Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fuel Cells and Nanotubes

Nanotubes and Fuel Cells

Researchers report hydrogen storage by silicon nanotubes exceeds that of their carbon couterparts. Silicon could play a large role in the emergence of "clean" hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

After powering the micro-electronics revolution, silicon could carve out an important new role in speeding the debut of ultra-clean fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen.

Researchers have focused on the potential use of carbon nanotubes for storing hydrogen in fuel cell vehicles for years. Despite nanotubes’ great promise, they have been unable to meet the hydrogen storage goals for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. A more efficient material for hydrogen storage is needed. Using powerful molecular modeling tools to compare the hydrogen storage capacities of newly developed silicon nanotubes to carbon nanotubes. In theory, silicon nanotubes can absorb hydrogen molecules more efficiently than carbon nanotubes under normal fuel cell operating conditions.

The calculations pave the way for tests to determine whether silicon nanotubes can meet standards for hydrogen storage.

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