|20 October 2016|

UK

A new discovery made by a group of leading scientists could accelerate the drive towards the widespread use of hydrogen-fuelled cars.

Scientists at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Cardiff in the UK, and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia have found a potentially safe storage method which would solve the current challenge created by a lack of a lightweight, safe on-board hydrogen storage material.

The team has shown that ‘hydrocarbon wax rapidly releases large amounts of hydrogen when activated with catalysts and microwaves’ – a breakthrough discovery, reported in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, which could speed up the transition to more sustainable transport.

Study co-author Professor Peter Edwards, who leads the KACST-Oxford Petrochemical Research Centre (KOPRC), a KACST Centre of Excellence in Petrochemicals at Oxford University, said: ‘This discovery of a safe, efficient hydrogen storage and production material can open the door to the large-scale application of fuel cells in vehicles.”

Co-author Professor Hamid Al-Megren, from the Materials Research Institute at KACST, added: ‘This is an exciting development – it will allow society to utilise fossil fuels or renewable-derived wax to generate on-board hydrogen for fuel cell applications without releasing any carbon dioxide into the air.”