Researchers at the University of Buffalo have learned that adding silicon nano-particles of 10nm wide to water can yield high concentrations of hydrogen, quickly and efficiently. In fact, the hydrogen is available as a fuel source “almost immediately.”:
The reaction didn’t require any light, heat or electricity, and also created hydrogen about 150 times faster than similar reactions using silicon particles 100 nanometers wide, and 1,000 times faster than bulk silicon, according to the study.
In other words, near-perfect energy production. The group envisions this technology to be available for everything from cars to camping gear or small electronics. They note that the silicon particles are not without their own energy costs, taking, “significant energy and resources” to produce. When thinking in terms of lowering energy consumption, it is important to consider both the amount of energy produced and the amount of energy it takes to produce the producer. This has been the challenge that has dogged other alternative fuel technologies such as ethanol.
The chief problem with the idea of hydrogen fuel cells has always been the problem of safely storing hydrogen. You know. The stuff that made the Hindenburg famous.