Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water. When voltage is applied to an electrochemical cell with aqueous electrolyte, hydrogen is produced on the cathode. Hydrogen generation in the absence of electricity is much more complex: a chemical agent is used to reduce water to hydrogen. This technology requires complex equipment. Panisolar offers a new approach for hydrogen production, and a new device to implement it.
A rechargeable hydrogen-on-demand system is based on zinc electrodes, which act as the reducing agent. These zinc electrodes are designed as rechargeable zinc cartridges that can be replaced mechanically. In other words, the zinc cartridges serve as compact fuel that can be used conveniently for storage and transportation instead of hydrogen, but can generate hydrogen when required.
In the hydrogen generator the zinc anode is connected to the hydrogen evolution cathode through the potentiometer; its resistance defines the speed of hydrogen flow.
The hydrogen generator can be employed as the fuel source for a hydrogen torch, or as the hydrogen supply for a portable gas chromatograph. To produce electricity the hydrogen generator should be associated with a hydrogen-air fuel cell. These two devices can be replaced with the zinc-air fuel cell (described on a separate page), where the zinc cartridge is used directly to generate electricity.