Would it be any surprise that technology developed for NASA would one day be used to fuel hydrogen cars? NASA has been using hydrogen fuel cells in their spacecraft for over 40 years and routinely uses hydrogen as a propellant as well.
Researchers at Purdue and Penn State University have developed an aluminum-ice propellant (ALICE) that uses a chemical reaction to free hydrogen and propel rockets. Both NASA and the U. S. Airforce are interested in this new technology.
Now, back in January 2009, I had talked about both Purdue and Penn State using aluminum and water to create hydrogen using different methods than ALICE. What is unique about ALICE first is that it has gone beyond the concept stage as back in August a rocket was launched 1,300 feet using this technology.
What is also unique about ALICE is that it uses nano-aluminum particles “… 500 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Such tiny particles combust more rapidly than larger particles to give an additional kick, and may allow easier control over a rocket’s thrust.”
Now, the future wonderland of ALICE isn’t the only high tech development of hydrogen going on. Researchers at the University of Nevada in Reno have been working on a way to make robots operate more quietly since the normal air compressor can contribute to unseemly noise pollution.
What the scientists have found is that by using reversible chemisorption along with metal hydrides, (which is the process already used in some hydrogen car tanks), they can create silent artificial muscles to work on the projects they need to do.
I decided to write about these two developments to show that hydrogen car technology is not an isolated field, but interrelated to other ongoing research and technology in other fields. By sharing information and methodology among differing technological fields, all will progress at a more rapid pace.