Thomas Anderson, writing in TG Daily, reports that a way has been found to make large quantities of hydrogen at very low cost that could revolutionize the alternative energy field.
The development is attributed to professor Y.H.Percival Zhang, Associate Professor of Biological Systems Engineering , College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Mr. Anderson reports that Professor Zhang has succeeded in the use of xylose, the most abundant single plant sugar from all manner of plants said to yield hydrogen obtained without use of heavy metals or previous high cost systems. U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are said to be very positive about Prof. Zhang’s discovery.
Considering the technical importance of hydrogen alone or in combination with other fuels at very low cost, it can surely be expected to be a significant topic of discussion at the major biofuels conferences beginning this week in the Washington area followed by the Minneapolis meeting. Also, new hydrogen technology can be expected to penetrate the planning for greater use of bio fuel sought by the Obama administration.
Not the least of potentials for low cost hydrogen, will be hydrotreating aviation fuel actively sought by the aircraft industry faced with CO2 restrictions.
Among other key questions about its use may be to boost Btu/gal
of motor fuels both for efficiency and emissions.
Unknown is whether some of the automotive fuel cell programs will be dusted off for a new start. Even with new hydrogen fuel, fuel cell cars have starting and system complexity issues that have their own challenges.
Needless to say, the number and diversity of proposals for use of
hydrogen will be extensive leading to new applications not practical here to for.