Cassie Rodenberg: Electron-ic Bonds

Hydrogen: a Cinderella story?
October 5, 2009, 10:19 pm
Filed under: Energy

Hydrogen’s been given the kiss-off in recent energy developments, set aside for impracticality. Now hydrogen may be redeemed for energy use…by a winery.

Using bacteria and a little electricity to make a microbial electrolysis system, researchers have produced renewable hydrogen from winery wastewater. Though early in the process, the winery eventually hopes to use hydrogen fuel to power the facilities and vehicles on its property.

Past tweaked hydrogen fuel cells ideas include combining the gas with corn and boron, and improving container storage of the flammable gas.

Overall, attempts at making hydrogen a reliable ‘fuel of the future’ are sorely lacking with biofuels taking over the market. Perhaps hydrogen will be a Cinderella story, defeating wicked stepsisters and solar fuel cells along the way? …Hmm, and how often do we see a good fairy tale?


Diesel: down, not out
October 2, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Energy, Fuel

Gas engine pollution is the bruise that triggers perpetual wincing of environmentalists everywhere. We know emissions are bad as we drive our fuel-efficient hybrids and frown at off-road tractors and heavy machinery. Don’t even get us started on diesel users.

Actually, diesel may not be down for the count. New research indicates that a careful cocktail, an auxiliary injection, of ether, carbon monoxide and propane may lower hydrocarbon and particulate emissions and improve cold start-up, a huge step forward for the famously inefficient engines. Emission cuts may be as high as 60%, two-thirds of the EPA’s eventual clean-diesel goal of 90%.

This is a far cry from earlier dealings with diesel – one of which included trying methanol as a fuel, which greatly increased carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions.

Though it seems to be a game of tug-and-war with diesel, at least the emitters seems to be inching toward the mud pit.