary process using sodium borohydride to story hydrogen in notebook "batteries" featuring a fuel cell that lasts, at present, up to three hours. By using sodium borohydride, they limit the use of platinum in the fuel cell, keeping costs down.

The punchline -- stop me if you've heard this one before -- is that the technical and economic problems will be solved within a couple years.