Scientists Create Hydrogen Fuel from Sunflower Oil
British scientists have discovered a way to power cars with sunflower oil. While biodiesel cars that directly burn cooking oil are fairly common, researcher Valerie Dupont and her colleagues have something else in mind, as they reported this week at an American Chemical Society conference. They’ve figured out a way to use catalysts to extract pure hydrogen from a combination of air, water vapor, and sunflower oil. Hydrogen is frequently hailed as the clean fuel of the future, but most current methods of creating hydrogen burn the very fossil fuels responsible for pollution and greenhouse gases. Dupont’s process could eventually use any vegetable oil and be miniaturized to the point that the converter could transform oil to hydrogen on the fly, in the car itself. Another researcher at the same conference claimed she was working on a process that could convert pure water directly to hydrogen using a catalyst and solar energy. For now, both veggie oil and water catalysts are prohibitively expensive, but still, maybe this whole hydrogen thing will work out after all.