Is The Hydrogen Economy One Step Closer?

If a company called QuantumSphere, Inc. has their way, we may be driving fuel cell cars a lot sooner than anyone had anticipated.

QuantumSphere claims they have found a means of greatly increasing the efficiency of electrolysis through the use of highly reactive catalytic nanoparticle coatings.

Boasting 1,000 times the surface area of traditional materials, the coatings can be used to retrofit existing electrolysers to increase their efficiency to 85 percent--exceeding the Department of Energy's goal for 2010 by 10 percent. The scheme holds the promise of 96 percent efficiency by the time cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells hit automobile showrooms, according to the Santa Ana, Calif., company.

The increased efficiency of electrolysizers, which split apart the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water molecules, means far less energy would be required to generate a given amount of hydrogen. High efficiency conversion can help make the hydrogen economy become a reality. There would be no need to pipe or truck hydrogen supplies to filling stations or transfer stations. Each filling station would have its own electrolysizer, eliminating the need for a massive distribution system. All that would be needed is a good electricity supply, something that is already in place. (Of course we would probably have to build more power plants because demand for electricity would skyrocket as the changeover from petroleum to hydrogen took place. But that's what nuclear power plants are for.)

If the efficiency can be raised to the level QuantumSphere claims, it could be as simple as having electrolysizers in ever home, making the fuel we use to power our cars and trucks.

It doesn't get much simpler than that.

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