Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Power from hydrogen moves a step closer


An invention being developed jointly by the Low Temperature Engineering Group at the University of Southampton and BOC Edwards could help turn the dream of hydrogen technology into reality. In future, electricity, and in some applications useful heat, could be generated in a fuel cell through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen, with water being produced at the end of the process.

Howard Stone, an Engineering Doctorate student, and his supervisor Dr Neil Richardson of the School of Engineering Sciences are in the running for a national award after designing a new kind of hydrogen pump, which could eventually make the use of fuel cells in integrated home energy systems and private cars a practical proposition.

The work is sponsored by one of the world’s leading vacuum pump manufacturers, BOC Edwards of Crawley, West Sussex and forms part of a wider investigation into enabling technologies for the hydrogen economy.

Fuel cells themselves are not a new idea. Scientist Sir William Grove managed to split water into its constituent parts of hydrogen and oxygen in 1839. He also hypothesised that this electrolysis process in reverse could create electricity, then proved his theory experimentally. Hydrogen fuel cells were further developed by space scientists at NASA and were first used on the Gemini missions.

The new pump is designed to be extremely reliable, safe and efficient, precision-built for zero leaks. It embodies a number of innovative features which are the subject of patent applications.

Dr Richardson explained: ‘There are many advantages to developing energy systems employing hydrogen as the fuel, not least the potential absence of pollution. Supplies of hydrogen and oxygen are, in theory, plentiful. For example, water, H2O, is composed of nothing but hydrogen and oxygen. The difficulty is in accessing the components from this and other sources, in an efficient and reliable way that does not in itself create pollution and then storing and distributing the hydrogen fuel to end-users. It will take many years before the technology is ready to be used commercially because of the problems in creating the infrastructure but much work is underway to overcome the difficulties.’

The Carbon Trust has short-listed the invention for its Innovation Awards 2003. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 6 November 2003.

Peter Shortt, Director of the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Innovation Programme said: ‘This awards scheme demonstrates the enormous potential which the UK has for leading the world in low carbon technology development.’

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>