Scientists at the northern Maryland-based Aberdeen Proving Ground’s U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) recently discovered potentially augmented hydrogen production by using urine.
When military facility personnel tried blending the fluid with a certain aluminum-based powder under development, the combination resulted in rapidly released hydrogen. Previously, the team had found that the powder yielded pure hydrogen in contact with plain water or other liquids as well.
"What we do as Army scientists is develop materials and technology that will directly benefit the Soldier and enhance their capabilities," ARL researcher Dr. Kristopher Darling said in a press release. "We developed a new processing technique to synthesize a material, which spontaneously splits water into hydrogen."
Hydrogen’s potential applications for the armed forces are many: fuel cells and portable energy sourcing, for instance. Like astronauts, troops must travel light, but they also require power to support communications and electronics in the field.
The researchers said the discovery had far-reaching potential.
"Our basic focus is materials development and optimization," Darling said. "We're looking at how we can optimize the composition, its interactions with other fluids, including saliva and other liquids available to Soldiers in a field environment."