Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hydrogen has been promoted as the energy alternative of the future. Fuel cell utilization of hydrogen minimizes pollution while optimizing energy conversion efficiencies. Sodium borohydride has been investigated as a possible hydrogen storage and transport medium. Within the proper catalytic environment, one gram of sodium borohydride liberates almost 2.4 liters of hydrogen at a controllable rate. The effects of acids, transition metal salts, and transition metals on the hydrolysis of sodium borohydride have been mathematically quantified. Least squares analyses have reduced the data to simple combinations of algebraic expressions. Specifically, acid acceleration is subject to pseudo-first-order kinetics; equivalent acid concentrations are logarithmically related to the extent of hydrolysis. Transition metal catalysis obeys zero-order-kinetics (linear relationships between borohydride concentration and reaction time). Dual functionality (acid acceleration plus surface catalysis) characterizes the effects of transition metal salts on the borohydride hydrolytic rate. A highly efficient hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell powered by sodium borohydride has been designed and operated. The ultimate utilization of sodium borohydride as a fuel cell source is related to the cost of hydrogen; therefore, modern hydrogen technologies have been reviewed and compared on a cost basis.