On-Demand Hydrogen Generation Hydrolysis

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On-Demand Hydrogen Generation Hydrolysis ( on-demand-hydrogen-generation-hydrolysis )

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Article On-Demand Hydrogen Generation by the Hydrolysis of Ball-Milled Aluminum–Bismuth–Zinc Composites Jamey Davies, Stephanus P. du Preez * and Dmitri G. Bessarabov Citation: Davies, J.; du Preez, S.P.; Bessarabov, D.G. On-Demand Hydrogen Generation by the Hydrolysis of Ball-Milled Aluminum–Bismuth–Zinc Composites. Materials 2022, 15, 1197. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15031197 Academic Editor: Haralampos N. Miras Received: 25 November 2021 Accepted: 26 January 2022 Published: 4 February 2022 Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neu- tral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institu- tional affiliations. Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Li- censee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and con- ditions of the Creative Commons At- tribution (CC BY) license (https://cre- ativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Infrastructure, Faculty of Engineering, North-West University (NWU), Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa; daviesjamey@gmail.com (J.D.); dmitri.bessarabov@nwu.ac.za (D.G.B.) * Correspondence: faan.dupreez@nwu.ac.za Abstract: In this investigation, ternary Al-Bi-Zn composites were prepared through mechanochem- ical activation to determine the combined effects of low-cost Bi and Zn on the morphology change and reactivity of the Al composite during the hydrolysis reaction. Specifically, Zn was considered as a means to slow the hydrogen generation rate while preserving a high hydrogen yield. A steady hydrogen generation rate is preferred when coupled with a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis indicated that Bi and Zn were distributed relatively uniformly in Al particles. By doing so, galvanic coupling between anodic Al and the ca- thodic Bi/Zn sustains the hydrolysis reaction until the entire Al particle is consumed. X-ray diffrac- tion analysis (XRD) showed no intermetallic phases between Al, Bi, and/or Zn formed. A composite containing 7.5 wt% Bi and 2.5 wt% Zn had a hydrogen yield of 99.5%, which was completed after approximately 2300 s. It was further found that the water quality used during hydrolysis could further slow the hydrogen generation rate. Keywords: aluminum; mechanochemical activation; ball milling; bismuth (Bi); zinc (Zn); hydroly- sis; hydrogen generation 1. Introduction Progression in fuel cell technology and the necessity for environmentally friendly sustainable energy carriers motivates the development of more efficient hydrogen pro- duction methods. Although hydrogen is abundant on earth, it does not occur naturally in its pure form and has to be processed to be converted to an energy carrier [1,2]. Numerous processes are employed to produce hydrogen from various source materials, e.g., electro- chemical, [3] photo-electrochemical, [4,5] photo-chemical, [6] photo-biological, [4,7] photo-catalytical, [4,8] partial hydrocarbons oxidation, [9] photo-thermochemical, [10] and niche and nanoparticle-assisted biological methods [11–16]. Partial hydrocarbon oxidation and photo-thermochemical methods are mainly used to produce hydrogen. In both processes, carbon dioxide (CO2) and small amounts of car- bon monoxide (CO) are formed, which adds to the accumulation of climate-changing gases in the atmosphere [2,17]. Hydrogen can only be considered green if it is produced from a renewable source (e.g., water) using a renewable energy source. However, this approach contains its difficulties, such as the intermittent availability of solar and wind energy [18]. Producing hydrogen in a renewable and eco-friendly manner is difficult, and more so, the storage thereof. Hydrogen storage is complicated due to its low gaseous density of 0.09 kg/m3 and a relatively high liquidous density of 70.9 kg/m3 [18]. Furthermore, hydro- gen is flammable over a wide concentration range of 4–75 vol% and has low ignition en- ergy of 0.02–0.03 mJ. A static electricity discharge or agitation of compressed or liquid hydrogen can cause hydrogen to ignite [19]. Out of all known energy carriers, hydrogen Materials 2022, 15, 1197. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15031197 www.mdpi.com/journal/materials

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