01.02.08

Alternative Energy

Posted in Jacob Canon, National Science Foundation, Physics, The Oscar Show, U.S. Department of Energy, U.Va. Patent Foundation, UVa College of Arts & Sciences, University of Virginia, crude oil, electricity, fuel costs, hydrogen, hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas at 1:08 pm by Jacob Canon

This episode is from an article published on the Oscar web site written by Morgan Ellen Estabrook, we welcome in the promise of the new year as we discuss the efforts of two University of Virginia physicists who discovered a new class of efficient hydrogen storage materials that could make storage and transportation of this alternative energy source a much more affordable reality.

 
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With fuel costs soaring and crude oil hovering at or near $100 per barrel, the need for new fuel sources is more paramount than ever. University of Virginia Physicists, Bellave S. Shivaram and Adam B. Phillips, have discovered a new class of hydrogen storage materials that could make the storage and transportation of this form of energy much more efficient — and affordable — through higher-performing hydrogen fuel cells.

They presented their findings at the International Symposium on Materials Issues in a Hydrogen Economy during November in Richmond, Va. Their research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Phillips said, “In terms of hydrogen absorption, these materials could prove a world record. Most materials today absorb only 7 to 8 percent of hydrogen by weight, and only at extremely low or cryogenic temperatures. Our materials absorb hydrogen up to 14 percent by weight at room temperature.”

By absorbing a much higher percentage of hydrogen than previous materials, while exhibiting faster kinetics at room temperature and much lower pressures, they are inexpensive and simple to produce. He went on to say, “the new materials could help make the dream of a hydrogen economy come true.” In the quest for alternative fuels, this discovery could potentially provide a highly affordable solution to energy storage and transportation problems with a wide variety of applications.

Shivaram said, “These materials are the next generation in hydrogen fuel storage materials, unlike any others we have seen before, they have passed every litmus test that we have performed, and we believe they have the potential to have a large impact.” The inventors believe the novel materials will translate to the marketplace and are working with the U.Va. Patent Foundation to protect their discovery.

Chris Harris, senior licensing manager for the U.Va. Patent Foundation said, “The U.Va. Patent Foundation is very excited to be working with a material that one day may be used by millions in everyday life, Dr. Phillips and Dr. Shivaram have made an incredible breakthrough in the area of hydrogen absorption.” With the ever expanding energy needs in this country as well as the rest of the world, I’m sure most all of our listening community look forward to the day when we will realize the benefits of these discoveries.

Next week’s show will feature the work of Carla Green, associate professor of biology at the University of Virginia and her research concerning the circadian clock and various aspects of physiology and metabolism.