According to a press release from Penn State University, researchers there have found an interesting by-product while producing hydrogen from coal: diamonds.
According to Angela D. Lueking, assistant professor of energy and geo-environmental engineering, “The idea we explored was based on ball milling graphite processes found in the hydrogen storage literature. We substituted anthracite coal for graphite because it is abundant and inexpensive. Now, with twenty-twenty hindsight, we are struck by the fact that coal gasification is currently the most economical way to produce hydrogen.”
This milling process created nanocrystalline diamonds, or Bucky diamonds as they are called. These Bucky diamonds may one day be used in applications such as electronics and for abrasives.
Hydrogen is an exciting field right now for this very reason. Most of the times, when doing research, there won’t be many surprises. But, every once in a while, you get diamonds. And, that is worth its weight in gold.