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$200 for a chicken feather vehicle hydrogen fuel tank
Transportation, July 02 2009 (The Hydrogen Journal)
- Scientists at the University of Delaware have developed a way to convert chicken feathers to create a hydrogen storage material.
Chicken feather fibres are mainly made of keratin, a natural protein which forms strong hollow tubes.
When heated, this protein develops crosslinks, which strengthen it, and it also becomes more porous, increasing its surface area.
This material can absorb as much and maybe more hydrogen than carbon nanotubes or metal hydrides, two other materials under consideration for hydogen storage, according to Richard P. Wool, professor of chemical engineering and director of the Affordable Composites from Renewable Resources program at the University of Delaware.
It can also be potentially developed at lower cost than other hydrogen storage systems. Mr Wool estimates that a chicken feather fuel tank could cost $200 compared to the $5.5m current cost of a carbon nanotube hydrogen fuel tank and $30,000 for a metal hydride system.
To give a range of 300 miles, the chicken feature fuel tank would need to be 75 gallons in size (0.28m3, or a cube with sides 0.65m). This is larger than a conventional gasoline fuel tank (10-20 gallons) but could still be plausibly included in a passenger car.
The research was presented at the June 23 2009 by Erman Senoz, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware in Newark.13th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, organized by the American Chemistry Society Green Chemistry Institute, by Erman Senoz, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware in Newark.