LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A new technology that allows hydrogen to be stored in a cheap and practical way, could make its widespread use as a carbon-free alternative to petrol a reality, according to its developers.
The company said hydrogen could be an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels if the gas is produced with renewable energy sources like wind or solar. It has three times more energy than petrol per unit of weight and could power cars, planes and other vehicles that currently use hydrocarbons.New technology makes hydrogen more viable car fuel
It said it is also attracting interest from large established companies in the energy and transportation sectors.
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The leaf's ability to convert sunlight and water into storable fuel makes it the ultimate in solar energy. Now researchers say they have found a way to mimic this seemingly simple feat.
The technology developed by Dan Nocera of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues could eventually power a house and bring electricity to the developing world with little more than a chip sunk into a bucket of water. The device could even store the energy for when the sun isn't shining.
I can take the chip and put it in this bottle of water and just go and hold it up to the sun and you would start to see hydrogen and oxygen bubbles coming out," Nocera said.
The hydrogen and oxygen could later be used in a fuel cell to generate electricity as they recombine to form water.
A remaining engineering challenge to take this from the lab to the rooftop is to figure out how to capture the oxygen and hydrogen and store them for later use. "That's going to be some tricky engineering," he said. It remains to be seen how expensive this aspect will be.
Up a tree no more: A 'real' artificial leaf debuts
Gotta get these guys talking to each other :-)
If things like this live up to their promise, there may be hope for civilization.
Fuel cells for powering homes is an idea that was around in the mid 1990s. Wonder what happened to that.