research to run cars on flower power
the oilfields of the future be full of sunflowers? They
could be if Leeds fuel and energy researchers succeed
in producing hydrogen from sunflower oil.
is seen as the fuel of the future able to create
electricity with no harmful emissions to power
everything from cars, portable generators to flashlights
and even homes and factories.
where is the hydrogen to come from, and can we mass-produce
it without creating more pollution problems? Researchers
Valerie Dupont (pictured above), Jenny Jones, Edward
Hampartsoumian and Andy Ross are testing a novel system
using only sunflower oil, air, water vapour and two special
methods of producing hydrogen burn another fuel for energy,
which itself creates pollution carbon monoxide,
nitrogen oxides and other emissions," said Dr Dupont.
"Our catalyst uses oxygen from the air to heat up
naturally, and this heat is used to reform the oil with
steam to create hydrogen. The excess carbon dioxide is
taken into the second catalyst, then released for storage
or use in other chemical processes, ensuring that damaging
levels of CO2 aren’t just put back into the atmosphere."
researchers are working with industrial partners to identify
the best catalysts, and then optimising their system for
sunflower oil. But the process could be applied to other
lower grade forms of renewable fuel as well, and even
be used with oils made from waste.
pyrolysis oil is currently burned as fuel, but this can
be quite polluting," said Dr Dupont. "Our system
would still make use of its energy potential, while allowing
the often noxious chemicals in the oil to be more easily
research is funded by the EPSRC for three years.