Reaction Between Aluminum and Water to Produce Hydrogen
Most of the energy we use today and have used for a while comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Ever since the industrial revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising drastically, and now this issue has reached dangerous levels. To overcome the negative impact nonrenewable energy has on the environment, the use of green energy is crucial. Research has proven that using hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells reduces the risks of harming the environment.
One of the methods that include hydrogen generation is the exothermic reaction of aluminum and water, which is considered clean energy that causes no pollution. However, in real life, the aluminum used will not be as pure; there will be an adherent and coherent layer of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) on the surface, which results in a lower rate of reaction as well as a lower yield of hydrogen. To solve this problem, the layer of aluminum oxide can either be cut or drilled for the un-oxidized surface to react with water and the reaction proceeds normally. Another solution is the use of hydroxide ions in alkaline solutions which will work on destroying the aluminum oxide layer. Nevertheless, when hydrogen is produced it reacts with the oxygen in air which will in return produce electricity. In general, when comparing hydrogen fuel cells to normal batteries, both involve chemical reactions that are converted to electrical energy, but the only difference between them is that fuel cells won’t lose their energy as long as there is hydrogen supplied. "The hydrogen produced via such aluminum-water reactions might be employed to power fuel cell devices for portable applications such as emergency generators and laptop computers. There is also the suggestion that aluminum-water reactions might be used for hydrogen storage on fuel cell-powered vehicles."
Therefore, the production of hydrogen from the reaction between aluminum and water is an efficient source of energy, where different promoters can be used in this reaction which will somehow act as a catalyst to increase the rate of reaction and the yield of hydrogen.
Petrovic, J, and George Thomas. Reaction of Aluminum with Water to Produce Hydrogen . U.S. Department of Energy, 2008, www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/aluminium_water_hydrogen.pdf.