Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Hydrogen

Members of Purdue University's hydrothermolysis research team (Prof. Varma at left)

Fuel cell cars have come one step closer to practicality with researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University announcing a new process for the generation and storage of hydrogen. The process is called hydrothermolysis, and is a combination of hydrolysis and thermolysis – the two prevalent methods of hydrogen generation that some scientists consider impractical for use in automobiles. The new process utilizes powdered ammonia borane, a chemical that has one of the highest hydrogen yields of any solid substance.  Read More

The Horizon MiniPak will almost certainly be the public's first experience of the coming H...

Today is a day that you will probably tell your grandchildren about – the day they released the first affordable, pocket-sized fuel cell for personal usage. As with flying cars, personal jet packs and a usable voice recognition computer interface, the promise of a safe, affordable, personal power plant was entering the realm of perpetual vaporware. Now it's finally here! Whatsmore, at US$100, the Horizon MiniPak might well prove to be the “disruptive” technology the press release claims it to be. By producing electricity from hydrogen at the point of use and offering effectively unlimited run-time for personal electronics, it will almost certainly be the public's first experience of the coming Hydrogen Economy.  Read More

Intelligent Energy CEO, Dr. Henri Winand with London Deputy Mayor, Kit Malthouse, at unvei...

Two years ago we reported that London’s iconic black cabs would be getting a green makeover with a fleet to be fitted out with zero local emissions hydrogen fuel cell power systems in time for the Olympics in 2012. Now the first prototype fuel cell black cab has been unveiled. It is powered by hydrogen fuel system hybridized with lithium polymer batteries that allow the vehicle to operate for a full day without the need for refueling.  Read More

The H-Cell 2.0 hydrogen fuel cell, installed in a chassis

If you’re into R/C vehicles, there’s just the slightest chance that you might be interested in a power train that runs three to four times longer than regular battery-only systems, and that requires nothing but sunlight and water to recharge. It also educates people on what will likely be the power system of choice for future real-size automobiles... and oh yes, it looks dead sexy, in a Doc-Brown’s-Delorean-flux-capacitor kinda way. Without any further ado, please open your wallets for H-Cell 2.0, the latest miniature hydrogen fuel cell hybrid drive train from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies.  Read More

Researchers identify new low-cost catalyst for hydrogen production

To make sunlight practical as a dominant source of energy a viable storage technology needs to be developed. One promising area of research is imitating the process of photosynthesis to separate the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water to create hydrogen fuel. An MIT team led by Daniel Nocera is now reporting that nickel borate can efficiently and sustainably function as the oxygen-producing electrode in such a process bringing the dream of energy storage systems that would allow buildings to be completely independent and self-sustaining in terms of energy.  Read More

Inexpensive metal catalyst discovered for electrolytic production of hydrogen from water

The hydrogen economy that may one day replace the hydrocarbon economy came a step closer this week with the announcement that researchers have discovered an inexpensive new proton reduction catalyst - seventy times cheaper than the platinum commonly used now - that can significantly reduce the costs of producing hydrogen using electrolysis to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.  Read More

MIT researchers have created a virus-templated catalyst solution used to harness energy fr...

A team of MIT researchers has managed to mimic the photosynthetic process in plants by engineering M13, a simple and harmless virus, to help splitting water into its two atomic components, hydrogen and oxygen, using sunlight. The researchers hope this is the first step toward using sunlight to create hydrogen reserves that could then be used to generate electricity or even produce liquid fuels for transportation.  Read More

Scientists have taken a leaf from Mother Nature's book in designing a blueprint for an art...

Producing an artificial leaf capable of harnessing Mother Nature’s ability to produce energy from sunlight and water via photosynthesis has been a long-sought goal for researchers aspiring to provide an environmentally-friendly way to free to world of its dependence on coal, oil, and other carbon-producing fuel sources. Now a group of Chinese scientists has presented a design strategy based on the chemistry and biology of natural leaves that could lead to working prototypes of an artificial leaf that captures solar energy and uses it efficiently to change water into hydrogen fuel.  Read More

The new process breaks the chemical bonds in water using waste energy (Image: Jose Manuel ...

We recently looked at a breakthrough in using sunlight to create hydrogen but now scientists have found a way to use ambient noise to turn water into usable hydrogen fuel. The process harvests small amounts of otherwise-wasted energy such as noise or stray vibrations from the environment to break the chemical bonds in water and produce oxygen and hydrogen gas.  Read More

Bubbles form during water oxidation, catalyzed by the new tetra-cobalt WOC (Photo: Benjami...

Scientists at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, have built on feats of Mother Nature to develop the most potent homogeneous catalyst known for water oxidation, which they hope will lead to producing clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight. Could cars of the future be powered by water and a solar collector on the roof?  Read More

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