Feeds

Chickens could 'power hydrogen cars'

Clucking brilliant!

Security for virtualized datacentres

Leccy Tech A team of university scientists have claimed that the future of automotive hydrogen storage lies in birds, or, to be precise – chickens.

The secret lies in chicken feathers, according to Dr Richard Wool, Professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, and their ability to absorb high amounts of hydrogen when specially treated.

Now we're not chicken scientists, but Wool and his university research team reckon that their ongoing project has shown that heat treating chicken feathers causes a protein called keratin to form hollow carbon microtubes.

These tubes then increase the surface areas of the feathers, enabling them to absorb more H2.

The result is carbonised chicken feather fibres, which Wool has argued can absorb as much or perhaps even more H2 than carbon nanotubes or metal hydrides – two alternative H2 storage methods.

Naturally, we must take Wool on his word regarding the technical aspects of his chicken feather-based H2 storage technology. But he’s also claimed that a chicken feather H2 storage tank would only add about £120 ($200/€142) to the price of a car.

By comparison, he said that producing a 20-gallon hydrogen fuel tank using metal hydrides would cost around £18,000 ($30,000/€21,300), while making one with carbon nanotubes would cost a dizzying £3.3m ($5.5m/€3.9m).

Wool’s not out of the chicken coop yet, though. He’s estimated that it would currently take a 75-gallon capacity chicken feather tank to power a car for around 300 miles.

This compares poorly with the Honda FCX Clarity, which can go for 270 miles on a far smaller tank, albeit one containing H2 compressed at 5000psi. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.