InnovaTek, a Washington based company, has recently developed a microreactor that can convert almost any liquid fuel to hydrogen. According to gas2.org, the device can accept a wide range of fuels, including "gasoline, diesel, vegetable oil, biodiesel, propane, natural gas, even the glycerol byproduct from biodiesel manufacturing". All that and the basic unit fits in your hand! Dubbed the NovaGen micro-channel reactor, the device produces hydrogen via a series of catalytic reactions, and can be linked together to produce from 1 to 160 gallons of hydrogen per minute, enough to power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The "liquid fuel in, hydrogen out" feature overcomes one major hurdle for hydrogen power, that of onboard storage. While hydrogen pipelines and refueling stations are likely feasible, they would need to be built, and hydrogen is notoriously difficult to store on a vehicle in large enough quantities to provide adequate range. By using readily available liquid fuels, the existing fuel delivery infrastructure as well as existing storage techniques, i.e. a "gas tank", could be used, significantly reducing the implementation costs.
Biodiesel Fuel Cell Microreactors
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