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Hydrogen Generator


Research and Development of Hydrogen Technology Using Activated Aluminum Composites without Rare Earth Elements to Apply in Power Engineering and Transport

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-FUE/Fuels/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • MAT-ALL/High Performance Metals and Alloys/Materials

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Blagonravov Institute of Machine Science, Russia, Moscow


  • Praxair Inc., USA, NY, Tonawanda

Project summary

Introduction and Overview

Hydrogen is an ideal source of clean energy. Safe production and storage of hydrogen constitute one of the critical problems hindering its widespread application. At present, compressed or liquefied hydrogen is used to develop hydrogen driven vehicles. In spite of all the hydrogen advantages it is extremely highly explosive substance. That requires development of the special explosion-proof technologies providing controllable hydrogen recovery.

There are well-known hydrogen recovery systems based on the aluminum alloys containing rare earth elements, for example an aluminum alloy with Ga, In, and Sn designed to recover hydrogen when it reacts with water. Such alloys proved to be disadvantageous first due to high cost of indium and gallium (7000-8000 $/kg). Second a quantity of such alloys is made by fritting since solubility of many metals in А1 when they are fused is limited. It results in disintegration of the alloys when they react with water and absolute irregularity of the reactions that makes impossible to control the process. Third the efficiency of gas recovery for such alloys as to gas release amounts to at best 60%.

Expected Results and Their Application

The proposed work belongs to applied research. Hydrogen is suggested to recover in a required quantity straight “on board” of a vehicle. At the heart of the project, there lies development of alloys with a gas output of 300 l/(m2 min) (required for middle-class modern motor-cars) and prototyping of a gas generator with variable hydrogen supply on their basis. Gas-generator overall dimensions have been chosen to afford 350-400-km run with a velocity of 100 km/hour and to fit the overall dimensions of a 45-liter gasoline tank. Activated Al without rare earth metals serves as a fuel and generates hydrogen when reacts with practically any water: tap, river, lake, sea. Products of the reaction are harmless even in case of their emergency or careless ingress into the environment. Products of the reaction which form insoluble powdery solid sediment remain in the generator to be discharged at the filling stations for recovery that meets the requirements to a renewable energy source.

The studies seek to develop a highly effective high-performance gas generator featured with the following:

  • Use of activated Al without rare earth metals;
  • Ecologically clean products of the reaction;
  • Use of any water;
  • Rated gas output of 300 l/(m2 min);
  • Controlled process of gas recovery that provides realization of the concept of a hydrogen driven vehicle without hydrogen “on board”;
  • Wide range of stable operation.

Obtained experimentally data of the gas generator with activated Al will serve as the basis to develop advanced hydrogen transport and power systems. Power and motor-car companies can use analytical and experimental results of this work issued as recommendations to form configuration of the advanced machinery. The gas generator being developed will reduce the expenditures for making of hydrogen-driven vehicles, simplify their operation, and improve safety of their application.

In the field of power engineering, it is planned to conduct studies of economic and technical expediency of using the proposed energy storage substances to store energy of power plants in the period of their underload and to deliver it in the peak hours.

Would-be Users of the Development

  • Institutions engaged in research on advanced alternative sources of energy;
  • Companies such as motor-car or power engineering ones, which use hydrogen and are engaged in its production and storage;
  • Companies developing the transport systems using ecologically clean fuels;
  • Institutions-developers of materials for hydrogen storage and use;
  • Research institutes working in the field of fundamental studies of metal-hydrogen systems.

Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives

Development of hydrogen gas generators based on the Al alloys without rare earth elements will permit to create cost-effective, explosion-proof, ecologically-clean transport and power systems using renewable energy sources. That makes us consider research on, development and application of effective methods of hydrogen recovery as one of the current major problems of environment protection and creation of advanced transport and power systems.

Scope of Activities

The work covers the following:

  • Development of an aluminum alloy with the gas output claimed.
  • Experimental studies of the model hydrogen gas-generator based on Al alloys without rare earth metals.
  • Debugging of mathematical models which will enable to study a working process in the gas generators under consideration and in their separate units.
  • Working out recommendations on creation of stable hydrogen-recovery gas-generators on the basis of the design and experimental studies performed.
  • Fabrication of a working gas-generator full-scale model.

Project duration is 3 years.

Foreign Collaborator Share

The proposed project is believed to include the following cooperation with the collaborator:

  • Holding the joint working seminars;
  • Information exchange in process of project implementation;
  • Submission of comments to technical reports;
  • Rendering assistance to project participants in attending international meetings.

Engineering Approach and Strategy

Design and theoretical methods of hydrogen gas-generator working-process study and experimental methods of activated aluminum-alloy working-process study are used to achieve the major objectives of the project. Experimental studies of the model gas-generator and its main units will be carried out within the project.

The gas-generator proposed is built as a heat exchanger which plates or tubes are made of the alloy developed. Plate or tube spacing is filled with water at the moment when it is necessary to recover hydrogen. To control hydrogen recovery the gas generator includes a delivery pipe with a water pump and a hydrogen receiver and a pipe to drain water into the delivery pipe between the pump and receiver.

Experimental studies of the gas generator developed will permit to estimate accuracy of the mathematical model and program of major parameters calculation.

Experimental studies of the potential of activated aluminum alloys application to hydrogen recovery have been earlier conducted at the Mechanical Engineering Institute named after A.A. Blagonravov and RAS Commission for Use of Energy-Storage Substances in Engineering, Mechanics, and Ecology. A configuration of the model gas-generator has been shaped, and preliminary design-theoretical and experimental studies of the chamber have been carried out.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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