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Chicken Feathers May Fuel Hydrogen Cars in the Future

Posted By Sarah Parsons On June 25, 2009 @ 12:00 pm In Renewable Energy | 4 Comments

cars fueled by chicken feathers, chicken feathers as fuel, senoz and wool, 13th annual green chemistry and engineering conference,Erman Şenöz and Richard P. Wool, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles [1]

Chickens may start losing sleep over more than Americans’ love of McNuggets. Chicken consumption in the US creates over six billion pounds of feathers each year. Previously discarded as waste, researchers at the University of Delaware [2] are developing an innovative way to put all that wasted plumage to use — as fuel to power hydrogen fuel cell vehicles [3]. If this technology was implemented in a fuel cell vehicle, it would cost about $200, as opposed to using carbon nanotube tanks (which cost about $5.5 million) or metal hydrides (which cost about $30,000).

cars fueled by chicken feathers, chicken feathers as fuel, senoz and wool, 13th annual green chemistry and engineering conference,Erman Şenöz and Richard P. Wool, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

Yesterday at 13th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference [4], a team of scientists announced that they developed a way to store hydrogen in carbonized chicken feathers [5]. At present, the major hold-up with making cars powered by fuel cells, is that no one has come up with a way to inexpensively and effectively produce and store all that hydrogen. Researchers Erman Şenöz and Richard P. Wool [5] found that when they heated up quill fibers to extremely high temperatures, carbon nanotubes with nanoporous walls formed, allowing the substances to absorb and store hydrogen.

While the development is certainly exciting, don’t expect to see cheap, hydrogen-powered vehicles rolling down the block anytime soon. The technology is nowhere near commercialization yet. Because of hydrogen’s extremely low density, cars using Şenöz and Wool’s system [5] would need about a 75-gallon tank to go 300 miles, so researchers must first figure out how to optimize the technology. Still, cars equipped with high-tech gear that originated from mere chicken feathers is a seriously resourceful concept.

Via The Daily Green [6]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/chicken-feathers-may-fuel-hydrogen-cars-in-the-future/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/?p=36006

[2] University of Delaware: http://www.udel.edu/

[3] hydrogen fuel cell vehicles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_vehicle

[4] 13th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference: http://acswebcontent.acs.org/gcande/

[5] developed a way to store hydrogen in carbonized chicken feathers: http://acs.confex.com/acs/green09/webprogram/Paper69389.html

[6] The Daily Green: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/cars-transportation/chicken-feathers-gas-hydrogen-460609

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