The European Aerospace Group (EADs) has announced their partnership with scientists from the Glasgow University in Scotland to collaborate in the production of solid hydrogen that will be use to fuel planes. Research is being focused on developing a solid state storage system for hydrogen.
There has been some difficulty is storing hydrogen, which has made its use less attractive as an alternative fuel. Storing hydrogen as a gas requires massive volumes, and there is a significant risk of combustion given less-than-favorable circumstances. Liquid hydrogen is viable for storage, but is heavy and the process of converting hydrogen into a liquid has high energy demands.
Solid hydrogen is the most viable method of storing, but balance between weight and volume as well as precise control of transference rates is vital.
Through the application of nanotechnology, researches at the Glasgow University are hoping to make the process of storing hydrogen as a solid more s
uitable. They are using nanotechnology to change the material composition on an existing hydrogen storage tank to make it more suitable for industrial use for planes and vehicles. Should they be successful, un-manned test flights, fueled by hydrogen, will take place in 2014.
Air planes account for a staggering amount of greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing the traditional hydrocarbon-based fuel with pollution-free hydrogen energy, pollution can be cut down by a significant margin.
The coalition of EADs and Glasgow scientists are currently seeking funding from the European Union to build a team of academic and industrial specialists to examine issues in using hydrogen on an industrial scale.