Powerful Ideas: Chicken Feathers Could Store Fuel
Chicken feathers may help cars use hydrogen fuel in the future. The feathers would not be the fuel, but they could help store it, new research reveals.
Hydrogen, the most common element in the universe, has long been touted as a clean and ample energy alternative to fossil fuels. When hydrogen reacts with oxygen, instead of yielding pollutants as fossil fuels do, it simply generates water.
Unfortunately, hydrogen is hard to store and transport. Hydrogen vehicles currently keep it in tanks in either liquid or pressurized gas form. As a pressurized gas, it takes up roughly 40 times as much space as gasoline, and as a liquid it needs to be kept at extremely low temperatures.
"Using currently available technology, if you had a 20-gallon tank and filled it with hydrogen at typical room temperature and pressure, you could drive about a mile," said researcher Richard Wool, director of the Affordable Composites from Renewable Resources program at the University of Delaware in Newark.