The photo is sourced from rechargenews.com
The Amsterdam canal passenger ship will be fueled by hydrogen produced by mixing solid sodium borohydride (NaBH4) with pure water and a catalyst. The hydrogen gas produced this way will be fed to the fuel cells generating electricity to propel the ship. The ship will be equipped with energy storage batteries and a tank to storage the spent fuel – sodium metaborate (NaBO2), which will be converted to NaBH4 on shore, using a reducing agent (e.g. magnesium).
The project advantage is safe storage of raw materials for hydrogen production. Gaseous hydrogen ignites at room temperature and diesel fuel – at 55 degrees Celsius, but sodium borohydride can be ignited only at 70 degrees Celsius. Another strong point of NaBH4 is its high energy intensity: 126 kg of gaseous hydrogen can be obtained from one cubic metre of sodium borohydride, whereas for liquid hydrogen, which has to be maintained at minus 253 degrees, this figure is 71 kg, and 42 kg – for the compressed hydrogen under 700 bar pressure. The project participants are going to reach a zero-cycle effect in the future: the heat generated when NaBH4 is mixed with water and a catalyst can be used for heating the ship from inside.
The project will contribute not only to decarbonisation of shipping, but also to development of new ways of hydrogen production, which are not limited to coal gasification, water electrolysis or steam methane reforming. Earlier, EPRO Advance Technology introduced its own innovation, i.e. a porous silicon material (Si+) generating hydrogen when in contact with water. This material can be stored in plastic packaging, thereby its use is similar to the capsule method for making coffee.