It helps to do the chemical reactions to see what's involved here.
To make calcium hydride, you need to start with calcium chloride, sodium, and hydrogen. So somewhere along the chain of events, you'll either need electricity or you'll need a hydrocarbon fuel, say methane, to exract that hydrogen and make these chewing gum stick-like fuel thingies. (So you're likely going to be creating CO2 in the manufacturing process, is my basic point here. You need to generate H2 in order to make this fuel, which in turn will e releasing H2 when in use.)
CaCl2 + H2 + 2Na --> CaH2 + 2NaCl
So byproducts of this manufacturing process are most likely CO2 and table salt.
Then in use, CaH2 + 2H2O --> Ca(OH)2 + 2H2
So a byproduct in use is calcium hydroxide, which apparently has plenty of uses of its own. Perhaps it can be recycled. Otherwise, it's corrosive.
I can easily see the appeal as emergency power source. The fuel cell which uses this type of fuel makes no noise, unlike the annoyingly loud, typical engine generators. And, no rube goldberg assembly of moving parts.
But equally or more exciting might be, CaH2 can be in powder form, like salt. Like you see in those dissicant pouches. Perhaps then, it could also be used as fuel for fuel-cell EVs. Easier to distribute and to use as fuel in a car than high pressure H2 gas? Although it needs to be kept dry.
Fuel cells stories are something us reporters write, not every week, but every once in a blue moon. Every time when I look into the subject, I find it fascinating but also equally frustrating. This is the technology that should be here already; but it never seems to be quite here yet.
Although most of us probably do not think of Rohm when we think about fuel cells (at least not yet), it would be interesting to see how big an inroad the Kyoto-based company can make with its technology jointly developed with Aquafairy.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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