Hydrogen fuel cell for phone charging set for 2013

Sep 22, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Hydrogen fuel cell for phone charging set for 2013
Hydrogen Generating Sheet. Credit: Rohm

(Phys.org)—A three-way collaboration between Japan-based Rohm, Aquafairy, and Kyoto University has resulted in the development of a smartphone-charging fuel cell—a compact, high output, portable hydrogen powered fuel cell that can generate electricity by producing hydrogen. This is achieved through a chemical reaction between calcium hydride sheets and water. The fuel cell can generate five watt hours of electricity, to charge an average smartphone within two hours. The fuel cell will be promoted for a variety of uses, from charging a smartphone to serving as a 200-watt portable generator delivering backup power.

Rohm said the new use a solid that creates hydrogen by adding water, through "hydro-synthesis." No harmful byproducts such as carbon dioxide or VOCs () are involved. The fuel cells can be disposed of as general waste.

If the sheets are laminated and sealed, they last for twenty years, claimed a spokesman. Lithium ion batteries lose their charging ability in four to five years. Aquafairy had been developing a small fuel cell some years ago when they then started to exchange information with Rohm. Also, Rohm and Aquafairy have launched a joint project for a compact, lightweight 400-watt with Kinkei System.

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Credit: Diginfonews

The fuel cell announced this month is promoted as advanced in its use of calcium hydride in place of magnesium hydride. Calcium hydride has high reactivity with water at a wide range of temperatures. Stable reactions are possible just by taking measures to suppress reactions. A resin is added to calcium hydride. ROHM and Aquafairy succeeded in solidifying calcium hydride in a sheet configuration, generating approximately 4.5 litres of hydrogen from a sheet less than 3cc in volume (measuring 38 x 38 x 2mm), providing a power output of 5Whr, said Rohm.

All in all, of Rohm, Aquafairy and Kyoto University have resulted in plans for (1) the cover type and card case type of fuel cell, which have a generation capacity of 5Wh for smartphones, (2) a portable power generator with an output power of 200Wh and (3) a 400Wh fuel cell for seismometers, developed in collaboration with Kinkei System.

Hydrogen fuel cell. Credit: Rohm

In describing the special nature of fuel cells, Aquafairy has said that a fuel cell doesn't store electricity, but generates it like a power-generating plant. It can continue to supply electric power as long as hydrogen and oxygen fuel are supplied.

"Fuel cells can be made smaller, lighter, and more efficient than conventional storage and rechargeable cells, and thus are expected to drive expansion into new markets and applications, said a Rohm release.

Rohm, Aquafairy, and Kyoto University will continue to work on their development. They plan to evaluate the reliability of the fuel cell, make improvements and commercialize it in 2013.

The fuel cell will be shown at CEATEC in Japan early next month and at Electronica in Munich, Germany, in November.

Explore further: Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

More information: www.rohm.com/web/global/news-d… defaultGroupId=false

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User comments : 24

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Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2012
Where is the end to end thermodynamic analysis ?

It would be far cheaper overall to use off the shelf alkalines, existing economies of scale and no issue with gas. I wouldnt want to be the retail supplier of the hydrogen or a friend of a clueless person who leaves their phone and power sources in a hot car during summer !

Zinc air is by far the cheapest source of 'backup power' and very easy and cheap to recycle - thermodynamic analysis anyone ?
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2012
Zinc air is by far the cheapest source of 'backup power' and very easy and cheap to recycle - thermodynamic analysis anyone


For the purpose of carrying energy for portable devices, the calcium hydride sheets come in at 1700 Wh/kg whereas zinc-air is currently at 500 Wh/kg with a theoretical limit of 1400 Wh/kg.

In other words, for the same weight of "batteries", you get three times as much runtime out of the CaH sheets. That is of course assuming that you don't need to carry the water.

Presumably they can run on the moisture in air since CaH is used as a dessicant.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2012
And throwing away zinc items is probably not comparable to throwing away calcium hydride items whn it comes to environmental impact.

(Though to be fair: I'm not at all glad these will be throw away items. Some recycling scheme would be preferrable)
But if the specs they claim turn out to be true then that's a pretty nifty technology.

Hmm.. at 5Wh for 3cc Volume...that means for the equivalent size of a largish gas tank (e.g. 60 liters which is 60000cc) you'd get 100kWh of energy - which equates to about 500km of range for an average EV. That wouldn't be half bad.
If they could make these cheap and swappable that would be neat.
JoeBlue
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2012
Since when is Carbon Dioxide a harmful byproduct?

How about the impact of the mining to produce these? The impact of the manufacturing process. Seems more like this whole environmentalism gimmick is code for, "Let's create a market out of nothing with absolutely no real demand".
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2012
"Survival of the species" is not a real demand for you?
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2012
JoeBlue lumbered ignorance of biochemistry with
Since when is Carbon Dioxide a harmful byproduct?
When plants shift their equilibrium to protect their protein and sugar reserves.

One dimensional bipedal automatons 'think' more CO2 means plants grow more, that is only partly true. Plants are far more complex than most people appreciate, with excess CO2 plants can afford to produce chemicals to protect increasing their carbohydrates and protein reserves...

Cassava in africa is producing more hydrocyanic acid and Clover (a staple crop for cattle) starts to do the same thing - then we will be in more trouble then we are now, food prices are already going up.

There are already many in africa who suffer serious paralysis from cyanide exposure, imagine if this affected cattle in Europe and worked its way up the food chain, ie. Before cattle show effect there are already side-effects of higher cyanide and based on experimental data it can only get worse with higher CO2.

Wake up !
Cave_Man
1 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2012
Wow, this is strange. I always thought a hydrogen fuel cell USED hydrogen gas but this article clearly states that the fuel cell uses water and calcium hydride to PRODUCE hydrogen. Use renewable's to manufacture it and you've got a real green energy economy with a byproduct of fuel. Seems like we could come pretty close to solving alot of problems if this tech gets the attention it deserves. I have never heard of calcium hydride before now nor did I know it could break water down into hydrogen (where does oxy go in that diagram lol?)

Anyways this is pretty cool. I wish someone would get their fat stinky coal/oil tainted bureaucratic ass out of the way so we can save the planet already.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2012
I think the key point is "No harmful byproducts such as carbon dioxide or VOCs"

Bloom boxes (the trendy fuel cells) not only produce CO2 since they use natural gas or methane, but they actual produce MORE CO2 and MORE VOCs than burning the natural gas in a regular power station.

http://www.epa.go...voc.html

So no VOCs is a winner for healthy air.
Mike_Massen
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 22, 2012
All you guys might want to review this link and offer some sort of introductory costing exercise... http://en.wikiped..._hydride

btw: In the days when we had 1.5 million dollar H2 buses in Perth, Western Australia as part of a trial - where no analysis was done beforehand - it worked out the 80Km range each bus could do for distance before refuelling could have been much cheaper powered by a fair number of 'D' sized alkaline batteries !

One has to think carefully why petroleum refineries flare off excess H2 instead of storing and using it somewhere useful. Remember, they have the H2 at source AND its still too expensive to use - must tell you something very basic re thermodynamics !

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2012
One has to think carefully why petroleum refineries flare off excess H2 instead of storing and using it somewhere useful. Remember, they have the H2 at source AND its still too expensive to use - must tell you something very basic re thermodynamics !

Yep. it tells that a PETROLEUM refinery also has PETROLEUM at source. Connect the dots.

I always thought a hydrogen fuel cell USED hydrogen gas but this article clearly states that the fuel cell uses water and calcium hydride to PRODUCE hydrogen.

Yes. Calcium hydride releases hydrogen when it comes in contact with water. What part of this is puzzling to you? The calcium hydride is not the fuel cell. It's the fuel CONTAINER that releases the hydrogen (which in turn powers the fuel cell elsewhere in teh product).

where does oxy go

Here's the formula:
http://en.wikiped..._hydride
Think of it as the battery.

Mike_Massen
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 22, 2012
One has to think carefully why petroleum refineries flare off excess H2 instead of storing and using it somewhere useful. Remember, they have the H2 at source AND its still too expensive to use - must tell you something very basic re thermodynamics !

Yep. it tells that a PETROLEUM refinery also has PETROLEUM at source. Connect the dots.
I beg your pardon antialias_physorg why are you intentionally being cryptic, what are you implying, spit it out man ?

Or are you suggesting petroleum refineries dont do rigorous thermodynamic analyses ?

NotParker
3 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2012
One has to think carefully why petroleum refineries flare off excess H2 instead of storing and using it somewhere useful. Remember, they have the H2 at source AND its still too expensive to use - must tell you something very basic re thermodynamics !



Storing and transpoting H2 is the expensive part/

1 gallon of gasoline (.134 cubic feet) is equivalent to 126 cu ft of compressed natural gas.

But you need 357 cu ft of hydrogen at 101.325 kPa for the same amount of energy.
Eikka
4 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2012
at 5Wh for 3cc Volume


The video claimed 3 grams, not 3cc. CaH2 weighs 1.7 grams/cc.

you'd get 100kWh of energy - which equates to about 500km of range for an average EV. That wouldn't be half bad.


Except for the fact that CaH2 turns into CaOH2 as it reacts with water, so your fuel tank gets heavier as it "empties". Unless you can throw the spent fuel to the side of the road, your car would actually gain 45 kilograms, and that would make the material in the fuel container swell quite a lot.

It's the same problem with metal-air batteries. They get bigger and heavier in use, which produces mechanical problems. A small pouch cell doesn't have this problem because it's discarded after use.

Skepticus
3 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2012
I guess it will be exothermic like calcium carbide reacts with water to produce acetylene. Put it in your back pocket to warm your butt. Or add some chlorocarbons such paint stripper instead of water and blow your butt sky high...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2012

what are you implying, spit it out man ? Or are you suggesting petroleum refineries dont do rigorous thermodynamic analyses ?

I'm simply stating the obvious: A petroleum factory will use the cheapest power source available: which in this case us petroleum products.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2012
antialias_physorg lacked important detail with

what are you implying, spit it out man ? Or are you suggesting petroleum refineries dont do rigorous thermodynamic analyses ?

I'm simply stating the obvious: A petroleum factory will use the cheapest power source available: which in this case us petroleum products.
Obvious in what terms, can you not be explicit then ?
And the implication as to why they flare off H2 from Petroleum feedstock is ?
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2012
Obvious in what terms, can you not be explicit then ? And the implication as to why they flare off H2 from Petroleum feedstock is


Main reason to flare is overpressure from the well, because the oil well is kinda like a champagne bottle. You can't just put a thumb on it and expect to be able to hold the pressure once you've popped it.

Second reason is that they're not actually burning H2 but methane, so you're barking up the wrong tree again. If there is H2, it's a very small portion of natural gas.

Third reason is that it would cost a whole lot more money to make a gas pipeline out of central siberia to where the customers are, than selling the gas. Liquefaction of methane is costly and inefficient, and the logistics difficulties of hauling it away on trucks would be even worse because liquid methane doesn't stay liquid at reasonable pressures and temperatures.

Obviously where the demand is closer, they don't flare the gas but put it in pipes instead.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2012
Obvious in what terms, can you not be explicit then ?

Even more explicit? That's kinda hard.
Ok, you know this thing we have: Money. Say it with me: M.o.n.e.y.

Now these guys are running a refinery. They are a business. For profit. (say it with me: P.r.o.f.i.t)

They have access to a dirt cheap source of energy (you know: the stuff they refine, for which they have all the infrastructure already built)
But to make use of any hydrogen they would have to build an entire separate pipeline and handling system which costs money (you know: that word we learned in the first paragraph). And stuff that costs money doesn't make profit (you know, that word we learned in the second paragraph)

Simple enough?
Mike_Massen
1.6 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2012
antialias_physorg's assumptions either completely wrong or imply intervention
Now these guys are running a refinery..For profit..
That one is mostly true but its complex re amortisations, taxation etc. Here is where you're wrong,

- Oil is not 'dirt cheap', its a commodity, volatile market.
- Refineries of note have infrastructure to collect H2 for
chemical industries, pointless collecting it for energy.

antialias_physorg objected
Simple enough?
Yes you're simple & missing several issues & imply there is something wrong with a profit, which further implies energy should not be connected realistically with cost - ie Political/Governmental intervention.

All businesses involved in pursuing a commercial presence in respect of energy in any way, MUST first perform a fully costed end to end thermodynamic analysis & maintain that dynamic calculation as energy exchange rates change.

This article re calcium hydride suggests that hasn't been done or if it has - its ignored.
Virendra
4 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2012
Please note that petroleum refineries are having a unit 'HGU' which means Hydrogen Generating Unit which is explicitely used for removing sulphur from various products. There is no meaning discussing about H2 wastage. It is produced based on requirement.
Mike_Massen
1.6 / 5 (5) Sep 24, 2012
Virendra offered
Please note that petroleum refineries are having a unit 'HGU' which means Hydrogen Generating Unit which is explicitly used for removing sulphur from various products. There is no meaning discussing about H2 wastage. It is produced based on requirement.
Not entirely true. The administrators of the refinery processes do their best to minimise wastage, of course.

However, the cracking & distillation tower will produce some H2 anyway, it is the administrators job to supply only as much as needed to satisfy demand & as little extra as possible. Since its sensible to ensure the requirement is filled without the control systems going into hysterics its appropriate to make just a little more H2 'smoothly' than necessary and flare off any excess, that way the minimum amount required is satisfied with the maximum fill & timing efficiency. ie. They dont want to have periods where no hydrogen satisfies the primary demand so a tiny amount extra is tolerable & burnt off.
Eikka
not rated yet Sep 25, 2012
However, the cracking & distillation tower will produce some H2 anyway


Under normal operation, the amount of extra H2 produced is so minimal that it's not economically sensible to build storage facilities for it. The hydrogen is used internally in the process.

If there is external demand for hydrogen, it is produced separately from methane in a different aparatus.

But more importantly, why do you keep running your mouth and patronizing everybody, and then backpedaling and changing your statements when you're pointed out to be wrong?

Why don't you stop?
Mike_Massen
1.6 / 5 (5) Sep 25, 2012
Eikka mumbled
Under normal operation, the amount of extra H2 produced is so minimal
No, not without reformers, in any case the process is a dynamic not all barrels of oil have the same exact mix & other waste heavy fusel oils might be added - it depends on whats available & what needs to be passed through, its not static.

Eikka went on
If there is external demand for hydrogen, it is produced separately from methane in a different aparatus.
This is true if and only if a steady requirement for a large qty of H2 is necessary that cannot be supplied from the primary tower.

Eikka complained !
But more importantly, why do you keep running your mouth and patronizing everybody, and then backpedaling and changing your statements when you're pointed out to be wrong?
Please be efficient & precise by quoting the relevant inconsistency, I would like to know, phys.org is one of a dozen forums I am on now depending on travels.

Specifically where have I changed statements ???
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2012
Please be efficient & precise by quoting the relevant inconsistency


For the patronizing attitude, how about:
Eikka mumbled.
JoeBlue lumbered ignorance of biochemistry with.


And all the other examples where you belittle other people by your condescending remarks.

Specifically where have I changed statements ???


At first you claimed that petroleum refineries have H2 "at the source", implying that H2 comes right out of the petroleum they process and they're simply just wasting it.

Now you're in damage control mode when people pointed out that the H2 is not present to begin with, and is not a regular byproduct, but is generated from the petroleum in the refinery to be used in the refining process for the purpose of removing sulfur: http://en.wikiped...rization

The hydrogen is captured and stored as sulfuric acid.

In other words, you're just constantly talking out of your ass and insulting people in an attempt to sound credible.