Activated aluminum for hydrogen generation from water

F. Manilevich 1,
Yu. Pirskyy 1,
A. Kutsyi 1,
V. Berezovets 2,
V. Yartys 3

1 Vernadsky Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of NAS of Ukraine, Kiyv
2 Karpenko Physico-Mechanical Institute of the NAS of Ukraine, Lviv, Ukraine
3 Institute for Energy Technology, Kjeller NO-2027



Al-based alloys and mechanochemically activated aluminum powders were prepared in this study, and the regularities of their hydrolysis reaction with water were studied. Aluminum alloys were prepared by melting aluminum with additions of Ga–In–Sn eutectic (5 wt.%), bismuth (3 wt.%), antimony (3 wt.%), or zinc (3 wt.%). The temperature-dependent kinetics of their hydrolysis in a temperature range 25–70 °C was studied by using a volumetric technique. The most efficient activation of the hydrolysis process was achieved for the Al–Ga– In–Sn-Zn alloy, particularly at low temperatures (5 and 25° C). The addition of bismuth to the Al–Ga–In–Sn alloy significantly decreases the hydrolysis rate, whereas the addition of antimony has only a weak effect on the process, despite the fact that the standard electrode potentials of bismuth and antimony have rather close values. Commercially available aluminum PA-4 and ASD-1 powders were mechanochemically activated by Ga–In–Sn or Ga–In–Sn–Zn eutectic alloys (5 wt.%) and graphite (1–3 wt.%) in a mixer type ball mill. Subsequently, they were pressed (P = 4 MPa) into the pellets, which were used to generate hydrogen from water via the hydrolysis process. X-ray diffraction study of the milled PA-4 powder revealed the presence of four phases, including aluminum, graphite, and two In–Sn intermetallic compounds (In3Sn and In1–xSnx, were x ≈ 0.04). The quantitative analysis by EDX showed a uniform distribution of the activating additives over the pellet surface, while the graphite was partly aggregated. Studies on the hydrolysis kinetics when utilizing Al-based pellets demonstrated that the process readily proceeds at temperatures ≥ 5° C. At the same time, the efficiency of hydrogen generation depends on the amount of the added graphite, particle size of aluminum powders, duration and medium of their mechanochemical treatment, and the hydrolysis temperature.

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