Development of a NaBH4 Hydrogen Storage System for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Development of a NaBH4 Hydrogen Storage System for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Issue Date
2009 Fuel Cell Seminar & Exposition
Hydrogen generation for 200We PEMFC was carried out in the reactor and the result is shown in Fig. 4. Hydrogen at a flow rate of 2.5~3.5 L/min can be obtained with temperature of the catalyst surface maintained at 50~55°C. By adopting cooling mechanism at the outer surface of the reactor, temperature at the gas outlet of the reactor can be controlled within 60~70℃. Conversion of the hydrolysis reaction was 91% at this moment, but further improvement is expected by adopting micro-structured catalyst plates stacked together in a catalyst module. Total weight of the hydrogen generation system was near 900 g, but there is a room for reduction of weight by exploiting light-weight materials for reactor, purifier and tubings. 20 wt% SBH solution with reaction conversion of 91% corresponds to hydrogen storage density of 3.9 wt% in material basis. For 6-hour cruising flight of the UAV, 90 g of hydrogen is needed which is equivalent to 2.3 kg of SBH solution. Considering that hydrogen storage system is 0.9 kg without fuel, the hydrogen storage density of the system for 6-hour operation of UAV becomes 2.8 wt%. Improvement of conversion to 95% will lead to hydrogen storage density of 2.9 wt%. But further enhancement of the system-based storage density is needed for UAV application. Due to the solubility limit of SBH in water and slow reaction rate in concentrated SBH solutions, it is hard to employ the fuel with SBH concentration higher than 25 wt%. So the system-based hydrogen storage density of SHB system is restricted to ca. 3 wt% as indicated in Fig. 1. Therefore, it is required to utilize materials with higher storage density such as AB to achieve system-based hydrogen storage density of 4.5 wt% in the future.
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