Research Reports

Development of Novel Hydrogen-Based Power Systems for ITS Applications: Phase-I

Principal Investigator:

Venkatram R Mereddy

December 2012

Report no. CTS 12-38

Projects: Development of Hydrogen Based Power Systems for ITS Applications - FY10 NATSRL

Topics: Environment, Traffic Operations

There are many remote traffic signals on the road that don't have access to a regular power supply, so they use batteries that need to be changed quite often. A hydrogen fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. It offers a clean and high-efficiency energy source to circumvent the problems associated with the conventional batteries. However, one major drawback that limits its utility is the use of compressed metal cylinders as a source of hydrogen. Chemical-based hydrogen production can provide a very compact and low-pressure storage option for the controlled release of hydrogen gas in large amounts. The hydrogen-based fuel cells can also be used as a backup power source at critical traffic signals to prevent accidents during power outages. The other possible applications include alternating-traffic signs, directional signals, speed-limit signs, blinkers in series, and warning blinkers, etc. The project deals with the development of novel chemical-based hydrogen storage materials, efficient generation of hydrogen and recycling of spent materials. In this regard, we have explored several boron-based chemical hydrides as hydrogen storage materials. These hydrides offer an attractive solution to our quest in finding out materials that are safe, compact, and readily provide large quantities of hydrogen on demand. In this work, we have carried out generation of hydrogen from several boron hydrides such as sodium borohydride (SBH) and ammonia-borane (AB), etc., utilizing solvents such as water and alcohols under catalytic and non-catalytic conditions.

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