A research team from the US Army Research Laboratory monitored an unanticipated outcome when mixing urine with a recently engineered nano-powder derived from aluminum. It instantaneously liberates hydrogen at a much higher rate from the urine than with ordinary water. Earlier this summer, the research team had told about the aluminum-based nano-galvanic powder they were producing generated pure hydrogen when had a contact with water.
An identical reaction was witnessed by the research team when they had added their powder to any fluid containing water. An ARL Researcher, Dr Kristopher Darling, said, “As Army scientists, what we do is develop technology & materials that will directly help the Soldier and improve their abilities. A new processing method is developed by us to create a material that divides water impulsively into hydrogen.”
The most abundant component in the universe, hydrogen, has the prospective to power fuel cells and supply energy to upcoming Soldiers. Electricity is produced by fuel cells efficiently, quietly, and without pollution. As per the website of the Department of Energy, fuel cells, in comparison to combustion engines are more energy-efficient and the hydrogen utilized to power them can be obtained from a range of sources.”
Another ARL researcher, Dr Anit Giri, said, “We have assessed that 1 kg of aluminum powder can generate 220 kW of energy in merely 3 Minutes.” Astronauts, in space, recycle urine & wastewater as drinking water is a valuable product. For Soldiers in rigorous surroundings, there are numerous valued commodities. Energy & power is becoming progressively vital to operate electronic gears & communication for away teams that cannot be resupplied.
According to the officials, using urine as a source of fuel may result in incredible advantages for Soldiers. Darling said, “When we illustrated it with urine, we witnessed almost a factor of a double surge in the rates of reaction.” The researchers are still exploring why urine results in a faster reaction; however, it might have something to do with the liquid’s acidity & electrolytes.
Darling further said, “It is unique as the reaction rate is so competent and tremendously fast from such a minute quantity of material.” The team is functioning at the laboratory with other researchers, comprising the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, to find out how to exploit the material as a prospective source of energy.
He also mentioned, “Our basic aim is materials optimization & development. We are seeking at how we can enhance the functioning, its interfaces with other liquids, including saliva and other fluids obtainable in a field environment to Soldiers.”