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Hydrogen-on-Demand (HOD) System for Fuel Cell Portable Power Applications

Technology Overview

The lack of hydrogen infrastructure has been the major barrier to fuel cell commercialisation, especially for portable applications. Some companies offer hydrogen solutions based on liquid sodium borohydride. These commercial solutions, however, have some drawbacks. Sodium borohydride solution faces problems, such as, precious catalyst with short lifespan, leakage, orientation issues, complex maintenance and impurities in the hydrogen generated. The impurities in hydrogen would accumulate in the anode chamber of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) and deactivate the electro-catalysis of hydrogen oxidation reactions, resulting in system breakdown. The limitations of these commercial products highlighted the need for a hydrogen-on-demand system that satisfies the U.S department of energy's(DOE)standards in terms of system weight, volume, cost and efficiency. The hydrogen-on-demand (HOD) system developed by the technology provider, has the attributes of ease of control, good handling safety, full hydrolysis of NaBH4, low cost catalyst with durable lifespan and high energy density. The HOD system could possibly unify the PEMFC applications by offering common hydrogen platform, and thereby increasing the customers’ flexibility in choosing different products without getting tied to proprietary hydrogen solution. This would help to penetrate and grow the consumer electronics and lifestyle market that is currently dominated by batteries.

Technology Features & Specifications

The key technical specifications of the HOD prototype are: Rated Voltage : 5V Rated Current : 6A Environment Temperature : -10oC to 60oC Energy Capacity : 100 Wh/refill Dimension (L x H xD) : 20cm x 28cm x 8cm Weight : 1.2kg The HOD system offers high gravimetric and volumetric density at a lower cost compared to the existing HOD solutions.

Potential Applications

The targeted markets for the HOD include consumer electronics and lifestyle, unmanned vehicles (UVs), small power systems for back-up and disaster relief purpose. The market for consumer electronics and lifestyle is expected to reach USD 188.82 million in 2020, while the UVs market is expected to hit more USD 30 million by 2020.

Customer Benefits

Besides having the features of easy of control, good handling safety, and high energy density, the HOD system could possibly unify the PEMFC applications by offering common hydrogen platform, and thereby increasing the customers’ flexibility in choosing different products without getting tied to proprietary hydrogen solution. This would help to penetrate and grow the consumer electronics and lifestyle market that is currently dominated by batteries. The HOD system also offers high gravimetric and volumetric density while being cheaper compared to the existing HOD solutions.

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