Army discovery may offer new energy source


Army scientists and engineers recently
made a discovery. An aluminum nano material of their design produces high
amounts of energy when it comes in contact with water or any liquid
containing water. During routine materials experimentation at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, a team of researchers
observed a bubbling reaction when adding water to a material they produced. We all
as a team we were very excited, ecstatic, that something good has come up, we knew that. The team further investigated and found of water, two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen, splits apart when coming into contact with their unique
aluminum nano material. That hydrogen that’s given off can be used for a fuel
in combination with a fuel cell Scientists have known for a long time
that hydrogen can be produced by adding a catalyst to aluminum. Like sodium
hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or some acid. In our case, it does not. A catalyst is a substance that increases a chemical reaction rate. We just take our material
put it in the water and the water splits down into hydrogen and oxygen. This is
one gram of aluminum alloy powder. The team demonstrated a small
radio-controlled tank powered by the powder and water reaction. Moments after mixing the powder with a small amount of water, a bubbling reaction produced a
great deal of hydrogen, which was then used to power the toy around the
laboratory. Our powder in combination with the fuel cell is a very good closed
loop. We need water for our reaction and the fuel cell gives off water so it’s
closing the loop of the fuel cell power generation cycle. Since the nanomaterial
powder has the potential to be 3-D printed, researchers envision future air
and ground robots that can feed off their very structures and self-destruct
after mission accomplishment. There are other researchers that have been
searching their whole lives and their optimized product takes many, many hours to say achieve 50% efficiency. Ours does it to 100% efficiency in less than three
minutes. The research team said the laboratory is all about giving Soldiers
the advantage. We all feel pretty good that this can contribute
to a new kind of research, a new kind of way to generate power on demand, at ease and at will. The next step is to document the
discovery with scholarly papers and intellectual property protections and
coordinate further applications with scientists and engineers across the
laboratory. For ARL TV, I’m David McNally.

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