Generation of Hydrogen by Thermal Hydrolysis of Sodium Borohydrides – 2514

  • High yield hydrogen production reaction accomplished by thermal hydrolysis of sodium borohydride at less than 150 degrees Celsius.



Sodium borohydride (SBH, NaBH4) is attractive as a hydrogen storage material due to its high hydrogen content (10.5 wt%) and relatively low cost. Hydrogen can be released from SBH by either hydrolysis or thermolysis. The release of hydrogen from SBH via thermolysis requires a high temperature (>500 degrees Celsius), while hydrolysis can be conducted even at room temperature. Due to the limited solubility of SBH and the spent fuel in water, hydrolysis provides low theoretical H2 yields (~2.4%) and it also requires catalysts. For this reason, most hydrolysis of SBH is conducted with excess water, making it difficult to avoid serious system H2 yield drop due to the associated components such as tank, water pump, valves, piping, etc. In addition, when SBH is dissolved in water without a stabilizer, it can generate hydrogen through self-hydrolysis, which can result in safety concerns.

Technology Overview

Developed at the University of Kentucky, this technology is a high-yield hydrogen production reaction at less than 150 degrees Celsius. In this new technology, we first propose thermal hydrolysis of SBH with an additive as a steam source. SBH generates hydrogen by hydrolysis with water dehydrated by thermal decomposition of the additive. As compared to conventional hydrolysis, this approach offers improved safety and higher H2 yield since the SBH-additive mixture is stable at normal conditions and excess water is not required. In addition, the operating temperature of this approach is much lower than those of conventional thermolysis. This new technology addresses both the shortcomings of hydrolysis and the thermolysis of SBH.


  • Water-free (solid-state) hydrogen generation under 150C
  • Simple, easy-to-operate system
  • Improved safety and H2 production rate
  • Significant improvement of both volumetric and gravimetric H2 yields

Contact Information

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Phone: (859) 257-2149