Hydrogen-Rich and Fancy-Free in 12 Seconds

From the “mother” of all sources, a new device to reform hydrogen from gasoline has been developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richmond, Washington. What makes this reformer special is its ability to reform enough hydrogen to get a vehicle up and running in only 12 seconds. Reformer technology has been notorious for its slowness.

Fuel cell technology has long been an interest of mine. Fuel cells still face a few obstacles before they eventually replace batteries and engines. Technology aside, few proponents have addressed exactly where the hydrogen is going to come from. The most abundant element in the Universe, it is not at all abundant here on Earth. Water is a clean source, but requires a great deal of energy just to split into oxygen and hydrogen. Reformers can convert gasoline and other fuels into hydrogen, but this does not eliminate pollution entirely. President Bush calls for hydrogen production from coal-burning plants, which does not solve the pollution problem at all. Microorganisms, solar cells, nuclear power and other technologies have been suggested as being cleaner producers of hydrogen, but a national grid of hydrogen is still many years away.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).