In the search for a nonpolluting energy source, hydrogen is often cited as a potential source of unlimited clean power. But hydrogen is only as clean as the process used to make it. Currently, most hydrogen is made from fossil fuels like natural gas using multi-step and high-temperature processes.
Now, chemical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new process that produces hydrogen fuel from plants. This source of hydrogen is non-toxic, non-flammable and can be safely transported in the form of sugars.
Writing this week (Aug. 29) in the journal Nature, research scientist Randy Cortright, graduate student Rupali Davda and professor James Dumesic describe a process by which glucose, the same energy source used by most plants and animals, is converted to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and gaseous alkanes with hydrogen constituting 50 percent of the products. More refined molecules such as ethylene glycol and methanol are almost completely converted to hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
James Dumesic | EurekAlert!
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