Experimental studies in hydrogen generation for fuel cell applications using aluminum powder

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: Sukh S. Sidhu


One method of producing on-demand hydrogen for fuel cells is through the use of aluminum which reacts with water under certain conditions to produce hydrogen. This process can be used for applications as small as portable handheld devices, onboard generation for vehicles, or as large as a hydrogen refueling center. However, the utilization of aluminum for generating on-demand hydrogen is critically dependent on the control of the rate of hydrogen generation from the reaction. Experiments with micron and nano-sized aluminum powder are described in this work and the effects of particle size, reagent quantities, temperature and solution concentration on the hydrogen generation rate and total yield are analyzed and quantified. Regression models are developed and yield and rate predictions are confirmed. In general, aluminum nanoparticles are found to have poorer hydrogen yields, but marginally faster reaction rates as compared to micron particles.


Fuel cells Design and construction, Hydrogen as fuel Research, Aluminum powder

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Copyright © 2010, author