Hydrogen-based Artificial Petrol to Become Reality

A new technology that allows hydrogen to be stored in a cheap and practical way, making it suitable for widespread use as a carbon-free alternative to petrol, has recently been presented by Cella Energy Limited from STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK). Not only that it will cost nearly four-times less than regular petrol, but motorists could even be able to drive for 300 to 400 miles (483 to 644 km) before needing to fill up.

“Consumers want to be able to travel 300-400 miles before they have to refuel. And when they do have to fill up they want to be able to do it as quickly as possible. Existing hydrogen storage methods do not meet these consumer expectations, but the ones we are developing have the potential to do just this,” Stephen Voller, CEO of Cella Energy Ltd said in a release.

Hydrogen, which produces only pure water when burned, is considered an ideal solution to cutting carbon emissions from petrol, which are estimated to cause 25 percent of all carbon release.

The company has found a low-cost way to trap the hydride compound inside a nano-porous polymer micro bead, Manufacturing Digital says. The result is a revolutionary synthetic fuel, which is formed of ‘micro-beads’ that can be poured and pumped like a liquid.

“In some senses hydrogen is the perfect fuel; it has three times more energy than petrol per unit of weight, and when it burns it produces nothing but water. But the only way to pack it into a vehicle is to use very high pressures or very low temperatures, both of which are expensive to do. Our new hydrogen storage materials offer real potential for running cars, planes and other vehicles that currently use hydrocarbons on hydrogen, with little extra cost and no extra inconvenience to the driver,” said Professor Stephen Bennington, lead scientist on the project for STFC.

According to the British scientists, the new hydrogen-based fuel that produces no carbon emissions could be available in as little as three years.
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