Thursday, November 29, 2007

Applied Creativity: Creativity buoys outlook for hydrogen economy

[29 November 2007 - Christian Science Monitor] Hydrogen from bacteria, from coal – and how about a hydrogen generator small enough to power your lawn mower? ... Engineers who want to produce hydrogen for fuel have to think outside the box. Standard processes are too costly and inefficient. A sample of research reported this year illustrates the unexpected possibilities such creative thinking opens up. How about a portable hydrogen generator so compact it could power a lawn mower? Or how about coaxing bacteria to produce hydrogen from plant material with unprecedented efficiency? It also pays to look at traditional processes in new ways. L.S. Fan at Ohio State University met that challenge with the process that makes hydrogen by using carbon monoxide released by gasified coal. The gas reacts with water to make carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The trick to making this work as a viable fuel source is to find a cheap way to get rid of the CO2. "We needed a new way of thinking," Dr. Fan says. More

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