Last week as reported in GreenCar Congress, scientists at the University of Aberdeen (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/) released results of a 10-year collaboration with some international partner labs, that detail a natural and renewable method for producing hydrogen to generate electricity. The method, they say, could drastically reduce the dependency on fossil fuels in the future. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/01/researchers-dev.html
Professor Hicham Idriss, Energy Futures Chair at the University of Aberdeen, said that they have successfully created the first stable catalyst to generate hydrogen using ethanol produced from crop fermentation. The breakthrough means ethanol can be completely converted to hydrogen and carbon dioxide for the first time.
The hydrogen generated would be used to power fuel cells which convert fuels into electricity directly without the need for combustion, so it has the potential to be used to power homes, buildings and cars in the future. The carbon dioxide could be captured for storage.
Hydrogen as a fuel is not only for fuel-cells, it can be “burned” directly (creating water), and is also used in refining gasoline. If hydrogen as a fuel interests you, you should look at what the folks are doing at St. Petersberg-based World Energy Solutions (OTCBB:WEGY, http://www.worldenergysolutionsinc.com/). Their proprietary HHO (Hybrid Hydrogen-Oxygen) System is a unique approach to a hydrogen technology that can increase an internal combustion engine’s gas mileage and reduce its emissions to little more than water.
Today World Energy Solutions announced that it has expanded the HHO system for use on a “tri-brid” engine in a Ford “Escape” SUV to produce even greater fuel efficiency and emission reduction. http://worldenergysolutionsinc.ir.stockpr.com/company/detail/171
Ben Croxton, World Energy CEO, said, “The concept works extremely well. We successfully increased the mpg of the prime fuel. We are now embarking on a sophisticated testing program to find the best combinations of gasoline and gasses to provide the optimum increase of mpg whilst maintaining the engine’s torque and horse power. We are pleased to refer to this development as ‘Tri-brid Technology’.”
Currently over 90 percent of the hydrogen generated across the globe is made using natural gas found in fossils fuels. The drawback with this method is that the generation of large amounts of carbon dioxide increasing the risk of global warming.
However, Aberdeen’s Idriss points out that the new production method uses ethanol which is produced by the fermentation of crops is carbon neutral, meaning any carbon dioxide produced is assimilated back into the environment and used by plants to grow. He adds that hydrogen generated using this method is very clean and therefore suitable for fuel cells It also converts carbon monoxide, a suffocating gas that robs people of oxygen, to carbon dioxide.