A group of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have figured out a way to effectively, and more safely, use hydrogen as a fuel source, according to the University’s news site.  Hydrogen is easily convereted to electricity in a fuel cell and it is carbon free. The only problem is hydrogen can only be stored at high pressure. Until now.

The team of researchers have found a way to release hydrogen from chemical form so it can be stored as a stable solid. In addition, they have developed a catalyst system that releases enough hydrogen from its storage in ammonia borane to make it usable as a fuel source. What’s even more exciting is the system is stable in air and reusable.

fuel cell and hydrogen storage research, Department of Energy
image via Shutterstock

The discovery has far reaching possibilities for fuel cell applications, from motor-driven cycles to small aircrafts, according to USC scientists. The system is said to be the first to devise a resuable, air-stable ammonia borane dehydrogenation. In fact, the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation is working on a patent for the system.

Details of the research were published in the August 2011 edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The research was funded by the Hydrocarbon Research Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

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