Aluminum and Water Propulsion

Ph.D. student Shani Elitzur, Prof. Alon Gany and Dr. Valery Rosenband from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, the Fine Rocket Propulsion Center, have demonstrated how to power model boat and car using just aluminum and water. Aluminum reacts with water, producing hydrogen. Electricity is generated via a PEM fuel cell, using the hydrogen produced and oxygen from the air.

The technology is based on a patented novel method developed at the Fine Rocket Propulsion Center for aluminum activation to react spontaneously with water. It enables compact, safe, and efficient hydrogen storage which can be used on demand.

The combination of this hydrogen production and storage technique with a PEM fuel cell can yield “green”, non-polluting electric energy with specific energy (energy per unit mass) greater by 10-15 fold than common lithium-ion batteries used today.

The technology may be applied, for instance, for marine and automotive propulsion, for emergency electric generators, for power supply in remote communication posts, and for civilian and military outdoors operations, providing convenient, safe, clean, and quiet operation.