A new development from InnovaTek offers potential freedom from high oil prices and hope for the future of biodiesel fuel-cells. They are currently testing a hand-sized microreactor that can convert nearly any liquid fuel into hydrogen—and while you are pondering that little nugget of information consider this: the microreactor units can be linked together. InnovaTek has already developed linked systems capable of producing anywhere from 1 to 160 gallons of hydrogen per minute, meaning that it is possible to generate hydrogen on-board in fuel-cell powered vehicles.
The device itself weighs less than one pound and it can “convert (or reform) a continuous stream of hydrogen from fuels like gasoline, diesel, vegetable oil, biodiesel, propane, natural gas, even the glycerol byproduct from biodiesel manufacturing” using an “array of microchannels containing patented catalytic sites.” There are still major obstacles to overcome (the fact that there is no renewable source of energy to produce hydrogen being chief among them), but InnovaTek still plans on using the $500,000 they secured from a deal with Chevron to aid them in their plans to commercially licence the microreactors by 2009. [Gas 2.0]