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Can Hydrogen Fuel Pave the Way for Cleaner, More Efficient Cars?

Dec 07, 2016 05:37 AM EST
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Hydrogen fuel can result in cleaner, nore efficient cars
FC car and its charger are displayed during the 6th International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo at Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo, Japan. Clean energy products is attracting more attention as a researcher from Florida State University has produced a new design that could store hydrogen fuel more efficiently in vehicles as well as other devices that use clean energy. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

In a world becoming more rapidly aware of the need for clean energy, a researcher from Florida State University has produced a new design that could store hydrogen fuel more efficiently in vehicles as well as other devices that use clean energy.

Published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the study takes pressurizing hydrogen to make it compact and turn it into fuel. Jose Mendoza-Cortes, an assistant professor in the Florida A&M University - Florida State University College of Engineering, wanted to take it one step further and make the process more efficient and economically viable.

"There will be many proposals to solve energy issues, and this may be one option," Mendoza-Cortes said. "We wanted to find the most effective way to store hydrogen so that perhaps in the future, cars could use this to run longer distances and more efficiently."

Mendoza-Cortes used mathematical equations and computer simulations to design porous materials of transition metals like cobalt, iron, or nickel that cause hydrogen to bond with it. Using materials that are readily available, the design could then be placed in a tank of a car that uses hydrogen for fuel.

After designing 270 compounds, Mendoza-Cortes tested their performance for hydrogen storage. He theorized that when the hydrogen binds to the actual device, more hydrogen could be packed in and condensed into a tank. Since it is very easy for hydrogen to stick to the device, the tank would never actually be empty. Mendoza-Cortes also discovered that it takes less energy to fill the tank.

"In other words, more hydrogen can be stored at lower pressures and room temperature, making some of these materials good for practical use," Mendoza-Cortes revealed. Since the proposed new materials could store hydrogen more efficiently, it would result in a significant improvement in the system. "You don't have to spend all that energy to get the same amount of storage."

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