Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Beer Can Powered Car

Use Lye or Acid to convert aluminum cans to hydrogen
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
  [vote for,

Ok first off, the problem with the ide is toxic chemicals such as lye or an acid must be used. If a safe handeling and disposal method can be had for these that does not harm the environment, then I think it could work..

We all hear about the future of hydrogen for both internal combustion engines and fuel cells. The exaust from these is pure water.. The holdup on hydrogen is that there is no good distribution system yet invented for hydrogen. The idea is simple, there are plenty of aluminum cans in the world. It is well known that water, lye, and aluminum = hydrogen. Simply build the hydrogen generator into the car. In go the beer and soda cans, and away we go. The system could even be closed looped where the steam produced in the exaust could be condensed and reused in the lye and aluminum coctail...

dlapham, Feb 01 2006

Lye http://en.wikipedia...ki/Sodium_hydroxide
Wikipedia on Socium Hydroxide [dlapham, Feb 01 2006]

[dlapham], Aluminium - Air cell. http://www.ectechnic.co.uk/ALUMAIR.HTML
[Ling, Feb 01 2006]

Aluminium batteries http://zpenergy.com...ile=article&sid=717
Iceland - the new Saudi Arabia? [coprocephalous, Feb 02 2006]

Some reality! http://www.tcsdaily...cle.aspx?id=063003A
[ConsulFlaminicus, Feb 02 2006]

(?) Hydrogen from Aluminum http://www.hydrogen...projects/wash.shtml
converting scrap aluminum into hydrogen [dlapham, Feb 02 2006]

Rechargeable Aluminum Batteries http://www.europositron.com/en/index.html
Looks like we may be driving electric cars after all if this company is successful [dlapham, Feb 02 2006]

Aluminum / H20 Powered car http://www.keelynet.../energy/cornish.htm
Looks like my idea has been somewhat baked [dlapham, Nov 12 2006]

My idea (sorta) http://www.fuelcell...0,1602,9641,00.html
This is the same concept, as it cunsumes aluminum to produce hydrogen [dlapham, Sep 02 2007]


       You assume it is more efficient to make lye than it is to drill for hydrogen and recycle cans?   

       It really isnt.
miasere, Feb 01 2006

       Miasere, The fact that you say "drill for hydrogen" tells me that you know nothing about hydrogen. You do not drill for it. You simple seperate it from other compounds such as sodium hydroxide (lye) or h20 via electrolisis. They also have a way to catalize it from petrolium. All methods of generating hydrogen use energy. See link on how lye is made.. Considering the low price of lye and the large amounts of it used for processing bio-diesel, I can say that it is not a costly substance to produce.
dlapham, Feb 01 2006

       Oxidation of an Aluminium alloy is a very good way to directly generate electrical energy, rather than make hydrogen as an intermediate product. I say "alloy", because pure Aluminium forms a protective insulating oxide.
To recharge, simply add more metal...

       I think there is a bus that uses this technology, and it is also commonly found in standby batteries, where the electrolyte is poured into the battery to trigger the reaction.
Ling, Feb 01 2006

       Ling, so a fuel cell of sorts that is recharged with aluminium alloy. I am all for skipping the hydrogen production..
dlapham, Feb 01 2006

       I was checking for a reasonable description of Aluminium - Air cells, and found something else (link not added). The site was discussing how to import energy into Iceland using 200 ton Aluminium Batteries.   

       The 'potential' of Aluminium Batteries is very good.
Ling, Feb 01 2006

       Many folks are looking at trying to transport the hydrogen source as solids or liquids at ATM so that you don't have to carry large pressurized cannisters.   

       Is lye really a good way? Hmm... I don't know but will [+] until I see otherwise.   

       Be aware that this involves consumption (irreversable) of the aluminum to form aluminum oxides. I think beer cans already have a protective aluminum oxide coating (which naturally occurs when AL meets air) which will prevent this reaction. You'd need to grind it up first or something.
sophocles, Feb 02 2006

       Aluminium is very energy intensive to produce, so much so that the economics of its production have usually relied on there being some large source of low cost electricity generating capacity close to the bauxite resource being mined, and that's just for the first stage - to refine the bauxite to alumina powder.   

       Why would you *consume* , inefficiently, such an energy store to produce another energy store (hydrogen, which is not technically a 'fuel') and then inefficiently convert the hydrogen in an engine to deliver motive power?   

       BTW, hydrogen storage on-board cars, buses etc simply will never be accepted if the technology is compressed hydrogen in cylinders - too heavy, too dangerous, too bulky, too expensive, too risky to properly control flow and pressures. That concept was abandoned several years ago. The technology showing the most promise is storage directly into certain metal alloys - light, clean, safe, compact, controllable.
ConsulFlaminicus, Feb 02 2006

       //hydrogen, which is not technically a 'fuel'// How so, [cf]?
"fuel [n] - a material used to produce heat by burning"
coprocephalous, Feb 02 2006

       Without going into the science of it, the use of beer cans as the example in the title brings up negative connotations to me when combined with the word 'car'.
hidden truths, Feb 02 2006

       This would be a great idea for aluminium-bodied cars - they'd always have a guaranteed reserve of fuel.
coprocephalous, Feb 02 2006

       [cc], re 'not technically a fuel' - yes, an esoteric point but one that is important. Hydrogen must be produced, using energy from conventional or alternative means (coal, oil, wind, solar etc.) and can store as recoverable energy, indefinitely, around 70% of the energy used to produce it.   

       In this area of research, the preference is to always refer to hydrogen as an energy *store*, rather than an energy *source* ('fuel') - though of course hydrogen can be used as a 'fuel' once produced - because it just helps the understanding that hydrogen is not a magic solution to the looming crisis in availability of conventional molten carbonates.   

       Yes, the lay definition of 'fuel' can be said to include Hydrogen.
ConsulFlaminicus, Feb 02 2006

       I agree that producing Aluminum is Electricity Intesive. There are two points that i would like to make. First of all, as already made clear, Hydrogen only comes from other energy sources and is seen more as a energy storage than a fuel, although it is true that in its pure form it can be used as a fuel. All forms of hydrogen production require more energy than what is generated by the hydrogen. It is 100% renewable, but is not 100% efficent.. They only way to make Hydrogen powered cars practical is to use hydroelectric, wind, solar, and maybe nuclear power to extract the hydrogen or in my case convert bauxite into aluminum..   


       The conversion of aluminum to hydrogen is not far fetched. In fact there are companys using aluminum to mass produce hydrogen (see link) My idea is to use scrap aluminum products.   

       hidden truths makes a good point "beer cans as the example in the title brings up negative connotations to me when combined with the word 'car" I want to make it clear that that I do not promote drinking the beer cans and tossing them into to H-Generator while driving. To be honest I used the word beer can and car togeather to attract more attention to this post..
dlapham, Feb 02 2006

       I believe I read something about an aluminum/seawater "battery" that produces electricity for underwater marine research vessels; to "recharge" the battery, one simply replaces the aluminum plates. I don't have any information about the energy storage intensity, but I thought it was an interesting, if vaguely-related topic for discussion.
whlanteigne, Sep 30 2006

       Look at the link that I just added. It seems that maybe this idea isn't as crazy as I and some of you thought..
dlapham, Sep 02 2007

       What happens to all the dissolved aluminum and electrolyte? I mean in a waste disposal sense.
GutPunchLullabies, Sep 04 2007


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