MORE UPDATES - When it comes to avoiding war in the Middle East and solving the global warming problem, Hydrogen fuel could be the breakthrough we need?if we can only figure out a way to contain it in an automobile gas tank. Hydrogen particles are so tiny that they leak out, but now researchers think they have finally found a way to contain them.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and considered an ideal energy source. When hydrogen burns, it produces only water, so it does not pollute the atmosphere. For this reason, it is considered an ideal alternative to fossil fuels.
Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Puru Jena says, "We are going to face an energy crisis at some point in the future. It?s not a question of if, but when. There is a high demand on oil, particularly due to a growing global population. We need an energy source that is abundant, cost effective and renewable, burns clean and does not pollute. Today, approximately 75% of the oil currently available is used for transportation alone. Any solution to the energy crisis has to take into account the amount of energy we spend on transportation. The biggest hurdle in a hydrogen economy is to find materials to store hydrogen."
His solution? A gas tank made out of tiny atomic particles called buckyballs, each of which is made out of 60 lithium-coated carbon atoms. Buckyballs are named after inventor Buckminster Fuller, who created the idea of geodesic domes in the 1940s and 50s, using units of what he claimed was the strongest possible shape: the triangle.
UPDATE: There may not be an expensive hydrogen fuel car in our future (flying or otherwise), but in LiveScience.com, Robert Roy Britt reports that we may?very soon?be able to drive a hydrogen-powered motorcycle. Netherlands Industrial design student Crijn Bouman has built one called the Fhybrid, which has a top speed of 40 mph and accelerates faster than regular scooters. It can travel around 125 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.
NEW UPDATE: A company in China says they will begin selling the first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell car. Since hydrogen fuel gives off water emissions, and China is becoming heavily polluted due to car traffic, this is a valuable discovery. On the other hand, a lot of false news comes out of China, so can we believe it?
This month, Shanghai's Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies will begin selling a very small hydrogen fuel cell automobile that even refuels itself with solar energy. This gives real hope to environmentalists and to those who are (or should be) concerned about global warming, but since these cars would put major oil companies out of business, we may not hear about it in the US.
The problem? This prototype is only a toy, costing $80?but at least it's a start.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
Thank goodness the solution to our fuel problems isn't as confusing as some of the other things in our world. This one seems to be in plain sight?all we have to do is connect the dots. We can't contain our excitement about Whitley's new tell-all novel The Grays. Make sure you get your copy?it will be published in only a few weeks. If you're a subscriber, you'll receive a free, signed bookplate to put in your copy of the book, so don't wait: subscribe today!
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