President Putin’s Annual Q&A

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President Obama’s final SOTU address

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Hydrogen has found an increasingly important application today as it is not only used as fuel in a hydrogen fuel cell, but also being explored as a novel therapeutic and preventive strategy for metabolic syndrome. Hydrogen rich water (also called alkaline water, ionized water, or hydrogen water) has been reported to have health benefits due to strong antioxidant and reducing property of hydrogen micro bubbles in the water. In recent work [1], hydrogen in drinking water (produced by placing a metallic magnesium stick into the drinking water) was found effective in increasing antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase and decreasing thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in urine. It resulted in increased high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and decreased total cholesterol / HDL cholesterol.

Although there are many ways to produce hydrogen such as electrolysis, thermolysis, biomass gasification, bio-catalysis or fermentative hydrogen production, the dominant and economically feasible technology for producing hydrogen commercially is still from fossil sources via steam reforming of hydrocarbons. However, the gas produced from this process needs to be purified for safe consumption.

Hydrogen separation from gas mixtures containing carbon dioxide is an industrially important process. Separation of carbon dioxide from hydrogen can be achieved using monoethanolamine (MEA) absorption. However, this method may require cooling of the hot gas. It was reported that pressure swing adsorption (PSA) may also be employed to capture hot carbon dioxide directly [2-5]. In simulated capture of the hot gas from a coal fired power plant, PSA system reportedly consumed the least power when compared with the post-combustion MEA absorption, pre-combustion cryogenic-membrane hybrid and biomass co-firing [2]. Another method to capture carbon dioxide at high temperature is by using inorganic membranes [6-8]. This method allows the gas to be treated in just a single stage, vis-á-vis multi-stages or different phases (of pressurizing, depressurizing and purging) in a conventional PSA [9].

Question to ponder: Since spring water or naturally alkaline water derives its dissolved hydrogen from of magnesium (and other abundant earth minerals), is it hydrogen or the minerals (metal ions) in the water that actually provides the health benefits? or is it the water pH?

[1]. Nakao A, Toyoda Y, Sharma P, Evans M, Guthrie N. Effectiveness of hydrogen rich water on antioxidant status of subjects with potential metabolic syndrome – An open label pilot study. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2010; 46: 140–149
[2]. Helwani Z, Wiheeb AD, Kim J, Othman MR. In-situ mineralization of carbon dioxide in a coal-fired power plant. Energ. Source Part A. DOI:10.1080/15567036.2013.813991
[3]. Martunus, Helwani Z, Wiheeb AD, Kim J, Othman MR. In-situ carbon dioxide capture and fixation from a hot flue gas. Int. J. Greenh Gas Con. 2012; 6: 179–188
[4]. Martunus, Helwani Z, Wiheeb AD, Kim J, Othman MR. Improved carbon dioxide capture using metal reinforced hydrotalcite under wet conditions. Int. J. Greenh Gas Con. 2012; 7: 127–136
[5]. Martunus, Othman MR, Fernando WJN. Elevated temperature carbon dioxide capture via reinforced metal hydrotalcite. Micro. Meso. Mater. 2011; 138: 110–117
[6]. Wiheeb AD, Ahmad MA, Murat MN, Kim J, Othman MR. The declining affinity of microporous hydrotalcite-silica membrane for carbon dioxide. J Porous Media. 2014; 17: 159-167
[7]. Wiheeb AD, Kim J, Othman MR. Highly perm-selective micro-porous hydrotalcite-silica membrane for improved carbon dioxide-methane separation. Separ. Sci. Technol. 2015; 50: 1701–1708
[8]. Othman MR, Kim J. Permeation characteristics of H2, N2 and CO2 in a binary mixture across mesoporous Al2O3 and Pd-Al2O3 asymmetric composites. Micro. Meso. Mater. 2008; 112: 403-410
[9]. Othman MR, Martunus, Fernando WJN, Kim J. Thermodynamic functions of temperature/pressure induced sorption across micro-porous membranes: Case study of methane and carbon dioxide. Adsorpt. Sci. Technol. 2010; 28: 179-188

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Hydroxyapatite, Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2, is a bio-ceramic material that makes up 69% of human’s hard body tissues. Natural hydroxyapatite is a nano-crystalline material having a dimension of 20-80nm long and 2-5nm wide. Pure hydroxyapatite can be synthesized through precipitation, hydrothermal method, hydrothermal exchange reaction, calcinations of coral or animal skeleton bone, sol-gel techniques and solid-state reaction. The reactants are calcium hydroxide and phosphoric acid that results in the following reaction:

10Ca(OH)2 + 6H3PO4 → Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 + 18H2O.

Today, the interest is to find methods that can produce nano-crystalline hydroxyapatite particles [1]. Nano-sized hydroxyapatite particles are extremely important in promoting the growth of living bones and tissues. Nano-sized hydroxyapatite particles are known to exhibit desirable properties such as good bioactivity, high biocompatibility and flexible structure so that they can enhance regeneration of defective or fractured bones and integrate with the host tissue. Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles with size of <100 nm were successfully produced in laboratory experiment using an electro-spinning device [2]. Reference [1] SM Zakaria, SHS Zein, MR Othman, JA Jansen. 2013. Nanophase hydroxyapatite as a biomaterial in advanced hard tissue engineering: A review. Tissue Engineering - Part B: Reviews, 19 (2013) 431-441. [2] SM Zakaria, SHS Zein, MR Othman, JA Jansen. Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles: Electrospinning and calcination of hydroxyapatite/polyvinyl butyral nanofibers and growth kinetics. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A. 101 (2013) 1977-1985.

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