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May 4, 2011

Purdue University Students Turn Ordinary Saltwater into Hydrogen Power and Drinking Water

Researchers from Purdue University are on the cusp on creating a new type of mobile technology that not only coverts non-potable water into drinking water, but also extracts hydrogen to generate electricity. The technology revolves around an aluminium alloy that the team believes could bring both water and power to poor villages around the world.




Leading the team is Jerry Woodall, a Purdue University distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering. Speaking to Science Daily, he stated that by immersing the new alloy (which contains aluminum, gallium, indium and tin) into water, you can create a spontaneous reaction that splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. The hydrogen can then be used to fuel power cells, while clean drinking water is produced in the form of steam.
“The steam would kill any bacteria contained in the water, and then it would condense to purified water,” Woodall said. “So, you are converting undrinkable water to drinking water.”
The technology even works with saltwater, which means it could be utilised on boats and marine vessels around the world to providing drinking water to sailors. A prototype has yet to be created and a patent is pending, but Woodall believes the portable technology could transform villages that aren’t connected to a power grid.
“There is a big need for this sort of technology in places lacking connectivity to a power grid and where potable water is in short supply,” he said. “Because aluminum is a low-cost, non-hazardous metal that is the third-most abundant metal on Earth, this technology promises to enable a global-scale potable water and power technology, especially for off-grid and remote locations.”
It would be cheap too, as water could be produced for about $1 per gallon, while electricity could be generated for about 35 cents per kilowatt hour of energy. ”There is no other technology to compare it against, economically, but it’s obvious that 34 cents per kilowatt hour is cheap compared to building a power plant and installing power lines, especially in remote areas,” Woodall said. ”You could drop the alloy, a small reaction vessel and a fuel cell into a remote area via parachute. Then the reactor could be assembled along with the fuel cell. The polluted water or the seawater would be added to the reactor and the reaction converts the aluminum and water into aluminum hydroxide, heat and hydrogen gas on demand.”
Simple! And as aluminum hydroxide waste is non-toxic it can be disposed of in a landfill.


Link: http://inhabitat.com/purdue-university-students-turn-ordinary-saltwater-into-hydrogen-power-and-drinking-water/

23 comments:

  1. Someone is going to be rich from this.

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  2. I don't understand the flow chart so I am an unlikely candidate to steal your ideas.

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  3. Amazing what college kids can accomplish. This is why America is the king of invention!

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  4. wow, maybe this might solve several problems!

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  5. came to check out a funny spider, stayed for the incredible knowledge that i now have! These college kids must be studying for finals because otherwise they are probably too drunk to do any kind of experiment

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  6. I am going to PU right now. Makes me feel like my degree actually might be worth something!

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  7. And we have lots of it, could be this the solution to a better future?

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  8. I am glad there are people smarter than me!

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  9. Oh man, I can't see where they go with this.

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  10. Thats cool stuff, following...

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  11. this is actually ground breaking and probably worth millions! wow great job to them.

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  12. There is nothing that can't be done if you have the right determination and the know-how. Following!

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  13. Wow, this is crazy! My friend goes there too!

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  14. I've honestly thought of this exact idea before and did research but it costs more to turn the water into hydrogen for power then it's actually worth. But I guess turning it into hydrogen for power and drinking water may be worth it.

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  15. Man, technology is an amazing thing...

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