Tag: fuel

This Lung-Like Device Can Transform Water Into a Clean Source of Fuel

A device inspired by human lungs can split water into oxygen and hydrogen

Get water in your lungs, and you’re in for a very bad time.

But when water enters a new type of “lung” created by researchers at Stanford University, the result is hydrogen fuel — a clean source of energy that could one day power everything from our cars to our smartphones.

Though this isn’t the first device to produce hydrogen fuel, the unique design could be the first step along the path to an efficient method of generating hydrogen fuel.




Looking to Nature

The Stanford team describes its device in a paper published on Thursday in the journal Joule.

When air enters a human lung, it passes through a thin membrane. This membrane extracts the oxygen from the air and send it into the bloodstream. The unique structure of the organ makes this gas exchange highly efficient.

Combine hydrogen with oxygen, and you get electricity — and unlike the burning of fossil fuels, the only byproduct is water.

For that reason, researchers have been looking into hydrogen fuel for decades, but they simply haven’t found a way to produce it that is efficient enough to be worthwhile.

This is mainly because hydrogen doesn’t often exist on its own in nature — we need to isolate it, often by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Take a Breath

The Stanford researchers’ lung is essentially a pouch created out of a thick plastic film. Tiny water-repelling pores cover the exterior of the pouch, while gold and platinum nanoparticles line its interior.

By placing the pouch in water and applying voltage, the researchers were able to compel the device to create energy at an efficiency 32 percent higher than if they laid the film flat.

They claim this is because the lung-like shape did a better job than other fuel cell designs of minimizing the bubbles that can form — and hurt efficiency — during the energy-generation process.

The geometry is important,” Stanford research Yi Cui said.

The team will now focus on scaling-up its design and finding a way to get it to tolerate higher temperatures — right now, it doesn’t work above 100 degrees Celsius, which could be a problem for commercial applications.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Simple Tricks For Better Gas Mileage

No matter what kind of car you drive, you can be getting better fuel economy than what you’re getting now. Did you know you can get better mileage by never filling up your tank?

It’s true, and most of these tips and tricks will extend the range for any car ever made, even if it’s electric. Some of them are effortless, and some require dedication, but they’ll all work.

Ditch the MPG ratings

Numbers can be manipulated any which way you want, but the simple truth is that MPG doesn’t really tell you how much money you’re spending on fuel.

G/100miles, on the other hand, will. How do you figure it out? Just type in your MPG in Google as “XX MPG per 100 miles,” and multiply your answer by whatever you pay for fuel in your area. Bam.

Now you know how much or little the following tips will help you, so you can see if it’s worth it.




Lay off the damn loud pedal

You’ve heard this one before about a million times, and you know what? It’s still true.

Every time I see some moron in a Prius out accelerate me off a light I wish I had the legal right to pull him or her over, pry their eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and force them to watch Jeremy Clarkson getting better fuel economy in a BMW M3 than the Stig in a Prius.

Even the worst fuel-sipping cars made will become gas guzzlers when you floor it. More acceleration requires more energy. Guess where your car gets its energy from.

And the brake

Obviously you’ll have to stop at some point, but if you know you’re turning soon or there’s a sharp bend in the road, coast for a bit.

There are two reasons for this. 1) all your brakes do is convert your forward momentum into heat energy, and even the best energy recovery systems don’t capture 90% of that energy.

2) if you don’t slow down for a turn you have to take it faster, which is not only fun, it means you don’t have to accelerate as much.

Last year, I compared hypermiling in a hybrid to some seriously fun driving. After 100 miles, the difference was one freaking dollar’s worth of fuel.

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Pass it on: Popular Science