Silver Science - Hydrogen from Waste

  • i have also read a news article about "Austin Electric Essex UK" in Austrian newspaper and their alleged innovation of the Aluminium-air battery. If true, it could revolutionize Electric mobility.

    • Official Post

    i have also read a news article about "Austin Electric Essex UK" in Austrian newspaper and their alleged innovation of the Aluminium-air battery.


    It isn't exactly new, and they don't tell thew whole story. This is an aluminium-carbon-oxygen battery, I have built them myself. In fact on YTube you can find lots of videos about them. The are only telling half the story, best use of these so far has been in underwater drones, that use the ocean itself as an electrolyte. But these are not really batteries, because they are not re-chargeable at all. When it is dead you have to dismantle it, throw out everything but the casing and replace the electrodes etc.. The mess that's left after doing this is difficult to recycle.

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    Another article about my more conventional lab work:-


    https://www.techforimpact.asia…-aluminium-dust-valuable/


    Aluminium is one of the most easily recycled materials. In fact, one estimate suggests that 75% of all the aluminum ever produced is still in use.

    Even so, huge quantities go to waste. Mostly, it’s the stuff that ends up on the factory floor: can trimmings, grinder dust, turnings and chopped wire. And often, a large factory will produce tons of it every day.

    “It’s the final waste. It’s like a dust. And it does contain some aluminium but it’s no longer valuable to recycle,” said Khalid Bahsoon, an independent recycling and waste management consultant.

    • Official Post

    Nice article about the German approach to hydrogen in the Times today.


    Britain is missing out on hydrogen — the most promising new green technology Simon Nixon Thursday June 11 2020, 12.01am, The Times


    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/art…dc664ac2e4ef80ca98aa83ea7

    Alan, where are you on funding of this work? I notice this thread started last year. Are there any prospective collaborators? There is an energy research center Schatz Energy Research Center affiliated with the university that I p-t teach at and they are involved in the hydrogen space. https://schatzcenter.org/transportation/ I wonder if I should forward some of your material. They need hydrogen for their fueling stations and used to use electrolysis I think.

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    Hi rubycarat


    We are always looking for support, but right now I'm mostly concentrating on building a pilot plant/demonstrator in the UK. I have already built the biggest reactor we can handle in the lab, which produces about 22,000 litres of hydrogen a day - which is a relatively trivial. The scale up I am designing will produce around 1,000,000 litres a day,, which is enough to power a Toyota Mirai hydrogen car over half-way around the world.


    Managing a long range collaboration at this stage (and in the current travel avoidance thing) would be very difficult. I am talking with interested parties in the UK an Europe, but right now everybody is very nervous about doing even mundane stuff, let alone being bold adopters of something new. So, thanks for the suggestion, keep your guys on ice for a little while and we'll see what can be done.

  • During dissolution of aluminium in water most of heat gets released by forming aluminium hydroxides, only minor part gets utilized for hydrogen generation. It's energetically quite wasteful process.

    As for purity of resulting hydroxides, nearly all forms of technical aluminum are contaminated by iron, copper, magnesium etc. One can find pure aluminium only in foils of capacitors.

    • Official Post

    During dissolution of aluminium in water most of heat gets released by forming aluminium hydroxides, only minor part gets utilized for hydrogen generation. It's energetically quite wasteful process.

    As for purity of resulting hydroxides, nearly all forms of technical aluminum are contaminated by iron, copper, magnesium etc. One can find pure aluminium only in foils of capacitors.


    Not so. The total energy output of the process is 8MWh/tonne. 11% of the weight of aluminium used ends up as hydrogen gas, energy content 4MW/h, the other 4MWh is process heat, Every ton of aluminium processed is transformed into 2.9 tons of hydroxide. The energy production cost of hydroxide by strip-mining bauxite and processing is around 15MW/h tonne. Since the UK has no indigenous source of aluminates we import a total of around 200,000 tons a year of all kinds. If we were to process just the 90,000 tons of low-grade scrap this is currently landfilled (official figure) using my process into 261,000 tons of low-to-no carbon aluminates we would reduce mining, processing, pollution, red-mud dumping, etc, saving around 40 GW/h of energy in the process. The UK would be not only self-sufficient in a strategic raw material but become exporters. The process itself -which is zero-emissions - would produce approximately 10,000 tons of H2 and 3.6 GW/h of process heat.


    As for the argument about 'all aluminium should be re-smelted' the kind of scrap I like yields only 75% on re-smelting, and is usually smelted 3x to make it back into usable high-grade ingots, producing toxic 'dross' in the process and taking around 3MW/h per tonne overall. That's why it gets landfilled.


    The process I have developed removes a lot of the impurities you mention by solubilising them. These soluble impurities - the hydroxide is not very soluble under the conditions of this method - are recycled back through the system in with the catalysed process water until they are there in sufficient quantities to be worth separating as assets in their own right. Another process I have developed as part of this project.


    The whole aluminium business is very complex, and I have taken advice from some leading authorities in the business on the economic, ecological and energy implications of this process. Once they have studied the data and worked it out for themselves, they are both surprised and supportive. There is more to this than a superficial knowledge of chemistry would suggest.

  • Alan Smith

    Some thoughts about your business around aluminium waste.

    As hypothesis, rather than trying to recover aluminium waste, because it seems to remain the bad point of your business, if you buy pure aluminium you will product alumina around the same price.

    Benefit zero BUT by this process you will produce heat and hydrogen both.

    So you will be able to sell both of them at same price you spent to buy pure aluminium.

    Example, if you buy pure aluminium 1 euro, you will sell alumina the same price however the gain will one more euro in heat produced.

    Now to reach zero CO2 production, you have to consider too oxide removal from alumina to close the loop.

    however this last step could be done by classic nuclear power plant.

    Total COP=2

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    Hi Cydonia


    Actually recovering the waste is the good point. The way the numbers work out the hydrogen is very very cheap. The alumina is what makes the money because there is a huge market for it 'as is'. The figures in terms of return on investment are very good in fact, so good that if I told you what they were you would think I was lying.;) But here's an example.. One of my plants could produce local hydrogen for €3 euros a kg and be profitable. The pump price of electrolytic hydrogen - the only way to make it locally in the absence of a national hydrogen gas grid is €14 per kg. The real profit lies in the hydroxides. They are worth 5X as much as the scrap.

  • From investor point of view, I don't think we should stick to only one economic scenario.

    We can save the planet even if it won't be done in one step.

    All this to say that I would offer several scenarios to investors, the all inclusive you spoke and another by just heat production with or without aluminum waste.

    For example, to heat a municipal swimming pool use pure aluminum and both convert hydrogen produced into heat.

    This would make a small heating plant easy to market, to load and unload alumina.

    So it would be the most profitable (because quick) scenario in my mind.

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    @cydonia/


    Using primary aluminium from a high-grade smelter and grinding it into small pieces is exactly the mistake everybody else looking at this process has made. Or should I say, one of the many mistakes. Peure Al powder is €2000/tonne. Small particle scrap is €200. That's what makes the difference, and also what you need to tweak the process to do..

  • Quote

    The real profit lies in the hydroxides. They are worth 5X as much as the scrap.



    But their energy content is much lower. Why England simply wouldn't buy pure alumina used for primary aluminium production? Why it should produce it at place by dissolving aluminium waste, which is contaminated by iron, copper, magnesium and who knows what else? Recycling aluminium by smelting is energetically way more effective.

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