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Hydrogen

Hydrogen has great potential as a clean fuel source for powering our cars and airplanes, but it also poses some big hurdles – in particular, how to store it. Making practical use of hydrogen in gas or liquid form raises difficulties in terms of volume and pressurization – a hydrogen gas tank for a car would need to be around four times larger than current petroleum tanks. Another possible solution is the use of solid state hydrogen and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), along with the University of Glasgow, hope to boost this approach by developing a new storage system using materials modified at the nanoscale that receive and release the hydrogen at a faster rate. Read More
Outdoor types who need power for mobile devices away from the grid may find themselves carrying solar chargers or battery packs but, as we reported last year, hydrogen fuel cells offer instant juice benefits and zero degradation. Now, Stockholm's myFC and SiGNa Chemistry have teamed up to launch the PowerTrekk, a pocket-sized, portable charging solution that combines the convenience of a battery pack with the instant power of a hydrogen fuel cell. Read More
One of the biggest problems with the move towards a hydrogen economy is currently the production of hydrogen fuel takes a lot of energy, which generally comes from burning fossil fuels. For hydrogen vehicles to make sense, cleaner more efficient hydrogen production methods will need to be developed. One promising approach takes its lead from the natural processes of photosynthesis in order to convert sunlight into hydrogen fuel. The latest breakthrough in this quest comes from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where scientists have taken an important step towards understanding the design principles that promote self-assembly in natural photosynthetic systems. Read More
Researchers have made a two-fold breakthrough in advancing renewable energies with the development of a light sensitive dye which transfers electrons more efficiently than conventional technologies. The new dyes stand to be used in solar electricity generation and in creating hydrogen fuel, which in the past has proven expensive and energy hungry. Read More
Because conventional photovoltaic panels produce electricity directly from sunlight, the energy they generate must either be used as it is produced or stored – either in batteries or by using the electricity to produce a fuel that acts as a storage medium for the energy. Now U.S. and Swiss researchers have developed a prototype device that directly converts the Sun’s rays into fuels that can be stored, allowing the energy to be used at night or transported to locations where it is needed. Read More
While plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt are currently making a play for eco-conscious consumers’ attention, some automobile manufacturers believe hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the way of the future as they can be filled-up in minutes as opposed to the hours it takes to recharge EVs. One of the companies set on bringing Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to showrooms is Hyundai, which has just completed development of its Tucson ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). Hyundai will begin testing the vehicle next year, with the goal of starting mass production in 2015. Read More
Hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more commonplace on our roads and now the world's first hydrogen powered hybrid ferry is set to take to the water off New York. Following on from the 2008 launch of the San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid that runs on a combination of solar, wind and diesel power, the new 1,400-hp New York Hornblower Hybrid adds another energy source to the mix with hydrogen fuel cells to complement its clean Tier 2 diesel engines, solar panels and wind turbines. Read More
In an effort to overcome one of the main drawbacks of battery electric vehicles, Volvo is initiating development of a hydrogen fuel cell that is expected to increase an electric car’s operating range by up to 250 km (155 miles). In the first phase of the project the company, together with Powercell Sweden AB, will conduct a study into a Range Extender, which consists of a fuel cell with a reformer that breaks down a liquid fuel – in this case petrol – to create hydrogen gas. The fuel cell then converts the hydrogen gas into electrical energy to power the car’s electric motor. Read More
At least half of the world’s usable hydrogen is obtained through a process known as steam reforming, in which steam reacts with fossil fuels such as natural gas to produce hydrogen gas. On a smaller scale, hydrogen can also be obtained through the process of electrolysis, in which ordinary water is split into its oxygen and hydrogen components by running an electrical current through it – consumers can even buy their own electrolysis-based home hydrogen extraction kit, in the form of the HYDROFILL. Now, however, Japan’s FUKAI Environmental Research Institute has announced a new technology for obtaining hydrogen that it claims is less expensive and more efficient than anything that’s been tried so far. Read More
Although wave power is attracting a lot of attention as a renewable energy source, it is possible to generate power from still water. All you need is an electrolyzer, which separates water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, then feeds them into a fuel cell. Electrolyzers, however, require catalysts to get the process rolling. While hydrogen production catalysts aren’t much of a problem, the platinum catalysts used for oxygen production are expensive, don’t last very long, and the creation of them incorporates toxic chemicals. This Monday, however, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the development of a new oxygen production catalyst that is 200 times more efficient than platinum. The nickel-borate-based catalyst has been licensed to Sun Catalytix, which is hoping to be producing safe, super-efficient electrolyzers within two years. Read More
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