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Sustainable and renewable hydrogen production from recycled aluminum

F. C. Silva, L. S. Martins, J. V. C. Vargas


The whole world has been suffering strong consequences related to climate change. The intense use of fossil fuels in the chemical and automotive industries have put the environment in jeopardy. Thus, the industry has achieved a point of no return and it is urgent the development of renewable and sustainable technologies. Hydrogen has been pointed as a key component of the new era in industry since it can be produced in a clean and sustainable way. Currently the development of hydrogen fuel cells technology has put the automotive sector ahead of the chemical industries in relation to studies regarding the hydrogen production. Chemical industries produce hydrogen with technologies reliant on fossil fuels while the automotive sector has been looking for renewable forms of hydrogen generation.  Trains powered by hydrogen fuel cells are a reality in Europe, for instance. Hydrogen generation technological advances must match the pace of the development of fuel cells electrical vehicles in order to the environmental goals and widespread application of fuel cell systems to be achieved.  The present study addresses the hydrogen generation from the spontaneous reaction between aluminum and aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide. Aluminum is a metal that presents high exergetic value and can be recycled several times without losing its thermo-mechanical properties. That makes the use of aluminum especially appealing. It will make hydrogen generation a cleaner and more affordable process.  Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to predict the kinetic behavior of the reaction using data obtained by the conductometric method. Graphs of electrical conductivity vs time show that is possible to verify the order of the reaction. We will present concepts of kinetic, thermodynamic and transport phenomena of the reaction between solid recycled aluminum and sodium hydroxide in an aqueous solution.  The knowledge acquired throughout this study will contribute to the development of a new reactor and as a consequence, a new renewable and sustainable industrial system of hydrogen generation.


Reactor; Aluminum; Sodium hydroxide; Sodium Aluminate; Hydrogen.

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