Turning Ethanol Into Hydrogen

Cindy Zimmerman

Researchers at Ohio State University say they have found a way to efficiently convert ethanol and other biofuels into hydrogen.

Umit OzkanAccording to OSU professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Umit Ozkan, a new catalyst can makes hydrogen from ethanol with 90 percent yield, at a workable temperature, and using inexpensive ingredients.

Ozkan says the catalyst could help make the use of hydrogen-powered cars more practical in the future, she said.

“There are many practical issues that need to be resolved before we can use hydrogen as fuel — how to make it, how to transport it, how to create the infrastructure for people to fill their cars with it,” Ozkan explained.

The process starts with a liquid biofuel such as ethanol, which is heated and pumped into a reactor, where the catalyst spurs a series of chemical reactions that ultimately convert the liquid to a hydrogen-rich gas.

The new catalyst is much less expensive than others being developed around the world, because it does not contain precious metals, such as platinum or rhodium.

The research was presented last week at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia.

Ethanol, Hydrogen, News, Research