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Isreal: New cleantech co. to power cars with aluminum grains

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

The era of clean technologies is hopefully only at its dawn and yet we have already witnessed extraordinary advances in the field. From solar windows that power-up buildings to energy-producing roads, to desalination plants and many more, cleantech achievements are piling up.

So if powering cars with ‘electric powder’ may sound like a scam, think again. Israeli company Alchemy Research offers a new method to power electric cars by using energy stored in aluminum grains.

Alchemy Research has developed a method of storage and conversion of energy. Their Alydro technology – standing for Aluminum-Hydro, is a process that produces energy from a reaction between aluminum and water.

The outcome of this method, says company CEO Gideon Yampolsky, “is essentially an electric vehicle that is able to reach 2,400 km on a fuel tank that is the size of a standard fuel tank. A regular car that works on fuel is able to reach only 700- 800 km. Our fuel tank is the same size as a regular one and can last more distance.”

Releasing energy from aluminum

The Alydro energy system can store large amounts of energy inside aluminum grains and release it on demand. Since aluminum is a very dense element, it can accommodate twice the amount of energy as fuel in the same volume. According to the company it can also store 80 times more energy per kg. than today’s best Li-ion batteries.

Although aluminum is known for its ability to store a lot of energy, what was missing until now was a method to release it. Yampolsky started researching alternative energies three years ago. In the process he partnered with Irad Stavi and together they founded Alchemy Research.

Their research focused on how to take this energy and release it, to use it for powering light bulbs or starting a car. The answer, they found, was water.

The alchemy

The Alydro reaction takes place in a reactor at elevated temperatures of up to 900 Celcius. The reactor, compact enough to be installed in a vehicle, feeds on aluminum grains and water and produces hot hydrogen. This hydrogen is then converted into electrical energy that replaces the battery in an electric vehicle.

The products of the reaction are warm air and water vapor which are later chilled and reused. “The water is not consumed, it is returned to the tank after it goes through the process. Even though the system works on aluminum and water, in practice it doesn’t use up the water,” Yampolsky tells NoCamels.
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