New cleantech co. to power cars with aluminum grains

Israeli company Alchemy Research offers new method to power electric cars using energy stored in aluminum grains.

By TAL SANDLER / NO CAMELS
June 9, 2012 00:50
Alchemy Research

Alchemy Research 370. (photo credit: Courtesy of Alchemy Research)

Tal Sandler writes for

According to the company, none of the substances involved in the process are toxic or polluting: “Alydro is carbon-free, with zero greenhouse gas emission.” The only by-product of the Alydro reaction is solid aluminum-oxide known as alumina, which is fully recyclable. In fact, alumina is the material used for producing aluminum in the first place so it is collected for recycling back into aluminum.

Cost-efficient?

Today, the price of powering a car with fuel is the same as using aluminum. However, according to Yampolsky, this is expected to change due to the fact that gas prices are on a rise, as opposed to the price of aluminum recycling that will decline as the technology keeps improving. “We’re not mining natural resources, and technology is always perfected and becomes cheaper and more effective with time,” he adds.

The company expects that by the time the system is ready to go on the market the financial benefits will be larger than the present system of gas and fuel. They expect that “in about five years, when the price of one liter of gas probably will cost the American consumer $1.6, the price of one kg of aluminum powder will be only 1.1 dollars.”

“As opposed to gas that emits many pollutants, we just heat the air. The only cost is the electricity that heats the air. Not only does the system not pollute, it does not react with the environment; it doesn’t add anything or take anything from the environment which is a step ahead of non-pollution. It is based on renewable energy sources, and all its by-products are recyclable,” concludes Yampolsky.

'Light up an entire city'

Besides powering vehicles, the technology can also be used to solve the problem of energy storage. An electric grid, as a network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers, must be reliable. Still, the leading renewable energy sources – solar and wind – are intermittent. To balance supply and demand, energy needs to be stored during high availability periods and be used later on when power consumption exceeds supply.

Alydro enables energy storage and extraction in a sustainable process. The energy is stored inside the aluminum, goes into the Alydro reactor and produces aluminum-oxide that will be used again the next day for the electrolysis process.

“By day we make aluminum, and by night we turn it back to aluminum-oxide. What we get is energy in the form of hydrogen that can be used in a gas turbine and light up an entire city,” says Yampolsky.

The company states that both aluminum and aluminum-oxide are nontoxic, nonflammable and nonpolluting. With Alydro energy storage, energy can be stored for decades in the aluminum itself with no degradation.

The young company, founded in 2012, says that it is “dedicated to developing Alydro technology to make clean and sustainable transportation a reality.” They are also planning on developing systems for on-site power generation and production of hydrogen.

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