A hi-tech start-up company hopes to bring the hydrogen economy closer by developing a new method for production of this key gas. US company Signa stumbled across the hydrogen-production process while trying to develop an air freshener. The company's researchers mixed sodium metal with silica gel or a crystalline silicon blend to create a powder that essentially strips electrons from the sodium atoms and traps them. When water is added to the sodium in the gel blend a much calmer hydrogen-producing reaction occurs than would otherwise happen. Signa says the harvested electrons can also be tapped off for electricity but more importantly almost a tenth of a kilogram of the powder gets released as hydrogen with little energy loss as heat.
Starting up hydrogen start-up