* Does it defy laws of thermodynamics ?
* How the natural energy is harvested ?
* Is it simply rapid oxidation of metals ?
The Science Behind The Technology
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. It’s not just a written law that governs this, nature and creation prove that energy is matter, and matter does not just appear without a source. This fact however, does not outlaw energy transformation by combining two energies within the enclosed system, to boost and deliver a greater output energy as stated in the law of thermodynamics.
In-fact you are probably already using technologies that does just that. For example the common Heat Pump air conditioning systems which are preferred over other means of heating simply because they produce more output thermal energy than the input electrical energy. The energy ratio is typically around 3kW thermal energy for every 1kW of electrical energy consumed, giving an effective efficiency of 300%. One would argue that according to the law of thermodynamics it’s impossible to have an efficiency of more than 100%, as this implies that more energy is being produced than is being applied.
The reason it appears there is more energy being produced than consumed, is because the only valuable energy input is electricity used to drive the compressor and fans. The remainder of the energy simply transfers from a heat source in one place and moved to another. Two energies are required to achieve the transformation. The COP calculations only considers the usable (electrical) energy. The ambient air is, in this example, free energy added or transferred to boost the total efficiency as permitted in the law of thermodynamics.
The efficiency of the H2IL electrochemical energy solution is achieved in the same way. The bulk of the energy that equates to an efficiency greater than 100% simply transfers from an abundant source of galvanic energy. The input power is a catalyst, like the compressor of a heat pump, that simply transforms and combines the secondary energy to form a greater output energy.
How The Energy Is Harvested:
To protect the valuable hidden IP, we don't publish any of the scientific complexities. However, following is a basic explanation of the technology.
The energy harvested is galvanic energy released from bi-metals. Metals of differing voltage potentials are called bi-metal. A typical example is the primary cell flashlight battery which delivers power from a combination of bi-metals, typically zinc and graphite. Flashlight batteries are not charged, they deliver energy through spontaneous redox reactions from these galvanic metals.
If a primary cell battery was connected to an electrolyzer, (see illustration) hydrogen would be produced without any generated power input. All the energy is delivered through spontaneous redox reaction from galvanic metals.
A dry cell battery dies over a short time only because the electrolyte dries out, not from electrodes decay.
H2IL discovered and developed a technology that consumes a very small amount of electricity to harvest this galvanic energy, all within a single electrochemical cell. Stimulating a spontaneous charge potential between electrodes to split the liquid electrolyte and produce pure hydrogen.
Galvanic energy is classed a 'free energy' in that it's harvesting is a natural occurring unforced process like solar, wind, magnetic force and the thermal energy of an air conditioning unit that provides most the usable output energy.
The natural voltage potential between bi-mettles naturally caused hydrogen to be produced at the more noble metal cathode. This redox reaction is typically so slight that the release of hydrogen is hardly noticeable and the decay of metals takes several years.
Since energy is harvested from metals, a slight comparison to nuclear energy could be made. Common nuclear power generation uses an energy stored in certain scarce metals. The nuclear reaction generates thermal energy and the metals decay.
As with other forms of “renewable” energy, where the source of fuel is virtually limitless, it is the total cost of generation rather than the efficiency that really matters. It would be logical to conclude that the bi-metal electrodes are the fuel and would need to be added into the calculation.
Within all electrolysis cells the anode electrode is eventually consumed. Therefore one may conclude that within a galvanic arrangement the metals providing the galvanic energy would consume rapidly. However this is not the case in this application.
How the technology harvests the energy without rapid electrode oxidation could be understood using the flashlight case in point.
Flashlight batteries are not charged like lithium batteries. They die when the electrolyte dries-up which is well before the electrodes decay. Modern technology has enabled the flashlight battery to last much longer while delivering more useful energy.
For example a 45W LED light delivers 5800 Lumens of light energy compared to only 450 Lumens from a 45W incandescent lightbulb. In addition, for 200 hours of service the LED flashlight consumes 8 batteries compared to 80 batteries consumed in the old incandescent technology.
Within standard alkaline electrolyzers, converting a stable electron to an ion is very energy intensive and consume electrodes.
Within the H2IL technology, converting galvanic energy while the electrons are charged ions is much more efficient than converting external power to ions. It’s simply a case of using energy more efficiently which, intern extends the life of the galvanic energy.
The technology does not split the water molecules using brute force electricity, which would consume electrodes. Also the electrolyte is pre-conditioned to become an ionic substance which becomes more anodic than the electrodes. The chemistry is quite complex but accomplishing an energy combination at an ionic level means very little energy loss and ease of molecule separation.
The technology does not require expensive and scarce metals such as platinum, ruthenium or iridium used in most PEM type electrolysers. The electrodes are made from low-cost and abundant metals. PDF DOWNLOAD
Pure hydrogen is produced. In conventional electrolysis the Anode is a solid metal plate that oxidises the hydroxide ion forming a bubble of oxygen gas. Within the electro-chemical process of this cell, the pre-conditioned electrolyte reduces the oxygen ions and releases the H2 ion from the hydroxide. The Oxygen ion forms a covalent bonds with this Anodic bi-product which in turn is removed with liquid circulation.
We have confirmed the gas quality with: 1/ Oxygen line flow sensors, 2/ Ignition testing 3/ Chemical testing for other impurities and 4/ Direct feed to a PEM Fuel Cell (PEMFC). A PEMFC is very sensitive to impure gas and the performance would drop off should the hydrogen not be 99.99% pure. We achieve a steady 1.73% higher voltage with a 50% load on the PEMFC. (1.73% higher than hydrogen feed from a PEM Electrolyser with a rated 99.99% purity. both gasses were at the same temperature). These results are matched each time we run a three hour test. We have run enough tests on the PEMFC to be convinced that the output hydrogen is extremely pure.
It is also to be noted that this green hydrogen is more pure than brown and blue hydrogen obtained from reformation, which inherently has a carbon-monoxide (CO) contamination content.
"Hydrogen is the abundant fuel bound in water molecules. This is simply a highly efficient method of releasing it from the bonded state"
There is no toxic by-product produced. The byproduct has a neutral PH of 7.
The only active item consumed is metal electrodes. These decompose naturally over several months. Breaking down into minute particles that can be recycled or put back into the earth in the same non-toxic form as when they were first mined.
When stacked up beside other forms of alternative energies this method has a very small total pollution footprint. When solar panels and storage batteries are consumed and decommissioned they will end up as toxic land fill resulting in a huge, repeating environmental impact.
H2IL is working on some exciting methods of using the byproduct in practical applications including battery technology.