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Is it possible to use the combination of a Car Battery and the Heat generated from an internal combustion engine exhaust to produce enough hydrogen from water electrolysis to significantly improve gas mileage? The maximum internal combustion exhaust temperature is approximately 1450 degrees C.
Tareq Abu-Hamed, now at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, have devised a scheme that gets round these problems. By reacting water with the element boron, their system produces hydrogen that can be burnt in an internal combustion engine or fed to a fuel cell to generate electricity. "The aim is to produce the hydrogen on-board at a rate matching the demand of the car engine," says Abu-Hamed. "We want to use the boron to save transporting and storing the hydrogen." The only by-product is boron oxide, which can be removed from the car, turned back into boron, and used again. What's more, Abu-Hamed envisages doing this in a solar-powered plant that is completely emission-free.