Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No. 534: In-house generation using nitrous oxide (June 12, 2012)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Showa Denko jointly developed generating equipment that utilizes nitrous oxide used as an anesthetic agent. Nitrous oxide generates heat at as high as 1,600 degrees centigrade should it be resolved by a special catalyst, and the generated heat is used to run a turbine. Because hospitals have always anesthetic gas cylinders ready, the two organization plans to put the new technology into practical use and build an in-house power generation system for emergency in three years. Nitrous oxide is safe and easy to handle because it is liquid at normal temperature and because it emits only nitrogen and oxygen should it be resolved.

JAXA has been developing alternative rocket fuels that can replace highly toxicant hydrazine rocket fuel and generating equipment in space in alliance with Showa Denko for the past 10 years. The two organizations built nitrous oxide generation equipment as small as a suitcase as part of their efforts to build equipment for ground test of a rocket. It has a capacity to generate enough electricity for lighting in laboratories and air-conditioners. They believe that the system of a refrigerator size can be an in-house generation system for hospitals. 

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