Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Three Materials Could Hold the Key to Future Hydrogen Cars

28.09.2012
New research funded by the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award will look at how to safely and efficiently store hydrogen – one of the key problems preventing hydrogen from being used as an alternative fuel.

Award recipient Timo Thonhauser of Wake Forest University said current storage methods, such as compressing hydrogen into tanks, are unwieldy, making the storage question the big bottleneck in turning hydrogen fuel cars into a reality.

“Simply pumping pure hydrogen into pressurized tanks in your car is inefficient and potentially dangerous,” he said. “But even if you could, you just cannot get enough of it into the tank – you’d drive for 50 miles, and then your car would stop. So we need to find a better way to store hydrogen, and that means identifying a material that can safely incorporate it into its structure.”

The NSF CAREER Award, given to the nation’s top junior faculty who demonstrate excellence as teacher-scholars, comes with a $426,572 grant. Thonhauser, an assistant professor of physics, will use this grant to determine whether any of the three substances – magnesium borohydride, ammonia borane, and alkanes – could be used to create a safe and efficient hydrogen storage solution.

Hydrogen has shown great promise as an alternative fuel. It is the most abundant element on the surface of Earth, and every nation has access to it. One pound of hydrogen has about three times as much energy as one pound of gasoline, and seven times as much energy as one pound of coal. But even better, when hydrogen combusts, the only byproduct is water.

“So, if hydrogen is so cool, why aren’t we using it? It’s because we don’t know how to store it in a practical way,” Thonhauser said. “There’s no question that fossil fuels are going to run out eventually. Plus, the combustion of fossil fuels creates a lot of problems for the environment. Research into alternative fuels is vital right now.”

The CAREER Award also requires scientists to develop outreach programs. Thonhauser will work with SciWorks, a science and environmental center in Winston-Salem, N.C., to build an interactive hydrogen fuel exhibition; he also will create a mentoring program at Wake Forest to help graduate and post-doctoral students improve research skills and begin their careers as scientists.

About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.

Katie Neal | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.wfu.edu

Further reports about: Hydrogen Merit Award alternative fuel fossil fuels hydrogen fuel

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells
22.11.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Fine felted nanotubes: CAU research team develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>