Hydrogen fuel scores another victory with breakthrough from Virginia Tech

Hydrogen fuel scores another victory with breakthrough from Virginia Tech

April 11, 2013 0 By Stephen Vagus

Virginia Tech Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen fuel continues to pick up momentum

Hydrogen fuel has become a very popular subject in the field of renewable energy. In transportation, hydrogen has become one of the most attractive alternatives to fossil-fuel there is. Fuel cells, which use hydrogen to generate electrical power, have long been used in industrial endeavors and are becoming increasingly common due to their capabilities to produce a large amount of clean energy. The problem with hydrogen fuel, however, lies in production. Conventional production methods are both energy intensive and somewhat inefficient, making hydrogen more expensive and less attractive for those interested in renewable power.

Virginia Tech researchers produce hydrogen from plants

A team of researchers from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have made a breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production that could change the renewable energy market. Researchers have found a way to extract large quantities of hydrogen from any plant. This breakthrough could lead to the low-cost production of hydrogen fuel and make hydrogen much more available throughout the world. Researchers suggest that the breakthrough could put the world’s reliance on fossil-fuels to rest once and for all.

Xylose may be the key to efficient hydrogen fuel production

The process involves the use of xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar in the world. Xylose is used to produce large amounts of hydrogen from absolutely any source of biomass. The process is environmentally friendly, as it does not cause harm to plants in any way, and it produced only a small amount of greenhouse gas as a byproduct of hydrogen fuel production. Production using xylose also requires no expensive equipment or materials, making it an economically viable alternative to conventional production methods.

Support for hydrogen may grow if process can be scaled up

The U.S. Department of Energy notes that hydrogen fuel has vast potential, but the federal agency has been cautious with its support due to the costs associated with production and deployment. The breakthrough from Virginia Tech could bring hydrogen into the limelight, as it could help put to rest the concerns regarding efficient and sustainable hydrogen production. All that remains is for the process to be scaled up and to test its abilities to produce massive amounts of hydrogen fuel.

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