For some time, hydrogen has been seen as the fuel of the future. With soaring oil prices, and the widespread availability of hydrogen (it is the most abundant element on the planet), researchers have, for some years, been trying to establish whether it will be a viable alternative to petrol and diesel. Instead of the harmful exhaust gases given off by conventional fuels, hydrogen produces just water as a by-product.
One of the biggest issues with this has been safety – hydrogen is volatile and highly explosive. However, it seems as if researchers at Glasgow University may have hit upon the answer. Researchers at the University have been working on a modified storage tank, using nanotechnology, to store the hydrogen safely.
If successful, hydrogen from the tank will be used to power an aircraft, unmanned, of course and Duncan Gregory, from the University team, explained that the focus of the research is on aeroplanes. It’s clear, however, that other transport industries will be monitoring the results of the research closely.
The project is a joint project between the University, the TSB (www.innovateuk.org) and the EPSRC (www.epsrc.ac.uk).