Okay, I’ll admit this is a stretch and not everyone is going to like this idea. But, I enjoy talking about possible future technology so this possibility has caught my attention.
Some would say this is “leading edge technology” while others will say this is “bleeding edge technology”. But, according to an article in the Economic Times, “Scientists have discovered a new form of uranium that could lead to a nuclear power plant small enough to fit in your car and eventually even power it.”
Here is also the press release by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that this article refers to. The gist of the story is that researchers at LANL have discovered a rare molecular uranium nitride using photolysis.
This uranium nitride is capable of stripping hydrogen atoms from carbon atoms with ease, so that it may be possible in the future to use fossil fuels in one’s vehicle, strip the hydrogen from the carbon, sequester the carbon and run the hydrogen through a fuel cell for power.
Now, granted this method brings up several questions of whether we want to use nuclear power at all and do we want to be using fossil fuels as a feedstock for creating hydrogen? This idea is not totally new however as a non-working prototype of the first nuclear car (the Ford Nucleon) was developed in the 1950’s.
This idea may come under the heading of not “could we” but “should we” and the answer is that it is still too early to tell. For now, though I look at the discovery as a possible source of future hydrogen and am withholding my judgment on the “should we” part.